Clean Makeup Brands for Better Hormone Health
When I was trying to get pregnant, I was so shocked to learn about all of the dangerous toxins and chemicals in makeup (and skincare products). I was even more shocked to learn about the ways that these products potentially impact fertility. It Starts with the Egg is a great resource that explains the science of toxins like BPA and phthalates having such a profound impact on our fertility, egg health, and ability to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Finding fertility-safe, non-toxic makeup was going to take a lot of work!
Following the disturbing truths I had discovered, I decided to make a ton of lifestyle changes to flush these toxins out of my life. I decided to throw away all of my makeup and replace it with the most affordable “natural” makeup products I could find. Through trial and error (and hours of scouring the internet and different stores) I was finally able to find some non-toxic solutions. Along with getting rid of the BPA and phthalates from my routine, I would also recommend staying away from other toxins like parabens, triclosans, and fragrance. For a big list of what to avoid go here.
Trying to figure out what products to toss and what to pick up is majorly overwhelming (and takes forever). My hope is that I can help save YOU the time (and cash) it took me to solve this problem. Today, I’m sharing a list of trustworthy non-toxic makeup brands that score low on the EWG scale and are safe for you and your hormone health, while trying to conceive, while pregnant, and for the rest of your life!
Check out all my non-toxic beauty posts->
- Safer Skincare for TTC, Pregnancy, and heck, Everyone!
- My Non-Toxic Skincare & Makeup Routine
- Safer Lipsticks when Trying to Conceive
- Safer Shampoo & Conditioners for Trying to Conceive
- Safer Hair Dye during Infertility, Pregnancy, Or Anytime
- Safer Perfume
- Non-Toxic Deodorant
- Non-Toxic Sunscreen
Non-Toxic Makeup for Safer Fertility and Pregnancy
Whether you are trying to conceive naturally, doing IVF, or already pregnant, (or heck! just a human!), the good news is there are SO MANY fertility-safe and pregnancy-safe non-toxic makeup brands for you to choose from. (I recently rounded up some non-toxic skincare options as well!)
How do you know which brands to pick? Which ingredients are safe and which ones should be avoided at all costs? Today, I’m walking you through the basics so you know what to keep an eye out for!
Avoid these Makeup Ingredients for Better Hormone Health
These make-up ingredients are dangerous for fertility and pregnancy, and need to be avoided. Here is what you need to eliminate from your routine if you are trying to conceive, or if you’re pregnant, when shopping for makeup:
Retinoids are a type of vitamin A derivative that can sometimes be found in multitasking makeup formulas to treat acne and wrinkles. However, high doses of retinoids can be toxic to developing fetuses and have been linked to birth defects, miscarriages, and developmental disabilities. If you’re trying to conceive, I would recommend avoiding retinoids just to be safe.
Parabens are a class of preservatives commonly used in makeup products to prevent microbial growth. They act as endocrine disruptors and have been linked to diminished ovarian reserve. (In other words… they age your eggs.) They include ingredients like methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, or butylparaben (anything ending in -paraben). Parabens imitate your estrogen, disrupting your hormone function and potentially affecting your fertility. There are also links to breast cancer and tumors, weight gain, abnormal fetal development, and depression. (There are alternative preservatives to parabens- I will touch on those later! For water-based products, preservatives are an important protection against harmful bacteria growth.)
Phthalates are endocrine disruptors with links to decreased fertility in men, lower fertility in women and miscarriages, breast cancer, and childhood developmental issues. They’re found in products labeled “fragrance” or “parfum” that don’t disclose exactly what’s in the fragrance. They can also be found in color cosmetics. (More on phthalates and why you should avoid them here.) Due to endocrine disruptors like phthalates, researchers like Dr. Shanna Swan suggest that within this century, everyone will be affected by infertility and require reproductive technology to successfully conceive. Swan’s book, Count Down, offers some more information that might change your mind if I haven’t been able to persuade you yet.
Formaldehyde is a carcinogen that is sometimes used as a preservative in makeup products. Exposure to formaldehyde may harm fertility and increase the risk of miscarriage. You should also stay away from formaldehyde-releasers (i.e. quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate, or bromopol).
