Woman smiling

The 7 best natural & organic eyeshadows.

Last Updated: March 29, 2021

Learn about natural eyeshadows, why they're a better choice for your eyes and the environment, and see 7 organic eyeshadows we love.

Many of us have worn eyeshadow since sneaking it on in a middle school bathroom, but how many of us have stopped to consider just what we're putting on our precious, delicate eyelids when we choose conventional products? The answers will highlight the benefits of natural and organic products when it comes to makeup — especially eyeshadow. We'll also look at seven natural eyeshadows and palettes that customers — and Grove’s own eyeshadow wearers — recommend.

Here at Grove Collaborative, we’re big believers in the power of natural products — both for ourselves and for the planet. But we know making the switch can be daunting, especially if you’re accustomed to conventional products and are new to the world of natural, eco-friendly alternatives. That’s why we’ve created Beginner’s Guides to Natural. Each week, we’ll give you a primer on the ins and outs of transitioning to a natural version of a common household item, plus a few of our favorite brands for making the switch. Let’s get to swapping!

Is eyeshadow bad for your eyes?

We're so glad you're asking that question, because if you assume that cosmetic ingredients are regulated, we have bad news for you: Other than colorants, nothing about the cosmetics industry requires FDA approval. That's why you see huge lists of harmful chemicals in so many products.

Luckily, organizations like the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) test these chemicals and report on certain ingredients and their links to human health problems and environmental damage. EWG provides lists, ratings, and even an app that helps you decipher the many harmful — and harmless — chemicals found in everyday products.

What ingredients should I avoid in eyeshadow?

Yellow skull and crossbones illustration

The bottom line: Whatever you put on your body goes into your body, so the most important thing you can do is read the label of ingredients in your eyeshadow and other beauty products. Specifically, beware of the following, which are known to be potentially harmful to your health.

Eyeshadow chemicals to avoid

  • Talc: This mineral can be contaminated with asbestos, a known cancer-causing agent. Talc is often used in conventional cosmetics like eyeshadows.
  • Lead: Because coloring ingredients are regulated by the FDA, you want to watch out for ingredients like kohl and kajal, which may contain lead and are illegal in the U.S. That black kohl eye is a hard no.
  • Thimerosal: This is a preservative that contains mercury, which has been linked to neurological issues and allergic reactions. Thimerosal is used to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Phthalates: Often used in fragrances added to cosmetics and other products, phthalates have been linked to hormone disruption and breast cancer.
  • Parabens: Used as a preservative, parabens have been known to mimic — and therefore disrupt — estrogen production in the body, and it’s also a concern for breast cancer. Watch for ingredients that end with "-paraben," such as "methylparaben."
  • Formaldehyde: Right? Did you also just picture a frog suspended in a jar of dark liquid? Yes, formaldehyde — and other chemicals intermingling and creating formaldehyde — may be lurking in your cosmetics.
  • Carbon Black: According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, this ingredient is a carcinogen. It can be found in eyeliners, mascaras, and other cosmetics. Know your cat-eye, friends.

What are the best natural & organic eyeshadows?

We were amazed, and we hope you will be, too, at the gorgeous, all-natural eyeshadows available today. There's no lack of glam, to be sure. Plenty of shimmery, dramatic colors and dazzling effects are out there, ready for you to play with — and you won’t have to worry about the health of your eyes or skin — or the planet, which doesn’t escape the effects of nasty cosmetic chemicals. The minerals, vitamins, and plant-derived ingredients found in natural eyeshadows produce quality products that rival any conventional makeup artist's arsenal.

Individual color eyeshadow favorites

Alima Pure Pressed Eyeshadow

Why we love it: Alima Pure checks all of our boxes: It's woman-owned, a B Corp (a socially and environmentally conscious business), and a company that gives back to our planet. Not only that, but we love their eyeshadows. Who wouldn't, with cool color names like Gamine, Icon, and Siren? Crafted of natural minerals and avocado oil, Alima Pure's eyeshadows are just glimmery enough to make you even more fabulous than you already are, if that’s even possible.

PYT Beauty Glam Glitter

Why we love it: Because GLITTER. A super clean makeup company, PYT was founded by friends who fiercely believe in healthy bodies and a healthy planet. PYT has garnered attention from top beauty sites and magazines, and for good reason — they make gorgeous makeup full of natural ingredients and even vitamins. Their Glam Glitter sparkles fancy on eyelids, cheekbones, and more, highlighting your beauty with minerals and nourishing vitamin E.

