Take cues from the Mansur Gavriel SS19 runway and go back to basics with your beauty routine. With dainty flowers and pastel-neon hues, the backstage hair and makeup situation inspired us to go grassroots, beyond just our dinner plates or grocery bags. The traditional “good for you” industry is being revolutionized with plant-based substitutes, and consumers are gobbling it up. It’s not just your morning coffee that’s getting the green treatment, it’s happening with beauty as well.
Cosmetics regulation in the U.S. is a complete joke. The last cosmetics legislation, the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, was passed in 1938. Any gander in a European beauty counter, and you’ll notice that there is a much, much smaller selection of products. That’s because there are around 1,000 ingredients banned in Europe that are passable in the United States. The powerhouse FDA does not do routine tests for safety, whereas Europe does.
In case your head wasn’t spinning already, “natural” means that 95% comes from a “natural source” and 5% is organic. “Organic” means that 95% is organic & 5% is natural. A not-for-profit organization, the EWG, provides insights and regulations into ingredients and brands - but they are largely driven by their shopping recommendations - which is funded by the companies they are recommending.
It’s a shitshow. The onus is on the consumer to define and extract ingredients to determine safety. So many brands do not include all of their ingredients, let alone the percentage of their ingredients. This doesn’t mean that you need to book the first flight to France for an organic beauty haul (although that would be a blast). But we do need to brush up on ingredients, and become more knowledgeable consumers to better read between the lines.
The term “Clean Beauty” has been born out of this awareness movement, generally referring to any products that are chemical-free, toxin-free, and paraben-free. But that definition is loose, and there lacks a governing body to institute global standards - it may be a greener pasture, but it’s still the Wild West.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Sites like BeautyCounter are instituting a higher standard, and have created “The Never List” - a list of questionable or harmful chemicals to avoid - and vouching that everything on their site is free or has minimal traces of harm. Korean and Japanese e-commerce site Peach & Lily recently launched a “worry free” collection, toxin and irritant-free after noticing that customers were exceptionally interested in avoiding certain ingredients. Mega beauty retailer Sephora has launched a Clean stamp of approval, showcasing hundreds of innovative products free of chemicals. The Detox Market has been vetting brands since 2010.
It wouldn’t bode well for the green movement to chuck your makeup and run to the store for clean replenishments, so use up what you’ve got, recycle, and then begin to incorporate some “clean beauty” brands. Here are a few that I am rotating into my routine:
Milk Makeup is one of those brands that hit the market right as we needed it. I’ve thought of green beauty as being a little too crunchy and lacking efficacy, but Milk has not only brought the cool branding, but they also deliver results. I’ve already proclaimed my love for their Kush mascara, so I was keen to try out the new blur foundation. It’s 100% vegan, paraben-free, and a little bit goes a long way - I like sheerer coverage, so I add a little in the center of my face, and then use a sponge to work the foundation out towards my hairline.
Kirsten Weis is a Danish makeup artist who acted upon the asks of models for more natural beauty- and formulated her own certified natural/organic line. Because she is a makeup artist - we know that it actually works. I rotate in her mascara when I want natural-looking, but sky high lashes. The cream blush is a dream. I tried it in “joyful” - and it’s the perfect buildable color, that doesn’t cling or clump to cheeks immediately, but rather has spreadable color.
ILIA is all over the natural beauty marketplace with excellent reviews. The Limitless Mascara is so light and easy, it feels very comfortable and is flake-free. Made with 25% organic ingredients for a formula that is 99% natural, it makes me question why I haven’t made the switch to clean beauty earlier. Especially with something as close to the eyes.