12 Best Clean Makeup for Cancer Survivors

Before going through cancer, I rarely thought about how makeup or skincare may affect my body. When I was diagnosed and going through chemotherapy, I had very sensitive skin and found my body was much more sensitive to certain chemicals and products. I am a huge makeup lover and refused to give it up, which led me to examine the potentially harmful ingredients and begin the hunt for products for cancer patients that I could feel more confident about wearing. It took lots of time and research to find makeup products and skincare that were effective and nontoxic. Over the last 9 years I have tried hundreds of products and am sharing the 11 best clean makeup products for cancer survivors I recommend.

Best Clean Makeup for Cancer Survivors

Best Clean Makeup for Cancer Survivors

In the 9 years following my diagnosis I have tried hundreds of makeup products in an attempt to build a skincare routine I feel confident about as a breast cancer survivor. While ideally, I would use 100% non-toxic beauty products, I have chosen to take an 80/20 approach to my products to allow for some variety and flexibility. I am for 80% of my products to be free from parabens, phthalates, harmful chemicals, and fragrances. This approach makes me confident about the makeup products I am using and helps me maintain variety and choice in the products I use.

If you are a cancer survivor wanting to swap some of your products with skin irritants for chemical-free makeup start by looking at the ingredient list. While many companies and products claim to be “clean” there is a limit to no regulation on the beauty industry which means that these claims can be false.

Cancer survivors can feel more confident dealing with the skin side effects of cancer treatment and selecting products if they start to recognize common ingredients to avoid. The first and hardest step for me was learning which ingredients to avoid. I knew there were many harmful ingredients in skincare, but I struggled to determine which ones to steer clear of.  The first tip I learned is to avoid products with abbreviations. Many of these abbreviations are a giveaway that there are harmful components in the products. Some of the most common ones to avoid are DEA (diethanolamine), PEG (polyethylene glycol), and SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate). These ingredients are best to avoid in addition to parabens, phthalates, and fragrance (which can included an unknown amount of chemicals the brand is not required to disclose)

Merit Minimalist Perfecting Complexion foundation and Concealer Stick

Shop Merit Foundation Stick

This product is a buildable, lightweight complexion stick that can be used as a foundation or a concealer for easy, natural-looking coverage on the go. The stick comes in a huge range of colors, is fragrance-free, vegan, and part of the Clean at Sephora category. I love how easy this product is to use and how blendable it is. If you are undergoing cancer treatment this is a great product to even your skin tone and add some color to your face without feeling cakey. If you are looking for breast cancer photoshoot ideas, this foundation is the perfect base for your look.

La Roche Posay Anthelios Tinted SPF

La Roche Posay Anthelios Tinted SPF

This lightweight 100% mineral-tinted face sunscreen with titanium dioxide was developed for sensitive skin. The fast-absorbing texture leaves a tinted matte finish on the skin for a healthy glow. It is formulated with Cell-Ox Shield® technology: broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with antioxidants. I have been using this product nonstop for over 2 years as my base layer and it has helped me skin so much. I love the SPF protection and light color to even my skin tone. The SPF product is also recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Shop La Roche Posay Tinted SPF (15% OFF LRP website with Anna15)

RMS Lip2Cheek

I am obsessed with this multipurpose product. The unique Lip2Cheek formula brings together Wildcrafted Buriti Oil for super potent antioxidant protection plus moisturizing Organic Shea and Cocoa Seed Butters to seal the deal on lush lips and naturally blushed cheeks. This product is great for cancer survivors looking to make a switch to clean makeup products gradually as this product can replace blush and lipstick that may have harmful chemicals you are looking to avoid. RMS is a long-known clean makeup brand in the beauty industry and on the runway. Rose-Marie Swift is the founder and the spirit of the brand. Her lightbulb moment was realizing that cosmetics could be made with better, safer ingredients while simultaneously making women more beautiful. Makeup is just one aspect of re-building your style after cancer.

Illia In Full Micro-Tip Eyebrow Pencil

Illia In Full Micro-Tip Eyebrow Pencil

Shop the Ilia Micro-Tip Eyebrow Pencil

Due to chemotherapy and radiation, many cancer survivors lose their eyebrows. Filling in your brows can be an essential aspect of rebuilding your confidence and feeling like yourself during treatment. If you are looking for a cleaner brow product for cancer survivors the Ilia micro brow pencil mimics the style of another popular brow pencil that is not considered non-toxic. The Ilia brow pencil has a very natural finish, and comes in a variety of colors and I love that the pigment is mineral-based instead of chemically made. The provitamins B5 also condition and nourish your brows during wear.

Thrive Cosmetics Liquid Lash Extension Mascara

Shop these:

MakeWaves Lengthening + Volumizing Mascara

Thrive Cosmetics Liquid Lash Extensions

Ilia Limitless Lash Lengthening Clean Mascara

When your lashes finally return after cancer treatment, I know like me you will be thrilled to find a safe and effective mascara. There are honestly so many great mascaras on the market that are chemical-free, non-toxic, and have high performance! Depending on the texture and length of your lashes after cancer you may be looking for a different type of mascara. Lately I have been doing my own lash extensions at home using WinkClique Lashes

For those looking for lash grow serums, my favorites are:

  • Grande MD lash (best price and just as effective)
  • Latsse (more expensive, only available as a prescription or medspa)

Milk Makeup Sculpting Cream Contour Stick

Shop the Milk Makeup Sculpting Stick

Contour and bronzer were essential to me during chemotherapy as my face was very sallow and pale. I have tried 100s of contour and bronzing products and this is hands down my favorite. It is a great cream contour for beginnings and is easy to blend. This particular contour stick is paraben-free, Clean at Sephora, and free from toxic ingredients. The thyme extract blend helps nourish skin while the sunflower seed oil hydrates, smooths, and calms irritated skin. This stick comes in a range of shades and tends to be more cool which I find essential for contour products.

