How To Care For Dehydrated and Dry Skin

Silicones in Makeup and Skin Care

Dry skin and dehydrated skin may seem synonymous, but they’re actually two different things. Dry skin is a skin type characterised by a lack of oil or lipids. Dehydrated skin, which is really more of a skin condition, is caused by a lack of water.

Today, we’re looking into the best ways to deal with dry skin and dehydrated skin. Should you moisturise? Should you tone? Which natural skincare products work? And what kind of makeup should you use? We’ve got the answers.

Silicones in Makeup and Skin Care

But first, let’s get to the core of the problem.

What’s the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin?

Dry skin and dehydrated skin may have different underlying causes, but most of the signs are similar. Dry skin and dehydrated skin are prone to dullness, flaking, and visible fine lines. Both are characterised by a matte appearance and fine pores.

Dry skin often feels itchy and looks red, splotchy, and leathery. Dehydrated skin feels tight and is usually accompanied by dry, cracked lips. Note that dehydration can happen with any skin type, which means you can have oily and acne prone skin and also be dehydrated.

There are a bunch of factors that can result in dry skin, including genetics, ageing, your diet, the weather, overusing certain skincare products, contact with allergens, and overscrubbing. As for dehydrated skin, this temporary condition is usually brought about by insufficient water intake or excessive sweating.

If you suspect that your skin is either dry or dehydrated, try to figure out which external factors or lifestyle choices may be causing your skin problems. You can also improve the condition of dry or dehydrated skin by incorporating natural skincare products into your everyday skincare routine. For dry skin, choose products with rich oils and lipids. For dehydrated skin, look for moisture-binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin.

How to cleanse dry and dehydrated skin

  • Dry skin

For everyday cleansing, use the Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion. This is a great choice for dry skin: it’s extra mild and extra gentle, is water based, and has powerful moisturising ingredients. You only need a moistened cotton wool pad to remove this, which is perfect if you find that regular washing only makes your skin drier.

Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion

For moisturising ingredients to get through the rough upper layers of dry skin, you’re gonna need to do some exfoliating. A good facial cleanser will gently break down the dead skin cells and other impurities that adhere to your skin and cause dry patches. This allows the hydrating ingredients of your moisturiser to really sink into your skin and do their job.

For dry skin, you have to use an extra gentle exfoliating cleanser. Go with non grainy formulas such as this one from Acure. Instead of physical exfoliators, it uses active fruit enzymes to gently remove dead skin cells and reduce fine lines.

Acure also has a non abrasive Brightening Vegetable Peel, which uses sugar cane extract and apple cider vinegar to gently exfoliate. Use either of these 1-2 times a week.

  • Dehydrated skin

Get dehydrated skin back on track with a mild cleanser that deep cleans as it hydrates. The Weleda Gentle Cleansing Milk lifts off impurities without sucking moisture out of your skin. It’s water based and packed with jojoba and sesame seed oils.

Weleda Gentle Cleansing Milk

Andalou Naturals has a lovely Cleansing Foam that’s extra mild and soap free. It has vegetable glycerin, a powerful ingredient that pulls in water molecules from your surroundings and binds them to your skin, leaving it as smooth and plump as a baby’s bottom.

What toner should you use?

Both dry and dehydrated skin will benefit from a hydrating toner that locks in moisture after you wash your face. Use one with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid. Like glycerin, hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant that attracts water and deposits it into your skin.

Andalou Naturals has an amazing Floral Toner that has hyaluronic acid and another natural humectant: aloe vera. Use it morning and night after your gentle cleanser and tuck it in your purse before you head out. It’s great as a facial mist and because the smell is heavenly, it’s the perfect mood booster as well.

How to moisturise dry and dehydrated skin

  • Face

Look for ingredients such as lactic acid, which will rehydrate your face and reduce the appearance of fine lines. The Weleda Almond Soothing Face Cream is extra mild and formulated for very dry skin. This beautifully rich facial moisturiser’s packed with lactic acid and nourishing sweet almond and plum kernel oils. It’s water based and light enough to wear under makeup.

If you’re using the Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses cleanser and toner, follow them up with the Day Cream from the same line. This satin soft cream contains a wealth of powerful ingredients (Alpine rose stem cells, rosehip and pomegranate oils, hyaluronic acid) that will completely transform your skin’s texture.

Apply your moisturiser immediately after cleansing and toning, before your skin begins to feel tight. Follow it up with a good sunscreen.

Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Day Cream

  • Eyes and lips

People with dry skin are prone to fine lines, especially around the eyes and mouth. A good eye cream, such as the one from Acure, will stimulate collagen production and reduce wrinkles and crow’s feet.

Chapped lips is one of the most obvious signs of internal dehydration. Use a petrochemical free lip balm such as the Melrose Little Bird Organic Paw Paw Balm or the Miessence Jaffa Lip Balm to keep your lips kissably smooth.

Makeup for dry and dehydrated skin

The makeup you use should be an extension of your skincare. For both dry and dehydrated skin, choose mineral makeup that corrects flaws as it nourishes your skin.

Primer

People with dry or dehydrated skin tend to have visible fine lines and rough, flaky patches. A good primer will smoothen everything out and create an even canvas for your foundation.

While it’s best known for its ability to soften hands, knees, and elbows, celebrity favourite Weleda Skin Food actually also works as a primer. And because it has a rich but non greasy formulation, it’s perfect for those with dry or dehydrated skin. Just warm a drop or two between your fingers and apply all over your face. You can even mix it with your favourite foundation to make a hydrating tinted moisturiser.

Weleda Skin Food

Concealer

Using waterproof concealer on dry skin is a no-no. If you need extra coverage, go with a moisturising concealer such as this one from Miessence, which hides imperfections without looking cakey or dry. Another good option is the Lavera Natural Concealer. With ingredients such as organic shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil, it conceals spots and dark circles without settling into every wrinkle and fine line.

Foundation

With dry skin, you don’t want to use anything that’s mattifying or formulated to control oil. Instead, keep dry skin at bay with a moisture packed foundation like the Lavera Tinted Moisturising Cream 3 in 1, which has shea butter and argan oil, or the Benecos Natural Creamy Makeup, which has organic plant extracts for extra hydration.

If you prefer something lighter for daytime, go for a BB cream such as this one from Andalou Naturals, which provides sheer coverage, or a CC cream designed specifically for dry skin.

Blush

Cream blushes are your best option. The Ere Perez Carrot Colour Pots, for example, have a creamy formula that delivers a nice flush of colour and a good dose of hydrating olive and avocado oils.

Mineral powders let you build up colour but won’t settle in your pores. Try the Lavera Mineral Rouge Powder, which has a nice silky texture, or the Benecos Natural Compact Blush, which has a noncaking formula and is packed with moisturising plant oils.

Benecos Natural Compact Blushes

Lipstick

If your lips are dry or dehydrated, look for lipsticks with ingredients that nourish and protect. The W3LL PEOPLE Nudist Colourbalm, a lip balm and lipstick in one, is enriched with omega oils. Neek’s Vegan Lipstick has a base of shea butter, jojoba oil, and avocado oil — perfect for parched lips. 

Powder

Powder tends to sit on wrinkles and rough patches, so those with dry or dehydrated skin should steer clear. But if you really must use a little powder to set your makeup, go for light mineral powders and avoid anything oil absorbing or mattifying.

Lavera’s Fine Loose Mineral Powder is a good choice if you’re looking for a transparent setting powder. This one softens imperfections and fine lines. It’s also finely milled and gentle enough to use on sensitive and acne prone skin.

If you need something that offers more coverage, go for the tinted one from Benecos. Like the Lavera powder, this is infused with organic plant extracts. It’s lightweight, leaves a demi matte finish, and comes in four shades.

Facial mist

Even if you’ve prepped your face well and used the right makeup for your skin type, certain environmental conditions can still leave your skin dry and tight. Keep a bottle of facial mist on your desk so you can top up your moisture levels when the air conditioning at the office is wreaking havoc on your skin. Try the Mt. Retour Organic Rose Hydrosol. You can use this before makeup (as a primer) or after (as a hydrating refresher).

Hello Charlie stocks a wide array of products for dry and dehydrated skin. Shop them here.

Do you have dry or dehydrated skin? How do you deal with it and what natural skincare products do you use? We’d love to hear your tips and recommendations.

Main image credit: Deposit photos
Image credits: Weleda, Andalou Naturals, and Benecos.

