Defining Organic Makeup and Cosmetics
You want to buy natural organic makeup and cosmetics because they will be better for your skin and the manufacturing process must be better for the environment and eco friendly.
The question to ask of any labelled organic makeup brand or cosmetic is this:
Are they truly natural and organic?
Just because the label says natural organic, this does not always mean your new moisturizer is manufactured entirely from organic ingredients.
Unlike the food industry, the cosmetic industry is not governed by legislation so there is no official certification process before labelling a product natural or organic.
So how do you tell if your organic makeup brand is genuinely organic?
What type of legislation do consumers need to protect us from scammers and shoddy products?
The generally accepted definition of organic is a natural product that has been grown and harvested without the use of synthetic compounds.
This would mean that genuine organic cosmetics are made primarily from natural organic ingredients – these ingredients have been combined in a way that enhances your beauty while retaining their natural beneficial properties.
Honey, for example, is a truly eco friendly organic product that is extremely beneficial to the skin: it is anti-bacterial and full of anti-oxidants, plus it works as a natural cleanser and moisturizer, opening your pores and soothing your skin.
So if honey is included in the list of ingredients on your cosmetics bottle, you would expect that it has retained its natural properties throughout the manufacturing process.
Image by: Daniela Vladimirova
We are all drawn to the reassuring organic label, particularly when we are putting the product repeatedly on our skin
Every year, more and more cosmetic products are labelled organic to attract consumers.
However, there is no formal definition for the term organic in the cosmetics industry.
In fact, the literal chemical definition of organic might surprise you – it means that the substance contains carbon.
If a cosmetic manufacturer wanted to argue that their product was truly organic, they might only have to prove that most of the ingredients contain carbon.
However, cosmetics manufacturers know that consumers equate organic with natural. Again, they can argue semantics here.
Water is a natural substance, so a product containing 90% water, is therefore natural and organic.
Other natural substances, such as honey and aloe vera, could be on the ingredients list, even if chemical manufacturing processes have eliminated their beneficial powers.
So an organic label does not necessarily mean the product is beneficial for your skin.
Checking up on your favourite Organic Makeup Brands
It can be difficult to judge your favourite organic makeup independently, if you don’t know whether there are unlisted ingredients or how the manufacturing process affects the natural components.
Start by looking up the makeup company or brand website to have a sense of their philosophy, quality control and manufacturing process.
Zuii Organics listed in our natural organic makeup brands and cosmetics directory here lists the substances that are not included among their ingredients, so you know exactly what you are buying.
Alternately, you can check The Good Guide, an independent body of science and technology experts dedicated to testing and ranking products world-wide.
You can look up the ranking for your favourite makeup or you can window shop for a new moisturizer by checking the list of USDA-approved organic products.
USDA-certified products must contain at least 95% organic ingredients
The push for legislation
In July 2013, EU legislation relating to accurate labelling of cosmetic products came into effect. The purpose of the legislation was to ensure consumer safety.
Products now must include a consumer safety report and a glossary of common ingredient names within the product information.
In Australian, the Biological Farmers Association has established a regulatory arm, Australia Certified Organic, which can bestow a logo on approved organic products.
While this began as a means of identifying organic food and beverages, they can now accredit Australian-made cosmetics and raw materials with the Cosmetics Organic and natural Standard, COSMOS.
It is the only Australian and Asia-Pacific based certifier approved to accredit products with this logo.
Like the USDA certification, the COSMOS Organic certification requires that at least 95% of the ingredients must be organically produced.
Terminology used in the cosmetics and makeup world
Cosmetics have been around for at least as long as the earliest documented civilisations. And in those days, of course, all cosmetics were sourced from natural substances.
Some of these substances were harmless, such as berry juice to darken the lips and others, such as kohl (made by grinding lead sulphide) were believed to have the added advantage of protecting the eyes and skin from the sun.
Yet other natural makeup products ranged from unhygienic (urine to lighten hair colour) to extremely toxic (arsenic to beautify the complexion).
Image by: Jocelyn | McAuliflower
Today we have the back-up of thousands of years’ experience to steer us towards safe and natural beauty enhancers.
But many products labelled as natural have been heavily processed and include artificial preservatives and fragrances that could trigger allergic reactions or be damaging to your skin in the long-term.
So how do you tell whether your favourite natural makeup is really natural and organic ?
What is natural makeup ?
There is no official definition of natural makeup.
The cosmetics industry is not as strictly regulated as the food industry and a cosmetic manufacturer can get away with labelling a product natural if only 1% of the ingredients are actually natural.
However, it is generally agreed that natural makeup is made from ingredients sourced directly from nature without excessive additions or alterations.
