When considering whether to wade into the experimental waters of eco-friendlier makeup and skin care, consequently taking on the hassle and expense that always accompany such decisions, you’ll likely find yourself creating a mental list of pros and cons. To complicate matters, misinformation in the beauty industry abounds on both sides of the fence, making it hard for a glamour-lovin’ gal to know what to do. From…ahem…creative uses of the word “organic,” to beauty writers poo-pooing the idea that anything could be toxic enough to warrant ditching semi-permanent lipstick, it’s no surprise many would-be green beauty consumers are confused and conflicted.
To help you sort it all out, I have outlined and, I hope, dispelled three common green beauty myths.Myth #1: You can’t get good color from natural makeup. I recently hosted a wine and makeover party for a local women-owned business, and most of the attendees had never tried natural makeup before. Without exception, all of them exclaimed after their makeovers, “I didn’t realize you could get this kind of color from natural makeup!” Christy Coleman created an entire website dedicated to the sole purpose of showing both consumers and makeup artists how far the industry has come with regard to achieving every and any look using nothing but toxic-free cosmetics. Companies like Organic Glam, Couleur Caramel and Revolution Organics have proven once and for all that going green does not sentence you to a life of beige.
Myth #2: Organic skin care doesn’t work as well as the other stuff. Listen carefully next time a commerical for the latest anti-aging skin cream comes on the television. You will almost certainly hear them emphasize the one or two natural ingredients in the jar. There’s a reason for that: It is the natural, active ingredients that deliver most of the results. Just like with the rest of your body, the best way to get healthy skin is to feed it ingredients that are packed with nutrients. “The fact remains,” states Wil Baker, co-founder of Max Green Alchemy, “that nature is the greatest inspiration to personal care. However, when nature has pointed the way, profit-driven enterprises will always prefer the ingredients to be made synthetically and, therefore, more cheaply.”
Most women I’ve spoken to tell me that since using organic skin care, their skin has looked and felt better than ever. With me, I noticed I no longer had redness around my pores – likely a sign of persistent irritation from something in my prior skin care routine.
To summarize: you can spend your money on products from companies like Dr. Alkaitis and Sophyto that contain nothing BUT active ingredients and therefore deliver much more bang for the buck, or you can spend the same money on a jar of fillers, fragrance, synthetic imitations of natural ingredients…and packaging, advertising, marketing, and heating the share holders’ pools.
Myth #3: Green Beauty Products are more expensive. This last, and perhaps most persistent, green beauty myth is a great example of how a firmly held belief can distort one’s ability to do math. Sure, there are plenty of spendy organic beauty products. That’s because sourcing organic ingredients is an expensive business. Then again, I once slapped down $60 for some Perricone Tinted Moisturizer, and thought nothing of the $42 I spent regularly on my Laura Mercier foundation.
As with commercial makeup and skin care, you can find natural and organic beauty products to fit your budget. And just like you would not expect the $6 hair spray you bought at Target to work as well as the $25 finishing mist you splurged on at Sephora, the same rule of thumb holds true in the green department (along with the fact that there are always going to be exceptions). If $22 is too much for Couleur Caramel mascara, Physician’s Formula Organic Wear at around $10 is a fabulous find. Don’t feel good about the $44 it would cost you to purchase Rare El’ements Conditioner? Try Max Green Alchemy’s conditioner for $15, or Sante’s Brilliant Care Conditioner for only $12. Revolution Organics makes a fabulous lip gloss, but if $26 is not what you had in mind, Logona’s lip gloss for $13.50 delivers fabulous color, shine, and staying power, and my sister swears by Burt’s Bees new Super Shiny Lip Gloss (a mere $6!).
Sure, you may wind up with an $8 face lotion from your local organic market that smells like Grandma’s basement and produces a complexion reminiscent of your first driver’s license photo. But I have a whole box full of discarded brand-name purchases – and not all cheap, I might add – that would suggest bad beauty buys are not limited to the eco-friendly realm.
In the end, I can’t tell you which direction to go. And I’m sure there are plenty of legitimate reasons to stick with the semi-permanent lipstick and waterproof mascara – say, for example, you are part of the Olympic water ballet team. But I hope you won’t let the above misconceptions hold you back from giving this whole new world of beauty a try.