I used to daydream about being famous and decided that if I was ever a movie star, I would be that person whom no one had ever seen without her perfect makeup. It would add to my mystique, and when I got married, my husband would know he was special because I’d allow him to see me without it, at night in bed.
My regular readers will realize the extreme irony of this childhood memory, since my strategy for making my makeup more natural and safe up until now has been to simply wear less, such that I pretty much only bother with it for church on Sunday…when I have time for that!
Back at the beginning of this year, the KS community got into a good discussion about natural makeups on the Facebook page – a lot of great conversation and information happens there that doesn’t make it to the blog, so get on over and click “like”!
From the wonderful and wise women who offered ideas for natural makeup, I compiled this list of possibilities for brands of natural makeup, with those receiving multiple mentions at the top:
- Everyday Minerals
- 100% Pure
- Alima Pure mineral makeup
- Jane Iredale
- Dr. Hauschka
- Physician’s Formula mineral mascara
- Honeybee Gardens eyeliner
- Jordan Essentials
- Huye Everyday Minerals
- Suncoat mascara
- Juice Beauty
- The All Natural Face Makeup
- Southern Magnolia Minerals
- Ecco Bella
- Slonecker Body Sense sells a few good brands
- Melaleuca Makeup
- Mineral Fusion
- Red Umbrella Cosmetics
- Herbs of Grace
- Mineral Hygienics
- Rejuva Minerals
- Eve Organics
- Here is an independent non-profit source recommendation of good products
And this list of outstanding questions:
- What is the alternative if you don’t like mineral makeup?
- Is there a natural mascara or lipstick that actually stays on?
I sought out a couple samples but honestly didn’t work all that hard to get a zillion kinds of makeup – although skin care is a concern shared by many of us in the kitchen, it’s less related to Kitchen Stewardship® than other products I could review. (If you’re curious about other personal care routines that are gentle to the environment and usually the pocketbook too, here are the green and natural personal products we use in the KS household.)
What is Truly “Natural” Makeup, Anyway?
I’m guessing if I start looking into this question, I’m going to find an awful lot of controversy.
Some stand behind mineral powders 100% and others, I’m sure, will tell you that you’re still putting a metal (titanium dioxide) to which some will react negatively (heavy metal toxicity) on your skin, the largest organ of the body.
I understand that what we put on our skin is as important and affects us as much as what we put in our bodies.
As I mentioned above, my strategy has been to simply wear less makeup. It speeds up both my morning and evening routines (do you know how many passes it takes to fully get mascara off? Too much time for me to bother with every day!).
I figure that by wearing less makeup less often, I’m avoiding the cost of makeup, the time it takes to apply and remove, the potential pore-clogging effects of putting stuff on my face, and I don’t have to think as much about the ingredients in my makeup.
That said, I still don’t want parabens, for example, in my house in any form.
So while I won’t answer the question of truly natural makeup, I can share my thoughts on some of the natural brands that are putting themselves out there.
If you’re brave enough to make your own makeup, try this DIY Organic Foundation.
Attention foodies with acne and oily skin! The hilarious and knowledge Crunchy Betty and release an eBook Food on Your Face that has changed my own mother’s skin care routine after a number of decades (I am 32, after all) of experience. The book offers 35+ recipes especially designed for those with special skin types. The best part? Most recipes can be made using ingredients from your own kitchen!
Notes on Katie Testing Makeup
Remember how I mentioned I only wear makeup once a week?
That means I didn’t do a lot of side-by-side testing, I never went half and half on my face like I did for the natural sunblock review, and I didn’t remember to do any before and after photos. Just getting makeup on my face and scratching down a few notes was all that was possible in my busy life.
I also couldn’t tell you if any of the foundations caused more skin blemishes than others, since I don’t sleep enough and battled a wild candida rash in the midst of all the testing. I never noticed any correspondences between a certain brand and a breakout, but I don’t always notice when my 1-year-old puts crunchy dead pillbugs in his mouth in our basement, either, so take that with a grain of salt!
Something nice about all these foundations – I realized that I never found makeup stains on my toddler’s clothes, something that does happen when others cuddle him. That could be that I apply it lightly, but maybe the natural ones don’t rub off as easily as some other foundations.
All the makeup was easy to wash off at the end of the day…when I found time to wash my face. *cringe* I know, I know, terrible habits.
Without any more blabbing, here are the natural makeup brands I ended up getting my hands on:
No longer available –
Lip crème EWG rating: 1 Price: $26.40 My experience: I chose nutmeg based on the online colors, but yikes – it made my lips lighter than my lips, and I’m the type that if I’m going to bother with makeup, it needs to make my lips darker. So I’m not a good reviewer of the product since I chose a bad color! The lip crème is in a little flip top compact, which is not my favorite. I’d rather my lipstick be something I don’t have to touch – I feel like I should have a clean finger or have to bobble a brush of some sort to apply this lip crème. However, it has to be said that the ingredients are uber natural and so safe, so if 100% non-toxic is important to you, Miessence lip crème might be a good choice.