The first step to assessing whether a product is genuinely natural and organic is to read the list of ingredients.
Natural ingredients such as honey, aloe, coconut oil and green tea are all easily recognisable to a consumer – plus they have a strong proud history in the cosmetics industry!
Does natural makeup contain preservatives?
Even natural makeup need some preservatives to retain the integrity of the active ingredients and to prevent the growth of microbes in the products you are applying directly to your skin.
If your cosmetic cream retains its scent and texture for years in your bathroom cupboard, then synthetic preservatives are loaded in with the natural ingredients.
At the other end of the scale, cosmetics without any preservatives at all have a shelf life of one day or one application.
So from a practical perspective you want something between these two extremes.
Certain natural preservatives will extend the cosmetic’s shelf life to a few weeks.
Natural preservatives include Vitamins C and E, tea tree essential oil and grape seed extract.
These preservatives also happen to be beneficial to your skin, cleansing and strengthening the tissue and promoting natural healing.
If you want your face cream to have a shelf life of several months, look for a natural product with safe and effective synthetic preservatives.
The best synthetic preservatives are the parabens: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.
If your cream contains 1% of methylparaben, it will last up to several months.
Add another 1% of natural preservative such as grape seed extract and the product could last up to a year!
Read the label to check which preservatives are being used, and remember you do not want your makeup to become contaminated with bacteria or fungi – so only use them while they are fresh!
What’s the difference between natural and organic makeup ?
- An organic product is always natural, but a natural product is not necessarily organic.
- To qualify as organic, the ingredients must be grown according to organic guidelines.
- The ingredients in a natural product do not need to meet these guidelines, unless it is promoted as an organic product.
Keeping it natural
You can start out with the best ingredients in the world.
However, if you heat them and process them and combine them with certain other ingredients, you risk stripping away the valuable elements which make the mixture beneficial.
In other words, you can use ingredients containing Vitamin C, but the end product will not necessarily contain Vitamin C unless the ingredients are blended and treated carefully.
For raw ingredients to retain their natural beautifying powers, they must be blended and combined in gentle mechanical processes, such as pressing.
Any processing or blending should enhance the natural benefits of the individual ingredients, rather than destroy them.
The natural makeup company website should tell you something about the processes for making their products.
Defining mineral makeup
Natural Mineral makeup is the latest trend in the cosmetic industry, and it is proving very popular with customers.
So what makes mineral makeup different to traditional makeup?
Is it really better for your skin?
Genuine mineral makeup consists of a fine powder, made by grinding natural minerals mined from the earth’s crust, such as iron oxides, talc, gold, mica, zinc oxide and titanium oxide.
The grinding process is known as micronizing, reducing the minerals to tiny particles. The more finely the minerals are micronized, the better coverage you achieve from the product.
Image by: MilKS3
Minerals have been used as cosmetics since the earliest documented times – ancient cultures would grind minerals to make war paint or beauty aids.
They made a come-back in the 1970s when cosmetic entrepreneur Diane Ranger saw a market for a makeup that was made of natural ingredients and looked natural when worn.
Ranger is said to have coined the term mineral makeup when she launched her Bare Escentuals makeup range.
Why is mineral makeup good for your skin?
There is less risk of allergic reactions from mineral makeup, as it does not generally incorporate fragrances or preservatives.
Also, it does not include ingredients such as paraben preservatives or dimethecone which are added to liquid cosmetics to achieve the smooth fluid texture.
The powdered texture of mineral makeup is also better for your skin, as it does not clog the pores in the same way as creamy cosmetics.
Ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide actually have positive benefits for skin, and can help counter-act acne or other sensitivities.
The central ingredients in mineral makeup
Once again as the cosmetic industry is not strictly regulated, so a product labelled mineral makeup may only contain 1% natural mineral ingredients.
Genuine 100% mineral make-up contains the following ingredients: mica, zinc, titanium oxide, iron oxide, tin oxide and ultramarines.
These base ingredients are ground and blended in various combinations to achieve various colours and textures. This powder finish is best for dry skins.
If you are looking for mineral makeup brands with a creamy texture, check for kaolin clay on the ingredients list.
Kaolin clay – also known as China clay – is a mineral blend of silica, iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium, zinc.
It is a white powder with a clay-like texture, making it the ideal base for masques and foundations.
Kaolin clay is insoluble and highly absorbent, so it acts as a cleansing agent, drawing out impurities from your skin.
This makes kaolin clay an ideal choice for oily skins, although it is not so beneficial for dry skins.
Mica – the magic ingredient in Mineral Makeup
Mica is the most common ingredient in mineral makeup.
