It’s not every day that we get all dolled up before leaving our home… because, realistically, who has time for a full face of makeup before 9 am meetings? While most of us don’t make a smoky eye part of our everyday look, our nights out on the town require a little more drama, and that’s when our eyeshadow makes an appearance.
Eyeshadow helps draw attention to what is one of the most mysterious and beautiful parts of our face, but your eyes are also an easy and open gateway directly to your bloodstream. That’s why it’s essential to know what’s going on top, under, and around your eyes. Keeping eyeshadow fresh, texturally consistent, and giving them hues that really pop, is sometimes accomplished using harsh and toxic chemicals.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Indeed, we’re noticing that the trend toward clean, natural and organic ingredients in skincare is spilling over to the makeup world – and it has been for some time now. That means you have access to an endless number of eyeshadows that don’t contain those harsh and harmful ingredients. We’ve narrowed those endless options down to the top 10 best natural and organic eyeshadows and detailed all of their benefits below.
BEST NATURAL AND ORGANIC EYESHADOW
We’ve compiled a list of the best clean, natural and organic eyeshadows that can easily replace your fave shades with something just as bright and bold without any risk to your body’s health.
Vapour Beauty Eyeshadow Quad $48
These pressed powder palettes are available in four expertly-matched combinations that you don’t need MUA-level expertise to wear perfectly. Simply swipe the light shades across your lids, blend the medium shade into the creases, and then smudge the deeper shades along your lash line. Buildable pigment puts the level of drama in your control, while the addition of amino acids lets you take your health back into your hands as well.
100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Eyeshadow $20
Winner of multiple prestigious skincare awards, 100% Pure is obviously onto something with their makeup line completely pigmented with fruit-based pigments. Not only are those better for your skin than many traditional shadows (besides the contenders listed here 🙂 ), they’re just as formidable and long-lasting. They also tend to blend better with all the other amazing ingredients in this line of 20 shades of pressed powder, including the vitamin e, avocado butter, and anti-inflammatory rice starch.
Jane Iredale Eyeshadow Kit $59
An eyeshadow kit with five, expertly-picked complementary colors, these shades can be used together or all on their own for a sleek, shimmery shadow that perfects the au-natural look. Tested for sensitivity and formulated without harsh chemical ingredients, Jane Iredale’s eyeshadow kit also has 4 other variants. They all are formulated with all-natural minerals and botanical extracts like Pine Extract that your eyes will love.
If you prefer to purchase your Eye Shadows in the singular, then look no further than Jane Iredale’s extremely popular single pressed powder shadows ($22) that are available in 33 shades! Safety tested for sensitivity just like all Jane Iredale blends, these highly pigmented shadows can be used wet or dry and will help condition and calm irritation with the standout ingredient (aka pine bark).
RMS Beauty Eye Polish $28
Created by celebrity make-up artist Rose-Marie Swift, this eye polish doubles as an eye cream, making it particularly great for use on dry or aged skin. You’ll find this light but creamy polish in seven sheer shades, all formulated with hydrating and nourishing certified organic ingredients like coconut oil, jojoba oil, cocoa butter, and rosemary extract. It’s so moisturizing that it shouldn’t be used in conjunction with a moisturizer. Bonus: the earthy brown shade can double as your contour.
A little bolder than their eye polish but just as hydrating, RMS’s single shadows ($18.50) come in fourteen colors that stick. That staying power means it can be used for lining, highlighting, and creating smoky looks. This shadow is made for those who prefer pressed powders to creams but is formulated with the same natural and skin-beneficial ingredients you’ll find in all RMS products.
Aether Beauty Rose Quartz Crystal Gemstone Palette $58
Any fan of Aether Beauty knows that they bathe their products in the energy of crystals. That makes these palettes more than just a canvas of beautiful and expertly coordinated colors, they’re also intended to bring good vibes to your makeup routine and your skin. The rose quartz palette is a combination of matte and shimmer shades in hues that are the color-wheel epitome of romance.
Infused with amber, ruby, and topaz, The summer solstice palette ($58) contains 12 matte, shimmer, satin, metallic, and duo-chrome shades reminiscent of warm sunsets and the perfection of golden hour.
