Years ago, when I first started wearing makeup, my mom told me about trying makeup on at a friend’s house when she was a kid. Her friend’s aunt had given them her old makeup to play dress up with, and there was lead in the eyeshadow, which gave it a beautiful slippery texture and shiny finish. Of course, we now know that lead is a toxic ingredient best left out of makeup and other products we put on our skin, but it wasn’t until about 8 years ago when I read “Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe” by Greta Eagan that I learned that, even though there isn’t lead, there is still a lot of bad stuff in our makeup today!
In the book, she had a chart of ingredients to avoid, and I was shocked to discover that many of my products contained these harmful ingredients! (Here is a list of ingredients to steer clear of, if you’re interested in more specifics). I now keep a list of these ingredients, arranged alphabetically, on my phone so when I’m looking at a product at the store, I can easily see whether it contains one of those substances. You can also get apps, such as EWG Healthy Living or Think Dirty, but my phone is too old for their OS. Some of these ingredients cause allergic reactions (I have sensitive skin and rosacea, so I definitely try to avoid those!), some can cause the very problems they are supposedly helping, and some are frank carcinogens that shouldn’t be in beauty products at all. But, while it’s great to know that you should avoid these ingredients, it’s a completely different thing to find products that don’t contain them! Some of them are such commonly used substances that, just like fast fashion, a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a product that’s better for you.
Over the past 8 years I have tried a lot of different natural beauty brands and have gone through plenty of trial and error in order to find products that are clean, healthy and natural, but still perform well. I have definitely had my share of natural makeup products that haven’t worked including funky smells, bad textures and poor performance, but I’ve also found plenty of good ones. They are a mix of high and low price points and drugstore brands and small companies. I haven’t been able to find good clean products for all of the products I need, unfortunately, but these are the ones that work for me.
When looking for natural beauty brands and products, one of your best bets is going to be finding small companies that make their own small batches. Not only do they often have great products, but it’s usually a more sustainable option as well. A lot of the “natural” lines from big companies like Covergirl, Maybelline or Rimmel are very limited in selection, might not perform as well as the rest of their product lines and can sometimes fall into “greenwashing”- so you still always need to check the ingredient lists. While I do have some products from large companies, finding a smaller company that is making small batch cosmetics, and has been doing so before it was “cool”, is a great place to start.
For moisturizer, I use the Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Day and Night creams. I love the rose scent! They don’t always have the rose one at the shop, so I sometimes use their Brightening renewal cream, which smells like citrus and is also quite refreshing.
For the winter months, I’ve started using the Repair Luxury Treatment oil by Pure Anada. I get pretty dry skin in the winter, and a few drops of this oil really helps with that. It’s hydrating, but the oil absorbs well and you can even wear it under makeup, although I use it at night.
For body lotion I like Avalon Organics Refreshing Lemon lotion, and Lamb Soapworks Lemongrass lotion. Pure Anada also makes a nice hand cream, I have the Lavender scented one. Can you tell I really like fresh scents in my beauty products? I haven’t tried making my own lotion yet, but it’s something I’ve been thinking of trying.
For my feet, and dry patches in the winter, I use my homemade whipped body butter.
And then, for after the shower where I need some extra hydration, I’ve started using the Beauty from Bees serum in Orange. For lip balm I use either homemade, Burt’s Bees or Pure Anada.
For cleansing, I use the Pure Anada Exfoliating Cleanser. I’m not sure the exfoliating works all that well, but it smells nice and if I need to exfoliate for dry skin I do a coffee or sugar scrub in the shower (it’s less messy that way!) In the past I have also used the Simply Bee charcoal face bar, but I gave it to my mom because it was a bit too squeaky clean for my sensitive skin.
When it comes time to take off my makeup at the end of the day I use a mix of Pure Anada Eye Makeup Remover and good old coconut oil on a reusable cloth face wipe I sewed out of cotton flannel.
I also use coconut oil when I do facial massage.
For body soap I like Crate 61 Organics. They are reasonably priced for a natural soap bar since I can usually find them at Winners and they have a lot of scents. I usually go for lemongrass, lavender or oatmeal.
Finally, for the last thing in the skincare category: deodorant. For the past few months I’ve started using a magnesium oil spray from Beauty from Bees (you can also make your own) each night. I first read about how magnesium works as a deodorant in two articles from Evie Magazine, here and here. And, it works incredibly well; it’s the best deodorant I have ever tried! I still use the SoulDeo Naturals baking soda free deodorant on hot days.
