If you’re like me, you’ve probably been on the hunt for sustainable alternatives in every part of your life. Arguably at the top of the list, natural organic makeup is a must since we apply it right on our faces. What proved to be a challenge for a while there is becoming more and more accessible. We can even find affordable natural organic makeup options that won’t break the bank.
I’ll be spotlighting some of the best affordable natural organic makeup brands; perfect for anyone looking to remove the harmful ingredients commonly found in conventional beauty products from their beauty routine.
But first, let’s get into why it's so important to choose natural organic makeup, and what to look out for when purchasing safer, more ethical makeup in general.
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Why is choosing affordable natural organic makeup important?
With a history rooted in white lead and vinegar solutions, it’s no wonder so much of conventional makeup still contains harmful ingredients that should be avoided wherever possible.
Staples like foundation contain harsh and even toxic chemical compounds like parabens, BHA and BHT, ethanolamines, sodium Laureth sulfate, retinol, lead, and heavy metals, which are all linked to adverse health effects.
Generally speaking, the limited laws governing cosmetics and personal care products make the use of cancer-causing chemicals perfectly legal.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics recommends reading the label and avoiding products containing: Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (quaternium-15, Diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3 idol), Phenacetin, Coal tar, Benzene, Untreated or mildly treated mineral oils, Ethylene oxide, Chromium, Cadmium, and its compounds, Arsenic and Crystalline silica (or quartz).
Some ingredients like mica, used in everything from lipstick to highlighters for shimmer, are also linked to adverse health effects in cosmetic manufacturing workers, and to unethical labor practices like child labor.
With that said, do not despair. We are here to explore alternatives and there are now lots of brands that are committed to providing safer and more ethical makeup products; including everything from vegan concealer and natural eyeshadow, to vegan makeup brushes and zero waste sunscreen.
Just be sure to look out for greenwashing and to go with brands who are really doing the work. To help with that, let’s jump right into the next section for what to look out for when choosing affordable natural organic makeup.
What to look for when choosing affordable natural organic makeup?
When looking for affordable natural organic makeup products, we use the same criteria we would select any clean beauty product:
1. Is it local?
Here we consider where the product is coming from and the distances it is traveling to get to us. By favoring local products we reduce the carbon footprint associated with their distribution. It is also best to opt for products made with ingredients that are sourced locally, with similar carbon emissions reduction benefits since ingredients tend to come from far and wide.
2. Is it made of natural ingredients?
One of the central elements to look out for, here we consider what the product is made of. We favour natural ingredients that do not pose any known threat to our health; making sure to avoid the harmful or carcinogenic ingredients commonly found in these products.
3. Is it certified organic?
Wherever possible, choosing certified organic ingredients is a great way of making sure the ingredients in our chosen products are produced as safely as possible, without any harmful additives like pesticides or insecticides. For that, check the ingredients listing for certified organic ingredients. Some brands are also certified organic.
4. Is it vegan?
We also consider whether products are vegan, that is entirely plant-based and containing no ingredients derived from animals or insects whatsoever.
5. Is it cruelty-free?
We make sure to dodge brands that test on animals to avoid any animal cruelty alongside our favorite products.
6. Is it Palm oil-free?
Palm oil can be found in a lot of beauty products. Since it is mostly produced unsustainably and a direct cause of deforestation in many of the communities where it is grown, we look to avoid it wherever possible as well.
7. Are ingredients sustainably sourced?
Here we look for ethical practices at every step of the manufacturing process; making sure that ingredients are sourced and assembled ethically, by people who are treated well and paid fair wages.
8. Does the company use environmentally-conscious packaging?
9. Is it inclusive?
Inclusivity refers to the range of products offered and for whom. We look for brands that cater to as many people as possible, an essential part of creating a more sustainable future.
Our Top recomendations for affordable natural organic makeup
Now that you know what to look for, here are our top picks for the most affordable natural organic makeup brands. Some of these brands do use plastic to package their products so keep an eye out for that if it is a deal-breaker.
