Today, we’re going to talk about the best non-toxic skincare brands that I’ve used and loved. First, let’s talk about why we even need to have this discussion. What’s the big deal with skincare products, toxins, and the non-toxic skincare movement?

non-toxic skincare brands

The European Union bans nearly 1,400 chemicals from personal care products because they are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to reproduction.

But in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration entrusts safety regulation of cosmetics to a private entity that is housed and funded by the industry’s trade association. To date, this entity has found only 11 chemicals to be unsafe for use in cosmetics. The FDA has no oversight of cosmetic products before they come on the market and, unlike the EU, leaves it to the cosmetics industry to determine which ingredients should be banned. Source: Washington Monthly Magazine

Well, that’s alarming.

There are 80,000 chemicals on the market today, but many of these chemicals don’t have any safety data to back them up. This is particularly an issue in the skincare, beauty, and cleaning industry.

When you take a deep dive into researching these products and ingredients, it can be concerning to read about the impact they have on the body.

non-toxic skincare brands

For example, “fragrance” is considered a trade secret that is commonly found on the ingredient list of products.

Most of us are fooled into believing (thanks to marketing and imagery) that the rose fragrance found in our favorite facial cream is derived from roses grown on a picturesque farm in France. But that’s not the case…

This ingredient can be made with hundreds of different chemicals, including phthalates which are believed to disrupt hormones, cause reproductive health issues, be carcinogenic, and may be linked to asthma.

non-toxic skincare brands

Since fragrance is a “trade secret,”companies are not required to list the ingredients used to make their formulations. (See an example here.)

Fragrance is just one example of the questionable ingredients used to make skincare and beauty products. The very products marketed to us as “safe.”

How to Make The Switch to Non-Toxic and Natural Skincare Products

Now that we’ve talked about the sneaky side of the beauty/body industry, let’s focus our attention on changes we can make.

While it would be great to see change in the regulation of beauty products, and we can certainly advocate for such changes, that change isn’t here just yet.

So let’s focus on the steps we can take right now that make a direct impact on the products we use on our skin and in our home.

Here's what we can do -->

make healthy swaps and vote with our dollar

non-toxic skincare makeup

There are two ways to go about this…

✅ Make your own products (there are many recipes here on the blog and even more in my body book)

✅ Buy products from transparent companies doing things differently (or as they should be doing)

What You Need to Know About the Natural Beauty Industry

First, cost…

The prices on most non-toxic skincare brands and products that are made with safe-for-you-ingredients aren’t going to be the cheapest. The do-it-yourself route can be more affordable, but DIYing isn’t an option for everything, particularly when talking about hair products or SPF face products.

non-toxic skincare brands

Second, the term “clean beauty” or “non-toxic skincare” has zero regulation behind it…

Just about any company can claim to be “clean” or “green” or “natural.”

It’s up to us, as consumers...

to do our homework and not just take shiny marketing words at face value.

The EWG and Think Dirty can be helpful resources when looking at specific products and ingredients. I’ve also found that it’s helpful to get to know companies (ask questions, ask for full disclosure of ingredients and why ingredients are used) and continually support the ones that are 100% transparent. (Check out this post for an example of a correspondence I had recently with a company that claims to be “natural” and “clean” but isn’t transparent–a big warning sign!)

The Best Non-Toxic Skincare Products and Brands

The following list is what I consider at the moment (as there are always new companies emerging or companies I don’t know about yet) to be the best of the best in the green beauty industry for skincare products. If you love a brand that’s not featured on this list, please leave a comment and share.

You don’t need to swap out all of your skincare products at once. The key to sustainable change is baby steps. And you don’t need to make the switch to one of my favorite non-toxic skincare brands. I’m simply sharing this list to provide a place to start, a list of brands that I personally love and buy from.

NATURAL EVERYTHING BODY

  • Dr. Bronner’s: Bar and liquid body soap and toothpaste
  • Plant Apothecary: A variety of body wash scents
  • Schmidts: My favorite deodorant brand. Check out all the brands I’ve tried and enjoyed over the years, here.
  • All Good: Body Lotion and sunscreen
  • OSEABody oil (a great alternative to lotion)
  • True Botanicals: Body oil (a great alternative to lotion)
  • Suntegrity: Sunscreen for the face and body. I like the stick version which I keep in my purse for running/walking. Check out other great sunscreen options, here.
  • David’sMy favorite toothpaste. The closest thing to Crest that I can find. Check out more toothpaste options, here.
  • Aila: The best nail polish.

non-toxic skincare brands

NATURAL FACE SKINCARE

non-toxic skincare brands

NATURAL MAKEUP 

  • Josh Rosebrook: Makes a great tinted SPF moisturizer.
  • ILIA: My favorite foundation when I want something for going out: true skin foundation and the best tinted moisturizer. I also like the brow gel and mascara.
  • Alima Pure: foundation setting powder to go over foundation
  • W3LL People: My favorite all-around makeup company that’s affordable and functional. I use the setting powder, bronzer powder, brow gel, and concealer. Their mascara is also fantastic. This is my daily go-to makeup.
  • Kosas: I love the tinted facial oil as a foundation. Light and breathable coverage.
  • Honest Beauty: I love the cream blush from this brand. They also make the best mascara. And kudos points for affordability and being easy to find (Target, etc.)
  • BeautyCounter: Okay, I’ll be honest. I’m not a huge fan of this brand (and yes, I’ve tried many of their products and even signed up to be a rep with them when they first got started). That said, I do think they have the best eye shadow on the market.

