Many toxic ingredients lurk in American cosmetic products, even years after Europe and other countries banned them. In fact, the EU has banned over 1,000 substances from use in cosmetics while the FDA has only banned a handful of these toxic chemicals.
Unfortunately, this means a lot of the legwork is up to you as the consumer to decide which products are best for you and your family, and you may find that some organic and non-toxic makeup products come at a much higher price than your favorite drugstore brands.
To help you navigate the world of toxic-free and organic beauty, we did a little research for you to find the best affordable non-toxic makeup on the market. Check out our top picks below to get started!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.
Ingredients to Avoid
Which items on the label should be a red flag for conscientious consumers? In general, avoiding any ingredient with a name you don’t know or can’t pronounce will be a helpful way to avoid many of the toxic chemicals that could be harmful. In addition, many of the culprits are obvious things you wouldn’t want to put on your face. Some of these yucky ingredients include:
Brands use formaldehyde in some cosmetics like false eyelashes and some nail care products.
In addition to looking for the word “formaldehyde” on the label, other ingredients such as Quaternium-15 (used commonly in face powders) are known to release formaldehyde.
Allergic reactions such as skin rashes are fairly common with the use of formaldehyde and many people are sensitive to this ingredient. Formaldehyde has been linked to respiratory harm and even cancer – which is probably why it’s banned in many countries!
Another common preservative you might see on your label is a chemical name ending with “-paraben” (i.e. methylparaben, isopropylparaben, etc.).
Parabens are widely talked about when discussing non-toxic alternatives because they’re in so many different consumer products. When it comes to makeup, parabens are most commonly found in foundations, mascara, and make-up remover. (Think anything with a creamy texture.)
Many companies use the term “paraben-free” as a selling point as more and more people have become aware of the dangers of this ingredient. Some of these risks include a reduction in fertility and harm to the reproductive system due to parabens’ tendency to mimic estrogen in the human body.
Along with parabens, phthalates are found in many different types of products from household cleaners to makeup. In the beauty world, they are most commonly used in colored or scented cosmetic products and nail polish. Phthalates are used in many beauty products as a binding agent or solvent.
Diethylphthalate (DEP) is the most commonly used form of phthalates in cosmetics.
They’re banned across the EU for use in cosmetics, but they’re allowed in American products.
Health concerns include links to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive harm, increased risk of cancer, organ toxicity, and bioaccumulation. Phthalates are easily absorbed through your skin, making their use in cosmetics especially harmful.
Artificial Dyes & Colors
You can find these colors in products like blush, eye shadow, lipstick, and other makeup products.
Most of the time, artificial colors and dyes used in cosmetics are made from petroleum by-products or coal tar and can be contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic and lead.
Avoid colors such as Yellow #6, Red #40, and Green #3 when shopping for cosmetics.
On the lower end of the risk scale, these colors have been linked to allergies, eye irritation, and skin rashes… But they are also linked to cancer! Just avoid artificial colors if you can and look for products from brands who are committed to using natural ways to add color (like turmeric powder or beet root powder).
Mica is a mineral additive that is used to add color and shimmer to many cosmetic products such as eye shadow, bronzer and mascara.
While mica itself is natural and has a minimal health risk when used in cosmetics, artificial colors are often added – making it more harmful.
In addition, mica carries a risk to those further up the supply chain. Workers at cosmetic manufacturing facilities are at high risk of lung damage through the inhalation of mica. Worse still, mica has been found to come from some sources globally that use child labor and slave labor.
To stay on the safe side and help ensure others aren’t harmed during the mining or manufacturing of your face products, avoid mica whenever possible.
Talc is used in many cosmetic products that are formulated for oily skin such as face powders and dry shampoo. It can also be found in mascara, eye shadow, lipstick, eyeliner, blush and foundation.
Unfortunately, these grease-fighting properties can also come with exposure to asbestos and increased risk of lung damage. Because of these risks, the EU allows the use of talc in cosmetic products only if it has been properly tested, and other countries such as the Philippines have warned against their use.
In America, the FDA is currently still analyzing the use of talc and has warned against the use of certain products which have tested positive for asbestos. Yikes!
