If you’re planning an overhaul of your beauty regime with the aim to go greener, the best organic makeup brands just became a need-to-know topic. But before we dive into the foundations, eye shadows and lipsticks you need to try ASAP, let’s break down what we mean by “organic” makeup. After all, there’s all manner of confusion between what’s natural, organic and even vegan in the beauty industry. So, here’s the deal: While a natural or vegan beauty product may or may not necessarily be organic, an organic product is always formulated from natural ingredients.
More than that, those natural ingredients are always organically grown and produced. That means no synthetics from farm to formula.
If you have sensitive skin that reacts to harsh chemicals, going organic could be a great way to help restore some balance, but that’s not the only reason to switch. The production of organic beauty products tends to be an all-around kinder process for the environment too. Recycled packaging, no animal testing and smaller batches all reduce the impact on the planet. So if you’re trying to live a greener lifestyle or if you are worried about what’s going on inside your products, keep scrolling for our guide to the best organic makeup out there, with tips from makeup artist Lou Dartford.
Organic Makeup: Where to Start
Greening up your entire makeup bag can be a daunting prospect—where do you start? As a pro MUA who faced the same question some nine years ago, Dartford is perfectly placed to share some wisdom. Her number one tip? Don’t freak out! “I’ve seen lots of women just chuck everything away overnight, but switching things over as they run out is a good way to do it,” explains Lou. “That way you know what works for you and what doesn’t.
“Also, the textures of organic makeup products might vary from the more ‘conventional’ ones you are used to, so you need to give them a chance. Lots of organic makeup contain plant oils, butters and waxes, for example, which can be affected by the environment they are kept in—in the cold, for example, they might be harder, so they might require warming up with fingers. The longevity might be different too—because they don’t contain silicones or plasticisers, for example, they might need a touch-up at lunch, but that’s okay, and it’s way better for your skin anyway.
Trying things before you buy is a good idea too, as you’ll save a lot of money that way.”
Organic Certification: What It Means
The easiest way to separate the greenwashing from the genuinely organic is to check the certification of a brand or product. While there are several different certification boards that can all grant official organic status, including the UK’s The Soil Association, France’s EcoCert and COSMEBIO, Italy’s ICEA, Germany’s BDIH and the USA’s Organic Trade Association, in 2002, many of these organisations came together to form the COSMOS-Standard. A unified board that uses the same checklist to ensure that all companies branding themselves as “organic” are just that.
You can see the full requirements from responsible farming to clean, cruelty-free production and beyond on the COSMOS-Standard website.
But while this has come to represent the gold standard of organic certification, the process can involve a lengthy audit along with fees, which is why for some smaller, independent companies, it’s still a badge of honour that’s out of reach. If in doubt, we’d suggest asking a brand directly why they don’t have certification.
Is Organic Makeup Really Any Good?
The short answer: Yes! Thanks to beauty brand innovation and biotechnology, organic makeup formulas are now better than they’ve ever been. “The switch is definitely becoming easier and easier—when I first started it was so hard,” says Lou. “Right now, I really love Vapour Organic Beauty’s Soft Focus Skin Perfector mixed with Kjaer Weis’ Cream Foundation to create clean, dewy skin. I’m a fan of pretty much all of the Vapour range actually—the lip pencils are amazing. The Juice Beauty concealer is my current go-to when extra coverage is needed, and I love Absolution’s matt lipsticks—I use them all the time.
RMS Beauty is another favourite, founder Rose-Marie Swift really is leading the way in organics, and her new lipsticks are fantastic, as is her black cake liner, which has become a firm favourite.”
That said, however, there are certain limitations that come with ousting synthetics, as Lou explains: “It’s much easier to find organic skincare, but makeup needs to perform in many different ways—the colour, the multiple textures and the longevity to name a few. Unfortunately it is those chemicals that we’re trying to avoid that often make products stay on the skin for longer. I’ve definitely struggled with liquid eyeliners for longevity. Mascaras can also be difficult, as it’s often hard to create those thickening and lengthening effects with an organic formulation.”
The Best Organic Makeup Brands
Ready to start shopping for an organic makeup kit? Scroll through the gallery below for our pick of the best organic makeup brands right now with a few top product recommendations.
Opening Image: Imaxtree