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Why It’s So Important to Choose Makeup Brands With Skin Care Benefits

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While we tend to think of makeup and skin care as two totally different sides of the beauty spectrum, buying them, applying them and storing them differently, they’re actually one in the same and go completely hand in hand. In fact, if you want your makeup to be applied flawlessly, you need to enlist in a solid skin care routine. Likewise, if you don’t want your skin to be totally thrown off balance, and result in breakouts, blemishes and discoloration, to name a few side effects, it’s important that you pay as much time to understand what ingredients might be lurking in your makeup as you do your skin care. “It’s a myth that makeup doesn’t penetrate the top layer of the skin, but it does, and clogged pores, dehydrated skin and acne are some of the problems makeup can cause if the wrong product is used,” says Lily Talakoub, M.D., dermatologist at McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center.

Makeup Ingredients to Beware of

According to experts, some of the most common ingredients in makeup that can cause skin problems are parabens, which can cause allergic reactions. “Parabens are preservatives that fall under the category of potentially ‘endocrine-disrupting chemicals,’ meaning that they mimic estrogen in the human body,” explains Erum Ilyas, M.D., a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology. “Though it’s not clear how much this can impact our risk of estrogen-dependent diseases, such as breast cancer, or if it could take someone with breast cancer and make it more aggressive, we do know that most of the population has been exposed to a significant amount of paraben in many personal care products.”

Other worrisome ingredients you may want to avoid in your makeup products include nickel, which is found in eyeshadows and mascaras and is a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis; fragrance, which is a common source of irritation or allergies for many people; and phthalates, which are usually added to products to make them more flexible such as with plastics. “Phthalates, too, are thought to be an endocrine disruptor, with several inconclusive studies linking them to everything from allergies, male infertility, ADHD and autism,” warns Dr. Ilyas.

Makeup Ingredients to Look for Instead

On the flip side, there are plenty of ingredients found in makeup products that provide benefits to the skin and body overall. Here are some of the top contenders:

Hyaluronic acid

This potent hydrator possesses impressive skin benefits, namely due to the fact that it can retain 1000 times its weight in water. “Hyaluronic acid holds moisture in the skin and prevents it from evaporating off the skin’s surface,” says Dr. Talakoub. “Although beneficial, it’s is very hard to get a good amount in makeup, as the makeup often doesn’t sit very well on top of the skin with higher hyaluronic acid concentrations.” For this reason, she recommends using a hyaluronic acid serum in parallel with makeup, allowing it to penetrate the skin through the use of a serum and then applying makeup after.


Antioxidants are important for our skin to neutralize the damaging effects of the environment on our skin, particularly vitamin C, which boasts the added benefit of preventing discoloration from occurring on the skin,” explains Dr. Ilyas. “Antioxidants also work as anti-inflammatories to reduce the redness and inflammation associated with acne.” Vitamin E is another important antioxidant for the skin, protecting the skin from redness and swelling and cell damage that can lead to skin cancer and wrinkles. “When vitamin E penetrates the skin it can make the superficial layers more hydrated to prevent dry skin that can lead to eczema,” Dr. Ilyas explains. “It has also been used to manage scars and burns given its ability to help soothe the skin.”

Botanical oils

Though you may not have realized, plenty of your makeup and skin care products are packed with botanical oils such as argan oil, marula oil, sunflower oil and rosehip oil. “Rosehip oil has garnered a lot of attention in recent years, as it’s one of few botanical compounds that has been studied and shown to have efficacy in wound healing and as an anti-inflammatory,” says Dr. Ilyas. “In a study on its effects in wound healing it was shown to accelerate and promote wound healing and improve the appearance of scars.” She also explains that it has strong anti-inflammatory properties that make it likely to improve the appearance of the skin and help with hydration.


Physical UV blockers like zinc and titanium dioxide are also incredibly essential, as they are the only sun-protective agents which fully block the entire range of UVB and UVA rays. Dr. Talakoub loves their use in makeup, however, she recommends using a separate sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or more to provide the most protection.

Looking for the right makeup brands that are not only free from harmful ingredients but offer skin care benefits to boot? Here’s a list of brands that score a dermatologist’s approval.

  1. Tarte Cosmetics

    Tarte’s mission is to combine gorgeous and natural-appearing makeup with good-for-you ingredients that are good for the environment, cruelty-free and free of harmful chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan and gluten. All the while, their formulas are still long-wearing, skin-balancing and highly nourishing so you not only look good but feel good in your skin too.

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  2. jane iredale

    Since jane iredale boasts an impressive skin care line in addition to its top-notch makeup, you know that you’re getting full coverage in terms of your physical appearance and skin care health. “The makeup in this line is multitasking in that many pigmented makeup products also contain antioxidants and sunscreens to further benefit the skin,” says Dr. Ilyas. “This is a nice comprehensive and safe line of go-to products that are not harsh on your skin or the environment.”

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. RMS Beauty

    Using only certified organic products, rms beauty’s main priority is to enhance the quality of the skin, using colors that are naturally derived from nature. Created by renowned makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift, RMS products are not only formulated without toxic minerals and commonly found in makeup—lead, mercury and aluminum, among others—but are also infused with nourishing ingredients to hydrate, illuminate and enhance the skin. Their main ingredients include coconut oil, which has antibacterial properties, cocoa butter, which provides skin-nourishing vitamin E, and shea butter and beeswax for added moisture.

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  4. ILIA

    Powered by clean, effective ingredients that work, ILIA is carving out a new path in beauty. Designed with a mix of natural and organic botanics, this beauty line strives to ensure their packaging is not only beautiful, but sustainable wherever possible. Known for their builable and wearable hues, ILIA provides makeup infused with skin care that goes beyond the expectations of natural.

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  5. Juice Beauty

    Known for its organic skin care solution, Juice Beauty’s focus is on innovative skin care products that are made from simple organic botanical ingredients. In addition to makeup products, they offer skin care and hair care, all which meet the rigorous U.S. organic regulations supported by solid eco-values, including many ingredients that are locally sourced from West Coast–certified organic farmers.

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  6. Colorescience

    One of the biggest perks of using this makeup brand is that you’re guaranteed efficient protection from the sun’s harmful rays and the damaging effects from the environment. This mineral-based line features makeup that layers easily and enhances the skin, preparing it for seamless further makeup application.

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  7. Glo Skin Beauty

    This skin care and makeup line has a focus on creating healthier and more beautiful complexions, so you know you’re not only achieving a flawless foundation, but also arming your skin with nourishing ingredients that will aid its health. In addition to their commitment to quality skin care and makeup, the brand boasts a cruelty-free label.

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  8. 100 Percent Pure

    Just as its brand name suggests, this line strives to be pure in every way, creating all-natural, cruelty-free skin care and makeup products that are just as good for your skin as they are for the environment. All products are made free from chemicals, synthetics, fragrances or dyes and their cosmetics are colored with fruit pigments, living up to their all-natural mentality.

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Beauty Reporter

Jenn Sinrich

Jenn Sinrich is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist in NYC. Her work can be found in Women’s Health, SELF, Reader's Digest, Health, PureWow and more. When she's not putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), she can be found traveling the world and discovering more about the big apple of a city she's always dreamed of calling home. Follow her on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.