Palette-style eyeshadow favorites

Lily Lolo Laid Bare Eye Palette

Why we love it: Well first, it's fun to say. But more importantly, Lily Lolo's ingredients are impeccably clean. Things like pomegranate oil for antioxidant properties and manuka oil for antibacterial action — along with minerals and other natural ingredients — create a silky, creamy powder that's free of talc, chemicals, and other naughties. This particular array of neutrals provides versatile looks, from sultry to subdued to sensationally dramatic.

Aether Beauty Gemstone Palettes

Why we love it: Aether Beauty harnesses the power of crystals and infuses actual crystals, like rose quartz, into their eyeshadow palettes. Choose among palettes with amethyst, topaz, sapphire, amber powders, and more. All the palettes are variations of neutral shades, ranging from matte to shimmery. Crystal powders are said to clear negative energy, balance mood, and promote wellness. They’re also ultra light-reflective and create brighter, more glistening skin. We're believers.

Ere Perez Chamomile Eye Palette

Why we love it: Ere's story begins in Mexico, growing up with a grandfather who was an actual medicine man and a mother who created homemade beauty remedies. Sourcing from botanicals and led by a belief in clean, unfussy, and affordable beauty routines, the Ere Perez company makes amazing skincare and makeup products. The Chamomile Palettes include soothing ingredients like chamomile and vitamin E while providing amazing colors in neutral-hued collections. Choose among earthy "Gorgeous," dusty-rose-toned "Lovely," or peach-to-purple "Pretty."

PYT Eyeshadow Palettes

Why we love it: PYT makes our faves list again for their palettes, thanks to their No BS Day to Night Eye Shadow Palette (we'd buy it for the name alone) — which is comprised of cool-toned neutrals — and their rich and glowing Warm Day to Night Eye Shadow Palette.

Vapour Beauty Eye Quads

Why we love it: Located in Taos, NM, Vapour is a woman-owned, free-spirited brand of vivid, dynamic makeup and skin care that touts itself as "high vibe color for a conscious world." We can get behind that — especially with their perfectly picked eyeshadow palettes, each with four modern, complementary colors.

Do I need to use eyeshadow primer?

Just like a bare wall holds new paint so much better when it's primed first, your eyeshadow will last much longer throughout the day, without creasing and wearing off, when you first use a primer on your eyes. Natural primers contain ingredients that benefit skin, too, such as shea butter, olive oil, apricot kernel oil, and more.

So, while it's not vital to use an eyeshadow primer underneath your eyeshadow, it is beneficial to that most sensitive and thin part of your skin: the eyelid. Plus, it helps your eyeshadow stay vibrant a lot longer too.

Get the looks

Woman with eyes closed wearing eyeshadow

If you tend to use the one beige-est, safest color in your eyeshadow palette and leave the rest, let's talk. With a few simple tricks, you can enhance the natural beauty of your eyes and create interesting, attractive looks for day or evening.

Step 1 (after applying primer): Base

Apply light matte shadow to entire eyelid with applicator. We recommend not using your fingertip, as oils on your finger can cake up the eyeshadow.

Step 2: Crease

Use a medium shade — a couple of shades darker than Step 1 — and apply a softened, smudgy line that follows the crease of your eyelid.

Step 3: Line

Use the darkest shade to create a line right above eyelashes. This is a softer, more natural look than an actual eyeliner.

Grove Tip

Bonus step: Try this for a little extra glam!

  • Repeat steps 1-2, but choose shimmery shades
  • Slightly dampen your applicator or eyeshadow brush for step 3, creating a more intense line
  • For a dash of fun — and just because you can — glitter always stands on its own. Dot it in the corners of your eyes, along your brow bone, or sweep it over your entire lid, you beautiful unicorn.

Looking for more sustainable skin care swaps and other eco-friendly switches you can make at home? Grove has you covered. From timely topics such as our handwashing and hand sanitizer breakdown to evergreen primers like our simple ways to reduce your plastic use at home, our handy guides are here to answer your most pressing questions. And let us know how if you have any menstrual cup questions (or share your own tips for making the switch using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you're ready to make the switch to natural eye cream or other eco- and body-friendly products, explore Grove Collaborative's skin care selection.

Keep reading