I've been a professional makeup artist for twenty years, and during my time painting faces and admiring beauty from afar—I've noticed a significant shift. The cosmetic industry has exploded and evolved into a more conscious space for brands and consumers.
On the one hand, consumers aren't only looking for products to serve our needs, but we're also looking to make more informed decisions as shoppers. On the other, brands are aware of this shift in priorities and are aiming to serve consumers through conscious products.
Given the lack of regulatory safety standards in cosmetic manufacturing, some brands are setting the standard themselves by creating safe-to-use products made with intention. Now more than ever, brands are aligned with values like clean ingredients, fair labor standards, and the environment. . For many, conscious beauty is the only acceptable future of makeup.
Luckily, if high-performance and sustainable solutions are important to you, great brands are serving the market with exceptional products. Innovators like Kjaer Weis have cocktailed ingredients to create a standout mascara texture that surpasses any conventional mascara I've ever used. Others like Athr Beauty are proudly committed to formulating high-pigment eyeshadows without chemicals.
Still, it's easy to feel unsure of a starting point to pivot into conscious beauty. To help, I've compiled a list of standout must-try makeup from these buzzy brands—all part of my professional kit and personal routine. Read about my favorite picks ahead.
Foundation: Saie Slip Tint
This skin tint has a creamy consistency that acts as a natural filter for your complexion. I love that it's super hydrating but also has SPF to shield you from the sun. It's a great base product, and anything that you layer on top (blush, bronzer, and highlighter) will last as long as the tint does. It comes in 14 versatile shades and is a great option to add to your everyday glam routine.
Concealer: Ilia Beauty True Skin Serum
This concealer is super lightweight but still creamy in texture. It has a satin finish and buildable coverage. The natural formula makes it ideal for both blemishes and under the eyes. I like to set it with a dust of translucent powder, and it stays on beautifully all day. It comes in 20 shades that fit a wide range of complexions.
Blush: Tower28 Beach Please Blush
This cult-favorite blush is 100 percent worth the hype, in my opinion. The formula has a dewy finish and smoothing texture that adds a natural flush to any skin tone. It's great to dab along your cheeks, eyes, and lips. Tower28 also follows the National Eczema Association's ingredient guidelines, so people with sensitive skin can rest assured that its products are made won't cause irritation.
Lip Balm: Roen Tinted Oil Balm
I consider these the Goldilocks of lip balms. The formula is ultra-hydrating and isn't as thin as many lip oils, but it also isn't as heavy as a traditional balm. It slips over the lips, leaving them feeling quenched and nourished. It comes in three shades to help subtly enhance your lips and leaves behind the perfect amount of just-kissed color.
Lipstick: Gucci Westman Lip Suede
This lip product packaging is unusual, but it's genius. The multi-colored compact gives you the ability to create fantastic lip combinations with a lip brush or your fingers. Just dab and go. You can go more neutral for breakfast or work and layer on a bolder hue for a dinner date. The texture is a true satin finish, and the color payoff is long-lasting.
Highlighter: Jones Road Miracle Balm
Bobbi Brown has further confirmed that she's a master at "me but better" beauty. This miracle balm hails from her conscious line, Jones Road. The sleek tub is packed with a glowy balm formula with skin-loving oils and vitamin E. It comes in seven beautiful shades that will make any complexion pop. It's a great all-purpose makeup product that you can wear solo for a soft glow or layer on top of foundation for a stunning highlight.
Mascara: Kjaer Weis Impossible Mascara
Alas, a natural mascara that gives length, volume, and separation in a few coats. I love that this formula is long-lasting, certified organic, and super effective. The clever football-shaped brush grips onto each hair and doesn't clump. The packaging is refillable so that you can keep your tube and purchase an insert with a new formula when you need it, which also helps cut back on waste.
Brows: Kosas Brow Team
Together these two products can help you achieve any desired brow style from thick, feathered, and everything in between. Brow Pop is a thin eyebrow pencil that can replicate your brow hairs with a light application and define and shape with a firmer hold. Air Brow is an alcohol-free brow gel that sets your brow hairs without getting crunchy or drying them out. The set is perfect for anyone, whether your routine is quick and minimal or thorough and maximalist.
Eyes: Athr Beauty Rose Quartz Crystal Gemstone Eyeshadow Palette
The cool design of these eyeshadow palettes is what drew me to Athr Beauty, but I'm on my third palette, thanks to its incredible color payoff. Each pan blends seamlessly on the skin and is easy to use for all skill levels from beginner to pro. The pigments are also long-lasting and won't move from your lids—especially if you apply on top of an eyeshadow primer.