This guide to clean makeup for teens covers everything you need to know about choosing non toxic makeup for your teen girl (tweens and kids too!). If you’re not sure what’s out there or which makeup brands are truly safe enough for a young girl, I’m taking all the guesswork out for you. These clean makeup brands emphasize safety, sustainability AND affordability, so you don’t have to break the bank while letting your teen, tween or kid experiment with makeup.
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Ingredients to Avoid in Makeup for Teens
There are many ingredients known to be toxic and are still used in makeup anyways. These toxins pose a greater risk to kids and teens than adults, so it’s important to choose the safest products for them. Cosmetics are not pre-approved by the FDA before they hit the market, and companies are simply expected to ensure their products are safe and properly labeled. This leaves us buyers with a lot of uncertainty over whether products could be hiding toxic ingredients without our knowledge. When it comes to natural makeup for teens, make sure to buy from brands you trust and that don’t include any of the below:
- Parabens (e.g. Propylparaben and Isobutylparaben): These are linked to skin irritation, endocrine disruption, and harm to the reproductive system.
- Petrolatum or petroleum jelly: Petrolatum can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
- Polyethylene (PEGs): These have been linked to various types of cancer.
- BHA & BHT: These are preservatives that can cause liver, thyroid and kidney problems and act as a tumor promoter.
- Phthalates: Can cause endocrine disruption
- Talc: A mineral ingredient widely used as a filler in various cosmetic products. Talc has been associated with potential respiratory issues and possible contamination with asbestos.
- Sodium Laureth sulphate (SLS): Can cause irritation to skin and eyes
- Formaldehyde & formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Avoid DMDM hydantoin, polyoxymethylene urea, diazolidinyl urea, bromopol, imidazolidinyl urea, glyoxal, methenamine, quaternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, which can cause irritation and rashes
- Fragrance: Companies don’t have to disclose endocrine disrupting fragrance ingredients by law because they’re deemed “trade secrets.”
- Diethanolamine (DEA): DEA can cause skin and eye irritation and is classified as harmful by the European Union
- Triclosan: This is an ingredient that fights bacterial contamination, but is not considered safe for humans.
- Siloxanes or silicones: Some are considered toxic and can harm hormone function.
- Phenoxyethanol: This is a preservative linked to eczema and severe allergic reactions
How to Choose the Safest Makeup for Kids
To choose the safest non toxic makeup, all you need to do is look for a brand that uses 100% natural ingredients or naturally-derived. Another important tip is to avoid products in loose powder form. These particles fly around in the air, making it easy for your teen to breathe them into their lungs. I recommend avoiding the supermarket, Sephora and ULTA brands and opting for independently-owned small brands that operate at a higher level of integrity and transparency. Almost all the brands in my clean makeup for teens list are proudly made in the USA (others are from Canada and UK).
Makeup Brands to Avoid for Teens
We don’t recommend any conventional makeup brand for teens and tweens. The cosmetics industry and the FDA do not prioritize protecting consumers over profits. For example, five of the 10 most lead-contaminated brands are made by L’Oreal USA according to an FDA study in 2010. Another 2013 study by University of California researchers found nine toxic heavy metals, including chromium, cadmium, aluminum, manganese, and lead in testing 24 lip glosses and eight lipsticks. They also found that when used at the estimated daily rate, the intake far exceeded acceptable daily intake levels. Companies (and the FDA) consider these toxins safe at small dosages without considering the long term and cumulative effect of these highly toxic ingredients.
Best Non Toxic Makeup Brands for Teen Girls
Noyah makes clean lip products made of 100% natural ingredients including nourishing Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Vitamin E. Ingredients are ethically sourced, including the beeswax and products are packaged in Eco-friendly bamboo. Plus, the entire line is under $20!
Root Pretty makes nontoxic makeup using only ethically sourced natural & organic ingredients. Everything is vegan and gluten free, and they have an incredible range of fun shades for your girl to play with. Price range: $8-$18
Mango People is at Sephora and the only brand there that makes 100% natural makeup brand that’s Ayurveda-inspired. Their Mango Cream Blush & Lip Multistick is full of butters, oils, fruit extracts that are safe for your teen.
Araza Beauty is another truly natural and organic makeup brand that doesn’t include any potentially harmful ingredients in their products. Because they’re new, they don’t have the widest range of colors and options yet, but they are growing fast thanks to a growing number of fans! Price range: $20-$28
100% Pure has an excellent makeup line that’s 100% natural and pigmented using berries, plants and seeds NOT artificial dyes. There are tons of options and colors for your teen or tween to choose from. Price Range: $20-$55 SAVE: Discount code OBL saves 20%
Gabriel Cosmetics is a truly natural and affordable makeup brand perfect for teens. All Gabriel products are made from 100% natural ingredients with no synthetic chemicals or animal by products, and they have an amazing range of playful shades that teens will love. Price Range: $13-$22
Almost all Juice Beauty makeup products are made using only organic, natural and plant-derived ingredients with just a couple of complexion products that include synthetics. Price Range: $20-$45
Olio E Osso balms are a celeb favorite (if your daughter is a Hailey Bieber fan) and made with just 4 natural ingredients along with minerals for pigment. The brand was founded by a makeup artist who makes their sensitive skin-friendly makeup by hand in small batches in Portland, Oregon. Price: $28
If you’re on a tight budget but still want makeup that’s 100% natural, I would definitely recommend checking HAN Cosmetics. They’re wildly affordable and use the best clean ingredients. The color from all HAN products comes from plant and mineral-based pigments for a healthy and safe alternative to artificial colorants. HAN was started by a pregnant mother who needed safe and nontoxic makeup without any iffy ingredients. You can trust that HAN is committed to keeping synthetics and questionable ingredients out of their line. Price range: $16-$32
Piggy Paint is the best nail polish for kids that’s water-based and completely safe for all ages. Their nail polishes are non-toxic, virtually odorless, and free of all harsh chemicals regular nail polish typically contains. Price: $9
Lily Lolo makes simple, clean and affordable makeup products that honestly work for all ages. Price range: $14-$34
ZAO Organics is a certified organic and natural makeup brand that’s 100% natural and so affordable. Their luxe bamboo packaging is going to be fun for your teen to use and perfect if they love sustainability. Price range: $27-$30
Elate Cosmetics is a sustainable, refillable clean makeup brand that contains 75% organic ingredients. They’re Certified B Corp and they ship their refills in plantable wild flower seed paper envelopes made from waste fibre. Price range: $16-$25
Andrea is a clean beauty expert from Los Angeles, California with 10 years of experience in clean beauty, natural skincare and organic living. She writes for Organic Beauty Lover using her expertise to guide readers in choosing the best clean beauty products. Andrea graduated from the University of Southern California in 2012 and has worked at multiple skincare companies, big and small. Connect with her @organicbeautylover.