4 Steps for a Natural Complexion Using Cruelty-Free, Non-Toxic Cosmetics
(via Jodee Debes Photo)
These days, a flawless base with minimal coverage is the dream. Since we can't all get lasered regularly, finding foundations, concealers, BB creams, and tinted moisturizers will all help you score an even-looking complexion. Depending on the look you're going for — made up vs. natural — you have your pick of innovative products that incorporate skin benefits into their formula, blending the functions of cosmetics with skincare, particularly when it comes to preventative anti-aging (i.e. prejuvenation).
These four products — applied in the following four steps — score me my minimum necessary coverage for days when I want to look "presentable." (By comparison, after getting PDT + IPL, I was able to simply apply a cream concealer and step out happily with my SPF.) You can use this as the natural base for the rest of your makeup, or you can simply use it to make your complexion look even by covering up any blemishes, but keeping a natural beauty look.
The best part is, every item on this list is actually good for your skin, or at the very least, completely non-toxic. While there are tons of products on the market, I am genuinely impressed by these and would definitely buy them again.
Crunchi Smart Primer ($48)
Never in my life have I encountered such a raved-about primer, except for maybe the J.One Jelly Pack that K-Beauty enthusiasts go crazy for (which isn't clean). Crunchi is a totally non-toxic, organic beauty company that sells luxury vegan cosmetics. This ethically on-point brand sells a legitimately anti-aging primer containing some of the most skin-nourishing ingredients to ever grace our cosmetics.
Applied before your foundation, primer helps pigmented cosmetics go on smoothly, filling in wrinkles and preventing creasing. It can be used on either dry or oily skin types. Since my skin has been ultra-dry lately, I like using it in addition to the BB Cream below. With ingredients like avocado oil, Rosehip oil, jojoba, aloe, and extracts galore, it primes, hydrates, and smooths the skin to grip your makeup optimally.
P.S. I finally tried one of their brushes and they really are epic. The brush I have is extremely high quality, ultra-soft, and heavier — but more durable — than my other makeup brushes.
BB Creams are true hybrids, blending skincare benefits with cosmetic functions. This "5 in 1" pick includes sun protection and coverage, all while priming and moisturizing the skin. The most efficient BB cream coverage is by Purlisse, while Erborian's Ginseng formula imparts a cult-favorite "baby skin" effect. The problem is, they aren't clean enough.
Meanwhile, Suntegrity 5-in-1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen is known as green beauty's champion. Its top-rated among consumers and the sun protection it provides is mineral-based, not chemical, which is a good thing. Why? Because physical blockers reflect harmful rays away from the skin, while also yielding a quasi-barrier function that can protect your skin from environmental irritants and pollutants, as well. After interviewing a number of dermatologists on the topic, it seems to me that mineral blockers provide more comprehensive protection.
This product contains ingredients like organic jojoba, aloe, organic sunflower seed oil, red algae extract (my go-to anti-pollution ingredient!), green tea leaf extract (antioxidants!) , and more. To get the right amount of coverage, I use two full pumps. It will leave you looking more even, but blending in your concealer next is what will perfect your look.
It is vegan, cruelty-free, and clean. The entire line is totally free of parabens, mineral oils, phthalates, nanoparticles (which can be absorbed into your blood), and chemical sunscreens. It comes in four different shades; I use "Light."
Unfortunately, I just found out that my former Laura Mercier under-eye go-to concealer is not clean. (Plus, I think its also discontinued.) While I adore clean concealers from brands like RMS Beauty and NU Evolution Cosmetics, I am always on the hunt for more. If you like a firm concealer in stick form, you can also check out Vapor Beauty's non-toxic cosmetics, although I tend towards creamier/liquid concealers.
Two that I would like to try next are made by green brands W3LL People and Alima Pure.
If you're looking for an under-eye concealer, consider W3LL People Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer ($23). While it only comes in four shades, it is a more liquidy formulation with ingredients that seem great for the under-eye area. For example? Caffeine — which de-puffs — anti-aging peptides, and an organic algae extract (which I love). It gets great reviews and is available at drugstores like Target, as well as niche retailers like Credo and The Detox Market.
Alima Pure Cream Concealer ($28) comes in a tub, in a more solid consistency that is similar to the concealing balms I typically use. I read that it goes on like a second skin when applied with the warmth of your fingers, although I'm personally a fan of using brushes. It contains hydrating ingredients like avocado oil, shea butter, and jojoba, and will come closer to matching your skin tone thanks to its 10-shade range, which goes along with their line of Liquid Silk Foundation. I imagine it will work best on covering blemishes, breakouts, and hyper-pigmentation on the complexion, but in the right shade and with the right skin type, I bet it would work fabulously for covering dark circles.
Both of these clean brands are approved by EWG with scores of 1-2 — very low toxicity.
This indie newcomer is one of my favorite cosmetic companies. Their founder, Annie Lawless, is stunning, their branding is on point, and you can rest assured that what you're putting on your face (and therefore absorbing into your body) is toxin-free. They first hit in big thanks to their matte liquid lipstick, but I have since tried their foundation and setting powder — and love them both. Lawless sells extremely high quality products and I can honestly say that everything I've tried from the line, I've loved.
What stands out about their setting powder — which comes in three shades including a brightening version — is that it is talc-free. Talc is a risky beauty ingredient because it comes with the risk of asbestos exposure, a well-known carcinogen, that is often found in talc mines. Cancer.org notes that classifying talc as a carcinogen is controversial, but that findings indicate links between its use and both lung and ovarian cancers. Read up on the EWG's tag for talc here.
Anyway, after applying your hydrating, dewy-faced BB cream, setting it with loose powder will both mattify the finish and preserve your makeup for longer. (You know, so you don't look in the mirror to realize its worn off halfway through the day.)
And that's it! Continue on with the rest of your beauty prep. If you are looking for more comprehensive coverage, consider a CC cream or foundation. This look will be light, but keep skin protected and evenly covered.
What products do you use to create your makeup base? Tell me on Instagram!
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