Depends on the line, and I sell a selection from about seven lines. Tell me of your sensitivities, allergies and preferences and I can make suggestions. Let me apply some things and have you leave it on for a “test drive.”
Personally, I haven’t had to be very strict. For now, in my skincare and my makeup I avoid sodium lauryl sulfate, petroleum oil and synthetic fragrances.
Here are some key observations I have made while testing loads and loads of cosmetics:
Generally long-wearing products have sophisticated synthetic ingredients (fine-tuned in laboratories) that make them that way; able to really stick to the skin and repel water. Mineral powders made of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are an exception, being naturally water-resistant. This is why they are so popular--fewer ingredients and long-wearing. They are not, however, organic and “all natural” in the strict definition despite the marketing claims.
Mineral make-up lines use Ultramarine and Oxide colors. Here is a situation in which the synthetic version of natural minerals are safer and are called Cosmetic Grade because they do not contain the dangerous components such as heavy metals. Of course the cosmetic company doesn’t go into this because only geeks like me want to know this detail and it is more profitable to keep it simple. Another confusing color fact: The FD& C dyes approved by the FDA are sometimes referred to as organic color dyes; organic in that they were derived from coal sources at one time. Today nearly all are synthetic and derived from raw materials obtained by petroleum.
So a cosmetic line of only plant ingredients and minerals is rare indeed and again, the products are not going to be as long-wearing or have as broad a spectrum of color choices. Cosmetics that come with huge ranges need to use synthetic dyes to achieve all that selection.
Most people want make-up that lives up to some performance standards such as being able to achieve dramatic effects such as red lips or a dark smoky eye or at the minimum, conceal and cover-up imperfections and make their eyelashes darker.
In conclusion, nearly all of the brands in the drugs stores, department stores, salons, spas and doctors’ offices contain some synthetic ingredients for performance, color and/or fragrance. Makeup, like the mineral blockers of sunscreen zinc oxide & titanium dioxide, is designed to sit on top of the skin. (Which is why you need to wait 10 minutes after you moisturize before you apply sunscreen and makeup.) If you are healthy, have no skin conditions like eczema or rosacea that have compromised the barrier functions of your skin, and generally aren’t sensitive to substances, (natural or synthetic) then I feel you have less to be concerned about. Younger generations may fair differently, due to so many exposures starting early in their lives. They are growing up in an environment different from the one in which I grew up.
This issue is very personal and even political for some.
If your history, your gut or any other part of you wants you to follow the strict and narrow path, by all means do that! You will have much marketing spin to decipher so if you get to this point, let me know, I can guide you. I’ve studied this like it’s my job. LOL.
I say be open to the sensations and signs. Even if you’ve not had a history of sensitivity, things change.
Aren’t you glad you asked?
Amy Linville is an artist and esthetician that believes simple, sustainable and non-rushed daily skincare and beauty rituals are the foundation for finding comfort in your skin and looks, no matter your age.