Fragrance is a common ingredient in makeup products, but it can contain a mixture of toxic and harmful chemicals. Some fragrance ingredients have been linked to fertility problems, birth defects, and other health issues. The problem is that fragrance companies aren’t required to disclose what their fragrance is… so we have no idea what we’re putting on our bodies. I pick brands that choose to disclose what their fragrance is made of so there’s no mystery. Click here to read more about how perfume can affect fertility.
Heavy Metals (Lead)
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics conducted a study and found that over 60% of lipsticks contained lead. Along with lead, other concerning heavy metals like cadmium and chromium were found in lipsticks as well.
Even though heavy metals are natural, they’re bioaccumulative, which means they build up in your body over time. Heavy metals are usually present in color cosmetics due to unintentional contamination- the metals stick to the ingredients that are naturally sourced and end up in your makeup. Lead exposure can happen from makeup, food, supplements, and water (read more about how to filter your water for fertility). There’s no safe level of lead in the body, and lead exposure is connected with impaired menstrual cycles, delayed conception, hormonal changes, and impacted pregnancies. Since there is so much unknown surrounding lead and heavy metals, I opt for colored makeup and lipstick that has undergone additional heavy metal testing. The only two brands that I am aware of that do additional testing, are Beautycounter and Crunchi.
Ethanolamines (MEA, TEA, DEA)
These are found in makeup like mascara and foundations. They’re linked to cancer, impacted fertility, and organ toxicity. They can bioaccumulate, meaning they build up in your body, with repeated exposure.
Popular Makeup Ingredients that Put Us in Danger
Beyond just fertility and pregnancy, there are so many common ingredients in makeup that we, as humans, should not be exposed to on such a regular basis:
Carbon black is commonly found in mascara, eyeliner, nail polish, and other makeup products. It’s linked to cancer with an increased risk of lung disease.
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that is commonly found in makeup and personal care products. It can cause hormone disruption, antibiotic resistance, and other health issues.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG compounds)
These are found in many cosmetics made with cream formulas. It uses ethylene oxide in production and can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which is carcinogenic.
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
This endocrine disruptor is often used as a preservative in makeup and personal care products (Side note… it’s also often found in our FOOD. Yikes.). It can negatively impact testosterone levels and sperm quality. BHT is also linked to enlargements in the liver, renal dysfunction, and inflammatory effects in the lungs.
Methylisothiazolinone and Methylcholoroisothiazolinone
These are commonly used preservatives known to be irritants and cause skin allergies. They’re also potentially carcinogenic and linked to neurotoxicity.
Preservatives- What Should I Keep an Eye Out For?
There are a lot of preservatives on the no-no list, but the reality is that water-based products NEED preservatives. Without them, there can be harmful microbial growth. (Whether it’s toxic or non-toxic makeup, if it’s water-based and there are no preservatives… run!) Omitting preservatives in oil-based products is fine, but keep a close eye out for rancidity and know when to throw it away.
Even EWG-verified products typically have preservatives like sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate. I’m okay with this as long as the preservative levels are controlled, and I aim to use products with levels that are as low as possible.
Here’s a list of preservatives I avoid completely: anything ending in -paraben, methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazolinone, and any formaldehyde-releasers (i.e. quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate, or bromopol).
Phenoxyethanol is a safe broad-spectrum preservative that is used in place of more dangerous alternatives. It’s used in places like Europe that are much more strict about what ingredients they allow, and doesn’t have any known hormonal effects. Even though it’s clean enough for my standards, there are a few concerns that are causing some non-toxic companies (like Beautycounter) to replace it with other preservatives like sodium benzoate.
Phenoxyethanol is not safe in nipple cream for a breastfeeding baby or for people who are allergic to the ingredient. There are also some concerns that the production process could release a carcinogen, potentially putting factory workers at risk. Never use a product with Phenoxyethanol in it if you have a known allergy to it. I personally have no issue using phenoxyethanol- I appreciate the preservation and have several products that include it.
Artificial Color in Cosmetics
Artificial color is inevitable to achieve a high-performing color payoff in makeup. The big risk when it comes to artificial coloring is heavy metals- so if you want makeup that works and is hormone-safe, you need a brand that tests for heavy metals (which is why I love Beautycounter!).