Amethyst crystal brings all the best vibes to this celestial amethyst crystal gemstone palette ($58), which reflects the colors of the cosmos in matte, shimmers, metallics, and duo-chromes.
The hues in the Joshua Tree palette ($58) will transplant you to Joshua Tree National park, with its deep matte taupes and desert greens. And, for just a little more California, each shade is infused with organic hemp seed oil.
Well People Nudist Multi-Stick $20
These multi-use sticks keep popping up in our makeup reviews because we can’t stress enough how important getting a good bang for your buck really is. Suitable for all skin tones and available in three shades, you can keep this stick in your purse for the perfect quick touch-up on your eyes, lips, or cheeks. This convenient makeup stick is EWG-verified for non-toxic, natural ingredients that are not only safe, but also work to hydrate and protect your skin with the likes of aloe vera, olive oil, and shea butter. You can’t ask for one product to do more for your look.
The matte and shimmer shades in W3LL PEOPLE’s Nudist 5 Piece Eyeshadow Palette ($19) creative inspiration take on the landscapes of New Mexico. Available in Violet and Taupe color coordinations, the Nudist line is sophisticated, subtle, and versatile enough to create a variety of different day and night looks. And those looks will last day and night as a result of a proprietary blend of botanicals that lend a velvety texture that holds.
Jillian Dempsey Lid Tint $28
This vegan lid tint is free of animal products and byproducts and animal cruelty and full of organic ingredients that are just as nourishing as they are beautifying, including a base of plant and seed oils as well as invigorating botanicals like rosemary and sage. All 10 shades have a sheer but glossy finish that adds just the right amount of color on the days you’re looking for au natural.
Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Eye Shadow Palette $12.99
Burts Bee’s has expanded from their incredible line of lip moisturizing products to include really safe and skin-beneficial beauty and cosmetic products as well. Their eyeshadow pallets are available in four different kits that are all inspired by the colors of different natural settings: Dusky Woods, Countryside Lavender, Blooming Desert, and Shimmering Nudes. Offering all-day wear that won’t smudge or run, these shadows are all 100% natural and made with soothing ingredients like bamboo, honey, and vitamin E.
Alima Pure Satin Matte Eyeshadow $14
With 16 highly-pigmented hues, you’re sure to find the matte shades you’re looking for. Rich and silky while at the same time weightless and long-lasting, you can use these shadows dry if you’re looking for a more subtle finish. To add a little sparkle check out their range of 15 Luminous Eyeshadows ($14) or their Pearl Luster ($14) ones for the most shine. 100% vegan and 100% made with natural, mineral ingredients, those who find it hard to work with powders will love the built-in sifter for easy dispensing. If you’re looking for a pressed version, make sure to check out their pressed eyeshadows ($26) that come in 18 shades.
Kjair Weis Cream Eyeshadow $48
Not only is Kjair Weis’s luxury cream eyeshadow certified organic but it has no artificial ingredients and is not tested on animals. Available in 4 shades, the formula uses bamboo to replace silicone in order to create a long-lasting finish that blends easily. Other key ingredients include antioxidants like the soothing Honeysuckle extract and Vitamin E.
Sappho New Paradigm Eye Shadow $24
Sappho New Paradigm’s vegan eyeshadow comes in a range of 19 shades (matte & sparkly). Made from skin-beneficial ingredients like nourishing jojoba and moisturizing argan oils as well as plant extracts like calming Chamomile. The formulas also avoid nano-particles and use 100% recyclable packaging.
Hush + Dotti Organic Eyeshadow $24
Coming in 12 shades Hush + Dotti’s highly pigmented eyeshadows contain no toxins and are vegan as well as gluten-free. The buildable formula allows you to define the intensity of your look in more ways than one as it can be worn wet or dry. Standout ingredients include replenishing olive leaf extract and moisturizing Grape Seed Oil.
Gressa Eye Tint $36
Gressa has struck the perfect balance between durability and ease of use. This organic cream powder tint available in 6 shades is foolproof… it can’t be smudged while you’re wearing it but it can be used to create a variety of different looks. Build more drama or use it as a sheer and subtle tint on the upper or lower lid or even as a highlighter.
