Love Your Self. What a wonderful way to lure the customers in.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #46 series on my blog.
As a beauty buff, I’ve had the opportunity to test a bunch of makeup products. But as I’ve grown to be more conscious of what I’m putting on my skin, I noticed there aren’t many clean options that work well. So when I heard that Sephora’s first Black-owned clean makeup line was launching, I was ecstatic. LYS Beauty landed at Sephora in mid-February with a variety of makeup products, including foundation, primer, powder, lip oil, bronzer and blush. Of course, I had to get my hands on it.
BeI was pleasantly surprised to see how many shade options LYS Beauty Foundation had. With 35 shades available, the line makes it simple to find one that matches your skin. The first product I tried was the Triple Fix Serum Foundation, and it definitely lives up to its name. The texture is velvety smooth and looks like a veil on my skin. Another factor that’s important to me is blendability; if a formula doesn’t blend easily, then it’s simply not for me. However, that isn’t the case with this foundation, because the blending process was seamless and the color melted into my skin flawlessly. The color also worked very well for my skin tone, and I didn’t feel the need to mix it with anything else in order to get the proper coverage — which leads me to the next thing I love about these products: the actual coverage.
I’ve found that a lot of clean foundations provide minimal coverage (which is great if that’s what you prefer!), but I like mine to offer at least medium coverage. I found that this one has buildable coverage so you can increase it depending on your preferences.
The foundation is made with Ashwagandha, an herb that can combat signs of stress in the skin, turmeric for brightening, and hyaluronic acid for maximum hydration. And I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a great formula — despite being a fairly new product, it already has a 4.8-star rating from Sephora shoppers. “I hate the feeling of heavy makeup on my face and this is super lightweight and covers my blemishes so I am Zoom-ready for my never-ending conference calls,” wrote one customer. “Best foundation I have ever used. I am obsessed with the coverage, feel and finish,” said another. The fact that the Triple Fix foundation has this many great details and still doesn’t use any toxic ingredients makes it a total game-changer for me.
I also got my hands on the LYS Beauty Secure Skin Gripping Serum Primer. Now, just to be clear, I’m a big primer girl to begin with. I typically find that by using the right moisturizer and a flattering primer, my makeup blends and stays put if I hadn’t used it (opinions vary from one person to the next, though).
Created for combination and acne-prone skin, the primer’s key ingredient is grapefruit extract, which is rich in vitamin C to brighten skin, along with niacinamide and an exfoliating AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) blend to smooth pores.
Just like the foundation, this primer has a lightweight feel to it, which is of the utmost importance to me. I don’t like layers of thick or heavy product on my face, and this one results in an airbrush-like finish that makes my skin feel smooth before I apply the rest of my makeup.
All in all, I’m very impressed with the quality of both the primer and the foundation. Sephora’s LYS Beauty collection makes it easy to transition over to clean makeup products while supporting a Black-owned business.
Sculpt, define, and warm up your complexion with this matte bronzer. The ultra-velvety, buildable powder effortlessly blends while delivering a sunkissed glow. Formulated with niacinamide, this bronzer gives skin the warmth you want while blurring the look of imperfections and texture.
Give your cheeks a kiss of color with this cream blush that delivers high payoff for all skin tones. Packed with clean, skin-loving ingredients like kaolin clay and avocado oil, this multipurpose cream leaves skin looking refreshed. Rich in pigment, this blush adds the finishing touch on any look.
This clean, cushiony lip treatment oil maximizes comfort with a blend of chia seed oil and sweet almond oil, quickly replenishing lips with vital moisture. Perfect for every day, this colorless oil pairs with your favorite lip liner or lipstick, leaving behind a non-sticky, glossy finish.
This clean, talc-free, finely milled pressed setting powder buffs beautifully into skin as it blurs and locks makeup in place for all-day perfection and no white cast. Infused with niacinamide, green tea extract, and sodium hyaluronate, this weightless powder won’t accentuate texture or pores.
Clean at Sephora Clean at Sephora is formulated without a list of over 50 ingredients, including sulfates (SLS and SLES), parabens, phthalates, and more. For the full list, check out the Ingredients tab.
