The Ultimate List of the Best Organic Makeup Brands and Products

The Ultimate List of the Best Organic Makeup Brands and Products

When we set out create the ultimate list of organic makeup products, we honestly didn’t think that it would be so difficult! Let me tell you, it is a wild world out there filled with confusing ingredient lists, toxic garbage, and make up products that simply do not work well. We originally wanted to create a list of the top organic makeup brands, but we quickly discovered that not all makeup brands are free from not-so-desirable ingredients. For example, a brand may make an amazing non-toxic lipstick while also making a not-so-great foundation. Additionally, great brands don’t always use the best ingredients across all of their products. Thus, instead of compiling a list of organic makeup brands we rounded up the best 48 individual organic makeup products. This may very well be the most comprehensive list of organic makeup products ever created!

Every single organic and natural makeup product on this list is free from Parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, BHA, Coal Tars, Aluminum, Triclosan, Talc, Propylene Glycol, Polyethylene/PEGS, Steareths, Bismuth Oxychloride, Boron Nitride, TEA/DEA (triethanolamine/diethanolamne), and a whole host of other toxic ingredients. Each product also receives rave reviews from customers across the web, so you don’t have to worry about performance. Finally, all products and ingredients have also been referenced against the Environmental Working Groups database to ensure that they are of the highest quality. Many organic makeup products on our list contain mineral ingredients like titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica powder, and iron oxides. These are natural + non-toxic minerals that have been deemed safe for cosmetic use; however, many of them aren’t without controversy. If you are curious to learn more about these minerals and why they are so common in organic makeup, then check out our guide on Common Mineral Ingredients in Natural Makeup Products at the bottom of this list for more information on these ingredients, their safety, and how they work.

How to Use This List: The list below includes 48 organic and all-natural makeup products from the most reputable brands that we could find from our research. Some products contain organic ingredients while others contain non-gmo natural ingredients. Some are vegan and some are gluten free. Some contain titanium dioxide and some do not. You get the point. The best way to find the perfect makeup product for your particular needs is to use our “Filter By” feature below to sort the list by the criteria that matters most to you. This will let you easily find the best vegan makeup, gluten free makeup, organic makeup, and titanium dioxide free makeup. Happy hunting!


100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Healthy Organic Foundation ($47)

A full-covered all-natural foundation that is free from silicones and toxic ingredients. This foundation goes on incredibly smooth while leaving a creamy to matte finish that is almost powder-like. Even though it's a full coverage foundation, the product feels surprisingly lightweight on the skin. Contains both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as well as rice starch, cocoa bean, goji berries, mangosteen, maqui berry, and certified organic aloe.

Vapour Organic Beauty – Atmosphere Luminous Organic Foundation ($44)

A very breathable and lightweight foundation that is ideal for those looking for even skin tone and a natural finish This foundation can be built up for heavier coverage; however, coverage may not be enough for heavy blemishes and imperfections. Does not settle into fine lines and wrinkles and won't clog pores. It is packed with 70% organic and wildcrafted ingredients like sunflower oil, beeswax, castor oil, myrrh, frankincense, and lotus flower.

Au Naturale – Zero Gravity C2P Foundation ($38)

A fantastic daily foundation without all the chemicals. This foundation is filled with non-irritating organic and all-natural ingredients like jojoba oil, lavender oil, castor oil (great for acne-prone skin), and meadowfoam seed oil. It has a smooth consistency which is easy to blend, offers medium coverage that lasts all day, and has a very natural finishing look. Additionally, it's non-greasy and doesn't clump or feel cakey on the skin.

Omiana – Organic Liquid Foundation Mousse ($48)

A great foundation that contains no titanium dioxide, mica, or clays (it does contain zinc oxide and iron oxides). Made with simple organic ingredients like arrowroot powder, aloe vera coconut oil, green tea, and olive oil, this mousse foundation is the definition of "clean beauty." Fans of this foundation from Omiana love its full-coverage matte finish, creamy application, lightweight feel, and non-irritating formula for sensitive skin.

HAN – Organic Pressed Blush ($16)

An antioxidant packed and titanium dioxide-free pressed powder blush made from natural and organic ingredients like rice powder, argan oil, shea butter, acai oil, pomegranate, blueberry, green tea, sea kelp, quinoa, and grapefruit. Gentle and vibrant enough to double as an eyeshadow. The colors are richly pigmented, last all day, and can be built up to your desired vibrancy without caking. Available in natural shades of baby pink and strawberry.

