Drugstores are notorious for offering a range of cheap makeup brands for consumers. And I’ve definitely bought their products for the convenience, price or just wanting to try something new!
When I became aware of the ingredient risks in makeup I began to rely heavily on the EWG Skin Deep database for my information. It’s free, easy to use, and has 69,000+ products that are rated for health concerns.
Armed with my resources, I felt great scouring the isles for brands I thought were marked as “good for me”. But like I discuss in my Skin Deep review, that’s not the whole picture. You truly don’t want to be using any products that rate higher than a 2 on their chemical concern scale (and I was using things as high as a 4).
So those “natural” oil free makeup remover pads from Almay that I switched to? Some of the ingredients listed are as high as a 5 for bioaccumulation, even though it rates as an overall 2!
Are you f&?*! kidding?
It was like a punch to the gut realizing that I’d been (basically) lied to by brands that are made to look natural or clean. Or the fact that I didn’t know how to actually navigate EWG as well as I thought I did.
EWG actually rates on overall exposure, meaning if the usage isn’t excessive then it’s rated lower than the overall risk. But if anyone is using the product frequently/everyday then their exposure IS going to be frequent/everyday.
So I decided to make and rate a list of drugstore makeup brands that babes can use to avoid the mistakes I made. There are 30 different brands offered at a variety of drugstores (Target, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart ect.) which are rated and include cruelty free + vegan options.
My hope is that it’ll be easier to know which brands should be avoided, and which just need a quick check for any health risks.
I’ve rated these 30 brands on a simple scale of Yes/Maybe/No.
Next to each brand you’ll see a list of potential health concerns that can be caused by the use of those products. I included this so you can see the associate risks, many of which are very serious.
This is especially important to note because the Maybe brands can still offer clean/healthy products. If you want to continue using a Maybe brand, you’ll need to quickly check on EWG Skin Deep that the product doesn’t exceed a rating of 2!
If you need a run-down of how to use the database, you can read my guide.
I’ve also included a key to clearly demarcate the brands that are cruelty-free or offer some/all vegan products. Here’s the kicker- just because the brand is good to animals, doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to be good for you.
Below is a visual guide I’ve put together for my fellow babes.
Almay No – cancer, formaldehyde, bioaccumulation
Ambi No – cancer, organ system toxicity, bioaccumulation
Avene No – cancer, cellular change, organ toxicity
Black Radiance Maybe – cancer, cellular chance, endocrine disruption
Bare Minerals Maybe – organ and developmental toxicity, allergies
Burt’s Bees Maybe- organ toxicity, allergic reactions.
Circa Beauty Maybe – cancer, organ toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruptors
Colour Prevails No – cancer, organ toxicity, allergies
Covergirl No – cancer, reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruptors
Dermablend Maybe – cancer, organ toxicity, developmental toxicity
E.L.F. Maybe – talc, cellular changes, bioaccumulation, organ toxicity
Emani Yes – free of talc, parabens, and preservatives
Garnier No – cancer, organ toxicity, reproductive/developmental toxicity
Honest Beauty Maybe – organ toxicity, allergies – many good products, not all
IMAN No- cancer, reproductive/developmental toxicity,bioaccumulation
L.A. Girls No – cancer, cellular level changes, reproductive/developmental toxicity
L’Oreal No – cancer, cellular changes, bioaccumulation, reproductive toxicity
Maybelline Maybe – cancer, neurotoxicity, reproductive/developmental toxicity
Max Factor No – cancer, cellular level changes, reproductive/developmental toxicity
Milani Maybe – cancer, formaldehyde, reproductive/developmental toxicity
Mineral Fusion Yes – top scoring brand on EWG. No health concerns.
Neutrogena No – cancer, neurotoxicity, bioaccumulation, organ toxicity
No7 Maybe – cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, endocrine disruptors
NYX No – cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, endocrine disruptors
Physicians Formula No – cancer, bioaccumulation, organ toxicity, allergies
Pixi No – cancer, reproductive/developmental toxicity, organ toxicity, allergies
Revlon No – cancer, reproductive/developmental toxicity, endocrine disruptors
Rimmel No – cancer, cellular level changes, reproductive/developmental toxicity
Wet n Wild Maybe – cancer, organ toxicity, allergies
There were only two brands that achieved a “Yes” score which babes should use and support! There are still quite a few “Maybe” brands available, of which I would encourage using the cruelty free and vegan options.
A reminder – “Maybe” brands offer both low and high risk products which is why some have concerns like cancer. Be sure to check that the specific product offered by a “Maybe” brand isn’t rated higher than a 2 on EWG Skin Deep.
I hope this list helps to streamline your search, and give you the confidence to know that the products you get aren’t harming you.
I was pleasantly surprised by the results. I truly thought all the drugstore brands would be in the “No” category.
There were some brands that I assumed were bad, that are actually good! (Shout out to Wet n Wild). And many of the “Maybes” turned out to have a variety of low-risk options that babes can continue to buy if they love that brand.
EWG has an app! It’s free and easy to use, just be sure to check out my review so you know how to easily navigate the database.
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