Affordable Non-Toxic Makeup Brands
We’re breaking things down by price point, but keep in mind that not ALL of the products from a certain brand are going to be under the dollar amount listed below.
Obviously, the cost of your order will be determined by what specific makeup products you’re buying, but the price categories listed below are a good indication of how much each brand’s products might cost in general.
Products Under $15
You’ve most likely heard of (and probably even used) Burt’s Bees products in the past. Burt’s Bees’ line of cosmetic products is affordable and widely available at many stores from Target to Amazon.
Burt’s Bees products are made with natural ingredients, including beeswax and honey, and are all free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and petrolatum.
We caution against using all of their products without a look at the ingredients list though. Steer clear of any of the ingredients that we list below (click here to head straight to the list of ingredients to avoid).A fan favorite is their line of lip colors which includes tinted lip balms and liquid lipstick.
Pacifica creates cosmetics, hair care products, perfume, and bath products that are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
They have a full line of vegan makeup products from bronzer to foundation and even liner and mascara. The Pacifica website breaks down each product by color, so it’s easy to find what you need.
The popular Pacifica Alight Clean Foundation is available in 30 different shades and is free of toxic ingredients like parabens, talc, and petroleum.
Best of all, you can find the brand at many major stores like Target – and their products won’t break the bank.
This brand of cosmetics is EWG VERIFIED™ and committed to ethical and sustainable business practices.
Rejuva Minerals’ products are also certified with the MADE SAFE® seal.
With a full line of items for the face, eyes, and lips – you’re sure to find a new favorite cosmetic product you like. The popular mica-free Tinted Moisturizer in particular gives you a great bang for your buck.
Root has a complete line of beauty products including makeup, skincare, haircare, bath & body, and essential oils. The brand strives to use natural and organic ingredients in all of their products.
Their website offers many products in bulk or in eco-friendly refills, which can save you even more money in the long run. Much of the packaging can even be accepted back by the company to be re-used!
Root offers a Pretty Point Rewards program as well as monthly or quarterly subscription boxes. Give their amazing eyeshadow (which comes in dozens of colors) a try and you’ll be hooked.
*NOTE: Root uses mica in some of their products, which can often be problematic for a number of reasons (read more about mica in makeup). We have reached out to them to see where they source their mica, and we’ll update this post with their response.
I received a response from Root’s Director of Customer Services. Here is what she said: “We can’t release our exact supplier info (due to proprietary info) but We proudly source our mica only from suppliers who are able to provide us with fair trade certificates & our products are always Fair Trade. We do not support the use of child labor in mica mining.”
These gorgeous cosmetic products are certified vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and organic.
To save you money, Honeybee Gardens offers discounted sample sizes, affordable gift sets, and a Honeybee VIBee Discount Club. They even offer a seasonal beauty box (no subscription required) known as Honeybee’s Buzz Box.
Available at drugstores and other large retailers nationwide, Physicians Formula is somewhat of an entry-level brand to the natural beauty world.
The brand has been around for decades and is committed to developing hypoallergenic makeup and skincare products.
That being said, not all of their products are formulated with 100% non-toxic ingredients, and they are sometimes a bit greenwashed. Be sure to check the labels before purchasing or give them a quick search on the EWG’s Skin Deep database.
This brand is known for their gentle facial skincare products, but they have branched out into some cosmetics including Highlighter for a natural glow and a Tinted Moisture Stick that’s perfect for both cheek and lip color.
Cocokind products have earned the new Target clean beauty seal, and they’re certified organic!
Their products are affordable, natural, and kind to your skin.
Most of Milani’s products rank as a 1 or 2 (lower is better) on the EWG database, and many of their products are vegan. In addition, Milani is certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.
Their most popular products include their famous baked blushes and bronzers, but they also have some great lipsticks and eyeshadow palettes.Milani’s wildly popular Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer sells for under $10 (!) and has earned rave reviews from thousands of customers on Amazon. They’re one of our favorite non-toxic makeup brands at Target and can also be found at stores like Amazon or Ulta Beauty.
Cult-favorite PYT Beauty has quickly made a name for itself in the clean beauty world.
The brand is committed to following EU ingredient standards and creating “beauty without the BS (bad stuff)”.