Nudus – Organic Lipstick ($38)

Nudus keeps it simple: they only make luxury handcrafted organic and natural lipsticks pigmented with fruits, herbs, and minerals. They currently make 15 shades formulated with certified organic ingredients like shea butter, avocado, coconut oil, argan oil, marula oil, pomegranate oil, and raspberry oil. These nourishing oils give the product a creamy texture. The colors are best for those looking for flattering nude tones instead of vibrancy.

RMS Beauty – “Un” Cover Up Organic Foundation ($36)

This foundation is made with the RMS's signature certified organic coconut oil which allows the product to melt seamlessly into skin and provide a natural sheer finish. As an oil-based foundation, it is not matte (a little powder can help) and will leave a dewy finish. Great for dry skin types and a little goes a long way. Other certified organic ingredients include castor seed oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, and rosemary extract.

Juice Beauty – Phyto-Pigments Perfecting Organic Concealer ($25)

A highly pigmented all over concealer that gives coverage strong enough to hide dark circles. Simply rub your finger in the pot to warm up the product, then apply to your face. It doesn't crease and is made with moisturizing oils like coconut, grapeseed, and jojoba for easy blending and smooth finish. This concealer is also filled with certified organic anti-aging ingredients to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A win-win!

Vapour Organic Beauty – Mesmerize Organic Eye Color ($22)

An ideal creamy eyeshadow for those with very sensitive skin. It is crafted with organic ingredients like sunflower oil, beeswax, chrysanthemum flower, horsetail leaf extract, and eyebright leaf extract (as well as natural ingredients like mica, silica, non-GMO vitamin E, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, and carmine). Comes in 6 shades that glides on easily and won't fade throughout the day. Can be used for dramatic smokey eyes or natural looks.

Omiana – Long Stay Organic Cream Eyeliner Pot Black ($25)

Free from titanium dioxide and mica, this eyeliner was specifically formulated for sensitive eyes. It is filled with organic ingredients like castor seed oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, carnauba wax, candelilla wax, oregano leaf, thyme, cinnamon, rosemary, and goldenseal for a bold color that won't harm your skin. It dries quickly, leaves a vibrant black color, and, when using an angled brush, glides on smoothly for maximum staying power.

100% Pure – Bamboo Blur Powder ($40)

Quite possibly the only setting powder you'll ever need. This translucent powder is made from pure bamboo silica (anti-bacterial) which has a nourishing effect on the skin. The powder effortlessly controls excess shine and oil, sets makeup for long lasting wear, and reduces the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. It offers a silk-like consistency and doesn't leave a cakey look. Just dust on a very light coat for all day performance.

Au Naturale – Completely Covered Crème Concealer ($26)

An incredibly smooth and hydrating undereye + facial concealer that can build into any coverage level necessary. Works well for dark circles, but you'll definitely want to use a brush or sponge as an applicator for multiple layering as the stick can apply a bit thick for some. This non-irritating/ non-greasy formula (made with organic jojoba oil + organic lavender + castor seed oil) is great for those with acne scarring and sensitive skin.

100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Organic Water Foundation ($41)

If you're looking for an all-natural, dewy, light coverage foundation that offers a classic "no makeup" look, then you'll love this foundation. It gives just enough coverage to even out skin tone while also moisturizing for an ultra-natural glow. It is made with nothing but yummy natural and organic ingredients like aloe juice, peaches, apricots, green tea, Japanese honeysuckle, resveratrol, pomegranate, and rosemary (to name just a few).

Fat and the Moon – Organic Eye Coal Eyeshadows ($22)

Fat and the Moon makes really beautiful eyeshadows made from a few simple natural and organic ingredients (just organic sunflower oil, white clay, beeswax, and ultramarine in blue shades and black oxide in black shades). The colors are so vibrant that no layering is necessary to get a sultry look. These colors can even double as eyeliners. The sunflower oil base helps it apply smoothly then the powders dry to prevent creasing and smudging.

Afterglow Cosmetics – Infused Mineral Loose Powder Organic Foundation ($39)

If you are looking for a truly natural and organic mineral foundation for sensitive skin, then look no further than this product from Afterglow. The coverage is great as far as mineral powders go and it can even be mixed with your favorite moisturizer or water for a creamy finish. It offers SPF 20 protection and is made with organic grapefruit, rosemary, grape seed, jojoba, and olive fruit. Also contains titanium dioxide and Iron oxides.