As far as hair care goes, I haven’t found a good shampoo or hair care product yet. Well, I used to use Nature’s Gate shampoo, but they stopped selling it in Canada, and I have been searching for a good replacement ever since. I’ve tried shampoo bars and several natural brands, but they don’t work well for my fine, oil prone straight hair and itchy scalp. My sister and mom use Oneka shampoo, but it’s too heavy for my hair, so I’m currently using a bottle of a salon product. I use an Aveda Heat Relief spray for when I heat style my hair, but it’s got a few questionable ingredients in it too, so I’m not sure I’d recommend it. It does work well, and is free from a lot of other bad ingredients though, so that’s why I use it instead of others. We do what we can, right?
For makeup, though, I do have some favourite products to share!
After I’ve finished moisturizing, I put on the Zuii mint tinted primer. While I don’t notice it making a big difference in correcting the redness of my skin, it is still a great primer. This is my first time using a primer, so while I often used to have creased makeup by the end of the day, this keeps my foundation in place all day, which has been a pleasant surprise. I bought it recently and have been really liking it, especially since it’s made of (and smells like) flowers!
On top of the primer, I use the Covergirl Clean Fresh concealer. I tried their powder foundation and it didn’t give any coverage at all on my skin, however, their concealer is pretty good. In conjunction with the Zuii primer it seems to stay put all day and it evens out fairly well. I don’t use it for under eye concealing, because it makes my eyes feel a bit sensitive, but for blemish concealing it works quite well.
I’ve been using the Zuii Flora powder foundation for years, and I love it! I can’t find it in Canada any more, so I recently bought it direct from Australia because it’s the best foundation I’ve found for my skin. I used to use the Physicians Formula organic BB cream, but they discontinued it, so I’ve been using this foundation exclusively for several years. (Why do companies discontinue a product just after you find it, right?) Unfortunately Zuii just had a price increase right before I purchased, but at least I got free shipping on my order, and the product does last a long time. I like that this foundation gives a light coverage, and isn’t too heavy, but evens out the blotchiness for a nice smooth finish. I tried using some other natural powder foundations from brands more readily available in Canada, but they were way too powdery with hardly any coverage, so I had to come back to this one.
For eyeshadow, I use the Pure Anada pressed shadows. I also have some of their loose eyeshadow powders, but I find them a bit too messy for my preference. My favourite shadow colour of theirs is Mirage (the one that’s almost empty!) It’s a nice shimmery light grey/brown with a green undertone, and I wear it almost every time I wear shadow. And for eyeliner and brows, I usually use a mix of the dark brown and grey shades on a small brush for a soft look, or I sometimes also use the Zuii eyeliner pencil when I don’t use powder. My days of wearing black winged liner are long gone…I don’t have the patience for it anymore!
To finish off my eyes, I use Covergirl Clean Fresh mascara. I started using it about a year ago, and it’s nice. I don’t get fallout and black shadows under my eyes, and I’ve tried several natural brands in the past that have caused itchiness, but this one is good so far. It’s also a great price point, especially considering there is no way to get through a tube of mascara before it expires.
For lipsticks, I don’t actually have a good natural one to recommend! And I know that’s crazy, because lip colour is the one item I should be most concerned about ingesting. I don’t wear lip colour very often so I’m currently using up my old lipstick, which they don’t make anymore, but the ingredients aren’t too bad. I have tried the Zuii satin lip colour and flora lipstick and have found them both to be very dry, so if you like a more moisturizing lipstick, I wouldn’t recommend those. I think once my old lipstick runs out, I would like to try a Tin Feather lipstick. I’ve also used a Pacifica lipstick in the past; I got rid of it because it wasn’t a good colour for me, but it was a lovely moisturizing formula!
And to finish off this list of my favourite natural beauty brands, here are some other brands that I haven’t personally used, but my sister has.
Three Ships for skincare
Green Beaver for all kinds of natural products including face, body, hair, and oral care
Painted Earth Cosmetics for skincare, makeup, and hair
Joyous Health for face, body and hair products
Well, I hope that this post is helpful if you’re looking for natural beauty brands and products. Whether you’re just getting started, or have been wearing natural makeup for a while, it’s always nice to find new brands and products. What natural beauty products do you love to use?