Ask Kaylin: Where are the best retail stores to shop for natural beauty products?

Category: , , / 7/14/2011
(Photo: Lush store by Mandy_Jansen)
I often get asked where I buy the natural makeup products in my kit.  I usually list several options for buying online in my reviews, but sometimes it's nice to have a brick-and-mortar location to test products in person.  Just remember to practice proper hygiene if using testers and check return policies before opening any cosmetics that are new to you.  Read on for a list my favorite places to buy eco-friendly and vegan cosmetics in person.


  • Health Food Stores - Grocery chains such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods offer a nice selection of natural products.  Many even sell items under house brands (such as 365 at Whole Foods) with very competitive prices.
  • Cosmetic Specialty Stores - While some retailers and beauty supply stores offer a selection of very traditional products, I frequent stores such as Ulta and occasionally Sephora for some of my favorite natural products.  Ulta offers budget-friendly brands such as Eco Tools and Phyisician's Formula (Organic Wear) in addition to more more moderately priced brands such as Bare Minerals and Tarte.  Sephora has a great selection of many of the same higher-end lines as well as brands such as Korres and Josie Maran.
  • Drugstores - I will sometimes stop by drugstores such as Walgreen's or CVS for some basic items such as organic cotton balls.  Walgreen's also carries natural items from cosmetic lines such as Wet 'n Wild, which can be hard to find in other stores.
  • Superstores - I personally prefer Target to Walmart, but both do offer some good budget-friendly items.  Selections vary by store, but I frequent my local Target for natural items by brands such as Eco Tools, Dr. Bronner's, E.L.F., One Bath and Body, and Yes to Carrots.
  • Natural Cosmetic Brand Retail Shops - Some natural cosmetic lines have retail stores, especially in larger cities.  In Texas, we have a Bare Escentuals outlet in San Marcos; New York has a Korres store.  There are also some nice products by chains such as Lush.  Just be sure to read labels, as many companies with retail stores may carry eco-friendly products alongside more toxic products.  Also be wary of outlets and clearance items, as the older items may have an outdated formulation with an ingredient you'd rather not put on your skin.

Natural products can be found in almost any city if you know where to look.  The only places I'd recommend avoiding are the cosmetic counters in department stores, as most counters offer products with ingredients that are better to avoid.  Perhaps the only exception to this rule is the Origins counter, although it's still best to read each label carefully before making a purchase.

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