Vapour Organic Beauty – Organic Siren Lipstick ($25)

These natural and organic lipsticks from Vapour come in 25 gorgeous colors for any occasion. They are made with a ton of organic ingredients like castor oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, plum oil, apricot oil, pomegranate seed oil, rose bud extract, lemon balm, and wildcrafted myrrh. This moisturizing formulation goes on silky smooth, won't dry out your lips, and leaves an intensely vibrant color (not sheer). Contains mica, titanium dioxide, and carmine.

100% Pure – Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks ($29)

These lipsticks are not only moisturizing, but the matte color lasts all day long. Available in 20 beautiful shades that you won't believe are only pigmented with fruits like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, and pomegranates. A light gloss can be applied over the product if you find the mattifying effect too drying. Cocoa butter and shea help this product glide on your lips like a rich butter.

Juice Beauty – Phyto-Pigments Flawless Serum Foundation ($44)

Why just cover fine lines when you can diminish them? This foundation fights wrinkles with a mega-dose of organic anti-aging ingredients (certified organic aloe, resveratrol grapeseed oil, and fruit stem cells). As a foundation, it is easily blended, doesn't settle into wrinkles, and offers great coverage. It has a thin consistency which provides an airy feeling on the skin. Doesn't contain coconut oil, so it works well for acne-prone skin.

RMS Beauty – Organic Living Luminizer ($38)

One of RMS Beauty's bestselling products--and for good reason. Made with certified organic ingredients (like castor seed oil, coconut oil, beeswax, and rosemary) this natural highlighter is perfect for everyday use. This highlighter blends easily and leaves a totally natural glow. The coconut oil helps to achieve a sheer dewy finish without excessive sparkle or greasiness. Great for all skin types except for those who are sensitive to coconut oil.

100% Pure – Lip Caramels ($26)

These lip caramels are intensely pigmented (not sheer at all) for a deep, rich, bold lip color. True to 100% Pure's style, these lip colors are pigmented with luscious fruit + achiote seeds and are formulated with naturally nourishing ingredients like pomegranate seed oil, sea buckthorn oil, shea butter, vitamin E, blackcurrant, rosemary, and thyme. Goes on thick and creamy (not sticky) before drying into a beautifully long-lasting tint.

Au Naturale – Semi-Matte Powder Foundation ($32)

This all-natural non-irritating foundation powder comes in 15 shades for the perfect match. It's light, applies easily, and lasts all day. This powder doesn't settle into fine lines and wrinkles (making it perfect for mature skin). It offers light/medium coverage that can easily be built up for a natural finish. This product does not contain organic ingredients (made from titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxides, mica, silica, and carnuba wax).

Omiana – Adaptive Pressed Powder Organic Foundation ($48)

This natural and organic foundation offers medium to full-coverage for the most sensitive skin types. If you've suffered from breakouts due to other foundations, this may be worth a try. It doesn't contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Instead, it is made with gentle ingredients like mica, iron oxides, sericite (another form of mica), organic thyme, organic rosemary, jojoba oil, lavender extract, green tea, and vitamin E. Great for dry skin.

100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Pomegranate Oil Anti-Aging Lipstick ($30)

Quite possibly the holy-grail of lipsticks! These fruit pigmented lipsticks from 100% Pure are ultra- moisturizing and glide on like a good lip gloss. The colors are vibrant and last all day. Best of all, they are packed with vitamins and anti-aging fruit oils to help nourish and protect your lips. Formulated with natural ingredients like shea butter, pomegranate seed oil, cocoa butter, blueberries, cherries, chocolate, and grapes (to name a few).

Afterglow Cosmetics – Infused Mineral Pressed Powder Organic Blush ($26)

An all-natural and organic mineral blush that goes on light + natural, but can be easily built up into a more vibrant color. It is very delicate (pressed powder breaks easily) and feels lightweight on the skin. It is made with organic ingredients like tapioca starch, corn starch, castor seed oil, pomegranate, calendula flower oil, thyme oil, rosemary, rose oil, and gluten-free vitamin E. Also contains mica, titanium dioxide, and iron oxides.