As many of us become more conscious of what we’re putting in our bodies and what we’re putting our bodies through, we’re also becoming more aware of what we’re putting on our bodies. While the performance of natural makeup used to pale in comparison to products from our favorite makeup counters, there are many natural makeup brands creating products that are richly pigmented, apply beautifully, and wear as well as their more synthetic competitors. You may already be using some of them and don’t even know they’re all-natural.
But before I get into industry favourites, let’s get one thing straight: “Natural” doesn’t automatically mean a product is better or safer for you, as the FDA has nebulous criteria on just what constitutes a natural product (“natural” isn’t regulated for cosmetics, so it can be used purely as a marketing term). “There is no real definition of ‘natural’ in the U.S. beauty industry,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. “As long as the bulk of your material is natural, you can say ‘natural-based.’ There is no regulation. The true naturals have seals like COSMOS Natural or Ecocert — European organizations that allow up to 5 percent synthetics.”
The FDA does not have a definition for the term “organic,” either, as it is not defined by either the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, which they use as guidelines. “‘Organic’ usually means USDA-certified food grades. There are limited numbers of products you can make to be classified as organic green,” King says.
“‘Clean beauty’ is a much better term for the consumer as the products are non-toxic and still effective,” says King. “‘Non-toxic’ means free from undesirable ingredients listed by the Environmental Working Group. This is better than claiming ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ as they are products that perform without compromising safety. People want natural because they assume natural ingredients are safe, which is not necessarily the case. They also may not be as effective as synthetic materials.”
This brings me to another point: An ingredient might be natural or organic, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance you’ll have an adverse or allergic reaction to it, so it’s important to be aware of what you’re using and how your body responds.
Thanks to growing consumer concern and education, we’re definitely seeing an uptick in the use of the phrase “clean beauty.” Last year, for example, Sephora announced the launch of Clean at Sephora, the company’s new category that clearly establishes which of their products are formulated without controversial ingredients. Those that meet Sephora’s ingredients guidelines are deemed “clean” and receive the retailer’s Clean at Sephora seal.
Ingredients aside, one of the benefits of using natural products is that many, if not all, ingredients are ethically sourced and cruelty-free. As consumers, it’s never been more important to prioritize what we want in our makeup, and our money talks. These days there’s a clean option to switch out every product in your makeup routine, so it’s never been easier to avoid controversial ingredients.
But I also wanted to help you sort out your options. The following products have received high marks from professional makeup artists — who have seen and used it all — so you can start cleaning up your cosmetics bag.
Ilia Beauty is focused on creating clean, pure products with organic bio-active botanicals that nourish skin as they wear. From lipstick to eye shadow and multiple base products, Ilia’s products give you a luxurious feel, look, and wear, while being some of the cleanest makeup you can use.
Puckey is a huge fan of the brand, spotlighting many of its products. “I love how smooth the Fade Into You Powder feels and how it really disappears on the skin. The Illuminators come in three shades that work for a variety of skin tones. I like that it comes in a stick form for easy application.”
100% Pure Beauty has a full collection of skin care, makeup, hair, and body products, all made with natural ingredients. The brand is serious about the way it sources its ingredients, too, using a strict methodology to determine and confirm that its products contain no synthetic ingredients. In the past, I’ve been a big fan of its Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, and I love that its foundations are available in a wide range of shades.
Makeup artist Benjamin Puckey is a big fan of the brand’s lipsticks, telling Allure“100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks come in such beautiful, bold, matte shades that you forget you’re working with a natural brand.”
He calls out the shade Sonora Red as one that “really packs a punch.”
Each Kosas product is made with active botanicals and balanced with safe synthetics, giving you luxury formulas, beautiful pigments that flatter a multitude of skin tones, and they all look as good as they feel. The beautiful face duos are available in both cream and powder formulas, each including a blush and an illuminator that complement each other and boost your face’s luminosity and glow.
The lipsticks are also not to be missed. Puckey tells Allure, “Kosas has a line of all-natural lipsticks in super chic black packaging. Rosewater (a dusky rose) and Thrillest (bright poppy red) are my favorites.”
Did you know that Bite Beauty is natural and organic? I always forget. These luxe lipsticks are made with 12 different oils, as well as while pearl, silk, red wine, and organic butters; the result is a lipstick that’s incredibly creamy and hydrating, long-wearing and even has benefits from antioxidants for a product that’s actually good for your lips.
