5 Solutions to Common Concerns About Natural Makeup
Natural and organic makeup can benefit both your skin and the Earth. But questions about things like cost, staying power, and shelf life might prevent you from giving these products a try. Here, makeup pro Tina Turnbow weighs in on the top 5 concerns about "natural" beauty.
By Elena Donovan Mauer
There are some excellent reasons to choose all-natural, mineral-based makeup. Because products labeled “natural” or “organic” are generally made with no artificial ingredients or potentially harmful chemicals, they can be less harsh on delicate or sensitive skin. In addition, many companies that make natural products put them in recyclable, biodegradable, or less wasteful packaging and/or support sustainable or energy-saving initiatives. However, there are some potential downsides to using natural and organic makeup. To address them, I turned to Tina Turnbow, a makeup artist who often uses natural and organic makeup on her celebrity clients. (Turnbow is such a fan of “green makeup” that she recently teamed up with Tarte Cosmetics to create a line of products for the ecofriendly beauty company.) Here are Turnbow’s solutions to common concerns about natural products:
Common Concern #1: Cryptic labels
Simple Solution: Know what to look for
Any company can use the words “natural” and “organic” on their packaging, even when it’s not completely true. To be sure that what you’re buying is truly organic, look for the official USDA Organic symbol, which means it received an official stamp of approval. If you’re looking for natural products that aren’t necessarily organic, simply check the label. Chances are, if you need a dictionary to decipher a product’s contents, then it’s not all natural. Once you start shopping around, you’ll figure out which brands to look for and where to find them. Turnbow likes scouting the beauty aisles at Whole Foods. In addition to Tarte, she likes the natural brands Aveda, ZuZu Luxe, and Dr. Hauschka.
Common Concern #2: Sticker shock
Simple Solution: Shop drugstores
Many people hesitate to use natural and organic makeup because it’s often pricier than conventional products — a direct result of organic farms being more costly to operate. But don’t write off using pure products altogether! There are some excellent, affordable options at your local drugstore. Turnbow sings the praises of Almay Pure Blends foundation and the organic makeup line from Physicians Formula; most of these products retail for $15 or less.
Common Concern #3: Subtle color
Simple Solution: Learn to layer
Mineral-based makeup’s biggest strength is giving you — yep — a natural look. But even if you’re in the mood to create some drama with bold makeup colors, you don’t have to skip natural products. To amp up the intensity of your makeup, Turnbow suggests using a cheek stain and then dusting powder blush on top, or creating a base for your lipstick with lip pencil, which will deepen the shade. She also recommends sampling different natural products — you’ll find some that actually are highly pigmented. For example, she says, “Kohl eyeliners are more intense than other eyeliners that aren’t as pure.”
Common Concern #4: Less staying power
Simple Solution: Reapply as needed
Turnbow admits that while they’re great for your skin and the environment, natural cosmetics can sometimes wear off quickly. “If you would normally touch up your makeup after three or four hours, you might want to check it in two hours,” she says. That said, some products have more staying power than others. For example, all-natural cheek stains can be long lasting, but eye shadows tend to settle in creases quickly. Just pay a little extra attention to your makeup (always keep a compact mirror handy for quick face checks), and you’ll be good to go.
Common Concern #5: Shorter shelf life
Simple Solution: Keep it clean
The lack of preservatives in natural and organic products can mean they are more likely to spoil than traditional cosmetics. However, Turnbow isn’t convinced the difference in shelf life between natural and conventional makeup is that significant. “In general, ecofriendly makeup has come a long way, and I don’t think most companies will put anything out there that’s going to go bad really quickly,” she says. To keep natural products (or any products, for that matter) fresh, Turnbow stresses the importance of keeping them bacteria free. Never share cosmetics with friends, and try not to transmit oils from your fingers into your makeup containers. Also, throw away makeup that smells “off” or has separated, says Turnbow.
Last Updated: Thursday, March 11, 2010
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