If you prefer to go for a beauty company that doesn’t use artificial colors, I would recommend Crunchi. They’re super strict about the ingredients that they use, and they always perform heavy metal testing. The color payoff is not quite as high-performing as Beautycounter (especially their lip products), but they are the safest option for those who don’t want artificial colors in their make-up. Their bronzer is fabulous.
How To Find Makeup Products that Support Your Hormones
With growing awareness about how dangerous some of our everyday products are, more and more brands are coming out with fertility-safe makeup to support healthy hormones. The giant list of dangerous toxins that are still allowed into our products can be difficult to keep track of. EWG’s Skin Deep database keeps it simple, listing out every questionable ingredient so that you can determine which products are right for you. I try to keep my routine to products that are EWG verified or low-scoring (a 1 or 2) on the Skin Deep scale.
Limitations with the EWG Skin Deep Database
Please note that the EWG Skin Deep Database is not perfect. At times an ingredient may be classified incorrectly, or scored differently with different brands. Some ingredients are safe at low levels, but nonetheless receive a higher score. Oftentimes, a a very clean, non-toxic skincare product can receive a bad score on the EWG because of something like a citrus essential oil. Grapefruit Extract used to receive a score of 6, but now, I believe its a 3 or 4. I would not hesitate to use a product with Grapefruit Extract. Please use your own common sense, and go beyond the initial ratings. If you are avoiding all the ingredients I warn about in this post, then you are doing very well indeed.
This post most definitely has affiliate links in it. If you decide to buy something I recommend, please consider clicking through one of my links to help support this blog and my family! This is how I am able to stay home with my miracle children and blog freely without charging for courses, coaching, or membership, etc.. Thank you!
My Favorite Non-Toxic Makeup Brand- Beautycounter
It can feel super overwhelming to navigate the giant list of ingredients to avoid. That’s why Beautycounter is my top pick for non-toxic makeup (and skincare!) because it takes the guessing game out of picking up new products, by delivering performance + safety. During product formulation, Beautycounter identifies the highest performing product on the market and then asks, “How can we make something similar that is safe for people and the planet?” This means their products are much higher performing than other non-toxic lines, because they start with performance, versus, for example, essential oils, or organic ingredients.
Additionally, Beautycounter is a B-Corporation that prioritizes the planet and people. They’re even fighting back against the industry by paying staff to lobby in Washington D.C. for stricter regulations!
I love that they ban over 2,800 toxic ingredients (check out their Beautycounter Never List) and test for heavy metals. They are an industry leader in responsibly sourcing raw material, and they’re dedicated to helping the environment through lower-waste packaging, refills, and recycling practices.
When I first started trying non-toxic make-up, I just kept buying random products from Whole Foods and getting lackluster results. Then I’d throw them in a drawer and buy some other random non-toxic product, and it wouldn’t work well at all. Finally, I started switching out my products for Beautycounter. Knowing that none of their formulas include toxic or questionable ingredients gives me such peace of mind when trying out new makeup. I LOVE their makeup and am so happy that I don’t have to compromise quality for clean ingredients. I also started saving money, because I only bought products from Beautycounter and stopped (mostly) fooling around with other brands. I finally joined as a consultant, and it’s been so much fun adding this business to my blog!
Is Beautycounter Fertility and Pregnancy Safe?
YES! Every single ingredient and product is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Beautycounter is specifically made to be safe for fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Their products all pass the test as clean, non-toxic, and safe for regular use. Beautycounter quickly became a vital part of my pregnancy-safe makeup routine. It took so much of the work out of switching over to non-toxic beauty products. It makes me happy that I can share such an amazing company to help you transition over to non-toxic living too! (Check out all of my non-toxic favorites here.)
Beautycounter is my go-to for quality, non-toxic makeup and skincare that doesn’t put me or my hormones at risk. Join my Non-Toxic Beauty Newsletter and Facebook group to stay in the know about all the sales, deals, and ways to save money with Beautycounter! Below I’ve listed a few more non-toxic makeup brands that I would recommend.
P.S. If you’re new to Beautycounter, you can easily test out a full face of makeup with Flawless in Five and save 20% off buying everything individually.