Elate Cosmetics is a vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand bringing us ethically made and sustainable cosmetics that care for our skin and for our planet.
A Certified B Corporation, all of their products are made in Manitoba, Canada, using only ingredients sourced from suppliers who use fair-trade practices.
75% of the ingredients used in their products are organic but they always favour fair-trade over organic where they cannot have both, to make sure that every person involved in their supply chain is treated ethically and fairly.
They also ensure that ingredient listings are always complete, with no hidden additives.
In terms of packaging, more than 75% of their products are waste-free, and every piece of packaging they use is either recyclable, reusable, or even plantable; with a goal of becoming the first waste-free cosmetic company.
Elate is also committed to celebrating diversity, and works to empower everyone to use the best possible products for their daily ritual, no matter their gender identity, age, ethnicity, or body type.
Be sure to check out their Perfectly Imperfect program as well, where bamboo palettes and compacts, and a selection of other slightly less-than-perfect products are available for purchase at a discounted price, rather than being discarded.
2. Alima Pure
A woman-founded and run company, Alima Pure is a natural cosmetics brand from Portland, Oregon. Made using only clean, and non-toxic ingredients, their products are designed with diversity in mind, bringing luxurious, high-performance makeup for all.
At Alima Pure, you will find everything from an extensive range of foundation shades, and bronzers, to lipstick, eyeshadow and makeup accessories.
All of their products are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, dimethicone, petroleum, talc, bismuth oxychloride, and nanoparticles, with no animal testing. Some of their products do contain beeswax like their Natural Definition Mascara and their Cream Concealer so be sure to look out for that if it is a concern.
To help reduce the impact associated with the plastics used in their products, they offer refillable compacts that can easily be replenished when they run out. This includes their foundation, cream concealer, pressed eyeshadow, cream highlighter, or cream blush.
Alima Pure is also a Certified B Corporation and a member of 1% for the Planet where members donate 1% of their annual gross revenue to grassroots environmental organizations dedicated to protecting our planet.
Since 2008, they’ve been offsetting 100% of their corporate carbon emissions through Carbon Fund. They also participate in a Green Source Renewable Power Program, which derives power from 100% renewable sources including Solar, Wind, Biomass, Hydro, and Geothermal.
3. Dab Herb
Also featured as one of our favorites for organic and natural foundation, Dab Herb takes a holistic approach to skincare, and makeup, using only the best food-grade, cruelty-free, certified organic, and vegan ingredients available.
Crafted using high-performance essential oil infusions to promote healing and radiance from within, all of their products are handmade with quality and purity in mind.
The brand also strives to create a community where sustainable beauty and living can flourish, making sure to offer products for people of all ages, all skin types, and all skin tones.
All of their products are 100% vegan and packaged in either glass or metal containers that can be refilled, with the exception of their eye shadows and powder eyeliner. A great option for affordable organic non-toxic makeup.
Also featured as one of our favorites for zero waste makeup, River Organics offers a hydrating makeup line of sustainable and organic lip balms, highlighters, bronzers, concealers, and blushes, all packaged in recycled kraft paper.
Constantly working to use less in everything they do, River Organics also makes sure to use low waste shipping practices that help to reduce their ecological footprint and ours.
They opt for 100% recycled Padded Mailers made of recovered newspaper, all-natural, unbleached, compostable, and biodegradable labels, and business cards made out of recycled kraft paper.
A great option for affordable natural makeup, they also offer 'Imperfects' for a discounted rate on lip balms, blushes, and highlighters that have tiny imperfections but are still full-size, new, and ready to use.
When checking out make sure to look out for the Carbon Checkout donation option as well, where your donation will go toward purchasing carbon offsets which will be matched dollar for dollar by River Organics. A portion of your purchases will also go toward environmental restoration efforts.
