The Best Of Organic, Natural, & Clean Makeup


My transition to the natural end of the beauty product spectrum was long, arduous, expensive, but in the end, very worth it. The whole thing started as an experiment for a story: Always a skeptic of the clean approach to anything, I took the cynical angle—let me try and replace everything in my routine with a natural counterpart and when it fails, we'll all laugh. But it didn't fail. I actually ended up with a whole bunch of products I really loved and am still using. Joke's on me! But not really because I've got my Marie Veronique Serums, Susanne Kaufmann sunscreen, and very happy skin. Surprise ending: I actually win.

While the skincare transition took me roughly four months, the makeup transition was worlds easier and quicker. Emma Watson was actually very helpful—her Top Shelf is full of clean, hard-working makeup products. Below are a few more—just six, but the best six and the ones that get me through every day. Holler in the comments about what to try next.

Jillian Dempsey Lid Tint & Khôl Eyeliner

There's this TV spot from the early '80s I'd heard referenced enough that I finally looked it up: A boy and his parental figure are fishing in a pond when the boy mentions that Jimmy at school called him "prejudiced." This is because the boy called Jimmy "his Jewish friend" instead of just his "friend." This is a long-winded way of saying that Jillian Dempsey makeup is so good, I don't think of it as "natural makeup." I just think of it as "makeup."

Part of this is due to branding. It's normal! Nothing crunchy or alternative or homemade about it. And Jillian herself is a serious makeup artist who works with Jennifer Lawrence (Dior), Kristen Stewart (Chanel), and Kate Winslet (Lancôme). Her makeup is just as serious, which is a relief because it can be a pain to find a good eyeliner, whether it's natural or not. But the real star of her offering is the Lid Tint, a creamy eye color that's so sheer it's impossible to screw up. The sheerness might be frustrating if you're looking for your typical quad-level coverage. But I'd suggest this as a new type of product, meant for a quick swipe instead of a full face beat. Pretty handy in my eye shadow-phobic opinion.

Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation & Mascara

This is foundation for everyone: foundation for people who like fingers, foundation for people who like brushes, foundation for people who just need concealer, foundation for people who are looking for more coverage... It's the every person's flesh-toned product. I find it so easy to use because it's a pressed cream instead of a fluid—heat it up and it blends seamlessly into skin no matter how you apply it. It's also one of those products that actually feels good for your skin, thanks to the sweet almond, coconut, and jojoba seed oils in the formula. And, very helpfully, Founder Kirsten Kjaer Weis describes all the shades in her own words (full sentences!) on the website. So simple yet so brilliant.

The mascara is just perfect, from the tube to the spoolie. It's got that signature KJ-heft, and a rubberized brush that prioritizes lash separation. Meanwhile, the formula is pitch black and easy for that smudged-in, thick root look that I love. And it's small—you'll actually use it up before it dries out. I carry it around with me everywhere.

Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Stick & Solar Translucent Bronzer

Who doesn't love a multi-stick? Everyone. Everyone loves a multi-stick. Well, Vapour has multiple multiples so there's nothing you can't do. The Aura Sticks come in varying shades of rosy pinks and reds—perfect blushes for any skin tone and lip. But I found myself favoring the bronzer stick (it comes in the same pack) because I think brown is the best color for everything these days. Leave me alone with it for five minutes and I emerge full French Elle in the '90s. And I'm not sorry about it.

Y et Beauté Lipstick

Beautiful, creamy lipsticks in deep, vampy shades sent directly from Italy. They're also non-nano and paraben, cruelty, sulfate and phthalate-free. I'm wearing lipstick to dinner a lot more these days because of these babies.

—Emily Ferber

See more organic and natural and clean and [buzzword] products over here.