My Favorite Beautycounter Make-Up Products
Beautycounter discontinued all their colored powdered cosmetics to avoid using problematic talc, so all blushes and eye shadows are currently creams. I love them and find them easier to travel with and apply.! They are actively developing palettes and trying to source safer ingredients. If you prefer powders, scroll down to Crunchi.
- Skin Twin Foundation. This foundation is lovely, and one of my consultants switched to it from Armani and loves it. It has medium coverage, but is buildable- you can get full coverage by adding layers or other tricks I can help with. Here is how to pick your shade!
- Dew Skin– This is our tinted moisturizer with sunscreen for lighter coverage days. I use this every day in the summer instead of the Tint Skin!
- Glow First Priming Serum– An indulgent priming serum that also acts as skin care, providing deep hydration as well as a glow!
- Cheeky Clean Cream Blush– This is an easy to apply, talc-free blush. You can buy refillables, which makes it a great low-waste option!
- Lid Glow Cream Shadow– Talc Free creamy, easy to apply eyeshadow. Every client who has ordered this has loved it, and it is an Allure 2022 Award Winner!
- Mattifying Powder– This is how I discovered Beautycounter- I was looking for a non-toxic powder option! It’s perfect and I had my last one for over a year.
- Lip Gloss. It’s embarrassing how many I have, but they are seriously all gorgeous. Peony is my current favorite.
- Sheer Genius Lipsticks– These are lighter in color and absolutely lovely for every day. I carry Rose, Orchid, and Petal everywhere I go.
- Statement Maker Lipstick– The newest lipstick is longer wear and has 14 shades to choose from!
- Think Big All-In-One Mascara– Lasts all day, and gives big, full lashes!
- Brow Gel – I use light and love how easy this is to use! This brow gel will change your make-up life 🙂 This summer I am just using Dew Skin, mascara, and the brow gel for my everyday look!
- Concealer– This stuff is great! For under eyes I use one shade lighter than my foundation, for covering scars/pimples, I use the same shade or a touch darker.
- Cheeky Clean Highlighting Balm
- Clean Sweep Hyaluronic Lip Balm– Fabulous tinted (or untinted if you prefer) and deeply nourishing lip balm.
My Second Favorite Non-Toxic Makeup Brand- Crunchi
Crunchi is another fabulous choice for non-toxic Makeup. I love their Shattered Mascara especially, as it delivers really thick and full lashes. Crunchi not only uses safe ingredients, but they test all their products for common contaminants such as heavy metals and PFAS. Crunchi is also dedicated to low/zero waste packaging which I really appreciate! Crunchi has no phenoxyethanol which makes it a great choice for those who have allergies or concerns.
Crunchi also does not use synthetic colors in their cosmetics, making it a great choice for those who prefer to avoid those. Crunchi only uses natural pigments, does not source from China, and colored cosmetic ingredients are ECOCERT verified. They also test for heavy metals, like Beautycounter!
Crunchi’s price point is also a bit below Beautycounter’s, which is fabulous.
All of Crunchi’s products are safe for trying to conceive, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.
My Favorite Crunchi Make-up Products
- Smart Primer
- Beautifully Flawless Foundation– provides more full coverage than Beautycounter’s Skin Twin which is more medium coverage
- Cheekmate Blush
- Luminescence Highlighter
- Solarise Bronzer
- Nutribrow Eyebrow Pencil
- My Alibi Concealer + Primer
- Highliner Pencil Eyeliner
- Eyeshadow – Offering three different color palettes, and one single color palette
- Shattered Mascara – I love this mascara, it gives very, very full lashes! It can smudge under the eye, so try some transluscent powder under it!
- Everluxe Lip Crayon– Zero waste and simple!
- Hydrogloss Lipgloss
The Best Non-Toxic Makeup Brands For Fertility And Pregnancy
Best Non-Toxic Makeup Brands
Only two brands avoid talc and all the above mentioned problematic ingredients, AND test their colored cosmetics for heavy metals, AND are willing to disclose information/answer questions about testing and ingredients.
- Beautycounter– My go-to makeup brand. High-performing, and safe for people and the planet. Mostly cream color cosmetics.
