Feeling overwhelmed when it comes to finding more sustainable makeup products like natural eyeliner is perfectly understandable. We have to learn about what ingredients are actually safe or not so safe. What works best if we are going plastic-free or trying to create zero waste bathroom.
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And if you lead a super busy life with little time to vet every single item you reach for, what do you do then? Even if you do have time, greenwashing is a major issue that makes the task of finding more sustainable, non-toxic products that much more difficult and even a little discouraging at times.
Fortunately, there are brands out there offering better products all around. From the ingredients to the packaging, all the way down to production methods and corporate responsibility. Many brands are taking the time to make more ethically sourced products that are safer for our bodies and for the planet. There are even blue beauty brands working hard to reduce our impact on the oceans.
We’ve found some of the best brands for natural makeup removers, reusable cotton pads, and highly sought-after makeup essentials like organic natural foundation! And it’s no different here so come along for some of the best in natural organic eyeliner.
Why consider switching to natural and organic eyeliner?
The cosmetics industry is notoriously under-regulated in the US which means it's pretty much a free for all at this point. Judging by the products on the shelves and the ingredients in them that is.
From carcinogens and endocrine disruptors to irritants and allergens, when it comes to makeup here are some of the big ones to look out for: arsenic, benzene, cadmium, chromium, coal tar, crystalline silica (also known as quartz), ethylene oxide, formaldehyde, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, phenacetin, phenacetin, and untreated or mildly treated mineral oils.
We can still find many of these ingredients in a lot of cosmetics, where some countries have outright banned them and/or regulate them heavily.
We recommend getting familiar with this list and trying your best to avoid these ingredients wherever possible. It’s not about perfection but about making small improvements as we transition to more clean beauty products.
How we pick the best natural eyeliner
It considers where the products come from and how they are sourced. Products that are made nearest us are the best. Locally sourced, natural, and/or organic ingredients are also best.
For things like palm oil and mica which are at the center of some serious ethical concerns when it comes to sourcing, we try to steer clear of them. If these ingredients are present we look for reputable certifications that can vouch for their origins.
Animal-derived ingredients are also accounted for so we’ve got your back if you’re vegan. And many brands are cruelty-free so it’s a lot easier to find products that are not tested on animals.
Both our oceans and our landfills are filling up with trash at an astonishing rate, and choosing thoughtfully packaged products is one of our first lines of defense. Since plastic is simply everywhere we really just try our best to find products that use packaging that can either be composted, easily recycled, or at the very least reused or repurposed. Brands that offer their own take-back or recycling programs are arguably the real MVPs though carbon emissions from shipping should also be considered (or offset).
Inclusivity in terms of skin tone and access is super crucial when it comes to sustainability so we also make it a point to look for brands that can serve a wide range of people all around.
Natural eyeliner brands we love
One of our favorites for all things affordable natural makeup, at Elate you’ll find zero waste mascara and a great selection of sustainable eyeliner, among other goodies. There are two eyeliners to choose from, black and medium bronze which is gorgeous and will add a real pop of color to your eyes!
All of Elate's eye products are specially formulated for sensitive eyes and pigmented using only naturally-occurring, moisture-resisting minerals. Thoughtful packaging is also at the core of everything they do over at Elate.
Their Liquid Eyeliner is vegan, cruelty-free, and sweat and water-resistant (not waterproof). Packaged in a recyclable plastic inner tube encased in bamboo, the bamboo-part can be removed, crushed, and composted. The rest can be thoroughly washed and recycled using household recycling programs. Definitely a great option for natural liquid eyeliner.
Their Eyeline Pencil is vegan, cruelty-free, and produces minimal carbon from production through to disposal. It is a great option for natural pencil eyeliner and is made of a PEFC certified California cedarwood along with a corn-derived lid that can be industrially composted. The colored end-cap which is made of Urethane Acrylate and nitrocellulose is not biodegradable and must be sent to a landfill. However, the product is entirely carbon neutral.
Both products offer really clean lines and excellent color saturation and are very easy to use with the soft tip allowing for precise accuracy.
Clean-Faced Cosmetics offers an all-natural eyeliner made from just two ingredients: activated charcoal and castor oil. A vegan and cruelty-free option, it is a liquid liner. A clear glass vial is perfect for a zero-waste makeup kit for packaging.
To apply, you have the option of using the bamboo applicator the product comes with but the tip of the applicator is plastic and must be snipped off before composting.
Though it may require a little practice and the right technique—many really love this product based on its reviews. Just apply your powder first, follow with the liner, and then set with a little bit more powder over the top.