Ritual De Fille Amber & Ash Eye Soot $38
Eye soot is a first for us, but it’s become quite a fan favorite so we couldn’t leave it off the list. These extremely rich pure pigments are available in 11 shades, from sultry to sweet and everything in between. But what makes this brand really stand out – besides its name – is what they don’t put in their formulas. They only use what’s necessary and they handcraft each concoction with intentionality. Meaning the natural oils, waxes, and pigments used all play a necessary role in the creation of intense and smoldering shades.
WHY GO ORGANIC AND NATURAL WITH YOUR EYESHADOW?
Potentially harmful ingredients can be found in most traditional skincare and makeup products. That’s because regulation over this industry is sorely lacking and big brands have long opted to put their profit margins over your health and wellbeing.
But with a larger segment of consumers demanding better quality products that take into consideration their health, more and more brands are leaving the chemicals and synthetics out of their formulas and replacing them with earth-derived ingredients.
If you’re not sure how to tell the difference between the good, the bad, and the ugly, consult this checklist. We go through all the ingredients you never want in your eyeshadow formula and why.
It’s becoming pretty common to find “paraben-free” labels on all sorts of makeup and cosmetic products because the dangers of this widely used preservative are well known. Parabens are used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast in your eyeshadow, but it’s known to mimic estrogen and cause reproductive problems. Traces of parabens have been found in breast cancer tissue samples and, at the very least, can cause skin irritations and contact dermatitis.
Another very common chemical present in many of our everyday cosmetics, phthalates are a group of chemicals that help your makeup hold color. Eyeshadow is one of those items that’s made to bring bright and bold hues to your face, so it’s a major culprit of having phthalates in its formula. These chemicals are endocrine disruptors that have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer as well as reproductive and developmental issues. You may not notice phthalates listed on your ingredient list because they are often disguised under “fragrances”, so look for labels that say “phthalate-free”.
BUTYLATED COMPOUNDS (BHT AND BHA)
Another chemical used to make your makeup last longer than it otherwise should, BHT and BHA are known to cause skin allergies. What’s worse, they are endocrine disruptors that have also been linked to organ, developmental, and reproductive toxicity. Banned in the EU because of this evidence, they are also bio-accumulative – meaning your body can’t get rid of them and they accumulate over time, which can lead to serious health consequences.
In order to create the various bright, shimmery or metallic hues we wear on our eyes, colors are synthetically made. The synthetic colors used to create the shades of our eyeshadows are derived from petroleum and coal tar sources. These chemicals are suspected human carcinogens that are toxic to your body and, because of the way petroleum and coal are extracted, they’re ultimately bad for the environment too. Look for anything in your ingredients list that’s labeled FD&C or D&C preceded by a color and a number (i.e. D&C Red 27 or FD&C Blue 1).
Talc is often used in eyeshadows to create a frost or metallic hue. Talc is generally recognized to be safe by the FDA, but the potential for asbestos contamination is too high for us to ignore (as are the growing lawsuits that link talc to ovarian cancer).
While these chemicals aren’t necessarily harmful on their own, they are often contaminated with nitrosamines, which are human carcinogens. Ethanolamine likely won’t show up on your ingredients list, so look for ingredients containing the letters DEA, TEA, and MEA.
The only cosmetic you’ll find this in? You got it! Eyeshadow. Used to give eyeshadow its various hues, it’s a neurotoxin that’s also been linked to organ toxicity. Look for (and avoid): aluminum, LB Pigment 5, or pigment metal.
If you’re partial to greens and metallics, you might be especially prone to exposure to heavy metals in your eyeshadow (although it can be found in all types of makeup). Like the aluminum powder, heavy metals are neurotoxins that can cause brain damage. Other heavy metals, like Nickle, have been associated with lung cancer and respiratory damage. Nearly 20% of women have an allergy to Nickle and this can cause dry, itchy eyelids, redness as well as blisters.
Curious to learn more? Be sure to explore our in-depth guide on all things natural and organic eye-makeup.
With all the harmful and toxic ingredients found in our eyeshadows, it can be overwhelming trying to find the colors we want in a product that takes our health and safety into account. But as the world becomes more woke, there are more and more cosmetics out there that do just that. Using natural and organic ingredients that protect and nourish your skin while providing a variety of hues with botanicals and flower extracts, you can have the best of both worlds.