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Natural Makeup and Skin Care for Oily Skin: How To Stay Matte All Day Using Natural Products?

natural make up and skin care for oily skin

Current makeup trends lean towards the dewy “I woke up like this” look. But when your skin is already oily, it can be just about impossible to achieve that luminous appearance and not leave your face an oily mess. Fortunately, we have natural makeup and skin care for oily skin that will help you deal with your overactive oil glands. Even if you have oily skin, you can make your makeup last all day – yes, even if your face tends to get really greasy.

natural make up and skin care for oily skin

What is oily skin?

First, let’s talk about oily skin and how to know if this is really your skin type.

Most people will experience some occasional oiliness, but real oily skin is a different matter altogether. If your face tends to look like it was slathered with Vaseline an hour or so after washing (and not applying any products), then you definitely have oily skin. Aside from surface oiliness, this skin type is also characterised by large pores, inflammatory acne, redness, blackheads, and whiteheads.

While oily skin can be really difficult to deal with, the good news is that this skin type is less prone to fine lines and doesn’t age as fast as other types.

If you’ve determined that you belong to the oily skin club, don’t despair. With the right natural skincare products and a few tricks, we can successfully combat grease and wear makeup that actually stays on all day.

Here’s how.

Start with a clean face

Getting your face to stay shine free begins with proper cleansing. Because oily skin is prone to acne, it’s important to find products that address both excess sebum and blemishes.

We’ve got lots of great cleansers for oily skin, whether you want to use a facial wipe, micellar water, cleansing gel or cream, or even a solid facial soap. Here’s some of our recommendations:

Natural Makeup and Skin Care For Oily Skin

Facial wipes:

wotnot facial wipes
Wotnot

Micellar Water:

Cleansing Gels & Creams:

Facial Soap:

Australian Natural Soap Company Activated Charcoal
Australian Natural Soap Company

Tone or not to tone?

Lastly, don’t forget to tone. A toner can help tackle bacteria and balance your skin’s pH. Try these natural toners for oily and acne prone skin:

Does oily skin need moisturiser?

If you have oily skin, you might feel that moisturiser will only make your face greasier. However, if you skip on the moisturiser, your skin could get dehydrated, which will lead it to overproduce oil. So, yes, you should definitely still use moisturiser. But you have to choose the right formula.

First of all, oil based moisturisers are an oily girl’s nightmare. Go for non greasy ones, such as the Lavera Basis Moisturising Cream or Kelapa Organics’ SPF15 Facial Moisturiser. Those formulated for oil control, such as this one from Acure, are also great.

If you just can’t live without your richer moisturisers and facial oils, save them for overnight use and choose the more mattifying ones for daytime.

simple as that moisturiser
Simple As That

Blemishes and spots

Oily skin can be prone to acne and blemishes. So it can be useful to have a product up your sleeve to help deal with these.

The Weleda Aknedoron Purifying Lotion is designed to be used on spots, not on your whole face. Dab some on over your moisturiser. Echinacea, thyme and pine needle oil help zap spots, while witch hazel water balances your skin and biodynamic calendula and organic chamomile extracts soothe inflammation.

You could also try:

Now on to makeup!

Primer makes a huge difference

Makeup and oily skin usually go together, well, like oil and water. When your skin is greasy, makeup can slide right off before you even make it out the house. Or when you do get your makeup to stay put, you can end up looking like a total greaseball within minutes.

Prepping your face with primer is a crucial step if you have oily skin. Primer evens out your skin, gives your foundation something to cling to, and absorbs some of the oil on your face.

Invest in a good primer for both your face and your eyelids, but avoid the hydrating or light reflecting types. These will just make you look shinier and are really more suited for those with drier skin types. Using an SPF product will protect your skin, which is why we love Wotnot’s Sunscreen for FaceIt’s mattifying and does double duty as a primer under foundation and as your SPF30 sunscreen.

You could also try Zk’in’s Line Smoothing Serum as a primer.

If your eyelids tend to look like two pools of grease by midday, you can keep your eyeshadow from creasing with the Benecos Natural Eyeshadow Primer. This has a subtle gold shimmery shade; you can add your eyeshadow over the top or just pop on some mascara for that no-makeup makeup look.

Once you’ve moisturised and primed your face, take some tissue or a blotting sheet and lightly press it over the parts (usually the T zone) that tend to get the oiliest. This helps prep your face for the next step: foundation.

Choose the right foundation formula

For oily skin, you can’t just slather on any old foundation. Luminising or moisturising foundations won’t keep oiliness at bay. Instead, choose ones that are formulated to combat shine.