Au Naturale – The Anywhere Crème Blush Multi-stick ($35)

Fans of Au Naturale rave that this is the holy-grail of natural blushes. Available in 6 non-sparkly creamy shades, this blush goes on very smooth, blends easily, and leaves a natural finish. The non-toxic formula is great for sensitive skin types or those just looking for a natural product. Made with organic jojoba oil, organic lavender, castor oil, meadowfoam seed oil, tapioca starch, as well as titanium dioxide, mica, silica, and iron oxides.

RMS Beauty – Tinted Organic “Un” Powder ($34)

For those seeking the "no makeup" makeup look. This loose powder foundation offers natural sheer coverage with a mild tint that's best for mattifying and finishing (not full coverage). Not ideal for very dry skin types or those with facial eczema, but great for all other skin types. Additionally, this powder does a fantastic job at minimizing the appearance of large pores. Contains only silica, mica, titanium dioxide, and iron oxides.

Juice Beauty – Organic Blemish Clearing Powder ($33)

Designed to cover and treat blemishes, this very light/translucent powder is ideal for those with oily acne-prone skin. Using a combination of bamboo (antiseptic), aloe vera (anti-inflammatory), and tapioca powder (controls excess oil), this blemish powder works as a spot treatment to reduce breakouts. For best results, use it on top of your moisturizer or foundation cream. It is also packed with certified organic + antioxidant rich ingredients.

100% Pure – Long Lasting Organic Eye Liners ($30)

It can be surprisingly difficult to find a solid performing eyeliner that isn't filled with toxins and undesirable ingredients; however, these fruit pigmented eyeliners are close to perfect. They are made with certified organic ingredients like black tea and aloe and all-natural ingredients like oregano leaf, thyme, rosemary, and honeysuckle flower. Perfect for sensitive skin and eyes. Goes on like liquid silk, doesn't smudge, and lasts all day.

Omiana – Matte Loose Powder Eyeshadows ($13)

Mica and titanium dioxide free loose powder eyeshadows made from just 4 simple ingredients: zinc oxide, rice powder, kaolin clay, and iron oxides (for pigment). Perfect for sensitive skin types and those whose skin reacts poorly to mineral formulations. All 13 colors are subtle and last all day without fading. The darkest shade is more like a light charcoal than a true black. Simply use a damp angled brush and these powders double as eyeliners.

Rose Mira – Organic Cheek & Lip Blush ($50)

An anti-aging and deeply flattering lip and cheek blush made from natural and organic ingredients. Rose Mira is a boutique organic brand known for their high-end formulations and this product is no different. This tint is filled with 95% luxury organic ingredients like organic buriti oil, organic immortelle flowers, organic blue mallow flowers, essential oils, and Moroccan argan oil. Contains mica for a shimmery pigment and titanium dioxide.

Afterglow Cosmetics – Infused Pure Soul Organic Mascara ($27)

Want a mascara that won't flake, won't clump, and is formulated with organic and natural ingredients? Meet Afterglow's Pure Soul Mascara. It is made with nourishing organic ingredients (like saw palmetto, aloe, carnauba wax, and wildcrafted candelilla wax) and a plethora of natural ingredients. It goes on very wet, which makes it easy to layer for a dramatic lengthened look. This formula is hypoallergenic and great for sensitive eyes.

100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented 2nd Skin Foundation ($46)

One of 100% Pure's most well-reviewed foundations. This lightweight foundation offers medium to full-coverage (easily buildable) and has a natural primer (olive squalene) built in. It melts into the skin and blends easily with a finger or sponge for a dewy finish. Very dry/flaky skin types are advised to use a moisturizer when applying this product. Made with natural ingredients (no organic) like turmeric, lavender, calendula, and vitamin E.

Juice Beauty – Phyto-Pigments Last Looks Organic Cream Blush ($25)

A very flattering cream blush that feels amazing on the skin. Offers a radiant (but not sparkly) dewy glow and it effortlessly blends on bare skin or over a foundation. The pigments are very natural, but can be built up to a more dramatic appearance. Lasts all day without the need for reapplication. best of all, it is made with natural, plant derived, and certified organic ingredients like coconut oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, and castor oil.

Vapour Organic Beauty – Stratus Luminous Skin Perfecting Organic Primer ($48)

These ultra-lightweight primers from Vapour are designed to minimize the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles while evening out skin tone for foundation application. They can even be used as an eyeshadow primer to prevent creasing. Not an ideal primer for those with excessive redness. It is filled with organic and wildcrafted ingredients like camellia oil, papaya extract, holy basil, frankincense, myrrh, elderberry, and sunflower oil.