It adds the glittering lustre and silky texture to your skin, and it is versatile enough to be used in pressed powders, gels, liquid, oils or creams.
Blending mica with natural pigments ensures it enhances any complexion and when it is mixed with titanium oxide or zinc oxide it also creates the perfect natural coverage for blemishes.
Best of all, it is easy to apply and to wear, and it is beneficial to your skin.
Double check for these extra ingredients
If you have extremely sensitive skin, avoid ingredients such as bismuth oxychloride, magnesium stearate, talc and corn starch.
These have been known to cause skin irritations, and they do not necessarily have any redeeming use in your cosmetics except perhaps as fillers.
Bismuth-oxychloride is a cheap by-product of refined lead and copper, and adds a white sheen to cosmetics, so it is a popular filler for many cosmetic manufacturers.
However, it can be extremely irritating to the skin, particularly if you have a tendency for rosacea or acne.
If you are a vegan, avoid any cosmetics containing carmine.
Carmine is a red pigment obtained naturally by boiling cochineal (dried insects).
While carmine is a perfectly safe and natural colouring agent, the base ingredient can be dis comforting to some.
Avoid nanonized particles
You want your mineral powders to be finely ground, but not too fine.
Titanium dioxide for example, is perfectly safe on the skin so long as the particles are not small enough to be absorbed by the skin.
If the titanium oxide is nanonized – broken down using nano-technology – then the particles are small enough to be toxic as they absorb into your blood stream.
Applying mineral cosmetics
- If you are accustomed to creamy cosmetics, you might need some practice applying mineral cosmetics correctly.
- Moisturize your face before applying your makeup so the powder connects smoothly to the natural oils on your face.
- Make sure you leave enough time for the moisturizer to fully absorb into your skin. Otherwise, your mineral powder will appear blotchy or uneven.
- Dab the brush into the mineral powder, then tap the brush to remove any loose extra powder.
- Apply eye makeup first, then apply mineral powder foundation, using downward strokes and layering until you achieve the right coverage.
- This is a different technique to applying liquid foundation, where you apply the full amount and smooth it evenly.
- When you start with a heavy amount of mineral powder, the powder will cake and you will not achieve the shimmering effect of mineral makeup.
- If you wish to camouflage fine lines, try a pressed powder rather than loose powder.
Best Natural Organic Makeup Companies ?
Without many rules and regulations about how companies produce or market their products can mean there are countless products claiming to be natural or organic just to cash in on the latest marketing buzzwords.
So how can you ensure that the makeup and cosmetics you are buying for your skin are truly made from natural or organic ingredients?
Look at the company philosophy behind the product.
A cosmetic manufacturer who is genuinely dedicated to naturally sourced ingredients will also be passionate about the community, sustainability and the environment.
Here we look at three all natural makeup and cosmetic companies whose ethical practices and natural ingredients have translated into big business.
In 1851, John Kiehl opened a homeopathic pharmacy on “Pear Tree Corner” in Manhattan.
He sold the business along with the premises in 1921 to pharmacologist Irving Morse who began developing a skin care range using herbal bases and natural ingredients.
Some of Morse’s products, such as Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion, and Crème du Corps, are still popular today.
Three generations of the Morse family developed and perfected the Kiehl’s skin care range using naturally sourced products, while expanding their market reach far beyond their little corner of New York City.
Image by: Wikimedia Commons
Kiehl’s product philosophy is based on creating gentle blends of the most effective ingredients, and they have never tested their products on animals.
We were producing natural-based products before green products became trendy, Irving Morse’s grand-daughter, Jamie Morse said in a 1995 interview
The company is also extremely community-conscious, lending support to non-profit causes in three main areas: AIDS research, cure, and care; environmental sustainability and conservation; and children’s welfare.
In 2000, Kiehl’s was purchased by L’Oreal in a deal Jamie Morse described as a partnership, allowing Kiehl’s to deliver on the demands for its products without losing its individual integrity.
L’Oreal has retained Kiehl’s as a specialty brand, rather than incorporating the products into its general range.
L’Occitane en Provence
As a young man in his early 20s, Olivier Baussan from Provence in France was inspired to recreate the traditions and natural products of the Mediterranean region.
He began by purchasing an ancient steam distiller to extract oil from rosemary. This natural rosemary oil proved so popular at local markets, he launched his company, L’Occitane en Provence in 1976.
The name means the woman from Occitania, Occitania being the ancient name for the province spanning the South of France, North-Eastern Spain and Northern Italy.
Baussan expanded his product range by experimenting with traditional soap-making techniques, using a vegetable oil base.
