Whether it’s being done to follow a fad or in the true spirit of conservation; many beauty companies are now developing and marketing eco friendly products. This is adding a new dimension to the market in beauty. Although many eco friendly products share varying degrees of actual ‘greenness’ you can be assured.
Avoid cosmetics that cost the earth – today’s eco makeup is much better quality anyway, says Hazel Sillver.Make-up that is tested on animals and full of chemicals is headed for the history books
When I was a beauty writer in the early 00s, cosmetics with good ethics were thin on the ground. What was available was no match for the lead brands – the products were unflattering, with poor consistencies and dodgy colours.
Today it’s a different story. Not only is there a huge range of eco makeup – much of it surpasses non-eco brands in quality. This is largely because it is made of natural ingredients, such as minerals, that work better with the skin and nourish it, rather than producing blackheads.
Green make-up contains sumptuous oils, such as jojoba, macadamia, rose and lavender, which smell wonderful. The colours and consistencies are first rate and most importantly (it’s shallow but it’s what we all want to know) the products are extremely beautifying.
Green cosmetic brands (such as Lavera, Inika and The Organic Pharmacy) have created eco gold here. I am surprised and impressed.
Mainstream make-up that is tested on animals and full of animal products, petrochemicals and parabens, can now begin to make its way towards the history books. Welcome in the age of green beauty.
Of the products I tried and tested, here are the ones I rate best:
Best mascara for colour– Pearl Anthracite Volume Mascara by DrHauschka, £20.45, drhauschka.co.uk
This is a nice shade of mushroom grey that flatters blue, hazel and brown eyes. It runs through lashes smoothly, without clumping and, thanks to Damask rose oil, it smells wonderful.
THE GREEN BIT: The adorable DrHauschka brand uses ingredients that have been sown and harvested in accordance with the moon’s cycle. Organic ingredients are used where possible and nothing (including the raw materials) is tested on animals.
Best mascara for volume– Volumising Mascara by Green People, £14.75, greenpeople.co.uk
Like all good volumising mascaras, this allows you to apply layer after layer without clogging all your lashes together. The nifty brush is bendy and covered in tiny bristles, which allows a good comb through. The packaging says the volume comes from ‘micro spheres’ – God knows what that means, but it works! Available in black or brown-black.
THE GREEN BIT: This is vegetarian, not vegan, because it contains beeswax. It is certified organic by Ecocert, free from petrochemicals and other synthetics and the packaging is made with petroleum-free plant ‘plastic’. Not tested on animals.
Best mascara for definition – Volume Mascara by Lavera, £11.90, pravera.co.uk
I love this mascara. The slim silver holder is nice to handle and the brush sweeps through lashes, defining them without any clumping. Its luxurious smell and consistency comes courtesy of jojoba and rose oils. This is easily my favourite mascara for daytime, when I want a no-makeup look. Available in black or brown.
THE GREEN BIT: This is a vegan product that is free from manmade parabens and other synthetic ingredients. Organic ingredients are used where possible. End products are not tested on animals and Lavera do their best to ensure raw materials have not been tested on animals.
Best brow pencil – Brow Pencil by Inika, £13.50, inikacosmetics.co.uk
A good brow pencil made with almond, sesame and black lovage oil. I like my brow pencils on the soft side and this fits the bill. It comes with an optional pencil sharpener cap, but only use this to sharpen because it pulls the nib out! Available in blonde or brunette.
THE GREEN BIT: Certified organic by Australia’s Natural Food Chain, vegan and free from petrochemicals and synthetics. Not tested on animals.
Best solid eyeshadow– Mineral Pressed Eyeshadow by Neal’s Yard, £12.50, nealsyardremedies.com
A smooth eyeshadow that goes on easily and blends well. Formulated with cornstarch and natural minerals such as mica, which reflects the light. Available in good range of colours: Hibiscus (amber), Oat, Bluebell, Cocoa, Moss, Silver Birch, Wild Plum and Barley.
THE GREEN BIT: Vegan and certified organic by The Soil Association. Free from talc, silicones and parabens. Not tested on animals.