Omiana – Loose Powder Blush ($30)

A long-lasting and gentle powder blush made without titanium dioxide, mica, and only three shades contain ultramarines (committed, reliable, and optimistic). Made with just zinc oxide, rice powder, kaolin clay, and iron oxides (for pigment), these vibrant blushes are great for sensitive + acne-prone skin types. The colors can be applied lightly for a natural finish or layered up for a bright pop of color. Choose from 11 long-lasting shades.

Afterglow Cosmetics – Perfecting Under Eye Organic Concealer ($31)

A thick and creamy organic concealer that's powerful enough to hide dark circles. Crafted from a host of certified organic ingredients like coconut oil, organic cocoa butter, organic white tea extract, and organic marshmallow extract, you don't have to sacrifice your health for radiant dewy skin. Applies like a silky butter while hydrating, masking imperfections, and brightening the eye area. Won't crease or settle into wrinkles and fine lines.

100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Organic Mascara ($30)

Made with certified organic black tea and a ton of natural fruits and veggies for a healthy, yet vibrant look, this fruit pigmented mascara may be 100% Pure's most highly rated makeup product. It smells like berries, lasts all day long without flaking, gentle enough for sensitive eyes, and lengthens eyelashes like crazy. Key ingredients include cocoa powder, coffee beans, beeswax, rosemary, blackcurrant, blackberries, and honey. Contains mica.

RMS Beauty – Pressed Powder Organic Eyeshadow ($20)

These powder eyeshadows from RMS Beauty can be applied lightly for a naturally sheer look or layered up for a vivacious pop of color. Has a surprisingly silky texture for a powder and can be applied with a moist brush for a creamier look. It is made with certified organic raw coconut oil (the brand's signature ingredient), buriti fruit oil, jojoba oil, and organic rosemary. Also contains titanium dioxide, mica, silica, vitamin E, and iron oxides.

Au Naturale – Crème de la Crème Organic Eyeshadow ($24)

An all-natural and organic creme blush offered in 15 beautiful vibrant and neutral shades. Doesn't contain any heavy glitter, but does provide a stunning pearl-like finish and creamy texture. Can be easily applied using a brush, finger, or straight from the tube. Contains organic jojoba oil and organic lavender oil as well as tapioca starch, castor seed oil, meadowfoam oil, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, mica, and silica.

Omiana – Creamy Matte Intense Coverage Organic Concealer ($38)

A full-coverage concealer that won't clog your pores. If your skin has no issues to titanium dioxide, but you are sensitive to mica, then this mica-free blend may be perfect. It offers fantastic all-day coverage and contains organic coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, palmarosa oil, mineral-derived ozokerite, carnauba wax, iron oxides, titanium dioxide, ultramarine blue, and vegetable stearic acid. This will last forever as a little goes a long way.

100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Blush ($37)

An all-day blush that is highly pigmented with antioxidant-rich fruits (like cranberry, raspberry, strawberry, cherry, and pomegranate) for a vibrant, yet natural look. Applies easily, truly lasts all day long, and a little goes a long way. This blush does contain mica which creates a light glittery shimmer. Other ingredients include rosehip seed oil, avocado butter, cocoa butter, goji berries, vitamin C, vitamin E, and rice starch.

RMS Beauty – Organic Cream Eyeshadow ($28)

An RMS Beauty fan favorite! Made with a ton of certified organic ingredients like coconut oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, cocoa butter, and rosemary extract (as well as titanium dioxide, iron oxides, and mica), this naturally creamy eyeshadow applies easily with just a swipe of the finger. Goes on creamy and dries slightly for staying power. Works best when applied to a nude eyelid (no oils or primers) as the coconut oil is already very moisturizing.

100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Long Last Concealer w/ Super Fruits ($26)

This long lasting creamy concealer is great at covering up blemishes + redness without looking caked on (it is resistant to caking due to water, sweat, and oil). It gets its lovely pigments from nourishing super fruits and vegetables (as opposed to iron oxides and other pigments) which are non-irritation and non-toxic. Contains no organic ingredients, but does contain all-natural zinc oxide, shea butter, candelilla wax, green coffee, and more.