- Crunchi– Another favorite of mine, and has powder cosmetics, for those of you who prefer that! I love their Shattered Mascara.
Better Non-Toxic Makeup Brands
- Ecco Bella
- Poofy Organics
- Maia’s Mineral Galaxy
- Beauty Care Naturals
- Axiology– Known for their Zero Waste multi-purpose crayon, you can use their plastic-free “Balmies” for eyes, lips, and cheeks.
- Tata Harper– Mostly a skincare company, their blushes look fine.
Better Non-Toxic Makeup On a Budget
- Rejuva Minerals
- Mineral Fusion – My first clean make-up brand! Many products are EWG verified!
- C’est Moi
Best Clean Drugstore/Retail Options
- Mineral Fusion– Mineral Fusion is available at Target and is a great affordable, clean makeup option!
- C’est Moi– This is a less expensive option for non-toxic makeup that can be found at Walmart.
- Honest Beauty– You can get Honest Beauty at stores like Ulta, Target, CVS, and Walmart.
- W3LL People – Sold at Target, Ulta, and Thrive Market.
- Jane Iredale– Available at Ulta and Target.
- RMS Beauty– Can be found at Sephora and Thrive Market. In the past this brand had fragrance, but they seemed to have removed it!
Popular Makeup Brands That Earned an Iffy Review
Most of these brands are okay, as long as you avoid the specific questionable ingredients below. So, for example, a blush might be okay, but the mascara might not be. You just have to work harder with these brands to make sure the individual product is safe!
- Bare Minerals- Although some of their products have great EWG scores, a few of them include ingredients like fragrance, questionable dyes like blue 1 (linked to cancer), dichloromethane which is linked to cancer, and butylphenyl methylpropional, which is linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity. I’d check before buying on a product-by-product basis.
- Beauty Society- Many of their products got low hazard EWG scores, but some of their products use retinyl palmitate, PEGs, and other moderately hazardous ingredients.
- Burts Bees- Most Burts Bees products are clean, but there are unidentified fragrances in a few of their foundation formulas.
- Cover FX- Most of their products are safe, but a few of them include PEGs and blue 1.
- Pacifica- All of their products are formulated with no parabens, phthalates, SLS, or mineral oil, BUT some of their products contain fragrance.
- Rare Beauty- Most of their products are low-scoring on the EWG scale, but some of their concealers contain PEGs.
- Dr. Hauschka- Even though Dr. Hauschka doesn’t use mineral oils, PEGs, or synthetic preservatives, they still use unidentified fragrances in their products.
- Bite Beauty- Most of their products are okay, but a few of them have Yellow 6 and Blue 1.
- Juice Beauty- Some products have new ingredients with no safety data available.
- Kjaer Weis- Although I love that they are dedicated to sustainability, some of their products have unidentified parfum in them. It may be essential oils, it may not be, but they need to be clear in labeling.
Ditch these Toxic Makeup Brands for Better Hormone Health
- Benefit Cosmetics- Even though some of their products are low-scoring on the EWG scale, many of their makeup products include fragrance, PEGs, BHT, retinyl palmitate, and harmful dyes.
- Tarte- Fragrance, PEGs, BHT, and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (a bioaccumulative endocrine disruptor linked to reproductive toxicity).
- Bobbi Brown- Fragrance, PEGs, questionable dyes, and BHT.
- Clinique- Generally paraben-free, but a few products include talc, fragrance, and BHT.
- Covergirl- Talc, fragrance, BHT, PEGs, and parabens.
- Neutrogena- Retinyl palmitate, decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, fragrance, PEGs, and parabens.
- E.L.F.- PEGs, PFAs (linked to cancer), teflon (linked to reproductive toxicity and cancer), retinyl palmitate, and fragrance.
- Physician’s Formula- Fragrance, PEGs, dichloromethane, retinyl palmitate, and BHT.
- Revlon- Talc, fragrance, PEGs, and parabens.
What’s your favorite makeup brand? Have you tried any of these options?
Join my Facebook group Non-Toxic Beauty with Anna Rapp to learn more about my favorite clean beauty products!
Want more products beyond non-toxic makeup that are safe for TTC & Pregnancy?
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