What’s in your Makeup?

iStock_000011196021XSmallGoing Organic

We’ve often heard about the benefits of eating organic food, but what about the benefits of using organic makeup?

The skin is the body’s largest organ and our first line of defense against chemicals and toxins. But the skin can also absorb these materials, either partially or entirely, into the bloodstream. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), up to 60% of the products we use on our skin are absorbed into the bloodstream. Studies from Aveda, show that those who wear lipstick regularly will consume anywhere between one and a half to four tubes in a lifetime.

Advocates for organic makeup argue that if you are consuming or internalizing ingredients into the body through cosmetics, it is better to absorb plant oils, waxes and minerals, rather then synthetic chemicals or toxins often present in non-organic products. Which makes sense, right?

Organic makeup is essentially makeup that it is made from all natural extracts, and is devoid of synthetic ingredients. In order to be manufactured as an organic product, makeup must be produced according to specific guidelines imposed by the Organic Food Products Act.

Some of the ingredients present in non-organic cosmetics contain potentially dangerous additives such as paraffin and paraben, two petroleum derivatives that can block pores and trigger skin irritation. According to the AAD, paraben, which is used in 99% of non-organic cosmetics, may increase the risk of breast cancer. Many non-natural products also contain tallow, an animal fat, which can also cause skin irritation.

That said, nearly all cosmetics, even organic ones, still contain a small amount of artificial chemical additives to create components such as pigment or fragrance. Though there is a significantly smaller amount present in cosmetics made from natural ingredients.

Organic cosmetics also claim to be free of pesticides and genetically modified organisms such as soy or corn. However, there is no evidence of these organisms having any harmful effects. The effects are as of yet, still unknown.

Another factor to consider is the effect makeup can have on the appearance of one’s skin. Many organic products such as foundation, powder and concealer are non-comedogenic, meaning they do not cause pores to clog. Some researchers claim that natural products are better for skin prone to acne or irritation; but this is situational as every skin temperament is different. There are also non-organic cosmetics lines such as Clinque, that are also non-comedogenic.

Bare Escentuals is a very popular natural makeup brand that known for it’s preservative, oil wax and fragrance free foundations and eye shadows. One of it’s best selling products is the Mineral Veil ($19 at Sephora), a light finishing powder that absorbs oil and adds softness to skin.

To get a complete list of organic products, consumers may want to look to Saffron Rouge, a beauty retailer that focuses exclusively on organic products, featuring cosmetics made from mineral pigments and organic plant extracts. Saffron Rouge’s products run the gamut in terms of price, ranging from an $18 Kajal Eyeliner by Dr. Hauschka, to a $58 Creme Deluxe Foundation by Nvey Eco.

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  1. I’m in for trying some organic products! Thanks for the info–never thought about this before.

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