What is Natural Makeup?

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  • Written By: Melanie Smeltzer
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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Organic and natural beauty products are becoming increasingly popular as people are discovering the disadvantages of using chemical-based cosmetics. Natural makeup is typically made of plant extracts and mineral pigments. These ingredients are widely thought to be less harsh than traditional cosmetic ingredients and may also be more effective at preventing skin damage. Although there may be many positives to using natural cosmetics, there may also be a downside, as these products are not generally regulated for safety by government health organizations, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.

Natural makeup is a term that is frequently used to refer to makeup that is entirely organic. In some cases, however, labels can be misleading. Although a label may state that the makeup is organic, a quick look at the ingredients may reveal that there are only a few organic extracts. If a product is less than 50% organic, it may contain many of the chemical ingredients that can be found in traditional cosmetics. In the United States, to be approved as a truly organic product, the packaging must bear a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) seal, which generally indicates that the cosmetic is made up of at least 95% organic ingredients — products can be "all natural" without being certified organic, however, as long as they contain all-natural ingredients.


Three of the most popular forms of natural makeup are foundation, concealer and powder. Mica, iron and zinc oxide, and boron nitrate are common dry ingredients that are often placed into finishing powders. Beeswax and aloe vera oil are sometimes used in liquid foundations and concealers, as they can be nourishing to the skin and are also effective thickening agents.

Lipstick and eyeshadow are also important forms of natural makeup. Organic or natural lipsticks usually bear a short list of ingredients, being mostly made up of oil, wax, and coloring. The wax usually consists of plant wax or beeswax, while jojoba and chamomile oils are often used to make the lipstick more spreadable. Colors are frequently made from herb and vegetable sources, such as beets, annatto extract or turmeric, but may also consist of insect or mineral-based products.

Eyeshadow is typically made from organic or natural ingredients that are similar to the ones found in both foundation and lipstick. This form of natural makeup may contain a number of waxes and minerals as well as coloring agents. Eyeliners and mascaras generally contain wax and coloring as well but may also contain natural oils, gels or fruit and herb extracts, such as black tea, goji berry, or rosemary.


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