How to Start Using Clean Makeup

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( — February 16, 2020) — Ok, so you’ve heard the news about the harmful and toxic ingredients commonly found in beauty products and you’ve started to do some research. If you’re just getting into the world of clean makeup, it can feel a bit overwhelming. How do you know where to start and what products and ingredients to avoid? While there is plenty to learn about clean makeup and clean beauty in general, definitions are a good place to start. Simply put, clean beauty products are non-toxic products that are made without ingredients that are linked to harmful health effects like hormone disruption,  skin irritation, and cancer and that are ethically sourced and sustainable. If you’re looking for a quick list of ingredients to avoid, you can start by avoiding the following:

  • Parabens
  • Fragrances
  • Aluminum compounds
  • Ethoxylated agents
  • Formaldehyde
  • Refined petroleum
  • Hydroquinone
  • Talc
  • Triclosan
  • Silica
  • Oxybenzone

Now that you know what to avoid, what should you look for when you want to start using clean makeup?

  • Prioritize: We all know that makeup can be expensive, so if you’re on a budget, start by prioritizing your products based on their toxicity. The Environmental Working Group has a free database online that ranks over 50,000 personal care products on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being the least toxic and 10 being the most dangerous. Go through your makeup bag and look up the products you have, ranking them from most toxic to least toxic, and then start by looking for replacements for the most dangerous products in your bag.
  • Identify clean makeup brands: While it’s rare to find a brand in which every single product is made with 100% clean and non-toxic, there are a large number of brands out there with a variety of clean, safe products. Look for clean beauty buying guides online, which can often be searched by brand or product. You can also find clean makeup at stores like Sephora and Target, which call out clean beauty products right in the aisles. Of course, the largest selection will be online, but with an increasing awareness of the importance of clean beauty, companies are stocking more and more products in-store.
  • Check your inventory: Before you throw away your favorite mascara, wait! You may be surprised to find that some of your favorite products are already non-toxic. The aforementioned clean buying guides are a great way to check to see if your favorite lip gloss is safe to keep.
  • Always look at the ingredients: Over time, you’ll discover some great clean makeup brands that you love, but you should never assume that every product is 100% clean and non-toxic. Make sure to check the ingredients of each product that you buy to ensure it has only the ingredients you’re comfortable using. No one’s perfect! Also, always avoid products that include ingredients like “fragrance” or “synthetic fragrance.” Legal loopholes make it possible for companies to avoid disclosing the ingredients that makeup their fragrances, so there is no way to know for sure that they are non-toxic. Skip any product that includes them!
  • Start small: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and clean makeup can look and feel a bit different on your skin than traditional brands – after all, the ingredients are vastly different! If you’re apprehensive about completely overhauling your entire routine at once (trust us, we get it), start by working on finding just one clean makeup product you use the most frequently, like a mascara or lipstick, and expand from there. In time, you’ll get a feel for how different products work on your skin and which brands you consistently love. Before you know it, you’ll have switched out your entire makeup bag!