Did you know that its been 80 years since the United States Congress has approved new cosmetics regulations? In fact, according to EWG, the US Food and Safety Administration only restricts the use of nine ingredients within cosmetics. This trails behind 40 other nations, some of whom have banned more than 1,400 ingredients! Despite the lack of FDA regulations, during the 2010s many new players in the industry began to self-regulate by launching brands with a clear focus on providing clean, non-toxic products. Keep reading today’s post for a roundup of 10 bomb clean makeup brands I want to try in 2020.
What is Clean Makeup?
Similarly to labels like natural, organic, or sustainable, there is no clear-cut definition of what it means to be a Clean Makeup brand. However, beloved beauty retailer, Sephora, is a pioneer in the Clean Beauty movement. As such, I typically follow their standards of what it means to be a Clean Makeup brand.
All brands with this seal qualify as Sephora Clean and are formulated without these ingredients and more: parabens, sulfates SLS and SLES, phthalates, mineral oils, formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, and triclocarban.
Visit the Clean Makeup Hub at Sephora for the full list of ingredients that Sephora deems not-clean.
Brands that are certified clean makeup brands do NOT have to be Cruelty-Free, Vegan or Sustainable. However, many clean beauty brands focus on providing Cruelty-Free and Vegan beauty, as well as reducing the companies environmental impact.
Where to Buy Clean Makeup?
Clean Makeup can be purchased at a wide variety of retailers, including Credo Beauty, Sephora, Ulta, and Thrive Market. Even mass retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Amazon sell some clean beauty brands.
However, it is worth noting that Sephora is the only retailer with a clean beauty seal. Brands that are not sold at Sephora will take an additional investigation to determine whether they are actually clean.
10 Bomb Clean Makeup Brands I Want to Try In 2020
1 | Aether Beauty
In 2018, Sephora veteran Tiila Abbitt launched Aether Beauty intending to create high performance, colorful makeup in sustainable packaging. In fact, the brand’s packaging is easily recycled due to a lack of plastic, a lack of magnets, and a mirror. Read more about the brand’s clean and sustainable focus here.
Aether Beauty is a certified Clean Makeup brand at Sephora. The brand is 100% Cruelty-Free and Vegan. Earlier this year, I picked up two of the brand’s beloved eyeshadow palettes. Expect an in-depth review of the Summer Solstice and Rose Quartz Crystal Gemstone Palettes.
2 | Antonym Cosmetics
Founded in 2013 by Miami makeup artist, Valerie Giraud, Antonym Beauty wanted to fill the gap between function and formulation that was common among clean makeup brands. As such, Antonym is a clean makeup brand that produces professional quality makeup that does not compromise on color payoff or staying power.
The brand is most well-known for its wooden packaging, which is both aesthetic and more sustainable than many competitor offerings. I am most keen to try some of the brand’s baked cheek products.
Antonym Cosmetics is sold at retailers such as Sephora, Credo Beauty, and Amazon.
3| Bite Beauty
Canadian-born, Bite Beauty was founded in 2011 by Susanne Langmuir and purchased by LMVH-owned, Kendo Labs in 2014. I’ve been a huge fan of the brand’s food-grade lip products for years. However, in 2020, Bite Beauty relaunched and reformulated its entire product line to abide by Sephora’s Clean Makeup standards.
Bite Beauty’s line is 100% Clean, 100% Cruelty-Free, and 100% Vegan. Also, Bite Beauty’s formulas are completely talc-free. Click here to read more about the brand’s clean beauty difference. Expect a review on Bite Beauty’s new complexion line and lip products.
RELATED: Check out my experience at the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in Los Angeles.
4 | Ilia Beauty
Sasha Plavsic launched Vancouver-based Ilia Beauty launched in 2011 to provide radical clean makeup powered by skincare. With this core mission in mind, Ilia provides consumers with everyday staple makeup powered by active ingredients that are stabilized by SPF. Additionally, Ilia makes simple, multi-use staples meant to revive the appearance of the skin.
Also, Ilia focuses on reducing its carbon footprint by using recycled and up-cycled packaging components. Moreover, Ilia offers consumers a chance to break the waste cycle through its recycling program done in partnership with TerraCycle’s Waste Box.
Ilia Beauty is a certified Clean Makeup brand at Sephora. The brand is Leaping Bunny Certified Cruelty-Free. Ilia Beauty is not 100% Vegan but sells some Vegan products.
RELATED: Want to break the waste cycle? Check out this roundup of brands that reward consumers for recycling.
5 | KOSAS
Sheena Yaitanes founded KOSAS in 2015 to provide consumers with limitless, non-toxic products intended to transform and revolutionize the beauty industry. Also, KOSAS creates products that will flatter a wide variety of skin tones and that celebrates everyone’s unique beauty.
KOSAS is clean makeup certified at Sephora, and Leaping Bunny certified Cruelty-Free. Although KOSAS is not 100% Vegan, the brand sells some Vegan-friendly products.
Overall, the brand is most well-known for its cream blush compacts and sport line. I purchased 3 of the cream blush duos in March and I am excited to review these!
RELATED: I picked up 3 of the KOSAS Color & Light Palettes in March – see what else I picked up in my monthly Beauty Low Buy Round-Up.
