Over the last few years, I’ve transitioned into a completely vegan non-toxic makeup routine. I am incredibly picky and read the product ingredients just like I do with food. Today I’m sharing a complete list of my most used makeup products–what I use, and why.
I like to make sure that all the products I use are vegan and cruelty-free, and on top of that, I only use non-toxic clean beauty products. Like I said, I’m a little bit picky, but for good reason! With that said, everything listed below will be both vegan and non-toxic.
I know that clean/natural makeup can get a bad reputation sometimes, and candidly I’ve had my fair share of experiences with clean, but crappy makeup. So let me spare you the error part of the whole trial and error process. These are all products I use myself, on days that I wear makeup.
If you’re curious about skincare products I use, you can check out this my vegan non-toxic skincare routine, and if you’re interested in my vegan non-toxic haircare routine, I’ve got one of those, too!
The skin is the largest organ of the body and it absorbs what is put on it too. Many beauty products are formulated with ingredients that are known endocrine disruptors which have the potential to interfere with our reproductive and neurologic systems. This is just one example of health risk ingredients may pose. The beauty industry is able to use harmful ingredients because regulation of beauty product ingredients is easy to work around. Fragrance, for example, is a vague term and corporations are not required to disclose what comprises their “fragrance”. In other words, they can sneak in nasty ingredients under the guise of “fragrance”, and some harmful chemicals are listed right on the ingredient label–it’s just hard for us to read and understand what they are.
In addition to our own health, it’s important to use non-toxic products for the health of our mama Earth, too. Everything we use that goes down the drain ultimately has an impact on wildlife and the environment. Take BHA and BHT for example–two commonly used preservatives that are toxic to marine life. Silicones are another example, which bioaccumulate in marine life and further up the food chain. Ultimately, these toxins make their way back into our system as they move up through the food chain.
I turned to The Detox Market’s green beauty experts, because it’s often not that easy to determine what products are truly clean. There are a lot of misleading labels out there on the market, and no regulation around using the world “clean”. The Detox Market team curates the best in truly clean beauty products and screens ingredients to make sure they meet their clean beauty standard. like to think of The Detox Market and Follain as a Sephora or an Ulta, except you can shop everything without needing to check whether it’s truly a clean product or not–it has already been vetted. After consulting with them, I’ve come up with a quick and handy guide to break down clean beauty.
I like referring to this list of ingredients that The Detox Market does not allow in products they carry. It’s a great reference list, but I know that when you’re shopping and reading ingredients on the fly, it can be hard to keep a mental list of all of them.
If you’re shopping online, take advantage of the EWG Skin Deep database, which will break down ingredients in a product and rate their potential health hazard. I also love to use Skin Carisma’s Ingredient Analyzer, which allows you to copy and paste ingredients of a product sold online to break it down. It explains every ingredient, and the health risk associated with it. Personally, I only use products given a 100% OK by Skin Carisma, and ranking green (safe) on EWG.
When shopping IRL, here are the top 5 nasties you should always have an eye out for when reading labels:
These are carcinogenic and may cause endocrine disruption, reproductive harm, allergies, organ toxicity, irritation and is found in hair, face, body, cosmetic products
2. Synthetic Fragrance
Also a carcinogen that may cause organ toxicity, irritation, reproductive harm, allergies, also found in hair, face, body, cosmetic products
3. Sulfates (Examples include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
Sulfates may causes organ toxicity, irritation, allergies and are found in shampoo, cleanser, soap, exfoliator, body wash and bubble bath products
4. Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs)
Found in hair, face, body, cosmetic products
These are obtained from petroleum and natural gas
Both The Detox Market and Follain do not allow products containing phenoxyethanol. Many “clean” brands today are formulated with phenoxyethanol, and there tends to be a lot of debate around whether or not it is a safe ingredient. My personal opinion is that it should be avoided, as there are many other completely safe natural methods of preservation. Credo, a beauty marketplace I previously considered clean, allows phenoxyethanol in products. It’s a personal choice, and many clean-er brands do use it, so I recommend doing your own research and making the best decision for yourself.
Finally, keep in mind that many brands claim they are “natural” or “paraben free” or “made from botanical ingredients” or even “clean beauty” and use buzzwords like this, but it does not necessarily mean it’s actually non-toxic.
My approach to non-toxic products is to do your best, and replace conventional products as you run out of them. To this day, there are some products that I’m not able to find 100% clean (e.g. maybe contains phenoxyethanol, but is clean otherwise) and in situations like that, my motto is: do your best. Look for the best possible product, because clean-er is always better than conventional.
Example: Youth to the People is a clean-er brand, but formulates with phenoxyethanol. I’d be more comfortable using it than using a product from Olay or Neutrogena, but would prefer not to use it as an everyday product. Clean at Sephora also allows phenoxyethanol in products, but there’s no doubt that the curated products are much cleaner and better for your health than the conventional products categories.
vegan non-toxic makeup I use
As I mentioned earlier, I am also vegan which means my beauty products are too! A few things commonly used in beauty products that are not vegan include pearl, beeswax, honey and colors derived from crushed bugs (e.g. carmine). These are not toxic ingredients per se, but I choose not to use them in any capacity for ethical reasons–including beauty products.
