These 6 Clean Makeup Products are the Only Items Your Cosmetic Bag Needs

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Learn how and why you should shop for clean makeup brands. 

hand holding ILIA eyebrow pencil on wood table with other cosmetics in a row

As you may have seen, we announced a new non-toxic series! Every week, we’ll be sharing a helpful guide to replacing products in your home with the best non-toxic products. At the end, we’ll be giving away 2 bundles valued at $500 filled with clean living products!

*I’m neither a scientist nor a doctor. This information is based on my personal experience, research, and opinion. You should always consult a healthcare professional before making any changes to your current regimen or if you have questions.

Why skip traditional makeup products?

beige tan and brown makeup samples smeared on surface

Many cosmetic brands you see on store shelves and even makeup kits targeted to children can contain extremely harmful chemicals that are linked to cancer and other serious health concerns. A few are listed below.

Here are just some of the chemicals found in many cosmetics:

  • 🛑 Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)Can disrupt hormones and is linked to cancer.
  • 🛑 Butyl, propyl, and ethyl parabensCan disrupt hormones and is linked to cancer. 
  • 🛑 Dibutyl & Diethylhexyl phthalates Can disrupt hormones and may cause damage to reproductive systems.
  • 🛑 Ethanolamines (AKA: DEA, NDEA, TEA, & MEA) May damage reproductive systems and is linked to cancer.
  • 🛑 Formaldehyde Known to cause cancer with repeated exposure.
  • 🛑 Isobutyl & Isopropyl parabensCan disrupt hormones and cause damage to reproductive systems.
  • 🛑 M- and o-phenylenediamineCauses skin irritations, can damage DNA, and is linked to cancer.
  • 🛑 MercuryRisk of damage to kidney and nervous system.
  • 🛑 Methylene glycolA type of formaldehyde; linked to cancer.
  • 🛑 Paraformaldehyde – A type of formaldehyde; linked to cancer.
  • 🛑 PEG-10 LaurateA possible carcinogen that enhances the absorption of other chemicals into the skin.
  • 🛑 Petrolatum (or anything petroleum-based) – Long-term exposure can lead to clogged pores, pneumonia, allergies, and infections.
  • 🛑 PFAs (long-chain per- and Polyfluoroalkyl) – Linked to cancer.
  • 🛑 Phthalates – Can impact your natural hormones and lead to health issues such as lower fertility, development issues, and a higher risk of cancer.
  • 🛑 Quaternium 15Releases formaldehyde 
  • 🛑 Synthetic Fragrances, “Parfum”, or “Fragrance” – May cause headaches, breathing difficulties, cardiovascular and neurological problems, mucosal irritation, and contact dermatitis.

woman holding up toxic free makeup

So how do you find clean makeup brands in a world of dirty ones?

In an extremely under-regulated industry “clean beauty” can have vastly different meanings. However, one of the strictest standards a clean beauty brand can meet is Credo’s Clean Standard because they’re proud to be a reliable voice of truly clean and toxic-free cosmetics. They also uphold the strictest standards in the industry.

Here are the core values & standards Credo’s Clean Standard products must meet:

  • They must contain the best & safest ingredients. They have their own science-based hazard assessments and partnerships with experts in the industry to study and understand what shouldn’t be in cosmetics. The Dirty List™ is the foundation of the Credo Clean Standard and contains over 2,700 chemicals that are prohibited and restricted from their approved products due to safety and/or sustainability concerns.
  • Sustainable packaging & impactful post-consumer ethics. They require their brands to adhere to their Sustainable Packaging Guidelines which use the best practices for packaging, and end-of-life management, eliminate the use of single-use items, and reduce the use of virgin plastic and non-recyclable materials.
  • Positive environment & community impacts. From manufacturing workers to the communities near manufacturing facilities or sourcing locations is a critical part of Credo’s clean beauty mission. They believe people and the planet are just as important as the ingredients you put on your skin.

Below are my top picks for the best clean makeup products that really work and are Credo-approved:

best foundation bronzer and concealer on white background

eyebrow pencil lip liner and mascara on white background

  1. Foundation ILIA Skin Rewind Complexion Stick
  2. BronzerLYS No Limits Cream Bronzer Stick
  3. ✅ ConcealerKosas Revealer Concealer
  4. ✅ Eyebrow Pencil ILIA In Full Micro-Tip Eyebrow Pencil
  5. ✅ Lip Color exa All Smiles Bare Lip Liner
  6. ✅ Mascara DIME Beauty Lash Duo

1. Best Foundation: ILIA Skin Rewind Complexion Stick

hand holding an ILIA stick foundation

ILIA Skin Rewind Complexion Stick $48 shipped

How to save: Score 15% off your first purchase when you sign up for ILIA emails.

