When I shop for groceries, I read the labels of almost every product I purchase. As time goes on, it gets much easier to shop when you become loyal to a few good brands. With all this concentrated effort toward making healthy choices, I never paid that much attention to my cosmetics or personal hygiene products.
A few months ago, I started to look up some of my cosmetics on EWG, an online database that rates the toxicity of your cosmetics and also tells you the possible long term side effects. It was startling. Some of my products that touted being natural were rated moderate or high in toxicity. Some affected the respiratory system, some the reproductive system, and some even had cancerous side effects.
I wish I was one of those girls that can go cold turkey, but I unfortunately can’t. Instead, I have been slowly transitioning from a lot of my conventional makeup, lotions, cleansers and beauty potions to more natural products. I even stopped chemically straightening my hair a year ago. It has not been an easy process. After a lot of sampling and research, which I’m sure I’ll continue learning from, I’ve found a few products that work well for me.
When it comes to makeup, I need moderate coverage, but I like it to feel light as air. Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation (Color: Manzanita) was the best powder I tried. It doesn’t fade throughout the day and doesn’t cake or make my face look like a slip and slide. It must have a hint of shimmer, because my skin seems to glow when I wear this.
Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Luminous Foundation (Color: 125) is a foundation, but I use it as a concealer. A lot of the natural concealers I tried didn’t have enough coverage or would leave my face greasy. This product feels very light and airy. My skin looks even and my pores appear smaller, rather than accentuated, as happens with a lot of foundations.
Llia Beauty Lipstick (Color: Funnel of love) is a semi nude color with a hint of pink. Using a flat nude color makes me look ill. The ingredient list includes jojoba seed oil, which seems to be the “it” oil these days, and a lot of other natural moisturizers. I need all the help I can get for chapped lips when the Chicago winters roll around.
Finding a natural eye shadow that would stay put was a task in itself. A few of the shadows I tried didn’t last much longer than an hour. Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow Compact (Colors: Earthy Calm, Magnetic, Cloud Nine), have great pigments and last much longer than anything else I’ve tried. The compacts are even a nice heavy metal that is less likely to break after the many drops they will likely have to endure.
I’ve used Tarte (joy) periodically when I want more of a pouty lip. The “joy” color is a bright tint of pink and is very moisturizing. I checked each of the ingredients one by one on EWG, since they don’t have this exact product listed on their site. A lot of the tarte makeups do not have a great rating, but their lip stain and eye liner fared well. I sampled some of their foundation and after an hour I wanted to wipe them off. They just felt so oily. The Tarte SmolderEYES™ Amazonian clay waterproof liner does a decent job of staying put, which is unheard of for more natural eyeliners, but it is hard to avoid a little fading.
I sampled a lot of the Inika brand, but only the mineral blush (color: Peachy Keen) worked for me. Their foundation’s consistency was nice, but the color palette looked ashy grey on my skin instead of having my required yellow undertones. The Peachy Keen color has a nice coral tint to it that stands out without looking circusy. The image above is the sample container.
By far one of my favorite finds is this natural Soapwalla Kichen Deodorant Cream which gets the best rating possible, 0, on EWG. I’ve used so many natural deodorants that don’t work and feel sticky throughout the day. This is the first product that really worked for me and, I’d venture to say, worked better than my regular antiperspirant. Some people may find it odd to use your fingers to apply deodorant, but it seems hygienic if you don’t double dip. The only few negative reviews that I have found were from people who had irritation from dryness. I experienced irritation once after putting the deodorant cream on right after shaving. I avoid doing that now and haven’t had any problems since.
Now that I am wearing my hair curly, I have experimented with so many hair products. I really like the Sulfate-Free DermOrganic Daily Conditioning Shampoo and the Alcohol Free Firm Hold Volume Foam. Both leave my hair soft without causing dryness. I’ve tried sulfate-free shampoos in the past and the lathering aspect was less than impressive, but DermOrganic Shampoo does a great job in this category. It’s nice that it also conditions with argan oil instead of stripping your hair. The Volume Foam has a light hold for the days I just need a little control.
Shea Moisture Organic Curl Enhancing Smoothie is $8.00 right now at Walgreens and seems to hide the fact that it is organic. There is a very small mention of it on the back of the package. It is one of my essentials and is usually followed in my hair care ritual by Kinky Curly Perfectly Polished. My hair absorbs the polish quickly and it doesn’t have alcohol like a lot of other hair oils out there. It just brings some life to thirsty hair. I’ve found it for $15 on Amazon, but considering how much product you get and its quality, I think it’s a deal.
Kinky Curling Custard is a big favorite of a lot of curly haired bloggers. It has a nice hold without looking like you are in the movie “Grease.” The first time I used the Curling Custard, I slathered it on and I didn’t like the results. A little dab goes a long way. After applying the custard, I use my finger to twist a few locks on top of my head, which helps to collect the curl and refines the look. I always let my hair air dry. Heat is the devil to curly hair.
One day while I was shopping at Whole Foods, a lady asked if I wanted to try Juice Beauty samples. I was intrigued by the story behind this brand. The owner was pregnant and couldn’t find any product that she felt comfortable putting on her skin, so she made her own. The Oil-free Moisturizer soaks into my skin quickly and doesn’t cause complexion problems. The Blemish Clearing Serum zaps away any of my hormonal breakouts. I use the serum as a spot treatment on my problem zones, as it can be drying if used on your entire face. At night, I dab Avalon Organic’s Vitamin C under my eyes, neck, and even on my hands in the winter. I find it’s too greasy to put everywhere on my face though.
I recommend trying as many samples as you can before you purchase your beauty products. Most of the companies I’ve listed here are willing to send samples at minimal cost. And as you can see, I’ve taken advantage of that! Spiritbeautylounge.com is a good place to start.
Here I am wearing all the makeup described above (minus the Tarte Joy & with nothing in large quantity).
I used the Kinky Curling Custard, Shea Moisture Organic Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Kinky Curly Perfectly Polished on my hair.
As a result of this process, my skin and hair seem much healthier, I feel safer, and I’m embracing all my good qualities with the less desirable. I think that in itself is beautiful…and natural.