5 Nontoxic Beauty Brands That Won't Break The Bank

All those handmade, plastic-free, and non-toxic beauty buys can feel like an upsell. But it is possible to upgrade your self-care stock to human-friendly and plastic-free alternatives you can actually afford, thanks to these brands.

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Rarely do clean beauty brands feel like a steal. Side-by-side against the affordable big-box-store brands, all those handmade, plastic-free, and non-toxic beauty buys can feel like an unconscionable upsell. But you can find clean makeup, skincare, and body care brands that won't force you to tap into your savings.

Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group and other eco-friendly surveyors have dug deep into many beauty brands' ingredients lists—to help us decipher which ones really measure up to those "clean" beauty claims. This list of recommendations will help you upgrade your self-care stock to human-friendly and plastic-free alternatives you can actually afford.

Skincare

Evan Healy Rosehip Serum
Evan Healy Rosehip Serum. Evan Healy.

Evan Healy's Kits & Bundles are a value pack that will leave your pores and your wallet glowing. The majority of the brand's products top EWG's non-toxic ranking, leaving very little opportunity for carcinogens to creep into your fresh-face regimen. While the entire line is carried in mainstream stores from Amazon to Whole Foods, the company website offers the full lineup for comparison shoppers. The best buys are the kits—daily calming ritual, daily purifying ritual, or daily balancing ritual—because they come with five sample-size portions of an entire line of products for each skin type.

Meant to last a month, these bundles are priced at less than $42 each. Old pros know the hidden value of this holistic skin care line's compounding effects. Kit quantities typically last 45 to 60 days. After a run through the entire batch, you'll also have a better sense of which toners, cleansers, and serums you can't live without. Of the brand's products, 25 are certified organic by Oregon Tilth and are also 100 percent cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny certified. Whether you choose the $35 RoseHip Serum or the $30 Blood Orange Facial Tonic, your skin and your budget won't be disappointed.

Cosmetics

Maia's Minerals Matte Mineral Foundation
Maia's Minerals Matte Mineral Foundation. Maia's Minerals.

The EWG's Skin Deep Database is both a gift and a curse. If you use the site to check the main ingredients in the eyeliner and mascara you adore, the likelihood is the list will tell you to chuck it. Instead, check out Maia's Mineral Galaxy, which has over 800 products that are EWG verified to be free from cancer-causing and allergy-agitating toxins.

Over 22 shades of mineral foundation will cost just $22 a pop, 16 shades of matte eye shadow are on offer for only $13, and natural mascara will cost just under $19—and it lasts for three to four months. Could you fish around the beauty aisle checking ingredients from the back of every mainstream brand? Yes, but that doesn't save time or money. Reviews show positive results across all the Maia's Mineral Galaxy products, and the one-stop shopping is an added convenience.

Body

SkinButtr
SkinButtr. SkinButtr

BlkOceans is an online clearinghouse for Black-owned beauty brands that are all about marrying ethics and excellent quality. Favored among the many options, Skinbuttr offers small-batch and cruelty-free skin hydration. Capturing all the moisture, but none of the harsh chemicals that you might find in other products for dry or melanated skin, Skinbuttr's best value for your dollar is in a combo of a scrub and a shea butter. At just $15 each for 3.4 ounces, the $30 investment in glowing skin isn't to be missed.

Mainstream brands' labels may boast shea butter, but it's hard to tell how much of your lotion is the real natural moisturizer, rather than adulterated with chemicals you can't pronounce. With just six ingredients that even a 6-year-old can say three times fast, Skinbuttr's hydrating line is all about simplicity. Plus, the brand's sustainability statement lets customers know that they've come to the right place if they're expecting minimal packaging and recycled materials.

"We ask our customers to reuse and recycle the jars that our products come in," the brand site explains. "We care about our planet, and so should you. Our exfoliants are made of water-soluble materials to protect the ocean." At this price, it is a no-brainer to buy into this planet-friendly ethos.

Hair

BrioGeo
BrioGeo. BrioGeo

No beauty regimen is complete without healthy hair, but choosing between non-toxic brands gets tough. Every texture and color needs something different, and that's why we recommend two options.

Briogeo manages to cover all your daily hair care needs for under $50. Don't skip the hair quiz; you'll need it to know exactly which products will work wonders on your curls and volume. Then the fun begins. The brand uses ingredients that are naturally derived and clinically tested, making it very easy to indulge on the smoothie-inspired shampoos and conditioners. A fan favorite is the Banana+Coconut Nourishing Superfood Shampoo that costs just $28. Want to double down on the matching conditioner? That duo comes in at just $49. There's Mango+Cherry, Ginseng+Biotin, and many other flora botanical combos to choose from. Dollar for dollar, this brand saves in comparison to salon brands and it's worth the cost to avoid over-the-counter brands that smell similarly fruity but pack a big chemical punch. The added value is that Briogeo is six-free: no sulfates, DEA, parabens, sulphates, artificial dyes, silicones. or phthalates.

A bonus buy for color care is NO FADE FRESH's plant-based color-depositing shampoo and conditioner. This DIY coloring product helps you keep your colors brighter for longer. At just $14.99 a bottle, not only does it heal your hair while it brightens natural highlights, but the brand is 100 percent vegan and cruelty free. It also doesn't have the parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and other harsh chemicals that you want to keep far away from your hair and eyes. More importantly, it's hassle-free: this two- to five-minute commitment in the shower will make sure you turn heads for months to come.

Soap and Body Wash

Walton Woods Farms
Walton Woods Farms. Walton Woods Farms

There are lots of natural soaps out there, so there's stiff competition for going green on body washes. Walton Wood Farms is based in Peterborough, Ontario and stands a cut above the rest—both for reasonable prices and giving back to the rural communities that produce these amazing toiletries and body care essentials.

The family-run business started in 2016 and now it employs seven folks on the farm. The consciously crafted and sustainably packaged personal care products are cruelty-free and creatively named; check out Power Showers, which includes a waterless option for refreshing on the go. The Dear Mom bath bombs (seven in a pack) are well-priced at just two bucks a bomb. Last, to wash away your bad days, shell out the $17.99 needed to cleanse yourself of the Year from Hell.

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