6. W3ll People
This cruelty-free, plant-powered, and award-winning clean beauty brand has been bringing us dermatologist-developed makeup and skincare since before it was cool.
Using only the cleanest, ethically sourced, and renewable botanicals like green tea, turmeric, pomegranate, rosehip, and broccoli seed oil, W3ll People offers one of the best and most affordable natural makeup lines.
With that, over 35 of their products are verified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), certifying that they are non-toxic and that the brand remains fully transparent.
With the goal of becoming 100% Vegan, they are still working to remove organic beeswax, pearl powder, and carmines from their formulas. However, you can be sure that none of their products contain any synthetic fillers, sulfates, preservatives, or fragrances.
To reduce their impact, W3ll People also uses FSC-Certified paper to print their boxes and is dedicated to working with Fair Trade facilities to ethically source all of their ingredients.
Founded by a Bay Area native and expectant mother on the hunt for safer makeup options, HAN offers a universally appealing line of safe, non-toxic cosmetics. Using safer ingredients with skincare quality, they’ve made it their mission to get safer cosmetics into the hands of more people at reasonable prices.
Formulated with nourishing body butter, moisturizing oils, antioxidants from superfruits and green tea, vegetable, and plant pigments, and pure minerals, their selection includes eyeshadows, blushes, lip gloss, concealer, bronzer, and more; making them a great option for affordable natural makeup products.
Their products are also PETA approved and Leaping Bunny Certified.
To help divert millions of pounds of waste from landfills and incinerators, HAN has teamed up with TerraCycle to offer a recycling program for their products. Simply collect a minimum of 5 empty, full-size HAN cosmetic containers, and send them back to them for recycling. They will be shipped to TerraCycle, sorted, melted down, and turned into small pellets that can be molded and repurposed into new products.
HAN also partners with a local Bay Area organization called Compass Family Services, which works to address the growing family homelessness crisis in San Francisco. In partnership with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP), a policy and advocacy nonprofit working to prevent breast cancer by reducing exposure to toxic chemicals, Han advocates for greater cosmetics regulation of toxic chemicals as well.
Founded by Rachel Budde, Fat and the Moon brings you herbalist formulated, handcrafted, herbal body care products using only nourishing ingredients, and reusable, conscious packaging; hold the toxic messaging.
What’s more, their formulations are made with plants that are abundant, ethically harvested, and organically cultivated. While they are cruelty-free, some of their products do contain animal-derived ingredients.
The continuation of a family legacy of herbalists and natural healers, Fat and the Moon’s handmade-to-order adornments includes lip paint, eye coal, stains, highlighters, an adornment set, and a color therapy set for a little bit of healing magic to your makeup routine.
They also partner with forward-thinking entities like The Nap Ministry, 4KINSHIP, Black Transwomen Inc, and The Okra Project.
Definitely check them out for affordable natural makeup, and other body care products as well.
9. 100% Pure
100% PURE is committed to providing the purest, healthiest, certified cruelty-free, and natural makeup and skincare products. Their Fruit Pigmented Makeup collection features all the essentials, formulated according to strict purity standards, without any harsh or toxic ingredients.
All of their pigments come from fruit, vegetables, tea, and cocoa rather than the commonly used FD&C colorants or heavy metal dyes.
Most of their products are vegan however some still contain ingredients, like milk enzymes, beeswax, or honey, as the brand works to become fully vegan.
With a core mission rooted in improving the lives of humans and animals across the planet, 100% PURE™ also partners with inspiring and innovative charities like Trees for the Future and dog shelters. Through these partnerships, they make a donation with every order placed, leaving us the option to choose where the donation from our order will go at check out.
A final word on affordable natural organic makeup
After browsing these brands we hope that you’ll find there is no need to sacrifice your health or your values for great makeup. Whether you’re looking for affordable organic makeup or simply to transition to cleaner options, there is sure to be something for you.
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