In addition to being non-toxic, their aim is to create products that are affordable and high-performance, making them a favorite of many conscientious makeup artists. Give their budget-friendly Day-To-Night Eyeshadow Palettes or Plumping Lip Gloss a try!
Products Under $25
Clove and Hallow is one of our favorite beauty brands creating high-quality, non-toxic makeup. The products are a bit higher priced than Burt’s Bees and Pacifica, but they’re still very affordable.
Founded by a professional makeup artist, the brand is vegan and has a “clean15” philosophy — they use 15 safe ingredients or less in each of their products, and they have banned over 1,500 toxic ingredients from their formulas, including parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance and flavor, talc, PEG-s, formaldehyde-donors, and more.
This clean beauty brand is beloved by many who care about ethical and cruelty-free business practices as well as non-toxic ingredients. Ecco Bella is particularly known for its plant-based vegan FlowerColor Mascara.
Most products are around the $20 mark and can be found on Amazon and other online marketplaces.
When you’re looking for affordable natural makeup, W3LL People’s products are sure to be on nearly every list. Not only are they non-toxic and formulated to last, but they are also award-winning!
The Optimist Lipstick was featured on Allure’s Best of Beauty list. Their products help prove that non-toxic makeup doesn’t need to be over-priced or under-performing. We also love their multi-action concealer.
Kosas’ products are well-known in the natural beauty world for their colorful contributions to the market for eyes, lips, and cheeks.
The brand uses ingredients that also have great skincare benefits, like shea butter and essential oils.
Shoppers particularly enjoy the Plumping Lip Oils, which you can buy in a set of 3 mini-bottles.
Harvest Natural Beauty products are sustainable, cruelty-free, certified organic, vegan, and gluten-free.
Most products hover around the $20 mark, and the brand is gaining popularity with shoppers on Amazon.
In particular, the Organic Cheek Tint has rave reviews because it’s so easy to apply. Plus, the formula is smooth and organic, with just a hint of natural beautiful color.
All products by Mineral Fusion are EWG VERIFIED™ and cruelty-free. Plus they are made in the USA. Many beauty staples can be found for under $15 at Target and Amazon.
In fact, the crowd-favorite Sheer Moisture Lip Tint comes in at just $9.99 at the time of this post. Their signature Liquid Mineral Foundation and Pressed Powder Foundation are also extremely popular and well worth the splurge!
The peace of mind of owning some of the cleanest products on the market is priceless, and the Mineral Fusion Loyalty Program offers further savings.
We’ve been buying this brand of makeup at natural stores (like Whole Foods) for years… but now you can find it on Amazon and the clean beauty shelves of Target!
Gabriel Cosmetics is a 100% vegan and cruelty-free company that uses only non-toxic, eco-friendly ingredients in their products.
Any product you need for your face will cost around $15 to $20, and all of them are great choices for people looking for clean makeup.
They are most known for their vegan and cruelty-free foundations, but the brand also carries a full line of non-toxic eye, lip, and face products.
Another Whole Foods beauty aisle favorite is ZuZu Luxe. (In fact, Gabriel Cosmetics Inc. is their parent company.)
All of the products in their line are vegan, gluten-free, non-toxic, and made without parabens, sulfates, or other harsh chemicals.
Their foundations can be a bit pricey for shoppers on a budget, but their eye and lip products like the Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner are extremely affordable and loved by many.
Honest Beauty (run by Jessica Alba) is the same company that has brought you those adorable non-toxic diapers and baby care products for many years.
As you may have guessed, their makeup line is also free of harsh chemicals and toxins.
The best part? Almost all of their products are under $30! You can snag a few cult-favorite items like the Extreme Length Mascara (on our list of the best natural mascaras) and the Organic Lip Gloss Trio for just $25.
For non-toxic beauty staples under $20, many natural-minded makeup lovers swear by Lily Lolo. This British brand is free of any parabens, synthetic perfumes, or dyes, and you can be sure they conform to EU ingredient standards too.
Give the Pressed Mineral Blush a try to see why Lily Lolo is beloved by many.
Products Under $35
Dedicated to sustainable packaging and other ethical business practices, ILIA Beauty offers a full line of face, lip, and eye cosmetic products as well as a popular set of makeup brushes.
ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara is a favorite of many clean beauty lovers and those with sensitive skin. ILIA can be found online and at Ulta stores nationwide.
Alima Pure is a high-quality, sustainable, and vegan line of cosmetics. What’s not to love?
All products are gluten-free, talc-free, oil-free, non-comedogenic, and ophthalmologist tested. Additionally, they’re formulated without any synthetic fragrances or dyes, and they’re made with natural ingredients like jojoba oil, rosehip oil, orchid powder, and aloe vera juice.
Their loose mineral foundation is popular among those who want a clean alternative to mainstream brands like bareMinerals or IT Cosmetics
*Pro tip: Be sure to mix it with their liquid foundation for an even easier application that will give you more coverage.
This company’s products are free of harmful chemicals and they’re 100% vegan and cruelty-free and made with organic ingredients whenever possible.
They also make sure their ingredients are fair trade and safe for the environment.
Try their popular pressed blush, or their newly reformulated lipstick in a range of fun colors.
This brand is a little more expensive than some of the others on this list, but their products are worth the price.
They’re organic, vegan, non-toxic, and made without any harsh chemicals or synthetic ingredients.
100% Pure offers a wide range of makeup items like shadows, liners, and blushes.
Some of our favorite products include their rose tinted lip balm and their mascara (the All-Natural Curl Defining Mascara is just $22!). They also carry makeup remover wipes that are non-toxic and hypoallergenic.
This brand is deeply-committed to avoiding toxic ingredients in their products, and they also formulate their products with ingredients that are beneficial to your skin.
RMS’s products are formulated with raw, food-grade, organic ingredients that have been processed with minimal heat.
For this reason, some products are on the higher end of the price scale, but you can find some favorites like the Tinted Daily Lip Balm and Pressed Blush for under $20. The RMS Rewards program can help make products more affordable with discounts and points that you can redeem for free products.
The brands listed below are a bit more expensive, but their products are top-of-the-line and some of the best in the business. If you’re looking to splurge on a few high-end non-toxic makeup products, these are the brands to check out!
Founded in response to the cosmetic industry’s lack of regulation in the United States, Vapour offers consumers an alternative to toxic beauty products and also keeps the environment in mind.
Vapour offers subscription services, sample-sized products, and a robust rewards program.
You can purchase most of their beauty basics (like the popular Mesmerize Mascara) for under $40 – a bit higher than other clean beauty brands on this list but well worth the splurge!
This line of skincare and makeup is organic, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and made without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, or artificial colors. They’re one of the select few affordable non-toxic makeup brands that are MADE Safe certified too.
The brand also supports fair trade initiatives and female-owned businesses.
Annmarie offers a wide range of products, from skincare to foundations and everything in between. We love their mineral blush and their conditioning mascara.
Where to Find Affordable Non-Toxic Makeup
There are many brands that sell affordable, high-quality non-toxic makeup for your budget. With the growing popularity of clean beauty (and bargain hunters like myself), it’s now easier than ever to find great products without breaking the bank!
The best place to see what’s available is on sites like The Detox Market or Credo Beauty, but mainstream stores like Target and Ulta have started carrying a good amount of budget-friendly natural makeup too.
And if you have a Thrive Market subscription, you can get even deeper discounts on some of your favorite non-toxic makeup brands.
Just be sure to do your due diligence and check for any hidden ingredients via the EWG Skin Deep database.
Drugstore Organic Makeup
If you’re looking for organic makeup that won’t break the bank, drugstores like Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid often have some great options. Brands like Milani, Burt’s Bees, and Physician’s Formula are all affordable and offer a variety of natural makeup products.
Just be sure to double-check the ingredients list to make sure there are no harmful chemicals lurking in your products.
We have an entire post about some of the best affordable makeup products that you can find at Target. Some standout brands include Milani, Honest Beauty, and Burt’s Bees.
We hope this guide has helped you become your own detective when it comes to your cosmetic products! Shopping from the brands on the safe list above and avoiding the chemicals on the naughty list should help you be a smart consumer and keep your body safe. In addition, you can check any product or ingredient you are curious about on the EWG Skin Deep database here. Happy shopping!