6 | Lawless Beauty
Clean makeup brands are not just for fans of natural-looking makeup. Lawless Beauty is the epitome of full-glam, clean beauty. Founded in 2017 by Annie Lawless, the brand lives by its Clean AF promise:
ALWAYS FREE of carcinogenic, toxic, hormone and endocrine disrupting ingredients, as well as ingredients that have been linked to the formation of certain cancers.
After hearing one of my favorite influencers, Samantha March, continuously rave about the brand’s products I knew I needed to try Lawless Beauty. Currently, I own more than a few products from the brand, from eyeshadow palettes to cheek products and lipstick.
7 | lilah b beauty
Founded by Cheryl Yannotti Foland in 2015 with a “less is more” mentality, lilah b. offers consumers minimalistic color palettes in streamlined, modern packaging. Many of the lilah b clean makeup products are simple to use, multi-use products.
In addition to providing consumers with minimalist products, lilah b provides people with a way to declutter their makeup collection through its recycling program. Email email@example.com to receive a pre-paid shipping label to recycle beauty products from lilah b and other brands!
lilah b. is a certified Clean Makeup brand at Sephora and is 100% Cruelty-Free. However, lilah b. is not 100% Vegan. Similar to other brands on this list, lilac b sells some Vegan-friendly products.
8 | Roen Beauty
Roen Beauty was founded in 2019 by celebrity makeup artist and global makeup artist for bareMinerals ,Nikki DeRoest, and world-renowned fashion photographer, David Roemer. The brand is known for creating high-performance, easy to use clean beauty products with an editorial edge. The brand is most well-known for its cream eyeshadow quads.
Roen Beauty is Clean Makeup certified at Sephora and is 100% Cruelty-Free and Vegan.
9 | RMS Beauty
Launched in 2009 by Rose-Marie Swift, RMS Beauty was one of the pioneers of clean beauty. In fact, the brand remains a trailblazer in setting the standards for what it means to be a clean makeup brand. RMS Beauty is all about creating non-toxic beauty products that don’t just cover the skin but nourish the skin.
RMS’s Living Luminzer used to be one of my Holy Grail highlighters. It was my go-to highlighter for providing a dewy, glass-like glow. Although that highlighter expired, I am intrigued to try more from the brand.
RMS Beauty is a certified Clean Makeup brand at Sephora and is 100% Cruelty-Free. However, RMS Beauty is not 100% Vegan. The brand includes organic beeswax in some of its products.
10 | Tower 28 Beauty
LA-based, Tower 28 Beauty was founded by veteran beauty executive, Amy Liu, in 2019 to provide non-toxic, hypoallergenic clean beauty for beauty lovers with sensitive skin. Inspired by her own struggles with eczema, Amy set out to create a fun brand with dermatologist-tested beauty products that everyone can use and love. With Tower 28 Beauty #itsokaytobesensitive.
As someone with sensitive acne-prone skin and eczema, I love everything Tower 28 stands for. Moreover, I love how the brand makes beauty inclusive for people with sensitive skin. I am most intrigued by the brand’s ShineOn Lip Jellies and SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray.
Tower 28 Beauty is Clean Makeup certified at Sephora, PETA-certified Cruelty-Free, and 100% Vegan.
Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Clean Makeup
When it comes to clean beauty, it is really tempting to want to try a ton of clean makeup brands all at once. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when buying clean beauty:
- Clean Makeup Expires Quicker | Most clean beauty brands are free from preservatives that extend the lifespan of makeup. As a result, clean makeup products expire more quickly than traditional makeup.
- Clean Makeup Does Not Mean Sustainable | Although many clean makeup brands care about sustainable beauty – not all products are sustainable. For example, clean makeup brands may still use plastic packaging.
- Clean Makeup does Not Mean Vegan | Similar to the above point, many clean makeup brands are Cruelty-Free and Vegan. However, being “clean” does not equate to Vegan.
- Clean Makeup May Not Be Better Quality | In addition to preserving products, many non-clean makeup ingredients enhance product performance. Therefore, clean makeup brands may not perform the same as traditional makeup brands.
- Clean Makeup Is Expensive | Clean Makeup brands often dwell on the higher end of the price spectrum. Many clean beauty brands are priced at prestige or luxury levels. Even clean brands at the drugstore tend to skew on the higher end of the “affordable” price spectrum.
- Clean-Washing is Happening | There are many brands that are trying to capitalize on the clean beauty trend. As such, these brands plaster ‘clean’ all over their products, but fail to live up to the extensive clean standards set by Sephora. In fact, I experienced a horrifying reaction to a ‘clean’ face wash sold at the drugstore.
Final Thoughts on the 10 Bomb Clean Makeup Brands I want to Try in 2020
All-in-all, I love seeing so many bomb clean makeup brands thriving in the beauty space. It is important to think about the personal care and beauty products we apply to our faces. Many clean makeup brands founded by badass entrepreneurs. By supporting these clean indie makeup brands we are given a chance to reshape what we expect from brands.
Unlike the non-clean makeup brands that I’ve accumulated over the years, I want to be more conscious of the clean products that I buy. In fact, transitioning to clean skincare is huge focus for me in 2020. However, I need to cut down on the size of my makeup collection before I comfortably purchase from all of these clean makeup brands this year.
Are you a fan of clean beauty? Have you tried any of these 10 bomb clean makeup brands before? Please let me know in the comments below.1