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Announcing the First Annual Emerald Awards: Experts Name the Best in Really Green Beauty

I love “best of beauty” awards. For years, I saved every issue of InStyle’s Best Beauty Buys, relying on their picks to guide me through the overwhelming selection of pretty shiny things at Sephora. Now that the big mags have added green beauty awards, I scoop those up without hesitation, but am always disappointed at the choices. While each winner is certainly more natural than its mainstream counterpart, it often contains far more synthetics than I’m comfortable with. So what is an eco-girl to do when she wants to find the best chem-free cosmetics?

She contacts a bunch of natural beauty experts and creates Feelgood Style’s first annual Emerald Awards.

Over the past year, I have had the good fortune (understatement) of meeting some of the most brilliant women in the natural and organic beauty industry; women who risk smudgy eyes and limp hair to try every green beauty product that arrives in the mail, in order to spare you, dear reader, the embarrassment (not to mention the money) of trying them all yourself. These lovely ladies agreed to give me their picks for top beauty brands which I will present to you over the course of the next week. I hope you are as excited as I am to hear what they have to say!

But before I give you the results of the first category – Best Natural Mascara – I would like to briefly introduce our fabulous panel of experts (cue the ’70’s gameshow music):

Rona Berg is editor in chief of Organic Beauty magazine (which will re-launch later this fall, by the way), author of the best-selling Beauty: The New Basics, and Fast Beauty: 1000 Quick Fixes. She is the former beauty editor of The New York Times Magazine, and has spent almost 20 years as a journalist in the fashion and beauty world.

Christy Coleman is a celebrity makeup artist who has been in the business of beautifying celebrities and models for the past 20 years. She currently uses only natural and organic products with her high-profile clientele, including Emmy Rossum, January Jones, and Sheryl Crow.

Stancie Wilson is the co-founder of, one of the top beauty and fashion blogs in the country, and regular Feelgood Style contributor. Stancie has brought numerous organic skin care and makeup lines to the forefront, giving her readers information that is at once smart and approachable.

Jessa Blades is a NYC-based makeup artist recently featured as one of Glamour Magazine’s “Eco-heroes.” Blades spends her days educating women (“beauty rehab”) on when and how to use natural makeup – or any makeup for that matter – what the best green choices are and how to apply them for optimal results. She is also actively involved with the Teens Turning Green Campaign.

Jasmin Chua is the beauty guru (with a Master’s in Biomedical Journalism from NYU) at Treehugger, a tremendously successful, all-things-eco-friendly website owned by The Disovery Channel. A prolific blogger, Jasmin provides her readers with 3 or more posts every day, covering the latest in eco-friendly fashion and beauty.

Liz Thompson is founder of Organic Beauty Source, a natural beauty resource for women interested in learning more about the best brands on the market as well as products and ingredients to avoid. A regular contributor to Feelgood Style, a mother, and an avid shopper, Thompson is dedicated to sharing her vast vault of knowledge with those seeking a greener lifestyle.

For the record, I am not a member of the panel, simply because I obviously have a more vested interest in certain brands over others and do not want my own biases and agenda to cloud the results!

And now, without further ado, the winner of the Emerald Award for best natural mascara is:

A tie! Two natural mascaras were the clear panel favorites:

Physician’s Formula OrganicWear natural mascara. Certainly the best natural affordable mascara, our experts praised this Ecocert-certified lash booster for its ability to add volume without smudging or flaking. A perfect day mascara, OrganicWear mascara is readily available at your local drugstore or big box chain, making it a no-brainer addition to everyone’s makeup kit.

Couleur Caramel Mascara. It’s no surprise, really, that the natural mascara widely considered to look and perform most like its high-end commerical peers comes from the French. A makeup artist favorite, our experts love this mascara for its ability to create fabulous, long-lasting, rich volume without the smudging or flaking that have thus far earned natural mascaras a bad reputation.

Honorable mentions: Dr. Hauschka, Jane Iredale and Zuzu Luxe

Written by Terri Bly

Terri Bly is the founder of The Nature of Beauty, LTD, an all-eco website, shop, and spa. She is a freelance writer, currently residing in Minneapolis.


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