When you spend most of your life dealing with acne like I have - from the typical teenage acne in high school to hormonal cystic acne as an adult - you learn one thing really well, and quickly - how to apply makeup.
My journey into clean beauty started with skincare and slowly evolved into every other aspect of my personal care routine - haircare, nail care, and even home cleaning products. Now, a few years in, you'll be hard pressed to find anything in my house that doesn't pass my non-toxic test.
The hardest thing for me to walk away from? My makeup. I mean ... could a clean beauty brand truly give me the same coverage and non pore-clogging guarantee that my department store foundation did? How long would it take me to find another mascara that didn't flake off or smudge throughout the day, when it had already taken me years of trial and error to find the one mascara that didn't leave me with raccoon eyes before noon? I was hesitant to spend even one day without my favorites.
Nevertheless, I couldn't shake the feeling that all of my efforts to clean up the rest of my beauty routine were being wasted if I was spending the entire day with a face full of hormone-disrupting, bio-accumulative, toxic ingredients. So, I dove head first into the clean beauty market and guys - I'm happy to report that I have done ALL of the hard work for you! Below is a list of my tried and true favorites for a simple, every day makeup look.
image from the W3ll People Instagram account
This easy to apply foundation comes in a stick applicator tube, making it super easy to apply quickly and with precision. I find this foundation to have a good level of coverage without looking heavy or creasing. I apply it along my jawline (where I have a good amount of acne scarring) to boost coverage in that area, then follow with W3ll People's Bio-Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer.
This lightweight, sheer coverage tinted moisturizer is my go-to for an every day, simple "no makeup" look. I apply it using a beauty sponge (my go-to is Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge; they're affordable, effective, and latex-free). I find that two pumps is the perfect amount for my entire face, and that by using the sponge to apply I can create good, even coverage and blend right over and into the Narcissist Foundation Stick applied under the tinted moisturizer. This product is awesome for containing SPF 30 (sunscreen; check!) and an array of plant-sourced botanical ingredients that boost skin health, like broccoli seed, pomegranate, and ginseng - W3ll People themselves call this product a "makeup/skincare hybrid", so that's pretty neat!
If you want to boost the glow factor, try this tip ~ mix 1 pump of our Rosehip and Sea Buckthorn Restorative Night Oil into 2 pumps of the Bio-Tint Moisturizer for that dewy skin look we all love.
Again, W3ll People coming through with the easy to apply stick formula - I apply this bronzer right over my foundation (apply to hollows of cheeks to make cheek bones pop or to the top ridges of brow bones, cheek bones, and nose for a sun-kissed glow). I buff it in with my beauty sponge for a dewy look. I find the color of this product to be really natural - not orange, and NOT sparkly (hello, not a teenager anymore, ya feel me?)
If I'm going for a more polished makeup look, I'll finish with the Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer and Bio Brightener Invisible Powder, both also from W3ll People. If this is starting to feel like an ad for the brand, let me tell you, it isn't. I just really, really love their foundation products! Plus, they are EWG Verified and made with non-GMO, plant-based, and organic ingredients. They're products are available in most Whole Foods and Target locations, which makes it so much easier to swatch and match your skin color. The one thing I'll note as a downside to the brand is that they don't have a ton of dark shades, but I have seen them expand their shade ranges extensively over the past few years as they debut new products.
image from the RMS Beauty Instagram account
I love this RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek for it's sheer, layer-able color, squeaky-clean ingredients list, and dual end-use, meaning that it takes up less space in my makeup bag and is great for throwing in a purse for a night out.
image from the Thrive Causemetics Instagram account
Mascara is my hero beauty product ~ my I don't leave the house without it product. A good swipe of mascara makes me feel strong, confident, and beautiful. This paraben and sulfate free version from Thrive Causemetics uses tubing technology (just like my old favorite did) that doesn't flake, smear, or smudge for all day wear. Plus it's waterproof, has an intense rich black color, and removes easily with gentle makeup removers (such as our Superfood Cleansing Balm).
I don't often wear eyeliner, so to say that I'm not a pro at applying it is probably an understatement. This version from Thrive Causemetics is paraben and sulfate free, easy to apply, and dries quickly (which helps me to avoid smudging, for sure).
Okay, okay - this isn't makeup. But, I would be remiss to talk about makeup without first talking about skin prep. In my years of experience applying makeup to acne-prone skin, I've found that nothing can make you look more like you have a face full of foundation than dry, flaky skin. To maintain a smooth canvas for makeup application, regular exfoliation is key. This Resurfacing Mask works to smooth away dry, dead skin cells while gently detoxifying and boosting the skin with water-activated vitamin C. Use it 2-3 times a week for consistently smooth skin, and better looking foundation application.
Did I miss any of your favorite brands and products? I'm always looking for new things to try, so leave me a note in the comments!