Omiana – Creamy Mineral Lipstick ($25)

Formulated without titanium dioxide (and some shades are offered in mica-free versions), these lipsticks offer vibrant color minus the gnarly ingredients. The colors are not too intense, but not too sheer either. Instead of thick butters (like shea, cocoa, and avocado), these lipsticks, instead, rely on sunflower oil, beeswax, olive oil, and almond oil for their creamy texture. They don't last as long as other lipsticks, but a lip liner can help.

RMS Beauty – Organic Lip Shine ($25)

These sheer lip glosses add a pop of shine and a hint of color to your lips. These aren't lip colors that will last all day, but are more like light glosses with subtle color. They are made with certified organic ingredients like coconut oil, castor seed oil, buriti oil, carnauba wax, cocoa butter, beeswax, and rosemary extract. Does contain titanium dioxide, iron oxides, and mica for shimmer. Mica and castor oil may be drying for sensitive lips.

100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Lip Butters ($15)

These fruit pigmented lip butters are good enough to eat. They are made with highly moisturizing ingredients like shea, cocoa butter, vitamin E, and avocado butter, and pigmented with yummy berries like cranberry, strawberry, tomato, carrots, and peaches. These pigments blend with your natural lip color to form a sheer tint. Has a slight peppermint flavor. Available in yummy flavors and colors like strawberry, peach, cranberry, and pomegranate.

Omiana – Mineral Pencil Eyeliners ($18)

Available in 7 colors (matte shades do not contain mica), these eyeliner pencils are perfect for sensitive eyes. The formula glides on easily (no need to warm up with fingers for smooth application) and is made with sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, beeswax, carnauba wax, rhus succedanea fruit wax, vitamin E, and iron oxides for pigment. The colors offer great coverage and are a mix between bold and subtle, so they are great for everyday wear.

100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Eye Shadow ($20)

These natural eyeshadows get their beautiful pigments from yummy fruits like blackberries, pomegranates, peaches, papaya, cherries, raspberries. Great as base layer eyeshadows or built up for a dramatic look. Contains mica powder for shimmery look without glitter. While it doesn't contain organic ingredients, it is packed with anti-aging goodies like rosehip seed oil, vitamin C, acai, lavender, avocado butter, rice starch, and resveratrol.

Common Mineral Ingredients in Natural Makeup Products

There are a few ingredients that you’ll see pop up as you research the ingredient lists of many natural and organic makeup products. These ingredients are titanium dioxide, iron oxides, mica, silica, zinc oxide, and ultramarines. All of these ingredients are natural minerals that serve very specific purposes in cosmetics. Although they may have non-natural sounding names, these minerals are indeed natural and generally considered safe by many organizations for cosmetic usage. However, some of them aren’t without their share of controversy. We’ve done our research and compiled the best information that we could find on the safety and effectiveness of these minerals.


Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)

There is a ton of misinformation floating around about the safety of titanium dioxide. Despite all of the scary things that you might read on blogs about titanium dioxide (TiO2), the mineral may actually be safer than you think. Titanium dioxide is a naturally occurring, non-toxic, unreactive white pigmented powder mineral used primarily in cosmetics because it has a brilliant white pigment, reduces the opacity of product formulas (helps to provide “full coverage”), and protects the skin from UVA/UVA radiation. Much of the fuss about titanium dioxide stems from this study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (source) where rats were exposed to high doses of airborne TiO2 (250mg/m) for 6 hours/day, 5 days/week, for two years. At the end of the study, the rats were found to have an increased rate of lung cancer due to this inhalation. Many people look at that study and determine that TiO2 = bad. There are several problems with this. First, rats are not fair indicators of human performance (rats have thinner skin and are more susceptible to lung stimulants than humans). Second, this is an excessive amount of TiO2 exposure! There is limited evidence of TiO2 carcinogenetic in humans outside of heavy inhalation exposure in industrial and manufacturing settings. In actuality, there are no known adverse effects of TiO2 in human cosmetic use (cosmetic grade titanium dioxide is also known as TD 77891). Even the Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates TiO2 from 1-3 depending on aerosolized (airborne) usage and quantity due to this lack of evidence. There is some concern, however, over titanium dioxide nano-particles because these particles are theoretically small enough to penetrate the upper layers of the dermis. However, a recent EPA study in 2010 (source) showed that “uptake of nano-TiO2 through healthy skin was not observed.” Meaning, there is no evidence that nano-TiO2 was absorbed by the skin into the bloodstream nor was any irritation due to the usage of nano-TiO2 was observed. With all of this said, some people have reported anecdotally that their skin reacts poorly to products with TiO2. Since there is very little evidence of human irritation, it is impossible to tell at the moment whether the irritation was caused by TiO2, nano-TiO2, or something else within their products. As with all ingredients, it is important to do your research, understand the facts, and make decisions that you feel are right for your health.


