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Clean beauty is all the rage right now, and since the craze is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, we’ve decided to set out on a drugstore journey to not only find affordable products actually worth the hype, but also dig deeper into the trend by determining what exactly makes a product clean.
Here’s Squeaky Deal’s roundup of some of the internet’s favorite clean drugstore makeup.
Is Clean Beauty Actually Clean?
It’s no surprise that marketing in the beauty industry can be deceptive. It’s also safe to say the beauty industry pushes more gimmick products than any other industry, leaving consumers with a (well-earned) distrust and distaste for trends. This being said, there are cosmetics that stand true to their word. In a world that’s constantly telling shoppers they absolutely need X life-changing product, we’ve decided to shine a light on the clean beauty craze to determine if viral shares are actually worth the hype. Considering beauty influencers and YouTubers often benefit from promoting certain brands, it can be confusing to rifle through what’s sponsored and what’s not. To understand the trend better and find products truly loved by the masses, we’ve reviewed top-rated brands and their bestselling products and compared real user reviews to marketing claims. To begin, we first must determine what makes a product clean.
What Makes Makeup Clean?
It’s a bit scary to think about, but the beauty industry is not as heavily regulated by agencies like the FDA as others. Even though these products are being used on the body, because they’re not ingested like food, brands can find marketing loopholes. Labeling a makeup product as organic might sound like the better option when compared to a non-organic item — however, this doesn’t mean the product is formulated without harsh chemicals, nor is it inherently better than a regular version of the same product. This is one of the many misleading notions surrounding clean makeup and skincare. Some retailers like Target and Sephora have outlined their own qualifications for labeling a brand or product as clean. This is not only helpful to shoppers but pushes for greater transparency at every step of the product marketing chain.
Here’s what Sephora defines clean beauty as:
- Free of sulphates, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates and mineral oils.
- Sephora currently offers around 2,000 products with their stamp of clean-beauty approval.
Here’s what Target defines clean beauty as:
- Formulated without propyl-parabens, butly-parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-donors, nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), oxybenzone, SLES, retinyl palmitate, hydroquinone, tricolsan, triclocarbon, BHA and BHT.
- Not tested on animals and cruelty free.
Because not every retailer is disclosing the level of scrutiny applied to the brands and products carried, the following is what you can look for when trying to figure out whether or not a product is truly clean. Generally speaking, products with a clean label are free of ingredients that could cause harm to the body, skin and environment.
- Free of synthetic materials like synthetic fragrances.
- Free of parabens and sulphates.
- Cruelty-free and not tested on animals.
- Non-nano Zinc (nano Zinc has been linked to environmental dangers such as properties that cause coral reef bleaching.)
- Free of oxybenzone
Now that you have a general idea of what to look for when shopping the latest beauty craze, here are some products that have been vetted and passed the gimmick test.
Best Clean Drugstore Makeup Finds
Shopping for affordable clean makeup just got a whole lot easier. The following brands and products can be found online or in-store at convenient retailers like Amazon, CVS, Walgreens, Ulta and Target. These products have not only passed measures to ensure they’re actually free of harmful toxins and synthetic materials, but are also affordable and easily accessible.
Power Grip Primer by e.l.f. retails for $10 at target.com.
Creme Cheek Blush Plus Lip Color by Honest Beauty retails for $15.99 at amazon.com.
Lash Blast Clean Mascara by CoverGirl retails for $10.99 at ulta.com.
Clean Fresh Blush Palette by CoverGirl retails for $12.49 at ulta.com.
Vegan Collagen Fluffy Lash Thickening & Lengthening Mascara by Pacifica retails for $16 at ulta.com.
Tinted Lip Balm by Honest Beauty retails for $8.99 at amazon.com.
Honestly Bright Eyes Tinted Eye Creme by Honest Beauty retails for $21.99 at amazon.com.
Extreme Length 2-in-1 Mascara and Lash Primer with Jojoba Esters by Honest Beauty retails for $16.99 at target.com.
Micro Brow Pencil Vegan Eyebrow Pencil by NYX Professional Cosmetics retails for $9.99 at target.com.
Brow Glue Extreme Hold Instant Eyebrow Styler by NYX Professional Cosmetics retails for $8.99 at target.com.
Instant Life Brow Pencil by e.l.f. retails for $3 at target.com.
Putty Primer by e.l.f. retails for $9 at target.com.
Make It Last Prime + Correct + Set Spray by Milani retails for $8.99 at target.com.
Bite Sized Eye Shadow Palette by e.l.f. retails for $3 at target.com.
Baked Blush by Milani retails for $7.99 at target.com.
Bare Focus Tinted Hydrator by Wet n Wild retails for $5.29 at target.com.
Hydrating Camo Concealer by e.l.f. retails for $7 at target.com.
Reloaded Highlighter by Makeup Revolution retails for $7 at target.com.