Alright ladies. I have spent the past few months emptying out my cosmetic case and replacing it with new non-toxic products. Considering I have worn the same make-up for the past 9 years of my life, this was a trying experience. It took me years to find out how to apply make-up, find products that worked for my oily skin, and perfect my routine.
But in the name of good health, I put all of my old favourites in a basket and slowly re-filled my cosmetic bags with non-toxic products to test over a few months. It took time, days of looking like a greasy mess, and a chunk of my paycheque to find what worked for me, but it was worth it.
Please keep in mind that all of these reviews are based off of my personal experience, my own skin (oily, big pores, fair-medium yellowish skin tone), and my own preference. What worked for me what night work for you, and the other way around.
Regardless, I really hope these reviews will help make your own transitions easier and save you some money in the process. Here is what I tried, what worked, and what didn't...
- Mica bella
My friend and I stumbled upon a Mica Bella counter at the bridal show in Toronto and pulled in by their salesperson. He did both of our make-up on the spot and we were blown away! It had a really natural look which I prefered to my MAC made up face (see left) and we got him down to a fair price for mineral foundation, bronzer, blush and shadows. I love the ease of applying this make-up, the natural look, and how the shadows could be transformed into whatever you want. They are basically pigments you can add water to and use as liner, a temporary hair colour, nail colour ect. While I may go back to using some of Mica Bella's product in the winter, the colours were a lot less tan than what I normally use. The bronzer was a little sparkly for my liking.
Pros: Natural, easy to apply, fun shadow colours. Cons: The pale colours for the skin are more natural than some of the bronzers ect. which are too sparkly for my liking. Also many complain about the pushy salespeople. Price: Pricey, but if you can get a salesperson to give you a deal for a bunch of products it's comparable to MAC. Purchase: Online or from a sales rep. If you live in Toronto there is a stand at Dufferin Mall.
- Sally B's Skin yummies
I heard about Sally B's Skin Yummies through my natural beauty guru Kimberly Snyder. Always envious of her perfect glow (which comes mostly from an exceptionally healthy diet and good genes), I thought I'd give it a try. I knew I wouldn't transform into Kimberly, but I also trust her advice on what is good for our bodies. I ordered the Get Even finishing powder as well as a B Lippy Lip Gloss.
Pros: The powder had a nice natural finish and the gloss smells and looks great! Cons: If you use the powder over bronzed make-up it can make you look pale. Also not the best, nor the worst, for oily skin. Price: Comparable to department store brands, but you also pay shipping. Purchase: Online or these locations in the US
- Vapour Organic Beauty
Vapour Organic Beauty is anoher one of natural beauty Kimerly Snyder's go to's. Therefore I had to try it! I ordered some of the soft focus foundation and multi-use blush to try in sample sizes through their website. I absolutely loved the fruity smell, texture and feel of this foundation and blush. I had very high hopes, but with my oily skin, this practically slid off through the day. I did, however, give some of my samples to friends with more stable skin and they both loved it! I wish this could be my daily go-to but it wasn't right for me. It might be for you through!
Pros: Excellent ingredients, great smell, great feel. Cons: Not ideal for oily skin or full coverage. Price: Expensive, but I would say worth it for the quality. Purchase: Online
- Jane Iredale
Jane Iredale is my #1. I read several reviews before I realized that this would be the brand for me. Even though the products are on the expensive side, they have beautiful packaging, a high end feel, incredible colours and great products for oily skin. The company was kind enough to send me some products to try, and I purchased others on my own. Here is what I've tried and loved.
-Oil control primer - You have to use this product minimally and carefully, but it definitely helps my infinitely shiny nose. -Liquid Minerals - I occasionally use this before my powder for a more finished look. It has a great feel and good coverage. -Pure pressed base - I use this foundation powder in Warm Sienna and love the natural colour and feel. -Moon glow and So bronze 3 - I love both of these bronzers. I use So Bronze 3 as a bronzer and blush on a daily basis and like using Moon glow as a highlighter or occasionally a a bronzer (it's more shimmery). -Mascara - This is a great mascara if you're going for a subtle look. I prefer a bit more volume but use this along with another mascara and on my bottom lashes. -Eyeshadow- Great colours, beautiful finish, love the packaging -Dream Tint - This tinted moisturizer smells like heaven and is my go-to for hot summer days. -Spray and Brushes - The finishing spray helps finish your make-up and the brushes are wonderful. I recommend purchasing both if you take the Jane Iredale route.
Pros: Beautiful colours, sleek packaging, great quality, high end feel. Cons: More steps involved than some brands, which I don't mind. Price: A little more expensive but some brands, but comparable to other high end natural lines. Purchase: At Pure + Simple in Toronto or Online and select stores and spas.
- Bare Escentuals
Eyeshadow - I have Bare Escentuals eye shadow quartet in purples. They don't have the same staying power as some heavy duty eyeshadows, but the shades are gorgeous and look pretty good all day!
Mineral veil - I am a big fan of the tinted mineral veil! As an oily skinned gal I like to powder my nose every now and then, but I hate putting on a light powder that shows over my make-up. The tinted mineral veil is golden and adds a healthy glow and shine saver over my make-up. Great for touch ups on the go!
Eyeliner - I use my Bare Escentuals purple eyeliner daily! I used to use a waterproof eyeliner from Rimmel, but love how this is more subtle and still stays on pretty well over the day!
Pros: Easy to find, high-end quality, great range of products that you might be used to already. Cons: Products contains Bismuth which causes an allergic reaction for some (itching). Price: Same range as major Sephora brands. Purchase: Online or Sephora.