His philosophy is based on sustainable measures, natural ingredients, and there is no animal testing of products.
By the 1990s, L’Occitane had built an international market and Baussan was searching the world for other traditional techniques to preserve.
He came across the shea tree in Burkina Faso – this tree is considered sacred and only women are allowed to gather the fallen fruit which they use to make shea butter.
L’Occitane established an agreement with the community that the local women would be paid for harvesting the fruit and making the butter according to their traditional methods.
The Body Shop
Roddick’s handling of the complaint – she told the media she was being threatened by Mafia undertakers – was the beginning of a savvy marketing strategy to keep The Body Shop in the public consciousness.
Roddick’s many public campaigns mainly revolved around environmental sustainability, fair trade, animal rights and social activism, and her products were made according to these principles.
In 2006, The Body Shop accepted takeover by L’Oreal, causing a public outcry, as L’Oreal did not share The Body Shop’s stance against animal testing.
However, The Body Shop products are still not tested on animals, and the company is still dedicated to ethical trade and human rights, as well as sourcing natural sustainable ingredients through Community Fair Trade.
Makeup for Men – Natural and Organic
In ancient times, men used cosmetics as enthusiastically as women, in order to look healthier and younger, while protecting their skin from the elements.
Now the makeup cosmetic industry has opened up a whole new market – makeup for men and it is eco friendly.
As a man you can cleanse, moisturize and exfoliate to smooth and protect your skin from the ravages of everyday life.
You can even use makeup to give your skin a healthy consistent tone.
But if you are new to the routine of cleansing, moisturizing and concealing, how do you know what products to choose from?
Obviously the whole reason we nurture our skin is to protect it from the damage of everyday living – dirt and grime, sun exposure and the inevitable effects of ageing.
The importance of natural organic products
Men who shave every day are also systematically irritating delicate skin tissue.
Cleansing, toning and moisturizing with the right environmentally friendly products will counteract the damage of everyday living, and replenish your skin so you look and feel young and healthy.
However, it is important to use natural organic cosmetics that genuinely replenish your skin rather cosmetics laden with chemicals and preservatives that cause additional damage themselves.
Your daily skincare for men routine doesn’t need to be arduous or time-consuming.
Start by cleansing your skin to remove excess oil and grime while you are showering.
Urth Face Wash, winner of the Mens Health 2007 Grooming Awards, is a blend of natural ingredients such as white tea extract, rosemary oil and aloe vera.
Wet your face to open the pores, then apply the cleanser using gentle circular movements, avoiding the eye area, then rinse thoroughly.
Once a week, or every few days, you can intensify your cleansing routine by exfoliating. An exfoliant will scrub away dead skin cells and restore a healthy glow to your complexion.
It is also essential for treating “razor bumps” – painful red pimple-like bumps caused when shaved hairs are trapped under dead skin.
Kyoku for Men’s award-winning Exfoliating Facial Scrub contains a blend of natural exfoliants and soothing cleansers such as volcanic ash, walnut shells and jojoba beads.
It won the Best New Men’s Grooming Product at the UK Beauty Awards, 2010.
After cleansing, use a toner to remove any soapy residue and close your pores.
This action regulates the skin’s oil production and prevents dirt from clogging up the skin. The toner also helps your skin absorb moisturizer more efficiently.
Kiehl’s stocks two toners for men – the Ultra Facial Toner is for all skin types, although the Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner is recommended for oily skins.
Kiel’s, established in 1851 as a New York City apothecary, has a philosophy of using naturally derived ingredients with proven benefits to the skin, and minimal preservatives.
Finally, you moisturize.
A good natural organic moisturizer will show immediate results, smoothing and soothing your skin, and regular use in combination with cleansing and toning will keep your skin firm and young-looking over the long term.
Kiehl’s offers a “Heavy Lifting” Moisturizer as part of its Facial Fuel range for men. The Facial Fuel Collection is specially formulated for men’s coarser, thicker skin.
Enhancing your man’s looks
Cosmetics tailored for men’s needs are becoming more mainstream, although men and women generally use cosmetics differently.
While women use a varied palette of colours to highlight their features, men rely on natural, earthy tones to give the complexion an even tone and hide blemishes.
You also want a product that gives a natural clean coverage, providing an even skin tone without blocking your pores or looking blotchy.
KenMen offers a wide range of natural and organic makeup and cosmetics especially designed for men.
Such as Sculpting Face Sticks foundation, in five skin shades; Kink Lash-Brow Conditioner to add body and colour to eyebrows and eyelashes; and Fulmonty Lip Balm to keep your lips moisturized and hydrated.
Makeup for men has never been more eco friendly…