A {Mostly} Clean Makeup Routine!

A {Mostly} Clean Makeup Routine!

One of the things that I’ve been really working on doing is integrating more clean makeup into my routine. In all honestly, skincare is pretty easy but makeup has been harder! The biggest gripe I have is that a lot of clean brands and clean products just lack the staying power that their “dirtier” counterparts have… the pigments slide off my face within a couple hours (and I have dry skin so that’s usually a non-issue for me!!!) If I had to choose between skincare and makeup I would absolutely always time and time again choose skincare but that doesn’t mean I can’t love playing with makeup too!

Clean Makeup Routine

Today I am sharing a routine of products that I really love – and they are all clean! (the exception is blush and brow pencil… I’m still using NARS Orgasm and the Tom Ford pencil. If you have any suggestions for something similar to that but clean, let me know in the comments! Funny that those two things are my only hold outs – it really feels like there should be something out there that I’d like just as much). I will note that I do still cheat on this routine as I test new things; but this lineup is my core makeup routine for everyday right now. I really, really love everything featured!

Also: Last night, I posted an Instagram TV video with how to use these products to create my everyday makeup look. I hope it’s helpful!

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My {Mostly} Clean Makeup Routine:

Face //

My friend Sarah turned me onto the Kosas tinted face oil (I have both 03 and 04 depending on if I have a little tan) and I am obsessed. She is more into makeup and calls it her “vacation foundation” but for me it’s my everyday go-to. Like tinted moisturizer but WAY BETTER. I feel like this product is over every single beauty and lifestyle blog and for good reason… it’s a fantastic product. It’s amazing for everyday when you just want a little coverage and glow and they have one for every skin tone. It leaves my skin tinted just enough (blending out any imperfections) with a radiant, dewy glow.

For more coverage (mostly if I have a shoot or an event, I generally try to avoid foundation for everyday!) I love Ilia’s True Skin Serum Foundation in “Tavarua.” For concealer, I ADORE Ilia’s True Skin Serum Concealer in “Chicory.” (it’s really creamy like the NARS creamy concealer which is my old holy grail). And then as bronzer, I love W3LL People’s bronzer (this one is really good and I am convinced that the compact actually lasts forever). Last but not least is setting powder! I really like this Supergoop setting powder; it helps my makeup to last longer while also providing an extra layer of protection.

Glow // 

I have two favorite highlighters! I like to use both a cream and a powder. The Ilia Liquid Light highlighter in “Nova” is really really pretty. I blend it in with a BeautyBlender. And then there is the Lawless highlighting powder which I could not be more obsessed with. It’s super pigmented and actually better than pretty much any other highlighter I’ve tried. I prefer the lightest shade, even when I have a tan. RMS beauty also has a really good cream highlighter… I love this one, it’s actually the first “clean” beauty prodcut I ever treid.!

Eyes //

I’m 100% Ilia here (fyi, Ilia is not a sponsor hahaha – they just have amazing products that work really really well and don’t slide off). I can’t say enough good things about the Ilia eyeliner. When I met with Tara Foley from Follain a while back, she introduced me to it (I told her I’d never find anything I liked better than the Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner) and I never looked back. I’ve since tossed all my other liners… I have this in both the smokey grey and the brown. They make a liquid liner too which is not for me but I just can’t do liquid liner! I also love Ilia’s eyeshadow palette. (I prefer the warm one). This one is so so pretty – I apply with a wet brush for more pigment!

And lastly is the Ilia mascara. I love this mascara so much. Prior to trying this mascara I had found it SO hard to find a good clean mascara and this is the one! It has a comb applicator so you get every single lash… and it leaves them longer and thicker and a little bit glossy (kind of like Glossier Lash Slick but more dramatic!)

Brows //

I am still on the hunt for a good clean brow pencil (let me know if you have a fav – I like a fine tip pencil like the Tom Ford one), but I keep my brows tamed with this Ilia brow gel!

Lipstick //

When it comes to lip color, Kosas Lipsticks are my new favorite. They only have a few colors, but I really like them all! Really creamy, pretty (natural looking) colors… just great. For something more fancy I love Bite’s lip stain in “Orange Fizz” – it’s the perfect red-orange!

Lip gloss // 

I’m such a big lip gloss person. I know it isn’t necessarily on trend but I don’t care. This “forget the filler” lip gloss from Lawless is SO good. Leaves your lips super plumped up (like noticeably so) but not at all sticky or tacky. I cannot stand a tacky gloss!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through my links, I may earn a commission, at no cost to you. I only feature things I truly love here. Thanks for your support.

photography by Carter Fish.


Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. I super admire your dedication to living a cleaner life in all areas, Grace! Thank you for being an example for us ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    9.17.19 Reply
  2. Greta:

    Beautycounter’s blush in nectar is the closest clean dupe I have found for Orgasm!

    9.17.19 Reply
  3. Erin:

    I have been slowly switching to clean products + have been on the lookout for some key makeup essentials and tips. Your IGTV Video and this post came at a great time. Thanks!

    9.17.19 Reply
  4. Agija:

    Hello Grace,
    Thank you for an interesting read and for such an awesome blog. Your’s is one of the few US based blogs that I still follow, as it has honest, exciting and at the same time down to earth content.
    Can I ask – what do you mean by “clean” beauty? And why would some other beauty brands/products be deemed dirty?

    Thank you.

    9.17.19 Reply
  5. Christine:

    Just ordered that eye shadow palette! So into the warm colors for fall!!! 🙂

    9.17.19 Reply
  6. Ellen Mazur:

    Beautycounter’s blush in Nectar is a great alternative for Nars Organsm. I think you’re on the east coast – There is a pop up shop at 51 Prince Street in Nolita in NYC if you want to check it out. (I’m also a beautycounter consultant if you have any questions – my IG handle is @everydayfancy)

    9.17.19 Reply
  7. Stephanie:

    This pencil is excellent and even has two shades just for blondes. My holistic esthetician recommended it years ago when I was looking for a clean switch.