- Zuzu lipstick
Zuzu lipstick has such great colours that stay well and feel just as good as something from Mac or Dior (my old staples). Except for it feels even better - because it's non toxic! My personal favourite is Beso Beso for raspberry berrylicious lips!
Pros: Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Cons: Doesn't last all day but easy to re-apply. Price: Around $20 - same as any major make-up brand. Purchase: Whole Foods, most health food stores.
I bought the 100% Pure mascara and eyeliner. I wish the eyeliner had greater staying powder, the the mascara was lovely but didn't provide the volume I'm used to. I refrained from purchasing their foundation due to some reviews of it being a little cakey.
Pros: All natural ingredients made from fruit - great smells and beautiful colours! Cons: Lacking in volume. Price: $23 CDN Purchase: Online or the Big Carrot and Noah's in Toronto
- RMS concealer
I read so many good reviews about this concealer before finally caving. It's great for under eye bags or any redness on your face. It goes on super smooth, can be easily applied with your finger and has great staying power. Win!
Pros: Easy to apply, great finish. Cons: Some complain about having difficulty colour matching, I did not have this problem. Price: Pricey - around $36, but worth it's weight in gold and requires only a small amount. Purchase: Online
- Physicians Formula
I tried Physicians Formula's eyeliner and lisptick. I never tried their foundation powder or bronzer but it has some great reviews!
Pros: Very affordable, some great prodcuts. Cons: I didn't love the lipstick colour, and some say the foundation packaging needs to be improved. Price: Very affordable. Purchase: Most drugstores (even at most Winners in Canada).
One of the biggest challenges I had switching my make-up over was finding a great primer! Primers are wonderful to apply before foundation to minimize pores and create an even finish for your foundation. In the end I fell in love with Reviva Labs makeup primer as well as Exuberance is Beauty Helichrysum make-up primer. Neither contain silicone and are full of wonderful ingredients. Another cool tip? All natural aloe-vera gel can be used as a makeup primer as well!
Other Well Reviewed Products I Did Not Try:
- Joppa minerals (decent reviews)
- Alima Pure (great reviews - less expensive)
- Mineral Hygenics (decent reviews)
- Raw Natural Beauty (sounds like a scam, think reviews are from company, hard to say)
- Merle Norman - Luxiva Purely mineral make-up (sounds great but maybe oily for me)
- Arbonne (good reviews, some reviews said not great for oily skinned girls with big pores, sold through reps)
Great Places to Buy:
- Great article from Sally B's on how to make the switch to non-toxic producers
- Ways to make your natural makeup last
Q&A with natural beauty expert and holistic nutritionsit Joy McCarthy!
Q: How are standard cosmetics harmful? Not all cosmetics are harmful, but the specific ingredients found in many conventional cosmetics definitely do not promote a healthy body.
A: Does what we put on our skin affect our health as much as what we put in our bodies? Yes absolutely. What we put on our skin, does get absorbed into our body. While the amounts may be extremely small, it is the cumulative effect that is problematic. If you look at the typical day of a woman, she washes her where with shampoo, slathers on moisturizer, brushes her teeth, sprays on perfume, uses antiseptic wash on her hands and at the end of the day she's just been exposed to a cocktail of chemical toxins. Toxins are fat soluble and not easily removed from the body, especially when the body (and your body's filter, the liver) is constantly being bombarded with chemicals not only from beauty products but food as well. The body get's overburdened with all the toxins it is assaulted with on a daily basis.
Q: What should women look for on labels when buying cosmetics? Parabens, SLS, fragrance etc.
A: Please see my article on 12 chemicals to avoid in cosmetics!
Q: What are some of the major benefits of switching to natural make-up?
A: Some minerals based cover ups can provide sunscreen protection. I personally find it looks more natural when you use clean toxin-free makeup and of course, the skin will age at a much slower rate when you are not using chemicals.
Q: How important is it for make-up ingredients to be organic?
A: Organic means the ingredients have not been exposed to harmful pesticides and other chemicals. You will pay more for certified organic, but it's certainly better for you and the planet. However, it can be quite costly to transfer all your products to organic. I suggest you start by reading your labels, checking your beauty products at cosmetics database.com and then slowing buying clean products.
Q: What personally made you switch over to natural makeup, and what differences did you see?
A: I suffered from hormonal imbalance in my early 20's and I didn't want to be putting chemicals on my skin anymore. Parabens promote hormonal disruption, one of the reasons I made the switch.
Q: What do you suggest as natural remedies for women with very dry or very oily skin?
A: Coconut oil works for both. I also LOVE New Roots Herbals oils from Argan to Seabuckthorn and Pure & Simple's line called "Just Pure". But most importantly, moisturizing from the inside out by drinking enough water and eating good fats.
Q: Can natural products help you look as polished as standard cosmetics?
A: Yes absolutely.
Q: What does your skin care routine consist of?
A: I wash my face with Aubrey Organics Milk Cleanser (it doesn't actually contain milk), but it's very soothing to the skin and I apply Just Pure Calendula Royal Jelly moisturizer on. Then on days I feel like a little more colour, I apply a tinted moisturizer by Eminence called Caramel Latte with an SPF 15 and then a bit of Eminence translucent powder, then Eminence chai berry blush!
Q: What’s in your make-up bag?
A: A menagerie of products! I love blush and I love lipsticks. So it's a mixture of Zuzu Luxe and Eminence right now. But it changes often!
If you missed it check out Part One: Doing My Research and get ready for Part 3 +4 where we do personal care, hair, and a day at the spa, au natural!