Benecos has a Light Foundation that is water based, which makes it suitable for oily and blemish prone skin. For fuller coverage, the company also has a Natural Creamy Makeup, which is buildable and has a matte finish.

For good coverage and long lasting wear, go for Lavera’s Natural Liquid Foundation. This one lasts up to 10 hours on your face and gives off a soft, porcelain look. And for days when you’re not in the mood for heavy makeup, reach for the Benecos Natural BB Cream. This colour correcting product absorbs excess oil and also gives off a matte finish when set.

Benecos natural bb cream
Benecos

Finish off with translucent powder

As with foundation, if you’ve got oily skin you can’t just go for any setting powder. Highlighting powders and shimmery formulations will only emphasise oil and look awful after a few hours. Instead, opt for translucent mattifying powders such as this one from Benecos, which is talc free. For a demi matte finish, choose the Benecos Natural Mineral Powder. Unlike the translucent powder, this one comes in four shades and has anti ageing properties.

Before powdering your face, wait for your foundation to set or your base will end up looking cakey. Next, apply your bronzer or blush. Gently blot your T zone one more time, set everything with powder, and you’re good to go!

Bring a touch up kit

If you’ve prepped your face properly, oily skin shouldn’t require constant maintenance all day long. However, it’s still a good idea to put together a travel friendly touch up kit that fits in your purse and allows you to revive your makeup if things do start sliding off. Throw in some blotter sheets for soaking up excess oil and the Benecos Natural Compact Powder for shine control. Wotnot Facial Wipes for Oily Skin are also great for midday touch ups.

Hello Charlie offers an assortment of natural makeup and skin care for oily skin. Shop them here.

Do you have any oily skin tricks to share with us? Any natural skincare products or makeup for oily skin you think we should stock? Please tell us in the comments below.

 

Image credits: Wotnot, The Australian Natural Soap Company, Simple as That, and Benecos.

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Silicones In Makeup and Skin Care: Should You Avoid Them?

Silicones in Makeup and Skin Care

A while back, I decided to stop stocking a ‘natural’ brand of skincare here at Hello Charlie because they reformulated and introduced silicones to their product formulations. I had lots of questions about why I don’t like silicones, so I thought it was about time to explain that. What are silicones, and how do they affect your skin?

Silicones in Makeup and Skin Care

What are silicones?

A silicone is a large molecule made up of repeating chains of alternating oxygen and silicon atoms, along with carbon and hydrogen. Silicon is a mineral. Over 90% of the Earth’s crust is silicone – it’s the primary element in sand.

Silicones are stable over a wide range of temperatures and have a generally low toxicity and chemical reactivity. They have a wide variety of applications, from the automotive and airline industries to cookware to personal care products.

The silicone compounds used in skin care are interesting. They are water repellent but gas permeable, which means they allow air to pass through. Because of the way the materials are formed – big molecules connected together in a sort of lattice with a lot of space in between. They stay on the surface, forming a water resistant barrier that still allows the skin to breathe. For this reason they don’t usually feel heavy or greasy.

Are silicones natural?

Can you still use silicones if you’re committed to natural skincare? They’re obviously not found in nature. (Although a silicone molecule with a carbon component might be known as an ‘organic compound’, that doesn’t mean it’s plant or animal derived.)

Silicones are not included in any organic skincare products, since they’re not certified by Ecocert or any other organisation.

Are they toxic?

Silicones are generally regarded as safe, at least for application to the skin and hair. They’re considered hypoallergenic, non comedogenic, and non sensitising.

However, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that silicones can cause reactions for people with sensitive or acne prone skin, so you might want to be careful if you have this skin type.

via GIPHY

Leaky silicone breast implants caused a lot of controversy a few years ago when they were implicated in cancer and autoimmune disorders. According to the U.S. FDA, recent research has found them generally safe, except for a very slight increase in the risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a type of white blood cell cancer. But this isn’t the same as putting them on your skin.

Silicones in makeup and skincare

Silicones are so popular because they add slip to cosmetic formulations, allowing them to glide on smoothly, giving the product a silky feel. In hair care products, they coat the cuticle, detangle and add shine. They also protect hair from heat.

Silicones are also popular with manufacturers because they’re cheap.

Makeup primers use silicones to cover enlarged pores, minor wrinkles and scarring, creating a smooth finish as well as forming a base for foundation to stick to. A silicone-heavy foundation can give the skin the smooth and glowing look that is so on trend right now.

