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Paraben Free Drugstore Makeup Kit: Yes, It Is Possible!

Today I am sharing an updated post, this post was originally published in 2014 but has remained popular over the last 4 years. I wanted to update it with new product recommendations as some of the products I mentioned are no longer available or were reformulated (luckily none had added parabens). The good news is that it was much easier to find paraben free makeup in 2018!

The Best Paraben Free Drugstore Makeup

Parabens are a hot topic these days. While the medical community feels parabens are safe based upon our current level of knowledge and scientific research (Dr. Cynthia Bailey has a great post going over parabens in skin care), there are people who want to avoid parabens. If you are more comfortable avoiding parabens it is easier than ever to do that!

This weekend I received an email from a reader asking about paraben free products due to an allergy, in which case she can’t really fudge it and ignore the paraben in her blush. Luckily, parabens are getting easier to avoid, even when you’re shopping at the drugstore!

Hello. I just read your post on a makeup starter kit and it inspired me to write to you with a question of my own that I have been struggling with for a while now.

I am 14 years old and I would like to start wearing makeup. The only problem is that I am allergic to parabens, which are in almost every makeup that I can find. I cannot find any makeup or makeup companies that are completely free of parabens.

I have blond hair and light blue deep set eyes. My skin is very fair and it has a cooler undertone. I’m looking for a basic BB Cream or Foundation, Concealer, blush, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, and any tools. I also have very oily skin and would like some type of powder or oil absorbing sheets. I’m not sure if I will be able to find any paraben free products in a drug store, but there is a CVS nearby and also a Sephora that is within driving distance. I am ok with spending a good amount of money as long as I don’t react to the products.

Thank you for helping.

I’ve spent a few days looking for products that I recommend and building a makeup kit full of paraben free products. I looked primarily at drugstore products (as a teen I would have had to save for quite a while to shop at Sephora instead of CVS), and I looked at ingredient lists on manufacturer websites, CVS, Walgreen’s, Drugstore.com, etc. I’ve found some higher price alternatives that are paraben free, and while they’re not in the graphic I’ve listed those below.

where to find paraben free makeup

Paraben Free BB Cream or Foundation

Here’s where I admit that I only looked at BB Creams, not foundations. BB Creams are considered skincare usually, so they’re more likely to be paraben free and there’s more than enough coverage for almost everyone.

1. Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-In-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector: This is one of my favorite BB Creams to recommend, and there’s a Maybelline Dream Pure BB with Salicylic Acid to fight acne and absorb excess oil.

More Drugstore Options:
CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream
L’Oreal Visible Lift Luminous Serum Tint
Physician’s Formula Super BB #InstaReady BB Cream SPF 30

More Expensive Options:
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream
Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream
Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35

Paraben Free Concealer

Concealers that are paraben free seem to be really, really hard to find. These are only a few drugstore options.

2. CoverGirl TruBlend FixStick Concealer

More Drugstore Options:
Maybelline Facestudio Master Conceal
ELF HD Lifting Concealer
NYX Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand

More Expensive Options:
Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
Tarte Creaseless Concealer

Paraben Free Powder

3. Maybelline Dream Wonder Face Powder

More Drugstore Options:
Revlon PhotoReady Powder
ELF Studio High Definition Powder

More Expensive Options:
Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder
NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder

Paraben Free Blush

4. Maybelline Fit Me Blush

More Drugstore Options:
Maybelline FaceStudio Master Contour
Flower Beauty Flower Pots Powder Blush
NYX HD Blush

More Expensive Options:
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush
MAC Powder Blush

Paraben Free Eye Shadow Primer

If you’re going to wear shadow, I’m of the opinion that a primer underneath is an absolute must! It will keep your shadow in place much longer and the colors will be more vibrant.

5. NYX Eye Shadow Base: This is my favorite drugstore primer, all 3 shades are paraben free. It covers up any visible blood vessels while it primes.

More Drugstore Options:
Milani Eyeshadow Primer
Wet n Wild Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer

More Expensive Options:
Benefit Stay Don’t Stray Eyeshadow Primer
Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Paraben Free Eyeshadow

I’m a pretty big snob when it comes to eye shadows. There are only a few drugstore formulations that I think are worthwhile. Unfortunately, most of them (Wet’n Wild, L’Oreal and CoverGirl) seem to have parabens. Note that parabens are sometimes in individual shades, not necessarily all shades. So, if one palette is ok, it might not translate over to the rest of the brand.

6. NYX Warm Neutrals Ultimate Shadow Palette

More Drugstore Options:
Morphe x Jaclyn Hill The Vault Bling Boss Eyeshadow Palette
Morphe x Jaclyn Hill The Vault Ring the Alarm Eyeshadow Palette
ColourPop Give It To Me Straight Eyeshadow Palette
Flower Beauty Wanderlust Eyeshadow Palette

More Expensive Options:
Urban Decay Naked Palette, 1-3 and Heat
Anastasia Norvina Eyeshadow Palette
Huda Beauty Rose Gold Remastered Eyeshadow Palette
Anastasia Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette

Paraben Free Eye Liner

L’Oreal Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner: This is my go-to drugstore eyeliner. I love how well pigmented it is, it smudges just right and stays put all day.

More Drugstore Options:
NYX Matte Liquid Liner
NYX Slide On Eye Pencil
Physician’s Formula Eye Booster Lash 2-in-1 Boosting Eyeliner & Serum

More Expensive Options:
You can find a lot of eyeliners without parabens now. Here are my favorite splurges.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil: This is basically the splurge version of the L’Oreal above. Go for L’Oreal for basic shades, Urban Decay has a huge selection of more special, non-basic shades that are worth splurging on!
Urban Decay Perversion Waterproof Fine-Point Eyeliner: If you want a thin liquid liner that lasts all day, this is a great choice.

Paraben Free Mascara

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara: This is my favorite drugstore mascara, and it just happens to be paraben free! It grabs every last lash and doesn’t smudge.

More Drugstore Options (at ULTA):
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara
Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara

More Expensive Options (at Sephora):
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
Urban Decay Perversion Mascara
Buxom Lash Volumizing Mascara

Paraben Free Lips

There are a lot of paraben free lip products out there, I’ve linked a few of my favorites below, but be sure to check out the links to drugstore and expensive options, there are a lot more available!

More Drugstore Options (at ULTA):
Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm
Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Lip Color
NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick

More Expensive Options (at Sephora):
It Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush 4-In-1 Reviver Lipstick Stain
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick
Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer

Have I forgotten anything? If you have any paraben free products that you would like to recommend, let everyone know in the comments!

Product Sent for Review, Affiliate Links, Bought It Myself

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About Me

Iā€™m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

Leave a Comment


  1. 1.22.20
    Jesslyn said:

    Hi, i have read your skincare ingredients that are not safe for pregnancy and one of them is all hydroxy acid ingredients which include poly.. and i found in one of the sunscreen product have polyhydroxystearic acid. Just wondering if that ingredient is safe for pregnancy? As i found it in neutrogena sheer zinc face dry touch sunscreen spf 50 in your neutrogena safe for pregnancy blog. Thankyou šŸ™‚

    • 1.22.20
      15mins said:

      It isn’t a hydroxy acid or even an acid really. It’s an emulsifier, should be fine.

  2. 7.8.23
    Maureen Anne Campbell said:

    Is L’Oreal Telescopic Lift paraben free?

    • 7.8.23
      Christine said:

      You can check the package. But it doesn’t really matter, as your lashes can’t absorb anything.