My Favorite [Natural!] Mascara

Yay! iherb.com is now selling my favorite mascara for a discounted $7.76: Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara. After trying a number of “natural” mascaras that didn’t work, or turned out to be not-so-natural, I finally found this one. Smooth and without clumps. Doesn’t melt off after a few hours. Good color. And doesn’t cost $25 a tube (c’mon, seriously?).

I love it.

If you are new to iherb.com, don’t forget to use coupon code RON268 which will give you $5 off. That takes care of your shipping and then some.

Beauty Tip: to avoid looking harsh, choose mascara color one shade darker than your hair color.

  • Dark Brunette/Black Hair: choose black (Black Magic in this brand)
  • Light Brown/Dark Blond/Red Hair: choose black-brown (Espresso in this brand)
  • Light Blond/Strawberry Blond: choose brown (Chocolate Truffle in this brand)

For more drama, add a second coat: that is totally possibly with this silky mascara.

That night (or next morning for me!) your mascara will wash easily off with water and facial cleanser.

OK, so is it important to get “natural” mascara?

It is difficult to assess the toxicity risk for a product “only on our eyelashes,” but mascara is scary close to the mucous membranes of the eyes, and a number of brands of mascara are reported to contain mercury. How much mercury will be absorbed by our bodies? We don’t know; it’s likely different for every individual.

For me, I believe that I do absorb some mascara through my eyes/tear fluid into my nasal cavity (at least I have had “mascara crud” come out on a tissue after blowing my nose the morning after sleeping with mascara). So if using “toxic” mascara, perhaps a habit of washing it off before bed would be indicated. Or just get the good stuff and don’t worry about it.

Mineral Makeup Review

Mineral makeups have become very popular in the last 5 years, because they feel so lightweight, and can offer good coverage. They are often touted as natural, but you should still read the fine print and remember that they are not all created equal.

For 6 tips on how to choose a mineral makeup, read this post.

Here are some mineral makeups I’ve tried:

Bare Escentuals This is the brand that is probably the most well known, and the first one I tried.

Pros: I loved switching from liquid foundation to powder, and liked that I could get a set with foundation, bronzer, and brushes. It is convenient that this brand is available at places like Sephora, Ulta and Nordstom, and nice that there is an instruction DVD included.

Cons: If you are allergic to animals or have very sensitive skin, these brushes are not for you. The mineral veil has parabens, and the foundation has bismuth oxychloride which tends to look shiny by the end of the day (and build up in the brush). The powder is fine enough to give good coverage, but I’ve found an even better one.

Honeybee Gardens

I haven’t tried their foundation, but their eyeshadow was a disappointment. Too much glitter and not enough color, even in a dark shade. (Love their mascara, though!)

Me Me Cosmetics This is a local company that I found at my Farmer’s Market. . . they had just introduced mineral makeup, and I went for it. You’re not likely to come across them, but I thought you might benefit from my experience.

Cons: the powder was not nearly fine enough, so the coverage was not good. And the color wasn’t the best match. I realized that great mineral powder isn’t going to be made by someone selling at a farmers market.

Aubrey Organics

Since this seems to be such a “pure” brand, I was hopeful when they came out with a powder foundation. But it was a disaster.

Cons: The powder isn’t actually minerals, it’s like fine silk powder. . . feels not quite as fine as the mineral powder, and doesn’t stay on all day. Also, it can not be wetted like the minerals can to create a concealer; it balls up and is really gross when wet. Also, it is colored with cinnamon powder, so you have to get used to smelling like cinnamon and the color options are limited.

alima Pure I found this makeup online, and visited a local shop which sells it to test colors. I’ve also ordered eyeshadow from their website.

Pros: I love this makeup! It is the finest powder I’ve found, so it looks great and covers well. They have 60 colors to choose from, including very fair shades. Although the jar has less in it that Bare Escentuals mineral makeup, it has lasted me longer.

They are straight minerals; full disclosure and no bad ingredients. The eyeshadows are just right: glimer without glitter, if you know what I mean. They have perks, like credits for returning jars, and a facebook page with contests and sales.

Cons: since they have few stores which carry their line, most women will have to order online, which is not an easy way to choose a foundation. However, they have samples for $1.50, so trying before you invest isn’t too hard. With as happy as I am with this makeup, I’d say it’s worth it.

How To Pick A Mineral Makeup

Mineral makeups have become very popular in the last 5 years, because they feel so lightweight, and can offer good coverage. They are often touted as natural, but you should still read the fine print and remember that they are not all created equal.

photo credit: alima pure

Here are some things to remember when you choose a foundation.

1. Color Matching
It’s true: you do need your foundation to match your true skin tone, or you could look muddy, orange, or pink. You’ll have to try it on, in daylight. That means either at a shop, or online order of samples. If you tan greatly in the summer, a shade or two darker is an option, or mixing in a littleĀ  powder.

2. Ingredients
Not all “natural” mineral makeups are good for you; you certainly don’t want parabens in them-those preservatives which mimic estrogens in the body and have been found in 87% of breast tumors. Also, bismuth oxychloride, talc, dyes, and fragrances can cause irritation (and may be toxic). The first on that list, bismuth oxychloride, is a common ingredient in mineral makeup, and it serves as a “filler” so the product can be made more cheaply than by using straight minerals. It gives the “pearly” look (rather than matte), and can tend to look shiny by the end of the day.

3. Brushes Do Matter
The shape of brush does have an impact on how the makeup goes on, and brushes should be cleaned often to avoid buildup. (I was told weekly, but I don’t do it that often. Water and mild soap, then air dry.) If you have sensitive skin, and/or animal allergies, find a brush with synthetic bristles: often good makeup can irritate because the person is allergic to the brush!

4. Powder Size: Coverage
A very fine powder will give amazing coverage: better than liquid foundation, yet will feel like you’re wearing nothing. You should be able to feel and see the fine powder on the back of your hand when testing colors. Then test it around your eyes: if it makes the wrinkles look deeper, then it isn’t fine enough. And, when a powder is fine enough, it should look great without a “mineral veil” or other finishing powder on top.

However, a product that boasts “nano” size particles should be avoided; there is some concern and ongoing research as to whether this minute particle size is safe in applications other than medicinal (colloidal silver). And there are good makeups out there that aren’t nano.

5. What’s the deal with Sunscreen?
Many mineral makeups have zinc in their ingredients, and this acts as a reflective sunscreen. Don’t worry this is the good kind of sunscreen (you can read about the bad ones in this post on Chemical Sunscreens). However, you need to apply the makeup fully on your whole face if you are relying on this for sunscreen.

6. Dry Skin
Some women don’t like mineral makeup because their skin is already dry, so they don’t like adding powder. I have fairly dry skin, and I do like mineral powder, but I use a good (all natural) face lotion to moisturize before putting on makeup. I must let the lotion dry first, though, or I can get streaks.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about the minerals I’ve tried, and the great one I’m using now that meets all the criteria above.