Thinking of cleaning up your beauty routine? It’s easier than ever to do, thanks to the latest natural beauty products (that actually work!). Here, the four biggest new trends in natural beauty that will make you a convert.
Healthier manis are here to stay
Ever wondered what’s in those bottles lined up in the nail salon? We’ll let you in on a dirty secret: Some are laden with potentially toxic chemicals. The good news: “The industry is making strides to clean up,” says Ruth Kallens, founder of Van Court, a nontoxic nail studio in New York City. While there’s no such thing as an organic nail polish, formulas are a lot cleaner these days. Most brands are now largely five-free, meaning they lack five iffy chemicals: formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, and camphor. “Five-free is the new standard,” says Kallens. Some polishes in on-trend shades come in seven-free, eight-free, and even nine-free formulas.
But making a great polish isn’t only about removing bad ingredients; it’s also about incorporating good ones. A small group of brands are infusing natural ingredients into their formulas to promote healthier, stronger nails. Some polishes we love (above): Londontown in Fruit Tella ($16; londontownusa.com), Deborah Lippmann in Message in a Bottle ($20; nordstrom.com), and Maxus in Inspired ($18; amazon.com)—all seven-free or more (the Londontown is nine-free!), with treatments to boot. And don’t forget about polish remover: Jessica Washick of the blog U Don’t Need a Man. U Need a Manicure votes for Zoya Remove+ Nail Polish Remover ($10; birchbox.com). “Unlike other natural removers, this one takes off polish quickly,” she says. “You don’t have to scrub hard back and forth.”
The latest natural makeup really delivers
Not long ago, finding makeup from the green-beauty aisle that “worked” was hard. Textures and shades were limited, and products didn’t wear well. But the natural-makeup space has evolved, and companies are investing more resources into developing breakthrough formulas. “It’s easier than ever to find natural cosmetics that perform as well as their traditional counterparts,” says Kristen Arnett, a natural makeup artist and the founder of Green Beauty Team.
Take mineral foundations. They used to be available only as powders and in just a few shades. And besides being messy and hard to apply, they often had an aging effect.
Fast-forward to today: You’ll find cream and liquid foundations, made with natural oils, in shades suited for all complexions. Unlike powders—which tend to sit heavily on the skin—these are absorbed for an ageless finish, says Rose-Marie Swift, a green-beauty expert in New York City. Our pick: Alima Pure Liquid Silk Foundation ($42; alimapure.com). Mineral-powder eye shadows have also come far, notes Arnett: “Before, with loose shadows, I had to dampen the eye brush beforehand for more color payoff.” Not anymore. New pressed versions, like RMS Swift Shadow ($20; dermstore.com), are highly pigmented and easy to use. Amanda Jo of the blog Organic Bunny also loves Au Naturale Cosmetics Bronzer in Golden Henna ($25; aunaturalecosmetics.com). “This 100 percent natural, vegan bronzer is my go to grab for a golden glow,” she says.
For lips, there’s everything from stains to liquid lipsticks. We’re fans of Juice Beauty Phyto Pigments Liquid Lip ($24; dermstore.com). “Obviously, you can’t find long-wearing formulas that tattoo color on lips for 12 hours,” says Arnett. “But now, in many cases, you’d never know a lip product was natural by the look and feel of it.”
You can get your superfood fix with beauty products
Lately, some of the most potent ingredients in makeup, skincare, and hair products are things you’d find on a grocery list. One example: chia seeds, whose blend of proteins adds volume to limp strands. We like Not Your Mother’s Naturals Linseed Chia Blend & French Plum Seed Oil Volume Boost Tapioca & Rice Dry Shampoo ($9; walgreens.com).
“Using plant-based pigments to color makeup is another trend we’re going to see more of,” says Arnett. Made with berries and pomegranate, 100% Pure Cocoa Butter Semi-Matte Lipstick in Hyacinthus ($29; 100percentpure.com) taps fruit oils to keep your lips soft and fruit pigments to deliver a vibrant shade.
The latest skin-care superfood: matcha. The powder form of green tea is loaded with antioxidants. “It helps combat free-radical damage,” says Whitney Bowe, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Try Captain Blankenship Mermaid Detox Face Mask ($30; dermstore.com).
The focus is now on single ingredients
Less is more: Companies are stripping products of preservatives and focusing on one core ingredient. “This approach allows people to pick products based on exactly what their skin needs,” says Cindy DiPrima Morisse, cofounder of CAP Beauty, a clean-beauty boutique and spa in New York City.
If you’re acne-prone, target breakouts with a 1-to-1 ratio of tea tree oil—such as Desert Essence 100% Australian Tea Tree Oil ($9; walgreens.com)—and water. “This is a gentler alternative to benzoyl peroxide,” says Dr. Bowe.
Seeing spots? “Rose hip oil works as an astringent, so it helps reduce the look of hyperpigmentation,” says Dr. Bowe. It’s the key ingredient in Raw Is Everything Age-Defying Concentrate ($55; bluemercury.com). If you want heavy-duty hydration, go for shea butter, found in LXMI Pure Nilotica Melt ($62; sephora.com).