What is Natural Foundation? + the BEST non-toxic foundation

What is natural foundation?

Since using a natural foundation, my skin is less irritated and smoother. I never gave much thought as to why my face was red while the rest of my skin looked normal. Sadly, it took me YEARS to realize my drugstore chemical-filled foundation was making me look like a tomato.

What is natural foundation? Natural foundation is the base layer of face makeup that’s applied after moisturizer and before a setting powder. It gives the skin a clear, soft, and smooth finish. It’s based on ingredients that are sourced from nature and is free of harmful chemicals.

Disclaimer: Always ask your dermatologist before using any foundation on your skin. The products below are my personal favorites, but they might not work for everyone. This article is for informational purposes only and contains no medical or beauty advice. All info is my personal opinion that’s based on my own research.


This foundation is loaded with natural ingredients. Personally, I don’t spend a lot of time in the sun, so I prefer a foundation without titanium dioxide.

One reason I love this foundation is because it’s completely FREE of titanium dioxide, parabens, silicone, alcohol, toxic chemicals, and phenoxyethanol.

Do you know how hard it is to find a foundation without all of these ingredients? Most have one or another. I almost gave up searching.

I prefer to use natural makeup products as much as possible. Chemicals have their place, just not on my face.

natural foundation ingredients

In my opinion, natural foundation should NEVER contain any of the following ingredients (I avoid them like the plague).

Here’s a list of ingredients I AVOID in foundation:

  • Boron Nitride
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Parabens
    • Propylparaben
    • Butylparaben
    • Isobutylparaben
    • Isopropylparaben
  • Phthalates
  • Aluminum
  • Cyclohexasiloxane
  • Cyclopentasiloxane

I did some research to understand why the ingredients above aren’t the best. I discovered some interesting facts. This article is just my personal opinion based on my own research from home. Please don’t take this as any kind of scientific article or anything. I’m just sharing my thoughts.

Research Hint: make sure to look at all the countries in the world who have done valid scientific research on the above ingredients. There are many countries out there who do stellar research. It’s not logical to look at only one country’s research, considering how big and civilized the whole world is now.

We do better when we put together pieces from the best research done around the world and unify them into one solution that’s beneficial for all people.

Why I avoid these ingredients in foundation:

Before I go into the ingredients I choose not to put on my body, I’d like to say that it’s probably okay to apply a few approved chemicals infrequently in small amounts. It’s not going to kill me. But definitely not daily.

Generally speaking, I use natural products as much as possible, especially if I have a choice about it.

I realize that most products out there aren’t exactly perfect, but I know some companies are really trying. It’s not always easy.

But there are some companies that aren’t trying. And that’s why we need to do our own research. We can only blame ourselves if we don’t wake up and research what we’re putting on our bodies.

In my opinion, the following ingredients should not be used in natural foundation:

Boron Nitride in Foundation

This is just my personal opinion. But here is some research that made me decide to never put boron nitride on my body. Ask your dermatologist if it’s safe for you.

The National Library of Medicine classifies boron nitride as an IRRITANT in the “Chemical Safety” category. 14 It says boron nitride causes serious eye irritation. It could also cause respiratory irritation. Boron nitride could have bad long-term effects on aquatic life.

If boron nitride is linked to lung irritation, it would make sense to particularly avoid this ingredient in loose powder makeup.

We know that humans and roundworms share some genes. Surprisingly, humans and roundworms have a lot in common! A study was done on roundworms exposed to boron nitride that caused defects at high doses. 1

The defects delayed their growth, killed their babies, slowed down their movement, and the worms themselves died faster after exposure to boron nitride. 1 That was enough for me. No thanks.

Some scientists may disagree with me and say that some makeup doesn’t use concentrations of boron nitride that are as high as in that study. 1

I’m still not comfortable with it. Even if it’s a tiny amount. How would you like someone to add just a speck of poop to your salad?

They use boron nitride in space to deflect radiation amazingly well. It’s like bionic man material. Boron nitride survives entry into Earth’s atmosphere from space, without burning up. I prefer to keep boron nitride in space, not on my body.

I prefer plant extracts, not spaceship materials, in my makeup.

What are the bioaccumulative effects of boron nitride? I don’t see a good long term study on how it accumulates in the body over a long period of time. Until this study comes out, I’m not putting it on my body. Even then…

Another study showed that boron nitride nanosheets changed the expression of genes in silkworms. 2

Messing with an organism’s genes isn’t cool.

Here’s an interesting study that’s related: boron nitride (hydroxyl-functionalized exfoliated) negatively affected and changed the function of the immune system response in mealworms. 3 They had a harder time fighting off the infection in the presence of boron nitride.

  • The worms had an immune system malfunction.