This ILIA foundation stick is brand new, so isn’t on Credo’s site just yet. However, given the brand’s existing presence there, I think it’s safe to assume it’ll be available soon. ILIA is known for its makeup that acts like skincare because it’s formulated with thoughtful skin-nourishing ingredients that are organic and ethically sourced. Some of the highlight ingredients in this stick are Winged Kelp Extract (restores luminosity), Ceramide-Peptide Complex (visibility firms & strengthens skin barrier), and Butterfly Lavender Extract (smooths fine lines and wrinkles). 🤩

I believe this foundation stick is for youthful and mature skin types across the board. It has a medium coverage so it doesn’t feel like your makeup is caked on, and hides all redness and breakouts. As a bonus, it can also be used as a contour if you get 1-2 shades darker.

*I am wearing the color “9N – Tupelo”.

woman holding ILIA foundation stick to face with steaks of makeup on cheeks

To recap, here are the top 5 reasons why you should switch to ILIA’s Complextion Stick:

  1. ✅ Credo-approved brand
  2. ✅ Clinically proven to improve the look of skin
  3. ✅ Buildable, medium coverage
  4. ✅ For all skin ages in 40+ shades
  5. ✅ Travel friendly

2. Best bronzer: LYS No Limits Cream Bronzer Stick

stock photo of LYS No Limits Cream Bronzer Sticks

LYS No Limits Cream Bronzer Stick $20 shipped

How to save: Keep an eye out for Sephora sale dates to possibly score this on sale. Shipping is free for Sephora rewards members (free to join).

The LYS Cream Bronzer Stick is so popular I wasn’t able to get my hands on my ideal shade. However, its cult-like following is still enough for me to recommend it if you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to upping your ILIA stick shade that I shared above. It can be used in multiple ways, such as bronzing, contouring, and even as a cream eyeshadow or blush, providing versatility in makeup application.

LYS is committed to using safe & toxic-free ingredients, hence their Credo Clean certifications. Their bronzer’s key ingredients are Rosehip Oil (helps reduce the look of dark spots and improves moisture), Green Tea Extract (soothes and replenishes skin), and Sodium Hyaluronate which helps skin retain moisture and visibly plumps to improve the look of fine lines.

close up of LYS No Limits Cream Bronzer Stick

To recap, here are the top 5 reasons why you should switch to LYS No Limits Cream Bronzer Stick:

  1. ✅ Credo Clean
  2. ✅ Versatile for many uses
  3. ✅ Easy to build and blend
  4. ✅ Improves overall skin with nourishing ingredients
  5. ✅ Natural, glowy finish

3. Best Concealer: Kosas Revealer Concealer

hand holding kosas concealer with box in front of monstera plant

Kosas Revealer Concealer $30 shipped

How to save: Try the smaller size for $15 shipped to be sure you like it before paying $30 for the full-size option.

As a previous avid user of the Tarte Shape Tape, I cannot rave about Kosas Revealer Concealer enough! 🤩 Just like ILIA, Kosas also packs their formulas with skin-loving ingredients. It’s also a Credo-approved product so you can be sure the ingredients and manufacturing are of the highest standard.

Some of the highlight ingredients in this clean makeup concealer are Caffeine and Pink Algae Extract (fights dark circles, puffiness, and dullness), Hyaluronic Acid & Peptides (hydrates and visibly plumps skin), and Arnica and Panthenol (calms blemishes and redness). This concealer is easy to blend and it melts into your skin. And since the formula is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic it doesn’t clog pores, is suitable for spot treatment on acne, and overall the ideal choice for even those with sensitive skin.

*I am wearing the color “0.5 N”.

woman putting kosas concealer on undereye with white beauty sponge

To recap, here are the top 5 reasons why you should switch to Kosas Revealer Concealer:

  1. ✅ Credo Clean
  2. ✅ Doesn’t crease in fine lines
  3. ✅ Clinically proven to improve bare skin
  4. ✅ Skin-like appearance with buildable, medium coverage
  5. ✅ Safe for all skin types

4. Best Eyebrow Pencil: ILIA In Full Micro-Tip Eyebrow Pencil

hand holding ILIA eyebrow pencil and foundation stick in front of monstera plant

ILIA In Full Micro-Tip Eyebrow Pencil $24

How to save: Love this eyebrow pencil? Pay $21.60 shipped from when you set up a recurring subscription.

For me, this ILIA eyebrow pencil performs just the same as the super popular Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. It features an ultra-fine tip that never needs sharpening allowing for precise application and the creation of hair-like strokes to fill in sparse areas. Everyone always asks who does my eyebrows and they’re amazed when I say “I DO!”. 👏🏻 The formula lasts all day and is buildable, providing versatility to create both subtle and more defined brow looks.

To follow suit, this clean makeup eyebrow pencil contains nourishing ingredients to help care for your brows, such as jojoba oil and shea butter, yet it’s not oily whatsoever.

