What You Need To Know About Natural Makeup

Last week we showed you the down and dirty deets on what really happens to your skin when you switch to natural beauty products. For part two of our three-part series on going green, we asked makeup artist extraordinaire and W3ll People co-founder Shirley Pinkson to give us the DL on natural and organic cosmetics.
From what you can expect when you make the switch to some of the most common pros and cons of going green, read on to learn what this makeup can do for your skin and why you might consider changing out the chemicals for something a little more eco-minded.
Photo: Via Free People
The most important thing, says Pinkson, is to clarify what a "green" cosmetic actually is. "For me, it means choosing a product that is safe and clean," she says. That means actively avoiding products with harsh, artificial chemicals. "We absorb 80% of what we put on our skin — that's a big deal! When we take a more mindful approach regarding cosmetics we can avoid troublesome chemicals that potentially harm us, such as parabens, propylene glycol, and phthalates," she explains. Pinkson says to think of it this way: "It's kind of like how you feel after a delicious meal from your favorite farm-to-table restaurant using rich, local ingredients, as opposed to that fast food drive-thru meal." Word.
That said, if you are using quality products, there isn't going to be much of a difference between natural and organic cosmetics and your usual ones, says Pinkson. "Makeup products made with natural ingredients typically look, perform, and feel like conventional — sometimes even better," she says. Take cream formulations, for example. According to Pinkson, a natural or organic product will provide a texture that "moves and breathes with your skin more readily." The silicone and dimethicone found in the conventional cream cosmetics will sit on the skin, giving you a "mask-like" feel, she elaborates.
Similarly, powder formulas will result in a lighter, more breathable feel on the skin. While Pinkson admits switching to a loose powder foundation, eyeshadow, or blush can be an adjustment if you are not used to them, she promises it's super-easy. Her best tip when shopping for loose mineral makeup? "Look for products that are 100% natural and free from bismuth oxychloride, talc, and dimethicone. These pure, oil-free options are ideal for active, oily skin."
Another plus, especially for those of you with fragrance sensitivities, is that natural and organic cosmetics aren't artificially fragranced, so no worrying about scent anymore.
What's the benefit for your skin by ditching the chemicals and artificial ingredients? "For someone who wears makeup every single day, I have found my breakouts are far less frequent and the overall quality of my skin is dramatically improved," gushes Pinkson. "Over time, my skin truly has become healthier, happier, and more radiant thanks to using skin care and makeup free from all the crazy artificial ingredients out there."
But, that's not to say that natural and organic products are a universally good option. Just because something is green, doesn't mean it can't harm your skin. "Any beauty product can potentially cause an unwanted reaction," says Pinkson. She recommends doing a patch test on your neck or wrist with any new product to test for skin sensitivity or allergies. "In most cases you will know within 24 hours if there is going to be an issue," she says.
If chemicals in cosmetics are a concern for you, Pinkson says it's important to arm yourself with the knowledge of potentially hazardous ingredients and read labels to avoid them. She says that SafeCosmetics.org is a great resource for an easy "punch list" of ones to remember and avoid.
Finally, Pinkson has a few parting words for all of you considering a cosmetics change-up: "I promise, once you are more mindful about the products you buy, that you will feel more confident, more in control, and more beautiful. And really, isn't that what makeup should be all about?"
RMS Un Cover-Up, $36, available at Spirit Beauty Lounge; W3ll People Nudist Color Balm Stick, $19.50, available at W3ll People; Kjaer Weis Eyeshadow in Wisdom, $44, available at Kjaer Weis.
Tune in next week to get the scoop on natural hair products!
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