Makeup settings sprays are usually chock-full of silicones, since silicones can form a protective barrier over your eye shadow and contouring artistry that keeps it all in place.

via GIPHY

Some types of silicones actually increase the penetration of other substances in the product. This can be a problem if you’re sensitive to anything in the formula. If the products contains potentially irritating ingredients, such as hydroquinone (a skin bleaching compound), you can end up with a concentration of that substance underneath the silicone layer.

Who should avoid silicones?

Those with sensitive and acne prone skin should stay away. A good natural skincare product will treat your skin gently and nourish it rather than simply forming a layer over the top. Silicones provide a temporary smoothing effect, but they don’t actually help the skin heal on its own.

One of the most worrying things about silicones for the environmentally aware person is that heavier silicones are not biodegradable. Siloxane D4 is currently being investigated over concerns of a toxic build up in the environment and may be banned in the future.

Considering how much silicone we’re producing nowadays, all this is a real cause for concern. At least with organic skincare you don’t have to worry that your face wash is destroying the environment.

How can I recognize silicones in the products I buy?

The word ‘silicone’ is probably not going to show up on the ingredients list. It’s an umbrella term that refers to a variety of substances. In general, look for terms ending in ‘cone’, ‘conol or ‘siloxane’. Here are some examples:

  • Amodimethicone: often found in hair care products. It sticks to your hair, so it’s a great conditioner but can build up over time.
  • Cyclopentasiloxane: this is a water-based silicone that evaporates quickly. It adds slip to cosmetics and skin and hair care products so that they glide on smoothly.
  • Dimethicone: a very heavy silicone, dimethicone is an efficient detangler and frizz buster. It doesn’t evaporate at all and will definitely build up over time without thorough cleansing.
  • Dimethiconol: a very fluid silicone that acts as an anti-foaming agent. It also works as an emollient, plumping up fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Dimethicone copolyol: works as an emulsifier, keeping the oil and water components from separating.
  • Trimethylsilylamodimethicone: often used as a detangler in hair care products.

However, some silicones are sneaky:

  • Polymethylsilsesquioxane: a resin that is often used in tiny little spheres that act as anti-caking and water-repelling agents.

In fact, if you’re in doubt about an ingredient in skin and hair care products or cosmetics, there’s a good chance it’s a silicone.

Which skincare products contain silicones?

Short answer: All of them can contain silicones. If it’s not an organic skincare line it probably contains silicones. These compounds do so many useful things and are generally safe for most people.

Adding silicones gives products that cosmetically elegant texture that we’ve all come to know and love. You know – that silky light and fast drying, yet emollient, lotion that feels so pleasant as you spread it over your face. Or maybe it’s the hair conditioner that provides instant detangling, or the serum that applies smoothly without foaming or pilling.

As you move away from silicones towards natural and organic skincare you’ll find that the products may feel heavier or stickier than you’re used to. However, as silicone-free formulations improve this issue will only get better.

Silicone substitutes

Cosmetic and skincare companies are investing a lot into researching natural silicone replacements. Some substances to look for are:

  • dicaprylyl ether
  • dicaprylyl carbonate
  • coco-caprylate
  • dicaprylyl ether
  • decyl glucoside
  • glyceryl oleate

Many others will become available as more people look for silicone free products.

Silicones, while useful, don’t have any part in an organic lifestyle. With a little effort you can find natural skincare products that are just as good for your skin, but much better for the environment.

Looking for silicone free makeup? You can find a wide variety of natural makeup here at Hello Charlie.

Main image credit: Deposit Photos

Cruelty Free vs Vegan Makeup and Skincare: We Explain the Difference

cruelty free and vegan makeup and skin care

You may have seen labels on makeup and skincare products that say vegan or cruelty free. The common misconception is that cruelty free and vegan are the same. But this is a misconception, as they’re not the same thing at all. So in this post we’re going to discuss about cruelty free and vegan makeup and skin care, and the actual difference between the two.

cruelty free and vegan makeup

Are cruelty free and vegan the same thing?

Vegan products don’t contain animals or animal byproducts, but does it mean they’re cruelty free as well? Well, not exactly. Vegan makeup and skin care products are made strictly from plant derived ingredients. However, they may still be tested on animals.

Some countries, such as mainland China, mandate animal testing for products that will be sold within the country. Even companies that don’t normally test on animals may do so in order to access the lucrative Chinese market.