    9.17.19 Reply
  8. Katie:

    Love this clean beauty roundup! I know you said brow pencil, but W3ll People makes a great tinted brow gel! It stays on through gym and spin workouts no matter how sweaty I get and I think it looks more natural than my old fave- the Benefit Gimme Brow gel. Check it out!

    9.17.19 Reply
  9. Cory:

    Kosas lipstick is my absolute fav. I am never without the Rosewater shade. You should also try their cream blush/highlighter combos. I was a NARS lover forever, but Kosas converted me. I also recently found a mascara I like better than the Ilia one. https://www.lilylolo.us/lily-lolo-big-lash-mascara.html
    It is SO good.

    9.17.19 Reply
    • I’m so glad you love it too! It’s so pretty. I have tried the cream/blush highlighter combos and they’re good but I think I prefer powder!
      And must try the lily lolo, thanks for that rec! xo

      9.17.19 Reply
  10. For blush, I really love the rms beauty Lip2Cheek cream blushes! My favorite shade is ‘spell’ (a rosy mauve) but there are some lovely bright coral shades that would be close to Orgasm.

    9.17.19 Reply
  11. Hi, Grace! Thanks for sharing this—I’m excited to try out the Ilia foundation. Also, this sounds so silly, but where did you get the headband/hair towel you’re wearing in the IGTV video? I love it and am looking for something similar!


    9.17.19 Reply
  12. Sofia:

    I love Ilia! I would recommend checking out Kjaer Weis, if you’re looking for another fantastic clean beauty company. I’m obsessed with their blush, eyeshadows and face oil in particular. And I love that all of their cases are reusable, so you just reorder a refill and pop it into the case.

    9.17.19 Reply
  13. Michelle:

    Have you tried the lawless foundation primer? It’s a really good one! Adds a little dewiness to my skin so I look fresh, but still helps my makeup stay on.

    9.17.19 Reply
  14. Reenie:

    Thanks for sharing! Do you have a suggestion for a clean moisturizer with spf? I’ve had a hard time finding something clean that my skin can also tolerate…any insights would be great!

    9.17.19 Reply
    • I like Coola CC Cream and Beautycounter Dewskin!

      I have the same problem to be honest, which is why in all honesty, I don’t wear daily SPF unless I know I’m going to be in direct sunlight.

      9.17.19 Reply
  15. Tricia:

    Tried the Kosas in store at Sephora this morning because of you! The person helping me even said they loved the glow!

    9.17.19 Reply
  16. Ruby:

    Try the eco brow gel pot for your brows. Before switching to clean makeup, I used to swear by pencils. However, with a light touch and both an angled eyeliner brush (to paint on 1 or 2 strokes of gel to brows) and a spindle brush (I grab a few from Sephora every few months) you can buff/blend to look so natural. I have had my same pot of eco brow for over a year and haven’t made a dent with daily use. Plus, the color names are in honor of famous strong women!

    Also, if you’re looking for a more cream based cheek product, RMS’s lip to cheek has a great texture that can easily be buffed in with a beauty blender.

    I haven’t tried Kosas but swear by Gressa’s similar serum tint foundation. Kosas is next on my list to try.

    Thanks for being an advocate for clean beauty!

    9.17.19 Reply
  17. Elise:

    Great post! I’ve been gradually swapping out my makeup for cleaner products. I prefer a powder blush also and found RMS pressed blush to be a great dupe for NARS https://m.sephora.com/product/pressed-blush-P447161?icid2=products%20grid:p447161:product&skuId=2193159

    9.18.19 Reply
  18. Orla:

    Does the Ilia mascara smudge at all? My biggest complaint about clean mascara is that it all ends up on my skin by the end of the day.

    9.20.19 Reply
    • Not for me! I always want to caveat with “for me” as if you have oilier skin, or even longer eye lashes, it could work differently for you. But I have had absolutely zero issues with this one!

      9.21.19 Reply
  19. This is an amazing post. I’m pretty clean on all my makeup but I just cannot find a mascara I love. Ordering the Ilia! Thanks for the rec. xo Kristy

    9.20.19 Reply
    • I hope you love it!!!

      9.21.19 Reply
    • Michaela:

      Kristy, if Ilia mascara doesn’t work for you, I like W3LL People too! Though tbh, mascara is also my last “dirty” holdout, cause I’ve never found anything as good as Benefit Rollergirl — and my skin is oily and lashes long, so I always end up with smudges under my brows no matter what I wear.

      9.21.19 Reply
  20. Love this list! I really need to find Kosas and Ilia as they both sound SO good! I was loyal to NARS Orgasm for 15+ years, but last year I switched to Chantecaille’s blush in ‘Laughter’ which is clean, and the shade is almost identical. It’s definitely more expensive, but I love that it is part of their philanthropic collection which supports organisations working to protect endangered species around the world. I also recently switched from the Glossier Boy Brow and Tom Ford brow pencil to Hourglass, and they are both fantastic (they do both a brow gel and a pencil, and the ‘blonde’ or ‘warm blonde’ should be perfect for you!). And not something you said you were looking for, but you might also like the RMS highlighter; it is also clean and comes in a little pot (perfect for travel) and looks very pretty and natural on (I wear the shade ‘Champagne Rose’).

    Briony xx

    9.25.19 Reply
  21. Sara:

    Trying several of the ILIA products. Thanks for the recs!

    9.25.19 Reply