“No one does the range of bold color options in the right creamy/waxy base the way Bite does,” makeup artist Katey Denno explains. “They also make a lot of corresponding lip liners, which, until they filled it, had been a big hole in the marketplace.”
Newer to the natural scene, Tower 28 Beauty is becoming a fast favorite among makeup artists, beauty editors, and influencers alike. The whimsical packaging, quality ingredients, and vegan and cruelty-free promise are just a few of many reasons to love this L.A.-based brand, which prides itself on making products suitable for ultra-sensitive skin types. In fact, it’s tagline is #ItsOkayToBeSensitive, which is pretty clever if you ask me.
“Their products are so good for sensitive skin!” says makeup artist Robin Black, who battles rosacea. “I love their SOS Face Spray,cream blushes, and highlighters, and their cheek and lip products are getting lots of buzz for good reason. They’re so pretty on and so easy to use.”
One of the innovators of the now popular and chic swivel compact, Lilah B. is all about creating simple, multipurpose beauty products with clean formulas. Without gluten, sulfates, or parabens, and packed with aloe and botanicals, these products take to skin beautifully, feel luxurious and nourishing, and look amazing on your face and on your vanity.
Juice Beauty takes special care to ensure that its ingredients are certified organic so that no toxins, pesticides, synthetics, or fertilizers make it into its products. Starting with a base of organic botanical juice (hence the name), without any petroleum fillers or added water, each product is packed with antioxidants and concentrated skin-care benefits.
Denno is especially a fan of the Juice Boost Illuminator + Bronzer Duo. “Finely micronized shimmer particles add the perfect amount of highlight, no matter what your skin tone. [It] can be used directly on all areas you highlight: cheeks, Cupid’s bow, bridge of the nose, inner-eye corner, lid, clavicle, shoulders, or can be mixed into foundation to give an overall more glowy look,” she suggests.
“This stuff is unlike any other green beauty highlight product in that it dries completely (and quickly).”
The Lawless tagline is “Clean AF,” and the brand means it. Its liquid lipsticks are formulated without carcinogenic, toxic, hormone- or endocrine-disrupting ingredients. If people ingest up to five pounds of cosmetic chemicals every year, Lawless is trying to make sure that its products — that you put directly on your mouth and skin — are as safe as possible.
Stemming from the founder’s own need for clean-beauty products free of toxic chemicals and metals, RMS Beauty is a line of ultra-luxurious, pared-down multitaskers that have become favorites in the industry. It’s a bit like a grown-up Glossier, with rich formulas, bright colors, and twinkling shimmers that make a welcome addition to any beauty routine, no matter how simple or complex it may be.
The line’s hero product is the Living Luminizer, a highlighter in a pot, that you tap onto the high points of your face, as you do, for a glow that is equal parts natural and ethereal. It pairs well with any product you put it on top of (or under) and wears like it’s a part of you.
Since it’s inception in 2014, Milk Makeup has become a major power player in the vegan and cruelty-free beauty category. With innovative products that are as pretty and fun to use as they are effective, it’s easy to see why so many people adore the brand. Speaking of which, makeup artist Quinn Murphy, who works with stars like Kristen Bell, Julianne Moore, and Karlie Kloss — among myriad others — tells Allure it’s one of his top-favorite natural beauty brands. If you’ve yet to try anything from Milk, the Hydro Grip Primer, Kush Mascara, and Glow Oils (pictured above) are all great products to start with.
With a tagline like #BetterBeauty, Beautycounter strives to use only the safest ingredients possible and none of the nasties. It even has what it calls “The Never List,” which includes harsh chemicals, dangerous preservatives like formaldehyde, and synthetic flavors and fragrances. The brand offers makeup, skin-care, and bath and body products, as well as an array of kits for men, babies, and traveling. Schlip is especially partial to its eye makeup products — specifically, the Velvet Eyeshadow Palette, which is a best-seller and excellent for creating a wide range of natural, everyday looks.
Founded by three sisters in Los Angeles, Rituel De Fille is known for its witchy aesthetic and magic-inspired formulas. “They have amazing products with minimal ingredients and really interesting colors,” says Black, who’s a huge fan of the brand. “Standouts are the Eye Soots, but the lip and skin products are also great… they hold up well on camera, too, so perfect for Zooming!”