The average woman puts 515 chemicals on her body every day, using an average of 16 make up products alone. But weaning yourself off your current makeup and investing in clean make up can be daunting. Here are some things to consider:
- Know the great offenders.
Made with a petroleum-combustion by-product called coal tar, not to mention copious synthetic preservatives and plasticizers, most conventional mascara formulas are hard to imagine putting into your eyes—and yet, that’s precisely where mascara ends up. High-tech innovations and powerful botanical ingredients make clean mascara now at least as good as the conventional versions, without the typical toxins. Look for natural products that use minerals for color, aloe gel and natural oils and waxes, like carnuba and bees wax.
Lip and cheek tint
A super moisturizing, faintly tinted balm that leaves lips gleamy and a warm flush to your cheeks is a great look but the petroleum, dyes, and plasticizers in conventional balms are concerning since you ingest anything you put on your lips. Look for brands that use natural colors like pomegranate and white tea, along with natural oils and beeswax.
You eat a large percentage of whatever you put on your lips; in the case of conventional lipsticks, you’re consuming dyes that aren’t even allowed in food: petroleum, plasticizers, along with the common endocrine-disrupting, potentially carcinogenic preservatives and “fragrances.” Look for clean makeup that uses Pomegranate, Red Tea, cranberry as well as nourishing and protective oils like jojoba, shea and avocado.
Conventional face cream often contains irritating and potentially toxic chemicals, but they also pack in many ingredients like thickeners and binders that make a product feel more moisturizing but don’t actually do anything for skin. Instead look for natural products that are free of mineral oils and instead use oils like vitamin E, borage seed, jojoba or avocado. Hyaluronic acid works very well for extremely dry skin. Also look for naturally soothing botanicals like olive leaf, rose and geranium.
Chemical sunscreen contains some of the most irritating, harmful substances in the beauty industry. Two commonly used ones are oxybenzone and octinoxate, both of which are potential endocrine disruptors and accelerate coral bleaching. Always look for ingredients that are from a natural source and are biodegradable and certified Reef friendly. Your best bet are mineral sunscreens and sun care protection, made with organic, safe, and active ingredients like mineral zinc oxide and titanium dioxide will provide a barrier against harmful UV rays and secure moisture within the skin.
Conventional products are rife with chemicals like parabens, phthalates, fragrance but the self-tanning chemical DHA is actually clean. You just need to make sure the other moisturizers are clean.
- When to Toss
How fresh is your makeup? Under ideal conditions it has at most a two-year shelf life.
1. STORE WISELY: Keep makeup in a dry environment, like your bedroom. Bacteria, mold, and yeast grow more easily in humid bathrooms.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO PACKAGING: Look for pump bottles when possible. Foundation or concealer with twist-off caps or pots that you dip your finger into allow bacteria to enter. If you do use a pot, use a clean brush to add some product to the side of your hand, and apply from there.
3. USE YOUR SENSES: Be wary of foul odors or liquid makeup that has separated. It's the first sign that a product has gone bad.
When to toss
Mascara: Three to six months
Liquid eyeliner: Six months
Powder, blush, eye shadow, foundation: 1 year
Concealer, lipstick, lip gloss: 2 years
- Make Up Removal
Conventional face wipes can be more toxic than conventional cleansers because have to sit on a shelf opened for months at a time so the amount of preservatives, alcohol, and antibacterial agents added to them are often high. Propylene glycol and dipropylene glycol, plus parabens and fragrance are common in conventional face-wipe formulas, as are formaldehyde-releasing antimicrobial agents like 2-bromo-2nitropropane-1 and 3-dio. Not only do these ingredients potentially cause serious health problems, at the very least they dry and irritate skin. The best and most affordable solution is to make your own makeup wipes.
Make your own makeup wipes
a pint-sized jar with a tight-fitting lid
1 TBSP pure aloe vera
3 tsp pure witch hazel extract
1 tsp liquid castile
1 tsp liquid coconut oil (or your favorite skin-cleansing oil)
8-12 drops skin-soothing essential oil like lavender or frankincense
optional: 1 tsp vitamin E oil or 6-8 drops rosemary essential oil as a preservative
Combine everything but the cotton rounds in the jar and shake.