Inspiring DIY projects, beauty recipes and advice to green your daily routine.

Green Cosmetics: Foundation And Concealer

Posted by on Feb 10, 2013 in Skin & Hair Care | 2 comments

Green Cosmetics: Foundation And Concealer

Over the past few months, Kim and I have shared our recipes for a green face routine with you. Every evening I cleanse my face with a rosemary mint race wash, remove my eye makeup with a homemade makeup remover and exfoliate with a oatmeal sugar scrub. My morning makeup routine, however, still has a lot of room for improvement.

Finding eco-friendly makeup is difficult because in the United States there are no legal standards to meet for labeling something a natural or organic personal care products. “Natural” and “organic” could be put on the packaging for decoration or to convince people to pay more for a product. For more information on greenwashing, which is where companies make real and/or fake claims so their product appears to be green, see Beware “Greenwashing” in Cosmetic Products over at the Cinco Vidas Blog.

Since you can’t trust the packaging I have developed a system for finding replacement products. First, I pick a product and review the label for ingredients on the Women For A Healthy Environment’s list of chemicals to avoid in your personal products. Then, I check the EWG Skin Deep for ingredients that raise concerns, such as known carcinogens and hormone disrupters. If the product meets my criteria I make the purchase.

I’m not in a rush to switch over all my makeup since trying to switch all at once would be overwhelming. Instead, I wait until I am running out of a product to find a green alternative.

The first few products I switched were my foundation and concealer. Thanks to a friend’s recommendation I discovered eyes lips face (e.l.f.) mineral makeup and I’ve been using their foundation and concealer for about a year. I like e.l.f. because their products meet my green criteria and once I got used to using mineral makeup I found it quicker to apply and more comfortable to wear than liquid foundation.

Another benefit, that is also a drawback for e.l.f. products, is that they come in small sizes. The foundation jar contains .1 ounces of product, about 1/3 the product of other mineral makeups. e.l.f foundations and concealers are also about 50% less expensive than the brands I compared them to. This combination of factors makes it an inexpensive experiment when you are trying to switch to a greener makeup, but once you are invested in the line you end up with lots of plastic product containers that aren’t numbered and may not be recyclable in your area.

If you are interested in trying e.l.f. products, head over to their website and make sure you stick to the mineral makeup, since their other lines do contain harmful chemicals. To ensure you are picking the best colored products for your skin, take a product you own, visit the manufacturer’s website and adjust the color settings or tilt of your screen until the picture your screen matches the product in your hand. Then, start shopping, confident the products on your screen are represented accurately.

Nicole knows making small changes for the greener add up over time and hopes you’re inspired to make some changes of your own after reading her articles. She focuses on easy, green, homemade personal products and green living tips for city dwellers. Nicole lives in Pittsburgh, PA and you can find her on twitter at @_nlg_.

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  1. Lydia

    Hi, Nicole,

    Like you, I have been staying away from harmful chemicals found in most cosmetics and have resorted to making my own makeup. One formaulation that still eludes me, however, is a homemde concealer. I surfed over to the E.L.F. site you recommend and found their Essential Tone Concealer/Corrector. I got pretty excited until I read the ingredients:Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), Octyl Palmitate, Petrolatum, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Ceresin Wax, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Mica, Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Silica, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben. May Contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)

    Would you really want to have petroleum products, alumiinum salts, anti-freeze (Propylene Glycol) , parabens and drying, irritating alcohol (Phenoxyethanol) on your skin? I think not.

    • Nicole

      Hi Lydia,

      You’re right, I don’t want those products on my skin. As I noted in the last paragraph of the article, when your shopping for e.l.f. products “make sure you stick to the mineral makeup, since their other lines do contain harmful chemicals.”

      I use the powder mineral concealer for my face and the liquid mineral eyeshadow primer for my eyes. The formulas for those are much tamer than the the Essential Tone Concealer/Corrector you are looking at.

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