Isn’t it important to keep the immune system strong? What if there was a product that changed the way our immune cells responded? What if we were putting that product on our skin daily for years and years?

Now I’m not saying that just because boron nitride did this to worms, it will do it to you. I’m just sharing information. This is just my personal, non-peer-reviewed, unasked for opinion.

Besides, boron nitride is a tech material. The way it’s processed for commercial use is not natural. It’s synthetically produced, even though it’s been traced back to Tibet in a naturally-occurring form. This is not the form they’re putting in cosmetics. Please do your own research on this.

Another study showed that boron nitride nanotubes were toxic to lung cells and human kidney cells. 4 Some cells are hurt more by boron nitride nanotubes than other types. It depends on what type of cell is being studied.

Yet, some people will tell you it’s “safe”.

Remember when they said trans fats were safe? “Because there is no evidence that it’s harmful,” was their reply. Guess what? Decades later they changed their minds. Trans fats are toxic. Whoops.

“No evidence” does NOT mean something is guaranteed safe.

Boron nitride is manufactured in the form of nanoparticles. Is it possible the body can absorb nanoparticles into the bloodstream?

The more matte the makeup finish, the smaller the nanoparticle is. The bigger the particle, the more of a “glow” it gives. But even the “big” boron nitride particles are still NANOPARTICLES. Write to any company and ask them the size of the boron nitride nanoparticle in their formula. Ask if it gets absorbed into the bloodstream.

Remember, they use this stuff to shield space radiation.

Foundation is the form of makeup that contains the smallest boron nitride nanoparticles. The reason is to give the foundation an ultra smooth finish. Powdery makeup contains larger nanoparticles. But, they’re still nanoparticles.

Boron nitride nanoparticles have been shown to penetrate through the hard outer shells of beetles. 3


If it can get through a tough beetle shell, I wonder if it can penetrate through the soft skin of humans?


Metallic nanoparticles have been shown to be toxic to skin cells. 5

Boron has mixed metallic properties. The next fair question is: do boron nitride nanoparticles act in the same way as metallic nanoparticles? Please do more research to discover the latest findings.

We know it goes through the tough cuticle of beetles for sure. 3

So, my personal conclusion is that I’m going to avoid boron nitride when choosing a natural foundation for my skin. I only recommend natural makeup products without boron nitride.

Propylene Glycol in Foundation

Personally, I avoid propylene glycol in all of my beauty products. I’m very picky about what I put on my body. Please keep in mind that this article is just my personal opinion and based on my own research. This article should not be taken as any kind of beauty or medical advice. Please make your own decisions with your doctor.

The first reason I don’t want propylene glycol in my natural foundation is because it’s synthetic. It belongs in the alcohol chemical group.

Propylene glycol is actually a safe ingredient in general, however, a study warns that it shouldn’t be used for a prolonged period of time. 6 With long-term use, it could be toxic.

I consider the regular use of makeup to be a prolonged period of time. Because I use it everyday. All the time.

Propylene glycol is an allergen and an irritant to the skin, according to a published systematic review. 7

An allergen makes the immune system go into defense mode in order to fight off the invader.

It could possibly make my skin red, irritated, and inflamed.

Wait, isn’t that WHY I’m using foundation in the first place? To cover up my red and irritated skin, right? But what if it’s the propylene glycol CAUSING the redness in the first place? Um, how about just avoiding this ingredient?

PROPYLENE GLYCOL WAS THE ALLERGEN OF THE YEAR IN 2018, according to the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

Don’t worry, propylene glycol most likely won’t kill you. In my opinion, it just shouldn’t be used regularly. It’s possible it could cause some skin irritation and redness. Ask a dermatologist about this if you’re concerned.

So I definitely vote “no” for this ingredient. It should not be included in a natural foundation. I only recommend natural makeup without propylene glycol.

Parabens in Foundation

Parabens should not be included in natural foundation. I probably don’t need to say a lot about this because most people already know how bad they are by now.

Some people honestly don’t care what’s in their makeup. I know I didn’t. But WHY was my face so RED and the rest of my body was a normal color? I had to do some research.

Anyway, be on the lookout to avoid these paraben ingredients in your foundation:

  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben

A study on roundworms showed that parabens were toxic to these critters and caused a disruption in their endocrine system. 8

We know that humans and roundworms have some genes in common.

Parabens aren’t natural. So they don’t belong in natural foundation.

There is a TON of heated debate all over the internet about parabens in cosmetics. I really don’t want to get involved here. They’ve already done the work. To be on the safe side, I’m avoiding it. For sure. I’m only comfortable using these natural makeup products, which are paraben-free.

Do your own research. You’ll probably agree you don’t want this stuff in your makeup. Ask your dermatologist their opinion about parabens.