*I am wearing the color “Soft Brown”.

woman holding up finger pointing to eyebrow pencil

To recap, here are the top 5 reasons why you should switch to ILIA In Full Micro-Tip Eyebrow Pencil:

  1. ✅ Credo Clean
  2. ✅ Nourishing brow ingredients
  3. ✅ Never needs to be sharpened
  4. ✅ Has a hair-like appearance
  5. ✅ Versatile for looks and color shades

5. Best Lip Color: exa All Smiles Bare Lip Liner

hand holding exa lip liner

exa All Smiles Bare Lip Liner $16

How to save: Opt to Subscribe & Save and pay $15.20 shipped

The most frequently asked question I get on Instagram is what I am wearing on my lips and I’m thrilled to have found the cleanest option on the market to share with you! The exa All Smiles Bare Lip Liner is a matte lip liner that complements a wide range of lip colors and skin tones. It features a smooth, creamy texture that allows for precise application and definition. Plus it’s waterproof!

Some of the highlight ingredients in their nourishing ingredients are Mango Seed Oil and Shea Butter to help hydrate and condition the lips while providing long-lasting wear.

*I am wearing the color “Bare Your Hopes”.

close up of woman putting on red exa lip liner

To recap, here are the top 5 reasons why you should switch to exa All Smiles Bare Lip Liner:

  1. ✅ Credo Clean
  2. ✅ Long-lasting
  3. ✅ Hydrating from rich plant oils
  4. ✅ 7 nude shades designed for all skin tones
  5. ✅ Waterproof

6. Best Mascara: DIME Beauty Lash Duo

hand holding DIME mascara and primer tubes with boxes

DIME Beauty Mascara $22

How to save: Opt for the auto-renew to score 25% off + FREE shipping making your final cost just $16.50 shipped

Though DIME isn’t currently available on Credo’s website, it matches up well with other Credo-approved brands like ILIA’s clean mascara when comparing ingredient for ingredient. DIME also has their own DIME Clean Promise which encompasses their commitment to ingredient transparency, manufacturing sustainable, USA-made products, and staying wellness-focused, among many other admirable attributes.

I also recommend the lash-nourishing primer with amino acids and peptides that nourish your lashes and improve their appearance with consistency. It helps separate my lashes perfectly before applying mascara so it really does excel at zero clumping or flaking. The DIME mascara itself is just as impressive as the coordinating primer and it boasts beneficial ingredients like Squalene to help prevent lash breakage, Theobroma Cacao Extract which adds moisture, shine, and volume, and Pantothenic Acid which helps rebuild hair shafts.

woman putting on dime mascara

To recap, here are the top 5 reasons why you should switch to DIME Mascara:

  1. ✅ DIME Clean™ Promise
  2. ✅ Lash nourishing ingredients
  3. ✅ No flaking or clumping
  4. ✅ Option to add beneficial primer
  5. ✅ Many Certifications including EWG Partner and Leaping Bunny Certified

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Sara’s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

Join The Discussion

Comments 11

  1. Sandy

    I wonder if anyone has ever tried Crunchi products? They are non-toxic and clean. I tend to switch between them and Ilia a lot.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Hey Sandy! I did check with Sara and that is a great option too! 🙌❤️

  2. Lisa

    I LOVE Ilia super serum because it is foundation and SPF in one. Everyone needs spf year round.

    Other clean brands to try: Pure Anada from Canada ( usually a deal because of the exchange rate) Also: Lemongrass Spa, based out of Florida

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks a bunch for sharing a few other brand suggestions and letting us know how much you love the ILIA super serum, Lisa. 💕

  3. Geri

    What would your thoughts be on finishing powder?

    • Sara (Hip Sidekick)

      Hey Geri! I don’t have a recommendation based on personal use as this isn’t something I use regularly. However, I’ve heard great things about ILIA’s Finishing Powder and it’s very highly rated. It’s also Credo approved. 🙂

  4. Luna

    As the daughter of 2 scientists, a phd chemist and phd molecular biologist, I wonder if you have consulted with any experts regarding your claims? How much of these toxins are in each product? Are there peer reviewed academic studies backing up your statements? Is this similar to anti-GMO claims? Where, in fact, even most corn is a GMO, and stating GMO’s are harmful is misinformation.

  5. Di

    I prefer checking out products on the Think Dirty Shop Clean app. Ilia is not rated well there.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for the heads up on where you’ve been checking into items, Di! ❤️

  6. Kim

    Does anyone know of a spf 30 spray sunscreen available that is clean? I can find the cream kind but I haven’t found a spray.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Great question, Kim! We did check with Sara on this and it seems the EWG doesn’t recommend spray sunscreens. They do have an article with some information on that here if helpful. 🤗❤️

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