Regarding animal testing, if a brand is “cruelty free” then you are good to go. Typically, you should look for either PETA or Leaping Bunny certification for legitimacy because there are loopholes and ways brands can mislead you. For example, if a brand ever claims “the final products are never tested on animals” this means that the complete finished product may not be, but the formulations before reaching the finished product may be. Or, the ingredients are tested on animals individually, but the final product is not. Tricky tricky. Additionally, if a product is sold in Mainland China, it almost automatically indicates that the product is tested on animals, as any product sold in China is required to be tested on animals, by law.
The good news is, non-toxic, cruelty free AND vegan products do exist. Below is a list of all the beauty products I currently use, or have in my bathroom cabinet. I don’t wear very much makeup on a daily basis, however for photoshoots and film days, I will usually wear a full face of natural looking makeup. I like to keep it minimal, but I know that this makeup will also function for on camera needs.
*Specific products will be listed below if they do contain phenoxyethanol, or are clean-er but not as clean as I’d like. These are products I use for very special occasions where photoshoots are involved.
*Keep in mind I typically have lash extensions on for the work related athletic/yoga photoshoots, therefore I don’t often wear much eye makeup other than eye shadow and occasionally some eyeliner. I’ll include the mascara I use when I am sans extensions. Also, I should note that some of these products were gifted to me, and due to my work I have the opportunity to try various products. So, for each category, I’ll list multiple options and why I like each so you can find the best one for you at the appropriate price point for your budget.
S K I N
/ p r i m e r s
Cover FX Gripping Primer / Blurring Primer* – I use primers mostly when I travel (and spend long days out) or during my filming and shooting days. I find it makes for a smoother application, which is necessary when I’ve got an HD camera right in front of me haha! It makes my foundation last longer, and both the gripping and blurring are my two favourite from the brand. It does contain silicone, so I reserve it for these particular days but I’m including two better suited for daily use below. Although I have sensitive skin, the primers actually do not break me out, although I do double cleanse on days I wear it (see skincare blogpost).
100% Pure Mattifying Primer – This was my first ever clean beauty primer and I absolutely love it. It’s silicone free and helps to keep me matte!
Alima Pure Smooth + Prime – This is another great clean beauty primer, and comes in a handier tube, which I personally like for on the go situations.
/ f o u n d a t i o n + c o n c e a l e r
Sappho Essentials Liquid Foundation – In shade Kate & Sarita–I mix the two and the finish is lightweight. Not full coverage but good for everyday use. This is a completely vegan brand.
Sappho Concealer in Caramel – Great in tandem with the Sappho foundation, with thicker coverage. I use for spot touch ups and to cover blemishes that my foundation doesn’t cover.
100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Healthy Foundation – I mix sand and toffee shades because I made 2 purchases of the wrong shades and… here we are haha! I use this for full coverage days and this brand is one of the most natural brands out there.
Hynt Beauty Duet Perfecting Concealer – I tried this concealer after I ran out of my Sappho concealer (what can I say, I like to try new things) and was so pleasantly surprised. It was rated highly and did not disappoint. I use this on long days because it has great lasting power and actually great coverage. I use shade medium.
/ c h e e k s
Alima Pure Bronzer in Mauna Loa – I use this for both contour and bronzing, and sometimes eyeshadow too. It’s a great formula and for me, very multi-purpose. I like this product because it’s matte, which makes it great for contour too!
Sappho Blush in Tutz – A light blush for more of a natural look 🙂
CoverFX Monochromatic Blush Duo* – I really love this in shade Warm Honey, but I would recommend a lighter shade unless your skin tone is deeper like mine. I like it because it comes with both a matte option and a shimmery option, and although I don’t really like wearing shimmer often, this shimmer is so beautiful. It’s almost metallic looking, but looks stunning on the skin.
Alima Pure Highlighter – I use shade Dolce. and love that it’s in powder formula! Great subtle shimmer for adding just touches of glow to the skin. If I really want a dewy look, sometimes I’ll mix a sprinkle of this into other products.
Beetroot Lip & Cheek Tint – https://www.thedetoxmarket.com/collections/makeup/products/beetroot-cheek-lip-tint
E Y E S
Sappho Eyeshadow – In shade Norma (crease) and Turtle (lid). Great single shades from this 100% vegan brand!
100% Pure Pretty Naked II Eyeshadow Palette – Pigmented with fruit! This was the first clean beauty palette of eyeshadows I used and was my switch from my Urban Decay Naked Palette I used before going vegan. Also comes with
Aether Beauty Eyeshadow Palette – This rose quartz crystal infused eyeshadow palette is absolutely beautiful and perfect for those of you who love a rosy tone. Great mixture of mattes and shimmers, and this brand is 100% vegan, cruelty free, nontoxic and sustainable. All the packaging is recyclable and the founder is also an incredible human.