Phthalates in Foundation

Phthalates aren’t natural. So they shouldn’t be in natural foundation. They’re used to make plastic more flexible.

Most people already know that phthalates don’t belong in cosmetics. But if you’d like to know a bit more, here’s some research I put together:

The CDC says that the reproductive systems of lab animals have been affected by certain phthalates. 9

In one study, male rats that were exposed to phthalates in their mom’s uterus showed abnormalities in the development of their reproductive system. In some cases, they didn’t develop some normal reproductive parts at all (or they were underdeveloped). 10

Basically, phthalates demasculinized the male rats. That doesn’t seem like a good thing.

You’ll see a lot of people who are concerned about the possibility of phthalates causing all kinds of toxic problems. Please do your research if you’re concerned about this. It’s super easy to find a list of concerns people have with this ingredient!

Here are my natural makeup choices that do NOT contain phthalates.

Aluminum in Foundation

aluminum in foundation

Yes, aluminum is natural. But it shouldn’t be in natural foundation. We all know why we don’t want it in our underarm deodorant. And for the same reason we don’t want it in our makeup!

The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry website says that according to some studies, a person could get Alzheimer’s if they’re exposed to aluminum levels that are high. 11

A publication on PubMed says that aluminum may be a factor that causes cysts in breast tissue. 12 Aluminum can mimic estrogen, which isn’t good.

Most of the websites you run across will tell you not to worry about it.

I’m not worried about it, I just choose not to use it. That’s only my opinion. There are so many awesome natural makeup products without aluminum, so it’s easy to avoid it without drama.

Cyclohexasiloxane in Foundation

What in the world is cyclohexasiloxane? Does the word hex have anything to do with witchcraft?

Well, it turns out that cyclohexasiloxane is a common ingredient in foundation.

For starters, it isn’t natural. So if you’re looking for a natural foundation, steer clear of this ingredient.

The National Library of Medicine classifies cyclohexasiloxane as an IRRITANT in the Chemical Safety classification. 13

If you asked me if I wanted an irritant in my foundation, I’d say no thanks.

Another name for cyclohexasiloxane is dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane. As if the first spelling wasn’t confusing enough. I would hate to get that word in a spelling bee.

Anyway, the safety and hazards section of the compound summary warns that cyclohexasiloxane can cause serious eye irritation and damage. 13 It also causes long-term hazards to aquatic life.

The European Chemicals Agency considers cyclohexasiloxane to be a substance of very high concern.13 That’s enough for me. This agency does their research, trust me. I’m not using this ingredient.

With high doses of cyclohexasiloxane, female rats showed tiny fatty liver changes. Lung and thyroid changes were also noted. 13

It’s much better to use natural ingredients in makeup, if you ask me. Here are my top natural makeup picks without cyclohexasiloxane.

Cyclopentasiloxane in Foundation

If you see the ingredient cyclopentasiloxane in your foundation, know that it’s just another name for the formal chemical name decamethylcyclopentasiloxane. It’s also known as D5, for short.

It’s easier now for companies to hide label ingredients using their alternate formal names or short names. The names on your label aren’t always the names used in a scientific study. So you really have to dig deep to find the truth about the substance. Goodness gracious.

For example, you’ll see the word cyclopentasiloxane on your foundation label, but that word doesn’t always come up in scientific literature.

Instead, you have to use the lonnnnnnng word decamethylcyclopentasiloxane to find any scientific data. Or sometimes it’s listed just as D5. Pay attention to alternate names of the ingredient. Always search other names for the same thing.

PubChem is doing a really great job lately about streamlining data and organizing it for us in a transparent way. They’re making it much easier to do research.

A study showed that female rats exposed to cyclopentasiloxane for 2 years developed a slight increase in cancerous tumors of the uterus. 15

The National Library of Medicine lists cyclopentasiloxane in PubChem under the formal name of decamethylcyclopentasiloxane.

There, cyclopentasiloxane is classified as a HEALTH HAZARD in the “Chemical Safety” category. 16 It warns of reproductive toxicity. It also says that cyclopentasiloxane may be a long-term hazard to the aquatic environment.

Cyclopentasiloxane is a restricted substance as well as a “substance of very high concern” with the European Chemicals Agency. 16

PubChem says cyclopentasiloxane is an irritant to the skin.

In the PubChem database, it lists cyclopentasiloxane as an irritant to the eyes and skin. 16

So why would I want to put that on my face?

There’s more evidence, but I think you get the point. For me, this is enough to avoid this ingredient in foundation. I much prefer to buy natural makeup without cyclopentasiloxane.


Hopefully, this article helped you understand exactly what natural foundation is.