Best loose eyeshadow – Powder Eye Shadow by Terre D’Oc, £12.95, pravera.co.uk
A tiny bottle of shimmer in the traditional Arabic kohl shape. This powder shadow has just the right amount of sparkle (not too much so you look like a teenager) and sticks to eyelids very well. It is made with ochre and mother of pearl, and available in pearl, tan, brown, copper and grey.
THE GREEN BIT: Certified organic by Ecocert and made with fairly traded raw ingredients. Not tested on animals.
Best blusher– Mineral Rouge Powder by Lavera, £12.90, pravera.co.uk
The texture of this blush is so light, you can blend it in for a natural look or layer it if you want more colour. I love it also for its scent and its case, which conveniently has a brush and mirror inside. Available in three colours: the Shimmering Apricot Light 02 flattered my yellowish skin tone, but there are also pink blushers and bronzers in the range.
THE GREEN BIT: This rouge contains some organic ingredients and natural essential oils. Not suitable for vegans, as it contains carmine (from crushed beetles). End products are not tested on animals and Lavera do their best to ensure raw materials have not been tested on animals.
Best bronzer – Bronzing Powder by Terre D’Oc, £24.95, pravera.co.uk
Many bronzers leave one looking unattractively orange. Because this is so lightweight and easy to blend, you can applyit in layers to create a very natural look, so you won’t look as if you’ve been Tango-ed. There are three shades available – go for the palest 801 Soft Bronze if you have white skin.
THE GREEN BIT: Although this is not a vegan product, it is certified organic by Ecocert and uses fairly traded raw materials. The packaging is made with card from sustainably managed forests and nothing is tested on animals.
Best tinted moisturiser – Sheer Tint by The Organic Pharmacy, £32.95, theorganicpharmacy.com
I love this product and will probably wear it all summer. It is lightweight and non-greasy, it nourishes skin with antioxidants and it smells great. Despite being a tinted moisturiser, you must moisturise before applying, otherwise it’s too dry. When I wore this one of my friends was astounded at how “healthy and glowing” I looked.
THE GREEN BIT: The main ingredients are organic (including the luxurious jojoba oil) and it doesn’t contain any petrochemicals or artificial preservatives, fragrance or colourants. Not tested on animals.
Best foundation – Liquid Foundation by Inika, £29.50, inikacosmetics.co.uk
A great foundation – this evens out skin tone and gives a smooth, lightweight, porcelain finish. As we all know, some foundations can be frightening up close, but even after a few hours, this didn’t look greasy or caked. It smells of geranium oil and contains skin-nourishing antioxidants.
THE GREEN BIT: It is certified organic (by Australia’s Organic Food Chain), vegan, not tested on animals and comes in recycled packaging.
Best concealer– Concealer by Living Nature, £19, livingnature.com
My everyday make-up consists of mascara, brow pencil and concealer, nothing else, so I’m very fussy about concealers. This one is excellent. It is a sumptuous blend of jojoba, macadamia and avocado oils and manuka honey. It goes on easily and gives great coverage without being visible. £19 seems a bit overzealous for 7ml, but that is low compared to the eco-friendly DrHauschka Concealer (which I also love) that is priced at £17.25 for 2.5ml.
THE GREEN BIT: Free from petrochemicals and synthetic preservatives and not tested on animals. The packaging has a very low plastic content and some of the ingredients are organic.
Best face powder– Mineral Compact Powder by Lavera, £15.50, pravera.co.uk
Good old Lavera were one of the first brands to make decent eco make-up and today their products are up there with the best of them. This is a lovely pressed face powder – it is made with crushed minerals to reflect light and keep skin healthy, and it is beautifully perfumed with rose, mallow and lime flowers. It comes in two colours: I am one skin tone up from pale white and the Warm Beige 02 suits me.
THE GREEN BIT: Suitable for vegans. Many of the ingredients are organic and it is free from parabens and talc. End products are not tested on animals and Lavera do their best to ensure raw materials have not been tested on animals.
Many mainstream beauty products use ingredients that in small doses don’t affect us in the short term. In the long-run, however, some of these ingredients can have the reverse effect on our bodies as initially intended. For example: many facial cleansers contain alcohol-based ingredients that end up drying up your skin. It is also important to note that people react differently to different chemicals. Knowing your products are chemical free can ease worries of allergic and chemical reactions.