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28 Comments

    1. Hey Dorcas, I haven’t heard of them before. Just looked at a few of their cleansers. I love that they don’t use fragrance, which is amazing! Their products, just from the couple I looked at, look good.

  1. What are your thoughts on seint products use to be called maskara? They are an MLM that claim to be clean

    1. Hey Traci, I’m not a big fan of any of the MLM skincare companies, including BeautyCounter and Maskara. Not a fan of their business practices and believe there are much better companies out there that have a true heart for clean beauty. Not sure about the maskara products, but BC for example using ingredients that are still very questionable in the clean beauty world. The fact that we hear so much about these companies is because people need to maintain a quota (selling a certain amount of product each month or quarter), so they push the products like crazy.

  2. Hello! Interesting read! I’m actually in the lookout for clean skincare products that don’t have any PUFAS. Any suggestions? Just lately I’ve came across so many articles stating that PUFAS In clean skincare (reputable brands) can oxidize and cause further damage. I don’t know what to do. 🙁 Even clean body moisturizers have PUFAS. I could just stick coconut oil, but it’s not absorbed by my skin very well. I’ve noticed there are now companies using beef tallow and ghee in their products.

    1. Hey Cladya, I’ve read similar articles and seen many Instagrammers promoting them. I personally haven’t found enough solid evidence for not using some of these oils on the skin. If you want to skip PUFAS in skincare, tallow has been around for a long time, Toups (https://toupsandco.com/) is a great brand that uses tallow. It’s a very traditional, ancient skincare ingredient. I would avoid coconut oil on the face, as it’s highly comedogenic and can/will cause breakouts.

    1. Hey Lea, I know they’re an MLM company, and usually try to avoid such companies (the markup in price is usually due to having to pay so many people, from consultants to those running the company). BeautyCounter is also an MLM. I think this is why we hear so much about these companies. As far as products, Limelife doesn’t look bad, from what I’ve seen.

  3. I’m really wanting to switch to non toxic skin care products. I have super sensitive skin!! I started using the aveeno oat cleanser and moisturizer, it’s the first product that has ever worked for me, but something made me read up on what I was using and I was so disappointed in the ingredients and the risks they pose to peoples health. I really want to find something that will work for my skin but with these pricey products I don’t want to start buying and losing out. If you have any advice I would really appreciate it! Thank you !

    1. Hey Amanda, I know what you mean about Aveeno. So many companies are green-washing today, but the products aren’t truly safe or non-toxic. My recommendation is to stick with something really simple and affordable for a face cleanser. Honey can be amazing (here’s how to cleanse your face with honey: https://livesimply.me/wash-your-face-honey/). Juice Beauty also makes a great face cleanser that I believe is around $15-20ish. Another option is Honest Beauty–their products can be found at Target and are great and very affordable. If you want to splurge, a moisturizer is the place I’d do that. Blissoma on the list makes fantastic moisturizers and other products and they are definitely in more of the budget-friendly category, but don’t cut corners in anyway. Honest also makes great moisturizers! Hope that helps. And for a toner, you can pick up rosewater for pretty inexpensive ($15?) and it should last a couple of months. Those are the three main things for a good skincare routine, in my opinion, and don’t need to cost a fortune.

  4. Yesterday I was on your blog looking how to make a skin serum. Today, I’m looking for that recipe because I wanted to make it and have purchased the Squalene oil. If you would point me in the right direction where I need to look on your blog, I would be most grateful!

    1. I love Beauty Counter skin care products, though I don’t use their makeup. What don’t you like about them? You only have them listed under the makeup section. My face looks better than it has in years from using their Countertime line.

      1. That’s awesome, Destiny! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the BeautyCounter line. I was a BC rep back in the day, when they first started. Their MLM structure is a turn off for me, after seeing the “inside” of how the company works and pushes reps to sell, sell, sell. That and they use ingredients like phenoxyethanol which could be avoided as it’s questionable from a “clean” perspective. I think when it comes to skincare there are companies who do a better job with performance and ingredients than BC, but with makeup it’s a bit harder to find products that really wear well like conventional products and BC does a good job at this. Just my opinion :).

    1. Hey Dana, I haven’t looked into that brand much. I would take a look at the ingredient list and see if first they use fragrance or parfum, that’s a big red flag and always the first thing I look at when checking out a new brand.

  5. I was wondering about Crunchi. I see it in the picture but I didn’t see you reference it. I am considering switching my skin care and makeup over to them. Is this a bad idea? Thanks so much!

      1. How about DHCskincare.com ? Olive oil based – wonderful skincare & makeup. I have very sensitive skin, eczema & dry skin. This line is the only products I can tolerate but I’m intrigued by your list and may try those facial oil light foundation!

  6. While I am searching for non-toxic skincare products online, I found Lotus Herbals Coupons from the Saveplus site. I availed of those coupons & ordered a face wash & moisturizer from Lotus Herbals store. I got 20% off on my order by applying Coupons. The products are very nice & worked for my skin.

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