15 Editor-Approved Clean and Non-Toxic Beauty & Skincare Products

Robert Hundley

KCM




Consider this a cheat sheet for safer cosmetics and skincare.

It can be tough to give up on a beauty product you’ve loved for years, especially if you’ve been using the same Lancôme mascara since the ’90s or lathering Clinique’s yellow moisturizer on your face since puberty. But sometimes it’s time to move on from what worked yesterday and embrace (cleaner and safer) options that work today.

Although there’s no universal definition of what makes a beauty or skincare product “clean” or “non-toxic,” retailers like Sephora and Credo define the harmful ingredients (think: coal tar, formaldehyde, parabens, and phthalates) known to be toxic in humans and make sure that a product is free from them before labeling that product as clean or non-toxic — two words that are interchangeable within the beauty industry. (You can find Credo’s “dirty list” here and Sephora’s stringent guidelines here.)

So if the skincare and cosmetics products you’ve been filling your cart with contain toxic ingredients, are tested on animals, and/or are harmful to the environment, we’d say it’s worth trying out an alternative brand that’s making an honest effort to create safer products. The best part is, most of them work just as well, if not better, than their more harmful counterparts.

Lucky for you, our editors are very invested in improving their skin health and have been really into the clean beauty trend, so we have a lot of recommendations. From the go-to’s in Bobbi Brown’s clean makeup collection Jones Road to TikTok’s clean beauty favorite ILIA to the cleansers we can’t get enough of, shop the tried-and-true non-toxic beauty products our team is currently swearing by.

The Best Clean Beauty Products, According to Our Editors

Jones Road The Best Pencil

“If you like a thin eyeliner, you’ll love this crisp, clean option from Bobbi Brown’s line Jones Road. I was first introduced to this eyeliner on Katie’s Book Tour and I ditched all my old liner pencils since. The navy shade really makes my blue eyes pop. I wear it every day.” – Alaina Mancini


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ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara

The ILIA mascara is perfect in my book. It glides on smoothly and the brush is a size that’s easy to maneuver without having to worry about smudging mascara onto your eyelids. It comes off easily at night, but not too easily where it’s smudging and flaking all day. It’s my absolute favorite.” – Ciara Hopkinson

 


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Clove & Hallow Luscious Lip Lacquer Lip Serum

Clove & Hallow is my go-to beauty brand because it’s vegan. I have a lot of their products, but have fallen in love with this super sophisticated lip gloss. I have it in the fun and bright Pinky Coral, which I wear to summer weddings. It’s collagen-boosting, thanks to the White Lupin Seed Extract, while also being really hydrating and long-lasting.” – Maggie Parker

 


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Saie Glowy Super Gel Lightweight Dewy Highlighter

“I’ve been a fan of this female-founded clean beauty brand since it launched at the beginning of the pandemic. I use their brow butter and brightening concealer daily, but I love their Glowy Super Gel hero product the most. This super hydrating gel-like formula can be used as a primer or highlighter, but I prefer to pump it twice onto the palm of my hand, then mix it with one pump of my foundation. It gives a hydrating jolt to my skin while allowing my foundation to glide all over my face like a glazed, glossy donut.” – Alaina Mancini


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Thrive Causemetics Brilliant Eye Brightener

I can be a bit of a dolt when it comes to applying makeup, so anything that looks like a child’s crayon is good in my book. This shimmery eyeshadow (which I love in the champagne color) is so smooth and buttery on your eyelids it almost feels like you’re putting on lotion, and it doesn’t fall or flake off like powder shadows. The color is so glam and people always tell me I look gorgeous (all the time, but especially when I’m wearing this shadow).” – Emily Pinto 


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MOB Beauty Blush

I honestly don’t wear makeup often, especially as someone who is incredibly pale (finding a foundation shade? Forget it.), but this blush actually makes me enjoy the days when I want to put on a full face. Not only is it super blendable, but it comes in a refillable pack, so you don’t have to buy a new product each time you run out — just a refill.”  – Katie Pittman 


