Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Knitter's Chat: Organic Cosmetics

If this were an in-person knitting group, one of the things I'd be meandering on about, probably, is my quest for organic cosmetics that actually work.

organic cosmetics

Maybe this is not something that occupies your mind while you knit, but I think often about what I can do to make my health tomorrow the best it can be within the restraints of my time and energy today.  And now that there are tools to measure what goes into makeup and shampoo and skin lotion, you can bet I check up on what chemicals and allergens are in the stuff I'm putting on my skin and hair.

I mean, obviously, we live in a world where we're exposed to a lot of stuff that may affect our health... but do we have to pay for the privilege and apply it ourselves?

Here are my favourite investigation tools:

Skin Deep, where you can search on specific cosmetic names;

Think Dirty, an iPhone app that even lets you scan products in the cosmetic aisle for emergency decision-making;

CosDNA, where you can plug in the ingredients of a product that isn't listed on the other sites, and find out whether or not they have known risk factors.

The horrible drag about these sites is plugging in your ol' faithful standby products and watching them light up red with ingredients that mess up your system.  Another horrible drag is buying organic things that show a nice safe green on those sites but smell terrible, go on yucky, or go on beautifully and then wear off in five minutes.  Or my personal sensitive-skin favourite: turn your face bright red and sting-y with an allergic reaction to something that's in it.  Bleah.

So today I thought I'd post my best finds on the off chance it will save you some of the time and/or money I've been spending on this problem.  Because frankly, huge corporate drugstore-friendly products that light up red for hazards?  they are sooo much cheaper than the organic stuff.  Last longer too, thanks to the preservatives.  You will definitely be paying a premium for the smaller-batch organic stuff.  Even me, even though I'm writing about it.  This is not a paid advertorial here, by any means.

Hair Products, Body Lotion, and Shower Gel

John Masters Organics, which offers online shopping both for US and Canadian customers as well as overseas shipping and local dealers: I've been using these products for over a year now and don't see changing, ever. Certainly when it comes to the hair stuff, mine is shinier hair than it ever was before, which is something all the big-brand ads seem to use as their selling point.

john masters organics review

These shampoos don't foam up like drugstore brands, but they don't need to and I find the bottles go a pretty long way for the price.  Instead of 'conditioner' I use the 'detangler', which smells pretty good, but nothing is more gorgeous than the blood orange and vanilla shower gel.  YUM.  (you can get that scent in a skin lotion too.  Love it so much.)

You can get a travel size sampler of their bestsellers, if you want to give it a try.


I had a huge and recent breakthrough here, after trying tons and tons of organic lipsticks that went on like dry paste or wore off in seconds or bestowed absolutely no colour or some combination thereof.  Honestly I'd have given up if I wasn't getting very uncomfortable allergic reactions to the big-brand ones I was using.

dr. hauschka lipstick review

Two words: Dr. Hauschka.  There aren't a ton of colour options and it's not easy to tell on the computer screen what colour you're really getting, which makes it an expensive experiment to order online, but this lipstick goes on easily, does not smell nasty (or like anything, in fact), stays on for hours, and for me anyway - does not produce an allergic reaction.  It is also without sunscreen, I think.  This may be an issue for you, if you don't have a separate source of that.

Regarding colour, I can tell you that from left to right - 06 is a deep, dark, 1940s movie star red, 04 is of similar depth but with more of an orange cast, and 09 is kind of a sheer pinky-brown that looks very everyday.  I recently ordered 07 (pink) and 01 (pink/wine), and I'll keep you posted.

Eyeshadow and Concealer

Eyeshadow: it's again with the Dr. Hauschka.  If you look at organic makeup sites there is a lot of talk about mineral makeup, but I find I'm allergic to some of the minerals most commonly used - like titanium dioxide, which is in practially everything, including eyeshadows.  This stuff on the other hand is like the lipstick - it goes on easily, lasts a really long time, does not make my skin sting-y, perfectly covers any mis-steps with the eyeliner or mascara (even the light shades), and generally looks great.

dr. hauschka eyeshadow review

For a creamy concealer, I'm super happy to have found SukiColor correct coverage concealer in its tiny almost-1-ounce travel size.  I'm not allergic to it, it goes on nicely, and it lasts really well too.   Plus, so portable! (for powder concealer, keep reading.)

It's worth noting that both of these little compacts have a mirror in the lid, and the eyeshadow comes with a cute little foam applicator.  I feel about 16 every time I put that stuff on, because it's so adorable and fun and, apparently, I am easily amused.

I should also say that I've been trying lotion and skincare samples from different parts of the Suki line and they are without exception nice to use.  Definitely worth a try, in my opinion.

Makeup Removers

This was the first thing I found that I absolutely love.  Makeup removers almost never made it onto my list of priorities because I don't use a lot of makeup in the first place, but a few years ago I needed something to take on a trip that would be quick to use and easy to pack and blah blah blah.

kaia juicy bamboo cleansing cloths review

I spotted Juicy Bamboo cleansing cloths from Kaia at the cash desk of my local health food store, gave them a try, and have never looked back.  Briefly, when I couldn't find another supplier, I tried a few different drugstore brands of this sort of thing and it was like using sandpaper.  Bleah!  These days I use the larger package pictured here at home, and the individually sealed packets for travel.  They're even flight-friendly!  And they smell nice and they really work.

Mineral powder makeup

I mentioned that most of the mineral makeups don't do it for me.  I tried several and my skin started stinging within minutes.  Again - this is an allergy, probably to titanium dioxide, and many people love the very products that made my own skin so unhappy, so I'm definitely not disparaging random brands.

rejuva minerals review

What I did find that works well and is problem-free for me is Rejuva Minerals.  I've tried both the concealer and the foundation, and I like them both.  Even the process of putting them on is kind of fun.  Bonus: I was able to get both of mine in very small sizes that don't take up much room in my cabinet.  Look for travel-sized brushes to go with and you'll have a nice compact kit for home or away!

Eyeliner and Mascara

This is sad territory, folks, because I still haven't found anything that works as well as my inexpensive drugstore standbys that score 10 on the danger scale, and I don't want to give a less than stellar review of the ones with which I'm compromising on the days when longevity doesn't matter.  I'm hopeful that I'll track something down eventually though, and when I do, I'll let you know!

A Note on Availability

All the links here are to the specific manufacturer, but many of these products are available in small shops all over the US and Canada and other countries too I expect.  You can also buy them from smaller shops online, or on sites like Saffron Rouge.  At the links I've given, look for a link to local suppliers and see what's near you.

And a Thank-You

Thanks for bearing with me during an entire post that isn't about knitting.  I hope it's useful for some of you, or for someone you know!  Tomorrow will be all about the knitting, I promise.  Hope I see you then.


Trish said...

Thanks, Mary! That's a really useful roundup. Much appreciated.

Mary Keenan said...

You are so welcome Trish :^)

Shibanut said...

I have the same problems and find that some of the Lush products work well for me. My favorite moisture cream is the Skin Drink which I swear by for our cold winter winds.

Mary Keenan said...

Ohhh, thanks! I'll definitely check Lush out.