Hush and Dotti Eyeshadow – I like to use this shadow all over my lid in shade Gidge. I also use this as a highlighter sometimes, can you tell I like to multipurpose my products?
Elate Beauty Eyeshadow in Modish – Okay so this is a fun deep plum colour that I like to use if I’m going out and want a fun eyeshadow look. A rare occasion for me, if I’m being honest but… it’s a beautiful shade and comes from this 100% vegan, cruelty free, nontoxic and sustainable brand. Perfect for those who like to play with their makeup looks!
Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner – I use this product in shade Raven when I need a liquid eyeliner or cateye look. Although I don’t wear liner 99% of the time, when I do I like it sharp and liquid in form. It’s VERY hard to find a clean formula, not to mention clean AND vegan, but this product has been my favourite yet. It’s water resistant (not waterproof) but is really long lasting for me and performs well.
Sappho Vegan Mascara – A great vegan mascara (free of beeswax, also a rarity). I don’t use this often (as I mentioned, I’m a lash extension girl), however it’s an awesome mascara when I’m in between lash extensions. It’s not waterproof, but is smudge free from my experience.
Ere Perez Waterproof Mascara – One of the only (?) waterproof and vegan and clean mascaras I’ve found and tried. This brand is one of my favourites! I don’t use this mascara as much as I do my non-waterproof one (again, extensions), but when I do need something waterproof, this is my go to.
/ b r o w s
Sappho Eyebrow Pomade/Gel in Taupe Grey – I use this for both my eyebrows and sometimes I use it as an eyeliner too! This is a great product if you’re a fan of a thicker, sharp gel formula. I mostly use this for photoshoots or heavier makeup days versus everyday.
Alima Pure Brow Pencil – I’ve used both the shade Raven and Brunette and they actually both work for me! This was one of my best clean beauty finds because most brow pencils contain beeswax. This pencil doesn’t, and was the answer to my clean + vegan beauty prayers! I use this on most film/shoot days or when I’m going out to dinner or something like that. Great for some added definition.
100% Pure Brow Gel – 90% of the time, I’m wearing just brow gel because I like to keep it casual but also believe a good brow can really be all you need. Keeps ya brow hairs in place and adds just a touch of thickness!
L I P S
Noto Lip Tint – So I’m not much of a lip colour girl, but I’ll just BARELY tap my finger into this and lightly press onto my lips for just a little bit of colour. (Bonus: can also be used as a cheek and eye tint). Has a great minty taste and no beeswax (win!).
Hurraw Lip Balm (Moon) – A beeswax free lip balm (yay!) infused with blue chamomile and vanilla. It smells divineee and is wonderful on the lips before bed or just when your lips need a little moisture.
Clove + Hallow – https://www.thedetoxmarket.com/collections/makeup/products/lip-creme
O T H E R
Brushes – Most of these brushes sold on The Detox Market are vegan friendly/synthetic!
*Note: I’m including the brushes I use because it’s a good idea to make sure the brushes you’re using a vegan too! Most brushes nowadays are made from synthetic materials, which honestly perform better than most animal hair brushes anyways 🙂
Beauty Blender – For my foundation, I like using a beauty blender. I didn’t believe the hype for years but my 17 year old sister turned me onto it after using it on me just once. I prefer using black or white or pink over the nude colour blender because you can tell when your sponge needs a wash. Make sure you clean it properly so it doesn’t harbour bacteria!
Sundays Studio Nailpolish – Just like your skin, you want to be mindful about what you put on your nail beds! Yes, your body absorbs what goes on your nails and you also inhale fumes from ingredients in the nailpolish used. Using non-toxic formulas is best for your own health and the health of If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been going to Sundays Studio, the first vegan and nontoxic nail salon in NYC for about 3 years now. I honestly am not that much of a “get my nails done” type of person, but because options for clean and vegan nail polish that actually WORKS were so limited, I sort of became one. Also, the atmosphere in the studio is so zen and the decor is very minimal, blush toned and just stunning. They also offer meditations you can listen to DURING your manicure.
If you don’t live in NYC you can purchase their own polishes to use at home. They actually last longer than conventional polishes IMO (less chipping, even though I’m ROUGH with my hands), and I love that their shade range is very neutral and muted. My go to shades are:
If you purchase any of their polishes, you can use my discount code VEGGIEKINS15 for a 15% discount too.
I hope this quick guide will be helpful for you and encourage you to make the switch to more non-toxic beauty products. Most of these products are available at The Detox Market, which makes it easy because they curate all the products so you can shop freely without worrying about ingredients. If you’re vegan like myself, I’d recommend the above products in particular, because I use them on a daily basis and am in love with them! Otherwise, still look out for the non-vegan ingredients.
This blogpost may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.19
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BY Remy • March 8, 2018
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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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