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Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek Cream Blush Stick

“I love when my beauty products are multi-tasking — it saves me time and money. Double win. Milk’s small but mighty beauty stick doubles as a lip color and cheek stain. Infused with mango butter, avocado, and apricot oils, this is the perfect product to toss in your tote for quick touch-ups on the go.” – Alaina Mancini


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Crunchi Shattered Mascara

I have pretty sensitive eyes, so flaky mascaras not only look bad on me, but they make my eyes itch and swell, which is never a fun experience. Combine that with oily skin, and pretty much any mascara I wear has to be water-resistant to avoid full-on raccoon eyes. This one by Crunchi is long-lasting, easy to remove, and doesn’t irritate my eyes. It also keeps my lashes curled for hours, unlike some other formulas I’ve tried.” – Katie Pittman 

 


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Youth to the People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser

“My skin has become a lot more sensitive as I’ve gotten older and I started noticing that many of the regular face washes and moisturizers I would buy from the drugstore were causing irritation on my skin. When I got my hands on the YTTP cleanser, I was so excited to try something that might finally be the solution to my sensitivity and it was. It’s affordable, it’s clean, it’s sustainable, and I couldn’t recommend it enough.”  – Bianca Austrheim


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Tula Rose Glow + Get it Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm

“This is skincare magic in a stick. As soon as you glide Tula’s brightening eye balm onto the skin beneath your eyes, you feel an insane cooling effect. Plus, it leaves a subtle sheen which helps your eyes look awake on mornings when you need an extra boost. Another bonus: It’s formulated with super hydrating hyaluronic acid.” – Alaina Mancini


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Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser

“It’s hard for me to find a product and really stick to it (due to my indecisive nature…) but Indie Lee’s Brightening Cleanser has been my go-to for many months. It’s light on the skin, lathers well, and has an incredible strawberry scent that isn’t overpowering and smells like real strawberries. A winner in my book.” – Alissa Bell 


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Juno Clean 10 Cleansing Balm

“As someone who rarely wears makeup anymore, I’m all about a one-and-done cleansing routine that works on days when I have a full face on or when I’m only wearing sunscreen. The Clean 10 Cleansing Balm is gentle on my sensitive, acne-prone skin, but it can take off layers of face makeup and waterproof mascara in seconds without requiring you to harshly scrub your face. Plus, it feels soft and moisturizing as you apply.” – Katie Pittman 


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KORA Organics Noni Glow Face Oil

“I love the finished glow that this oil gives my face. Patting it on leaves my skin feeling healthy and hydrated, and the best part is, it really doesn’t take much to be effective. I’ve been using the mini-sized bottle for months now, because I only need a couple of drops in the morning to see a noticeable effect.” – Ryan Buxton

 


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Supergoop Glowscreen

As an extremely pale person, sunscreen is mandatory in my morning routine, but lots of facial SPF leaves behind a chalky veil on my face, or settles into my pores and lines (not that I have either of those…). Glowscreen, on the other hand, wears like a dream: It gives the exact right amount of shimmer and tint without looking fake-y, and never irritates my sometimes-cranky skin, no matter how much Retin-A I’ve been using. This is, as the skincare nerds on the internet say, a Holy Grail product for me.” – Molly Simms


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Touchland Power Mist Hydrating Hand Sanitzer

“Since the pandemic began, I’d squirt just about any hand sanitizer I could reach into the palms of my hands. But I grew tired of dealing with the yucky consistency, pungent smell, and sticky residue that came out of a lot of sanitizer jars. Those messes are over thanks to Touchland’s non-toxic sanitizer that smells like a vanilla sundae and spritzes on my hands with no issues. I love how the sleek case easily slides into all of my purses and that it leaves my hands smelling delicious.” – Alaina Mancini


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