As a brand, Clean-Faced Cosmetics prides itself on avoiding fear-mongering and on asking some better questions instead: "Does this product contain [insert allergen here]?" "Is this product ethically sourced, and do you have documentation of that?" "May I see the MSDS for [insert material here]?"
The brand is also almost completely zero waste and plastic-free, and many of its products have been reformulated to be plant-based, with mica-free options as well. Among their nontoxic selection of products, you will also find organic lipstick.
Founded by Rachel Budde, Fat and The Moon draws from age-old herbal remedies to create high-quality products using thoughtfully sourced and organically cultivated plant-powered ingredients.
Fat and The Moon’s Black Mineral Eye Coal is a great option for nontoxic eyeliner and perfect for achieving that smokey eye look with ease. It is free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates, and can be used either as eyeliner or as a natural eyeshadow.
For packaging, a plastic-free recyclable tin is shipped using recyclable materials made from recycled content. This product is not vegan but it is cruelty-free and handmade in Grass Valley, California.
To use it, we recommend starting by applying a little bit of cosmetic clay or face powder to the eyelid starting from the base of the lashes. This helps keep the liner in place, looking sharper for longer. If you are trying to create a smokey eye, “apply [the liner] with a squeaky clean finger on the waterline of your bottom eyelid then close your eyes together hard to get the coal on the top inner lid and smudge the way you like”.
4. Juice Beauty
At Juice Beauty you will find a Phyto-Pigments Precision Eye Pencil made using a vegan, cruelty-free, antioxidant-rich formula that brings color using plant-derived pigments.
Though the pencil itself is not made from zero-waste packaging, the product is made from lots of natural and organic ingredients, making it a great option for some of the best organic eyeliner.
For an intense black liquid liner that works on all skin tones, consider their Liquid Line & Define product made with absolutely no synthetic dyes, petroleum by-products, parabens, propylene or butylene glycols, silicones, talc, carbon black, phthalates, sulfates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, GMOs, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances.
Founded by Karen Behnke, a serial wellness entrepreneur with a lifelong passion for environmentalism, wellness, and skincare, most of the ingredients used in their products come from local West Coast USDA Certified Organic farms—and many of the products are manufactured at solar-powered facilities.
5. 100% PURE
100% PURE’s selection of fruit-pigmented makeup includes some of the best natural eyeliner. It is vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free.
Their Long Lasting Liquid Eyeliner is gentle enough for sensitive eyes, and made in the USA, using pigments from black tea leaves.
They also offer a Creamy Long Last Liner pencil which is designed for easy application and can be used to create that smokey eye effect. Made in the Czech Republic, it features ingredients like jojoba, chamomile butter, and mango seed oil, bringing moisture and nourishment to the skin.
100% PURE is generally committed to offering healthy, cruelty-free products including everything from makeup to haircare and skincare products. Lots of it is made in America, as they continue to work toward an entirely vegan line of products.
6. Au Naturale
Au Naturale’s Swipe-On Essential Eye Pencil is vegan and cruelty-free. You will not find any synthetic preservatives, nano particles, gluten, parabens, fillers, or toxins here either. It is made in the USA using 100% natural ingredients including COSMOS certified palm oil and ECOCERT pigments for lasting color coverage.
Their soft-tip formulation is also made using many USDA-certified organic ingredients and offers easy, glide-on application without needing to pull or tug at the skin—though we are unclear on what materials are used for packaging.
However, the brand is very conscious about how all of the ingredients used in their products are sourced, including mica which may be found in their eyeliner. They ensure that the mica used is child labor free and that it is mined, processed, and distributed sustainably. Plus, all of their products are PETA certified cruelty free and vegan.
How to apply natural eyeliner
If you want to learn about how to apply natural eyeliner, it will all depend on what kind of eyeliner you choose. Both of the zero waste options in this list recommend applying some sort of face powder first, then the liner, then more powder.
However, this may not be the case for all of the liners in this article. Thankfully, many of the brands featured offer tips right on the product page so keep an eye out for that. And where all else fails there is no shortage of makeup aficionados offering their expertise over on Youtube. Try not to get lost in there!
A final word on eco-friendly eyeliner
Whether you are looking for liquid liners, pencil liners, or zero waste eyeliner options, there are many brands working to create better products for everyone. Choosing the best natural organic eyeliner will ultimately come down to your personal needs though but we hope this list has shown that there are better options out there–made from better ingredients (and sometimes better packaging) that work well, and are safer for you, the people who make them, and for the planet.