An important concept is to also know what natural foundation isn’t. Natural foundation most definitely isn’t synthetic. And it definitely shouldn’t contain artificial or toxic ingredients. Or spaceship materials.

Please read your ingredient labels. If you don’t know what something is, look it up on PubChem or other authoritative websites. It tells you if it’s toxic or an irritant.

I also hope that after reading this article you will choose an all natural foundation. If you try one and don’t like it, don’t give up! There are others to try. For my natural beauty makeup recommendations, see my article here.

  • Here’s a link to my favorite natural foundation:

Let your Light shine. Carpe diem.


1. Wang N, Wang H, Tang C, Lei S, Shen W, Wang C, Wang G, Wang Z, and Wang L. Toxicity evaluation of boron nitride nanospheres and water-soluble boron nitride in Caenorhabditis elegans. Int J Nanomedicine. 2017; 12: 5941–5957. [PMC free article]

2. Kodali V K, Roberts J R, Shoeb M, Wolfarth M G, Bishop L, Eye T, Barger M, Roach K A, Friend S, Schwegler-Berry D, Chen B T, Stefaniak A, Jordan K C, Whitney R R, Porter D W, Erdely A D. Acute in vitro and in vivo toxicity of a commercial grade boron nitride nanotube mixture. Nanotoxicology. 2017; 11:8, 1040-1058. [Google Scholar]

3. Czarniewska E, Mrówczyńska L, Jędrzejczak-Silicka M, Nowicki P, Trukawka M, Mijowska E. Non-cytotoxic hydroxyl-functionalized exfoliated boron nitride nanoflakes impair the immunological function of insect haemocytes in vivo. Sci Rep. 2019; 9: 14027. [PMC free article]

4. Horváth L, Magrez A, Golberg D, Zhi C, Bando Y, Smajda R, Horváth E, Forró L, Schwaller B. In vitro investigation of the cellular toxicity of boron nitride nanotubes. ACS Nano. 2011; May 24; 5(5): 3800-10. [PubMed]

5. Wang M, Lai X, Shao L, Li L. Evaluation of immunoresponses and cytotoxicity from skin exposure to metallic nanoparticles. Int J Nanomedicine. 2018; 13: 4445-4459. [PMC free article]

6. Lim T Y, Poole R L, Pageler N M. Propylene Glycol Toxicity in Children. J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Oct-Dec; 19(4): 277–282. [PMC free article]

7. McGowan MA, Scheman A, Jacob SE. Propylene Glycol in Contact Dermatitis: A Systematic Review. Dermatitis. 2018; Jan/Feb; 29(1): 6-12. [PubMed]

8. Nagar Y, Thakur RS, Parveen T, Patel DK, Ram KR, Satish A. Toxicity assessment of parabens in Caenorhabditis elegans. Chemosphere. 2020; May; 246:125730. [PubMed]

9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). Phthalates Factsheet. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Phthalates_FactSheet.html. Accessed 04/27/2020.

10. Mylchreest E, Cattley RC, Foster PM. Male reproductive tract malformations in rats following gestational and lactational exposure to Di(n-butyl) phthalate: an antiandrogenic mechanism? Toxicol. Sci. 1998; May; 43(1): 47-60. [PubMed]

11. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (2008) (Last updated: January 21, 2015). Toxic Substances Portal – Aluminum. Public Health Statement for Aluminum. Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=1076&tid=34. Accessed 04/24/2020.

12. Darbre PD. Aluminium and the human breast. Morphologie. 2016; Jun; 100(329): 65-74. [PubMed]

13. National Library of Medicine (PubChem). (Modified: 2020-04-25, Created: 2005-03-27). COMPOUND SUMMARY Dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane. Retrieved from [PubChem]. Accessed: 04/27/2020.

14. National Library of Medicine (PubChem). (Modified: 2020-04-25, Created: 2005-03-27). COMPOUND SUMMARY Boron nitride. Retrieved from [PubChem]. Accessed: 04/27/2020.

15. Dekant W, Klaunig JE. Toxicology of decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5). Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2016; Feb; 74 Suppl: S67-76. [PubMed]

16. National Library of Medicine (PubChem). (Modified: 2020-04-25, Created: 2005-03-27). COMPOUND SUMMARY Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane. Retrieved from [PubChem]. Accessed: 04/28/2020.

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Natural Universal Secrets

The author is a nature enthusiast who loves to share tips on how to live closer to nature. These gems of knowledge encourage a simpler life and cleaner way of living. Inspired by the magnificence and power of the natural world, these info-packed articles feature independent research, personal experience, and universal wisdom. Products that support natural beauty, clothing, personal hygiene, and a healthier lifestyle are explored. All natural product reviews are based on harmony with nature as the guiding principle and gold standard.


Here's the best natural foundation with non-toxic ingredients.