Iron Oxides

Iron oxides have been used since the 1900s as natural pigments in cosmetics and other everyday items. These are naturally occurring mineral deposits (think red rock canyons) that won’t irritate the skin, are resistant to moisture, and deliver vibrant color. Iron oxides are some of the few “natural” ingredients where you’ll be better off using the synthetic lab-created versions. Why? Iron oxides that occur naturally are often riddled with heavy metals and impurities like mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. The levels of heavy metals in iron oxides are heavily regulated by the FDA for safety. As a result, iron oxides that are used in cosmetics are typically synthetically produced in a laboratory setting so that they can be purified and free from irritants. Lab-created iron oxides are considered exceptionally safe, hypoallergenic, and free from impurities. Iron oxides received a score of 2 from the Environmental Working Group for safety.



Mica is a silicate mineral used in many natural mineral makeup lines because of their beautiful shimmering appearance. The word mica actually based on the Latin word for “to glitter.” While there are no studies that have shown mica to have negative health effects in cosmetics, the Cosmetics Database lists mica as “moderately hazardous” because lung inflammation has been noted due to excessive exposure industrial settings. It is important to separate the hazards of industrial use from that of cosmetics. In fact, the only known population of people to experience any negative effects from mica are workers in manufacturing factories, mines, mills, and construction work—not cosmetic usage. Mica powder receives a score of 2 from the Environmental Working Group for safety. While rare, mica particles do have slightly sharp edges and some people have experienced eye sensitivity or general irritation when using products with mica. If you’d like to avoid mica, then look for products that are matte (no shimmer) and avoid nano-sized mica particles (which can exacerbate irritation). Note: most mineral and all-natural makeup contains mica powder in varying quantities.



As one of the most common minerals on earth, silica is an extremely versatile cosmetic ingredient. It is used to absorb sweat, helps product spread easily onto the skin’s surface, and it is used as thickening agent in many creams.  There are two types of silica (one good and one not good for health): crystalline silica (not good) and hydrated silica (good). Hydrated silica (also known as silicone dioxide or amorphous silica) is considered safe for general use by the FDA, has no known links to cancer in cosmetic usage (source), has received a safety score of 2 from the Environmental Working group, and does not cause lung inflammation like crystalline silica. One issue with silica is that it is comedogenic and can clog pores for some. If you’re nervous about clogged pores, then it is best to avoid products with silica or use these products sparingly.


Zinc Oxide

Zinc Oxide is an inorganic white powder mineral that is used in a wide range of personal care products. While its most popular function is as a sunscreen, zinc oxide is also used as a thickening, lubricating, and bulking agent. It is also used to reduce skin inflammation (think diaper rashes, allergic reactions, and irritations from friction). It is inhert and has shown virtually no risk of skin irritation from cosmetic use. The problem isn’t with zinc oxide, which is fantastic, but with nano-zinc particles which are made smaller to ease absorption. Remember old school white sunscreens? Well, non-nano zinc oxide tends to leave a white residue, so nano-zinc was created to eliminate this. The problem is that these nano-particles may penetrate the skin and may be absorbed into the blood stream. For this reason, it is best to avoid products that use nano-zinc oxide particles. Zinc oxide receives a safety score of 2-3 from the environmental working group depending on its particle size and usage.



Natural ultramarine pigments occur within lapiz lazuli (a blue stone), but can also be made from mineral sources such as sodium carbonate and certain clays. Like iron oxide pigments, natural ultramarines can contain unsafe amounts of heavy metals which are regulated by the FDA. As a result, most ultramarines are lab synthesized for purity. You will frequently see the phrase “may contain ultramarines” in many natural makeup ingredient lists. This is because ultramarines are typically only used in darker shades of foundations or in blue/green shades of other cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group gives ultramarine a score of 1-4 depending on their purity (lab created or natural) and usage. Outside of the potential for heavy metal presence in natural ultramarines, there are no known health hazards associated with the cosmetic usage of these minerals.


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