Parabens are a type of preservative that are often used in cosmetics and makeup to prevent mould and bacteria from growing in them.
There are lots of different parabens, but some of the most commonly used are propylparaben, methylparaben and butylparaben.
If one or more of the ingredients in your makeup ends in ‘-paraben’, this means it contains parabens.
Parabens are effective as preservatives, but they could have several negative effects on human health.
The most concerning thing about parabens is that they have been linked to breast cancer as they mimic the hormone oestrogen and having high levels of oestrogen could increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
If you’re looking to limit your exposure to parabens, here’s a list of some of the top paraben-free makeup brands in the UK.
Not all of these brands are British, but they all sell products in the UK.
As well as being paraben-free, many of these brands are also committed to using as many natural and organic ingredients as possible.
Paraben policy: “All of our products are free of petroleum derivatives, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), ammonium lauryl sulfate, parabens, PEG’s, EDTA, phenoxyethanol, lanolin, silk and carmine, and are suitable for those with sensitive skin.” (See here)
Makeup products: Lip balm, eye shadow, lip gloss, mascara, lipstick, bronzing powder, rouge, eye liner, foundation.
About: Beautiful Me is a California-based natural cosmetics brand. You can buy their products at Holland & Barrett.
Paraben policy: “100% Natural/Organic ingrediants free of parabens or any other chemicals, additives, or preservatives” (See here)
Makeup products: Foundation, concealer, foundation brush, eyeliner brush, lip gloss, eyeshadow.
About: Benecos is a natural cosmetics brand founded by German couple Silke and Stephan Becker. Benecos aim to create affordable and colourful products. You can see their products at Pravera.co.uk, Ecco-Verde.co.uk, OnlyNaturals.co.uk, BigGreenSmile.com, MyPure.co.uk,
Paraben policy: “We guarantee that: BDIH-certified benecos products do not contain any mineral oils or derivatives / silicones / parabens / synthetic emulsifiers or their derivatives (PEG/PEG derivatives) / synthetic colorants or aromatic substances.” (See here)
Makeup products: Foundation, eyeshadow, concealer, eyeliner, face powder, mascara, eyebrow pencil, lip gloss, makeup brush, lipstick.
About: Burt’s Bees is an American company founded by Maine beekeeper Burt Shavitz and his then partner Roxanne Quimby. The company’s first product was Beeswax Lip Balm, but the company now sells a large range of products inspired by the principle “Nature has the best answers.” You can buy their products from lots of places including Boots, Amazon, Superdrug and Holland & Barrett.
Paraben policy: “No petrochemicals, phthalates, parabens or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).” (See here)
Makeup products: Lip gloss, lip balm, lipstick, lip crayon, makeup remover.
About: Charlotte Tilbury is a British brand founded by the makeup artist of the same name. Charlotte Tilbury is quite a high-end brand and isn’t focused on natural or organic beauty, but they do sell a range of paraben-free products. You can buy Charlotte Tilbury makeup from John Lewis, Selfridges and FeelUnique.com.
Paraben policy: Not all products are paraben free. See their range of paraben-free products here.
Makeup products: Eyeshadow, lipstick, brushes, concealer, foundation, mascara.
About: Cover FX is a Canadian makeup company that specialises in foundation. Their products are cruelty free and vegan. Cover FX products can be bought from CultBeauty.co.uk, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and FeelUnique.com.
Paraben policy: “we’re free of the inflammatory five: parabens, mineral oil, fragrance, talc and gluten” (See here)
Makeup products: Foundation, primer, setting spray, concealer, bronzer, brushes,
About: INIKA is an Australian organic cosmetics company that has received several organic certifications. As well as being free from parabens, their products are also free from petrochemicals and mineral oils, sulphates and other potentially harmful ingredients. You can buy INIKA makeup from FeelUnique.com, Naturisimo.com, OnlyNaturals.co.uk and Amazon.
Paraben policy: “No parabens (Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Isobutylparaben and Propylparaben)” (See here)
Makeup products: Foundation, lip serum, bronzer, primer, blusher, lip liner, eyeliner pencil, makeup remover, brushes, eyebrow pencil.
About: lavera is a makeup brand owned by German company laverana GmbH. The brand uses natural ingredients from organic sources and doesn’t use any synthetic preservatives, colours or perfumes. You can buy lavera products from lavera, Pravera.co.uk and Naturisimo.com.
Paraben policy: “None of the products are tested on animals and do not contain parabens, SLS, phtalates, parraffinium, or petrochemicals.” (See here)
Makeup products: Foundation, tinted moisturiser, rouge, bronzer, lipstick, lip gloss, lip liner, concealer, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara makeup remover.
About: Living Nature is a natural skincare company based in New Zealand. The brand uses some of New Zealand’s unique plants to create healing skincare products. As well as making skincare products, Living Nature also has a range of makeup. You can buy Living Nature makeup from MyPure.co.uk, Naturisimo.com and LookFantastic.com.
Paraben policy: “At Living Nature we are firmly committed to certified natural skincare, free from any potentially harmful synthetic preservatives (such as parabens or phenoxyethanol).” (See here)
Makeup products: Foundation, concealer, tinted moisturiser, pressed powder, mascara, blush, lipstick, lip pencil, eyeshadow.
MIA Cosmetics Paris
About: MIA Cosmetics Paris from Laurens Cosmetics is a range of enamels and nail treatments that are free from parabens, formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resins, camphor, TPHP, xylenes and ethyl tosylamide. You can buy MIA Cosmetics Paris makefup from their online shop or Amazon.
Paraben policy: Nail products and lipsticks are paraben free. (See ingredients policy here)
Makeup products: Lipstick, nail polish, nail polish remover, nail treatments.
About: Pacifica is an American vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics and perfume brand founded by Brook Harvey-Taylor. Pacifica’s website doesn’t state that all of their products are paraben free, but their nail polish and several other products are. You can buy Pacifica products from FeelUnique.com, Naturisimo.com and Holland & Barrett.
Paraben policy: “Pacifica 7 FREE Nail Polish is formulated without parabens, phthalates (dibutyl phthalate), toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, and animals.” (See here)
Makeup products: Mascara, eye pencil, eye brightener, lip tint, eyeshadow, lip gloss, nail polish, eye shadow.
PHB Ethical Beauty
About: PHB Ethical Beauty is a family-run natural cosmetics brand based in the UK. As well as being paraben free, PHB Ethical Beauty’s products are also free from other chemicals such as SLS, petrochemicals and phthalates as well as being vegan and cruelty free. You can buy their makeup from Amazon, FeelUnique.com, LoveLula.com and Ecco-Verde.co.uk.
Paraben policy: “none of our products contain parabens or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives such as dialyzed urea” (See here)
Makeup products: Makeup brushes, eye liner, mascara, foundation, brow powder, lipstick, blusher, bronzer, finishing powder.
About: RMS Beauty is a US natural beauty brand based in South Carolina. They use natural and organic ingredients rather than potentially harmful artificial chemicals. In the UK, you can buy RMS Beauty makeup from Amazon, Naturisimo.com and BeautyBay.com.
Paraben policy: “The minerals in rms beauty products are guaranteed to be in their raw, uncorrupted form, without silicon, paraben preservatives or other chemical coatings.” (See here)
Makeup products: Concealer, blusher, lipstick, mascara, lip balm, makeup remover, foundation brush.
For some recommendations, see these articles:
Laurence is the founder and editor of Naturaler. He’s been working in the online world for over 5 years and is trying to live a more natural and eco-friendly lifestyle every day.