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Mask

Shop Briogeo Scalp Mask

The scalp is another place where irritants and chemicals can be absorbed. When dealing with hair loss due to chemo, I know we are very cautious about what we use on our heads. When I experienced some hair damage after cancer (after my hair grew back). I turned to this product to hydrate my scalp. the Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Mask is a scalp mask shown to increase scalp hydration. It hydrates and instantly cools to soothe an itchy, irritated, flaky scalp use charcoal and tea tree oil

When it comes to skincare, the math is simple. The fewer ingredients, the lower the risk of toxic absorption. Less is truly more when it comes to the products you put on your skin.  If the list of compounds on the label is long, chances are the formula is filled with alcohol, parabens, artificial colors, fragrances, and other harmful ingredients.

Look for products with short and specific ingredient lists. It’s also helpful to choose your products based on the key active ingredients known to help your skin. You don’t necessarily need a product with 20 ingredients, but if you do find one that looks great make sure you can read and understand every item on the ingredients list.

Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner

Shop Niacinamide Brightening Toner

Many times cancer survivors are caught in the catch-22 of wanting to buy clean beauty products but having to spend more money. Not when it comes to Good Molecules! This skincare brand has created skincare products that make a difference in your skin by using ingredients backed by science. They are safe for you and the planet without breaking the bank so they are accessible to all.

This toner promotes bright, even skin and less visible pores. It’s gentle enough to use daily and has the following powerful ingredients:

  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) – targets uneven skin tone, dullness, and visible pores.
  • Naturally-derived Arbutin – improves the look of hyperpigmentation
  • Licorice Root Extract – soothes inflammation
Best Clean Makeup for Cancer Survivors

Versed Zero-G Smoothing Eye Cream

Shop Versed Smoothing Eye Cream

Cancer left me feeling much more fatigued and showing signs of aging. I find myself reaching for a brightening eye cream daily now as a cancer survivor and mother of two young kids. I love this smoothing and brightening eye cream from the clean beauty brand Versed. Made with line-smoothing algae extract, firming peptides, and deeply moisturizing olive oil, this Smoothing Eye Cream applies like butter and works overtime to improve the appearance of crow’s feet. It leaves a soft-focus finish with an illuminating effect (hello, instant brightening), thanks to mica (ethically sourced, of course).

Ere Perez Cream Highlighter

Ere Perez Cream Highlighter

Shop Ere Perez Cream Highlighter

Cancer treatment can leave your skin dry and flaky. Finding a good highlighter (especially a cream one) can be game-changing. I fell in love with this Ere Perez highlighter that is easily applied with your finger and melts into your cheekbones. This cream highlighter is a velvety dream that lives up to the hype of everything you need from your day-to-day makeup essentials: creamy, dreamy, with natural shimmer + shine. Capturing the essence of light to illuminate your features. Ere Perez uses natural vanilla for a beautiful, luxe scent coupled with a formula that makes using this product oh-so-easy. The vanilla highlighter comes in a new eco-friendly case that is 100% plastic-free!

If you are a makeup wearer like me it is extremely important that you properly remove your makeup each night to care for your skin. In fact, I discovered the process of double cleansing after cancer and now I am addicted. First, you remove makeup with a jelly or oil-based cleanser and then you use a gel or foaming cleanser second. Below are my two favorite cleansers!

OneLove Organics Enzyme B Oil Cleanser

Shop OneLove Organics Oil Cleanser

While this cleanser is a big pricey, I continue to refill it over and over again. It breaks down makeup with ease and leaves my skin feeling great.

  • Gently cleanses, softens and tones skin in one step
  • Botanical B Complex of papaya, pumpkin and sunflower oils provide non-stripping cleansing action
  • Papain and papaya enzymes exfoliate pores for a radiant finish
  • Synthetic fragrance-free, cruelty-free and dermatologist tested

La Roche Posay Purifying Foaming Face Wash

Shop La Roche-Posay Toleriane Foaming Facial Cleanser

This cleanser is gentle enough for my entire family and is great for even the most sensitive skin.

  • Foaming face wash for a daily skincare routine cleanses skin of dirt, makeup, and impurities ​
  • For oily skin to normal skin, and sensitive skin ​
  • Restores skin comfort and essential moisture and leaves skin feeling clean and hydrated ​
  • Dermatologist tested daily facial cleanser ​
  • Formulated with La Roche-Posay prebiotic thermal spring water, niacinamide, and ceramide-3, this face wash gently cleanses skin of dirt, makeup, and impurities while maintaining skin’s natural moisture barrier and pH. ​
  • Paraben-Free, Fragrance Free, Sulfate-Free, Soap-Free, Allergy Tested, Non-Comedogenic, and Oil Free face wash

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