EWG rating: 2
The foundation powder is in a little pot with the small-holed divider, as are many mineral powders (you can see it in the top left of the photo above). It smells flowery to me, so that rose essential oil is coming through for sure. It covers fine…maybe a little on the thin side…nothing extravagant to say about it.
EWG rating: 2
The foundation goes on smoothly, which is always the first hurdle. It covers thinly, so you won’t get much actual “concealing” of dark circles or zits from this one.
Bottom line on Miessence: Of all the natural beauty products I reviewed and read about online (with the exception of Everyday Minerals, see below), Miessence has the most pure ingredients, in my humble opinion. They’re also really pricey.
If the quality of the ingredients is really important to you, OR if you can find someone local to work with such that you could try the colors before buying, always helpful with makeup, Miessence is a great choice. For me, I don’t know that any one product is calling my name for a repeat purchase.
Thanks to Jessica, my local Miessence rep, for sharing samples with me! Links are affiliate to my own Miessence storefront.
EWG rating: 2
Price: $35/1 oz.
This foundation works quite well and reminds me of the old conventional foundation I used to use. I don’t love the pump style bottle, because I like to be able to use just a tiny bit under the eyes, for example, and it’s too easy to pump a full drop – and then not be able to put any back. Just my eccentricity talking there…
I’m not thrilled to see soy oil so near the beginning of the ingredients list. I’m just not a fan of soy on or in my body.
But it covers decently and leaves no line on the jaw that I noticed, so it’s not too thick.
EWG rating: 2
Price: $18.00/0.34 oz.
This product is one of my favorites! When I really need makeup, it’s usually because I have some big old nasty zit that needs to be hidden. None of the natural foundations did the job even passably, but this concealer is the bomb.
I wrote in my notes three different times how much I liked it and how well it worked, including that it doesn’t separate and need to be shaken that much and that the packaging with a small, pointed squeeze end is handy and works perfectly for its purpose, which is spot treatment.
It really makes the zits, blemishes, weird spots, and even that wart that I got rid of naturally disappear. The concealer goes on first, then the foundation, then the powder, and it’s like nothing is there. This one is worth the investment, and a tiny dab will do ya. I think my tube will last a long time.
EWG rating: 2
Price: $22/0.35 oz.
Juice Beauty’s powder definitely took the shine away after applying foundation, so it works fine, but for me, the container is simply too big. It’s probably a full 50-75% larger than the other mineral powders in a tub and 4x as tall as the old compact powder. I just don’t have room for it in my makeup bag!
Is that a dumb reason to say I wouldn’t buy it again?
BUT. I see that this isn’t a mineral makeup – the base is tapioca and corn starch. Food on your face, anyone? So if you’re cool with a little corn (it is organic) and don’t like mineral makeup, I think I’ve found your answer.
EWG rating: 3 on old formula
Price: $29/2 oz.
I am not really an everyday SPF kind of gal, but if I were, I realized I’d just use my Kabana tinted Green Screen. When I compared Kabana with Juice Beauty’s SPF moisturizer, Kabana covered slightly better, and although it made my face very shiny, the powder took care of that in a jif.
Ultimately, when Kabana has less than 10 ingredients and a super safe EWG rating and costs less than Juice Beauty, I’d just leave this one alone. Juice Beauty’s also separated quite a bit, smelled oddly musty, and didn’t provide any coverage, even for under-eye circles.
Bottom line: As ingredients go, Juice Beauty is fairly natural. There are a few unpronounceables in the list, but I don’t think that they’re dangerous, and a “2” at EWG is very acceptable to me for something I won’t wear every day.
I love the concealer and would spend the money on that item for sure. If you need a non-mineral powder, Juice Beauty is a great option. The foundation was average, fine, but nothing to write home about, and SPF moisturizer isn’t necessary.
EWG rating: 3
Price: varies by retailer; ~$15 currently on Amazon
Mineral Fusion was the only natural mascara I tried this summer, and it did the job. I’ve never really liked “waterproof” mascaras, because in my experience, the mascara will still come off the eyelashes onto the skin below the eyes, and it is then that it becomes waterproof, completely.
The Mineral Fusion stayed on all day, for sure, and it did transfer a little onto my skin, but probably only when I forgot I was wearing makeup and rubbed my eyes.
The mascara is fairly easy to remove, with just water and my Hydramitt OR a dab of coconut oil to loosen it up. There were times I slept with the mascara on by accident, and the next morning I’d just wipe under my eyes with a cloth and still have makeup on – bonus! I know it’s bad to sleep in makeup, but hey – I learned that even when you make bad choices, your eyes won’t sting or hurt with the natural mascara. Ta da!
EWG rating: 2
Price: varies by retailer; ~$12-15 currently on Amazon
I like the color of the lipstick, it feels good going on, looks smooth, and covers well.
I know the big question with lipstick is always “does it stay on?” I’ve used that Revlon everlasting kind, so I know what lipstick feels like when it’s formulated to stick to your lips like superglue.
It totally dries them out, but it’s pretty darn cool when your lips are still colored the following morning. However, it’s probably not all that safe.
