11 Natural Products Cara Delevingne’s Makeup Artist Swears By

Makeup artist Katey Denno shares her all-time favorite natural beauty products.

By: Sara Spruch-Feiner

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Naturally derived makeup still gets a bad rap. While clean, natural skincare has become increasingly efficacious and commonplace, color cosmetics have been slower to take hold. Personally, my skincare routine skews towards the likes of natural brand favorites Tata Harper, de Mamiel, and Pai, but my makeup? Your average Sephora finds. Then, in April, I met celebrity makeup artist (and former social worker) Katey Denno, who’s made a name for herself as the eco-conscious celeb’s go-to. A quick scroll through her Instagram reveals stunning looks for the likes of Mindy Kaling, Cara Delevingne, Amanda Seyfried, and many others.

When Denno first started, the green makeup industry was minuscule, she says, but she researched the long, esoteric names on ingredient labels and the ingredients banned in other countries (in the US, “natural” has no standard, FDA-guided or -approved meaning) and found alternatives. Denno’s case for green makeup is simple: “With every dollar we spend, we cast a vote for the way we think things should be,” she says. “I vote for healthier bodies and a healthier planet, and I know that, with the exception of waterproof makeup, pretty much everything else is ready in the world of green beauty. It’s a no-brainer.”

 

TWO THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE MAKING THE SWITCH

Natural beauty formulas come with a couple compromises: First, they don’t last for hours and hours (which, Denno says, is a good thing!). “Aside from a few of the lip and cheek stains, there are no indelible green beauty products...yet,” Denno says. This might mean a few extra touch-ups to your concealer or lip color through the day. “It’s more convenient to never have to think about that red lip, but I’d rather err on the side of better, long-term health,” she says.

Secondly, they go bad faster (also a good thing!). Green beauty brands use natural preservatives, “which means shorter shelf lives, which means you’ll need to use up that bottle of foundation within the first two years after opening it, and you won’t be able to leave a lipstick in a purse and rediscover it three years later,” she says. “I liken this to food—I wouldn’t feel good about putting something that’d been sitting around for years on my dinner plate and in my body—it’s the same thing. I always want fresh ingredients on my face too!”

 

KATEY’S TRIED-AND-TRUE CLEAN MAKEUP SWAPS

Jane Iredale PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation, $42

Base Makeup: “Typically I’m not a fan of powder foundation, but Jane Iredale’s PurePressed formula is the exception!” Denno says. “This very finely milled, sheer-but-buildable, easy-to-apply and blend and transport (!), full-color shade range is fantastic.” This mineral-based makeup gives a matte finish meant to look like YSBB—that’s ‘your skin, but better,’ of course.

W3ll People Nudist Multi Use Cream Stick, $24

Blush: “W3LL People’s Nudist color stick in ‘Berry’ is as close to universally flattering as I’ve found,” Denno says of this creamy formula (in stick form!). It’s easy to blend, and glitter/shimmer-free, leaving almost all complexions with that covetable, natural flush that makes you look, y’know, alive.

Au Naturale Swipe-On Essential Eye Pencil, $22

Eyeliner: “I really like the consistency of this rich, creamy formula,” Denno says. “It’s got a lot of pigment, blends nicely, yet doesn’t disappear midday, and is a fantastic true, rich brown that goes on smoothly and won’t tug on delicate skin.”

Ilia You Spin Me Round Silken Shadow Stick, $28

Eyeshadow: Smokey eyes for all! According to Denno, this rich gunmetal grey (in a stick, for easy application, just like its conventional counterpart) is “truly perfect for all eye colors.” She recommends “smudging it into the lash line and slightly blending onto the lid for some extra eye dazzle.”

Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascara, $22

Mascara: Mascara, Denno notes, is one of the most common products she’s asked about, and this Juice Beauty formula is her answer. “It’s very dark, buildable, and won’t weigh down your curl,” which she recommends doing prior to application.

Alima Pure Bronzer, $24

Bronzer: “I love this bronzer for its sheer, buildable formula and absence of glitter (I can’t stand glitter in a bronzer!),” Denno says. Plus, the truly neutral golden tan shade makes it a pretty versatile option.

RMS Master Mixer, $38

Highlighter: RMS’s Living Luminizer is perhaps one of the most famous natural makeup options out there, but it’s the brand’s Master Mixer shade Denno’s selected as her fave. “This shade is equally great for fair-medium-tan complexions as a cheek, lid, and cupid’s bow highlight. The pigment particles are finely micronized so you won’t look like a glitter party.” For dark to deep dark complexions, Denno notes that you can mix some of this creamy highlight into your foundation for a little extra luminosity along the same high planes of the face.

Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer, $24

Concealer: This creamy concealer comes in a wide and inclusive range of shades and is “easy to press into skin to cover any redness, age spots, or other discoloration woes.”

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick, $26

Lipstick: Thanks to its bold color + staying power this is Denno’s perfect bold orangey-red. “I love the texture, the satin finish, and the smooth, chic, minimalist packaging,” she says of the Canadian brand’s signature lipstick, which has become a staple for many reaching far beyond just the green beauty crowd.

EcoBrow Brow Gel, $26

Brow Gel: These little pots of intense pigment are Denno’s go-to for filling in brows. You can go for a natural look by using just a little bit of product, or get those Cara Delevingne brows. “Use sparingly for a very natural look, or load up your brush and apply densely for thick, bushy looking brows.”

Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish, $45

Self-Tanner: While not ALL-natural, this is Denno’s go-to for a faux glow (tans are still a bad idea!) without having to use DHA, the popular dihydroxyacetone ingredients found in tanners. “This is one of my go-tos for faking that summertime glow on arms, legs, and backs,” Denno says. “I either apply it as is, or mix it thoroughly with body lotion, rubbing it into skin for an all-over natural glow. It imparts a good amount of color for pale skin, and acts as a glow-ifier for all skin tones deeper than medium tan.”

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