Best Natural Beauty Brands

By Tara Thompson Rasmus

I’ll be completely honest with you: a die-hard chemical-eschewing natural-beauty maven I am not. After all, until recently, I was a full-time beauty editor, and trying out products (both natural and not) was in my job description. It simply wasn’t an option to decide to only sample chemical-free, paraben-free items. Plus, as a total beauty junkie, I genuinely loved trying out a diverse range of brands and products — and, until as recently as a year ago, “natural” beauty products just weren’t very compelling or as effective as their conventional counterparts.

Well, fast-forward to now: I’m no longer a full-time editor, and for the first time in awhile, I’ve been able to be more choosy as to the products that I actually buy, use and stock on my online store, Hoot. I no longer feel that I’m compromising to use natural cosmetics; on the contrary, I’m actually finding that I prefer natural formulas and essential-oil-based fragrances more than conventional products. It seems that new chemical-free, paraben-free, toxin-free brands and products are popping up on the beauty scene almost every day, making it almost a no-brainer to begin to replace less-than-pure products with their simpler, cleaner counterparts.

I really believe that chemical-free beauty is more than a trend; I think that it’s the future. There’s really no reason anymore for women to have to choose between boring, crunch-ola hippie products and potentially harmful chemicals. While I’m by no means suggesting that you toss your entire beauty regimen and and replace everything with organic picks, I would encourage you to branch out a bit and get educated about formulas and ingredients the next time you’re searching for a new face cream or mascara — you may find, like me, that you like your new, pure primpers even better than your old ones.


featured image via Fashion Me Now 


S.W. Basics of Brooklyn

Full disclosure: this brand, and the next, are both brands that I stock at my store. But, I stock them because, well, they’re good. I discovered them when I was still an editor, and I’m extremely proud to now be a purveyor of them. S.W. Basics has always been fascinating to me: these products are all made in Brooklyn with five or fewer ingredients, all of which are organic, free trade, or both. Exhibit A: their face cream is a mix of olive oil, shea butter, and coconut oil —your skin simply drinks it up, with zero residue left behind.

New to the brand? Try these:

Mini Skin Care Kit

Vegan Lip Balm Set

Scotch Naturals

Honestly, I fell in love with Scotch Naturals as soon as I saw its minimalist-chic packaging — and I was thrilled when I found that the polish went on smoothly and lasted almost as long as a gel manicure would. The caveat: you have to use the brand’s base and topcoat to ensure that the polish goes on smoothly and lasts. But, if you’re a true toxin-phobe, it’s worth the investment; I’ve never seen nail products that are this pure.

New to the brand? Try these:

Nail Polish in Stone Fence

Soy Nail Polish Remover


Once a niche brand, RMS has now become a major cult favorite, with retailers such as J.Crew and Anthropologie picking up the chemical-free, easy-to-apply products. Stock your makeup bag with the brand’s Lip2Cheek color cream, “Un”-Cover Up (pictured at left), and gently highlighting Living Luminizer, and you can essentially do your whole face with only three super-pure products.

New to the brand? Try these:

Lip2Cheek Organic Mineral Lip and Cheek Color

Living Luminizer


Tarte has always been one of my favorite makeup bands — and I fell in love even more a few years ago when founder Maureen Kelly reformulated her entire range to be nutrient-rich and paraben-free. Two of my all-time favorite products are the classic Cheek Stain and the Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara.

New to the brand? Try these:

Cheek Stain

Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara

Yes To

Sunscreen is sadly one of the most chemically rife category of products out there — but, until recently, all-natural sunscreens were thick, chalky, and generally unpleasant to use. Leave it to one of my favorite non-toxic brands, Yes To, to formula a paraben- and petroleum-free sunscreen that’s downright luxurious. In addition to the Yes To Cucumbers Sunscreen, this line is chock-full of super-effective products, like their gentle Yes To Cucumbers Facial Cleansing Wipes, Yes To Tomatoes Roller Ball Spot Stick (the best-ever pimple treatment), and divinely scented Yes To Blueberries Body Wash.

New to the brand? Try these:

Natural Sunscreen

Facial Towelettes

Physicians Formula Organic Wear

Genuinely pure products at your local drugstore? Believe it. Physicians Formula Organic Wear makes my favorite tinted moisturizer — despite it being super-lightweight, it covers imperfections like a dream, and it smells subtly of lavender essential oils. (Full disclosure: one of my favorite things about natural products is the lack of overpowering, irritating fake fragrances.) The line’s CC Curl + Care Mascara is another one of my favorites.

New to the brand? Try these:

Organic Wear Moisturizer

Organic Wear CC Curl + Care Mascara


When it comes to natural hair care, I applaud Alterna for marrying serious innovation with paraben- and sulfate-free formulas. I’m a girl that loves having a wardrobe of different styling products (never know what my fine, wavy hair is going to feel like doing on a certain day), so I love that Alterna has a full range of texturizing and smoothing picks — plus one of my favorite new discoveries, their rad Caviar Clinical Exfoliating Scalp Facial, which gently removes dead skin cells for a flake-free scalp and healthier hair.

New to the brand? Try these:

Caviar Clinical Exfoliating Scalp Facial

Bamboo Volume 2-in-1 Volumizer

Elemental Herbology

I admit: I was really skeptical that a natural self-tanner would actually work, but this amazing Elemental Herbology gradual-glow moisturizer totally changed my mind. The lotion smells like key lime pie (delicious), and uses a derivative of sugar beet extract (seriously) to impart a seriously natural glow. Obsessed.

New to the brand? Try this:

Sun Kiss Body Hydrator with Self-Tan