The natural lipstick from Mineral Fusion probably only lasts an hour when eating or drinking, maybe a few without. I’m not sure if a natural makeup can do much more, but I’d be open to hear if you’ve found anything in the comments!
For me and my lowly ideals, it’s definitely working, and my lips are one place I want to keep it natural.
EWG rating: 2 (limited information)
Price: varies by retailer; ~$30 currently on Amazon
The pressed powder is totally different from the other little tubs of powder that most mineral makeup comes in. Size and shape is just like my old compact, and I like that. I like the smallness of it, and it’s easier to get the right amount of powder, not too much, than the loose powder. You still need to have a brush that is not included, by the way.
When I first tried the Kabana as foundation, it made my face very, very shiny. Within half a minute, the Mineral Fusion fixed it right up to matte, and kept an incredible Rudolf-nose from a huge zit covered for at least 3 hours (with Juice Beauty concealer). I’m very happy with the product and might buy it, although…phew…it’s pricey.
Looking at the ingredients, again, they’re not quite as ideal as Miessence, but at least there’s no parabens, etc. I’m not sure about that Retinyl Palmitate though – Vitamin A has been taken out of sunscreens because it reacts badly on the skin. What do you think about it being in the powder?
EWG rating: 2
Price: varies by retailer; ~$15 currently on Amazon
I don’t know what’s with hydrogenated up there in the ingredients. This eye pencil goes on easily, smoothly, works well, and stays on the lids just fine. I’m guessing it’s way better than conventional eye liner, and I go through one about every decade, so I think I can handle the price!
I’m really happy with Mineral Fusion overall. The price is a little painful, but when is the natural choice not? I also wish a couple ingredients were cleaned up…is anything ideal?
Moisturizing Face Screen and Everyday Sheer Coverage with SPF
face screen ingredients: Active Ingredient: 20% non-nano zinc oxide Ingredients: Camellia sinensis (green& white tea), non-nano zinc oxide, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba oil), Prunus armeniaca (apricot kernel oil), Limnanthes alba (meadowfoam seed oil), Helianthus annuus (sunflower oil), emu oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), vegetable glycerin, Elaesis guineensis (red palm oil), Rubus idaeus (red raspberry seed oil), lecithin, potassium sorbate, allantoin, Cosmocil CQ*, xanthan gum, mica, Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn oil), Calodendrum Capense (yangu oil), Rosemarinus officinalis (rosemary oleoresin), pearl powder, Daucus carota (carrot seed) essential oil, Cistus incanus (cistus) essential oil, Lonicera japonica (honeysuckle), Helichrysum italicum (helichrysum) essential oil, iron oxides, Spirulina platensis (spirulina) (medium tint only). *Paraben-free anti-microbial agent
EWG rating: 2 for both
Price: $40-50/ bottle, ounces unavailable ???
This foundation goes on smoothly, smells like sunscreen, and works fine. As with the others, it goes on thinly.
But honestly, when I saw the price, yowza. Since Miessence has fewer ingredients and none that are questionable, it wins in the expensive category.
Bottom line: Holy expensive makeup, Batman! I don’t think I could bring myself to pay this much for foundation, ever.
Be Pure Mineral Crushed Powder
EWG rating: 7
Price: cheap, probably $5 or less at Walgreen’s
This is actually the powder I’ve used for the last many years. It just ran out, partially prompting this review. Notice the “7” rating at EWG. There are reasons for that.
Although some of the other makeups here don’t have “perfect” ingredients like, say, MadeOn with the lovely “only 3 ingredient” lotion, you can see how very much better they are by comparing with Jane’s tinted moisturizer:
Talk about unrecognizable! This list is probably still better than a totally conventional brand with parabens and all, but I don’t love everything I see here: “hydrogenated” anything, blech, butylene glycol, a preservative and image enhancer with plenty of side effects, and phenoxyethanol, a preservative used instead of parabens with an EWG rating of 4, mildly dangerous, for starters.
Jane cosmetics are only natural in the “active” ingredient of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, of which my container is 25%. You really do get what you pay for.
EWG rating: 2, 4 for waterproof, 5 for lengthening
Price: about $10
I bought this mascara a few years ago on sale, and it was fine. Nothing spectacular, nothing to avoid. It’s definitely not waterproof or all-day wear with no smudging.
I don’t know about the “aluminum” in the ingredients though, but otherwise that list is pretty clean, especially for the price. Since we are supposed to get new mascara every 3 months (I never do it that often though) I can’t see spending too much on a tube.
More readers use and recommend Everyday Minerals than any other, and I feel foolish for not looking into it sooner.
The ingredients are pretty much spot on, the price point is lower than all the others I tested out, and they offer free samples, you just pay shipping.
Disclosure: I received samples for free from Maria Veronique, Mineral Fusion, Miessence, and Juice Beauty, but my opinion is absolutely my own. I am an affiliate for the eBooks mentioned in this post as well as Amazon and Miessence. See my full disclosure statement here.
I’m well known for honest, thorough product reviews…
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