Cruelty free products are never tested on animals. This includes both the ingredients and the final products. They use alternative forms of testing, usually through computer modelling, in vitro tests, or studies done on human volunteers. They may still contain animal products, though.

In short, the vegan label applies to the ingredients that the products are made from, while cruelty free applies to the process of bringing the products to the public.

Common ingredients that come from animals

Some ingredients that  may come from animal parts:

  • Collagen – normally comes from chickens’ feet
  • Keratin –  from animal feathers, hair, horn, nails and hooves
  • Squalene – usually comes from shark livers
    • Not the same as squalane (with an ‘a’), which is a similar compound from vegetable oils or sugar cane. Squalane is actually better because it’s more shelf stable and doesn’t go rancid extremely quickly like squalene does.
  • Gelatine –  from boiling animal skin, bones and hooves
  • Carmine (aka cochineal) – a bright red pigment made from insects
  • Guanine (pearl essence) – from crushed fish scales
  • Retinol – usually from animal and fish livers or egg yolks
  • Elastin – from cow ligaments and aortas
  • Shellac –  from the lac insect

Some products that are not from animal carcasses, but are still from animals, such as:

  • Honey, beeswax, propolis, and bee pollen
  • Lanolin – usually from sheep’s wool
  • Casein – milk protein
  • Oestrogen or Oestradiol – from the urine of pregnant horses

There are also products that may come from plant or animal sources:

  • Hyaluronic acid – can be from the combs of roosters or fermented wheat.
  • Stearyl alcohol, and stearic, palmitic, and oleic acids – can be from animal fats or synthesized from hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Glycerine – most likely from plant sources, but can be from animal sources too.
  • Glucosamine – may be from shellfish, chicken bone marrow or corn.

So these products may still be vegan, but if the label doesn’t say, don’t assume. Ask questions!

Which logos and certifications should you look out for?

These watchdog groups make it their mission to certify makeup and skincare companies as cruelty free and/or vegan.

For cruelty free certifications

Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) is an Australia based non profit organisation that certifies companies as animal testing free. CCF also campaigns to end animal testing throughout the world. They maintain a list of cruelty free vegan products as well.

Leaping Bunny is made up of a coalition of animal rights organisations from the USA, Canada and Europe.

For vegan certifications

Certified Vegan and the Vegan Society certify that products are not made from animal or animal derived ingredients, nor have animal products used in the manufacturing process (such as sugar filtered with bone char). Animal derived GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are also prohibited. These organisations also ensure that manufacturing plants carry out a thorough cleaning process to avoid cross contamination with non vegan products.

Looking for vegan makeup? Then you can check out this list to find some of our vegan makeup recommendations.

Main image credit: Big Stock

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Toxic Beauty — Mascaras

are you using toxic mascara

are you using toxic mascara

When the ancient Egyptians first began using mascara thousands of years ago, the mixture they used was made of lead ore, charcoal, crocodile dung, and honey. Today, mascara is made from much cleaner ingredients and is less likely to give you lead poisoning. And yet, some modern mainstream mascaras aren’t all that safe either.

First, let me just say: I love mascara. It’s one of my “can’t live without it” makeup items.  It helps me look more awake and like I’ve made an effort. Mascara has the uncanny ability of taking any woman’s look from drab to fab (or at least less zombie-like!) within seconds. It’s fantastic. But before you swipe on another coat of mascara, you might want to look into which nasties could be hiding in your favourite tube.

What’s the risk with mainstream mascara?

I wasn’t always so concerned about the possible toxins in mascara. I thought because it doesn’t actually touch your eyeballs or your skin, and because I put so little of it on my lashes, the ingredients didn’t matter so much as that of, say, my eyeshadow or moisturiser.

But, as I have since learned, there are many dangerous chemicals in mascara and they can end up on your skin, your eyes, and in the oil glands of your eyelids. They can be absorbed into your bloodstream or cause problems like plugged ducts or dry eyes. This is especially true if you sleep with their mascara on, frequently rub your eyes, or use mascara daily. And even if the amount of harmful chemicals in the product is minuscule, the long-term, everyday exposure to toxins may be enough to cause problems.

What’s in mainstream mascara that’s so bad?

Some mascara ingredients are perfectly safe (water, oils, waxes), but many are irritants, allergens, hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and environmental toxins.

These are just a few of the nasty chemicals in mainstream mascaras:

Carbon black*

Carbon black is a powder pigment that gives your eyelashes that full and dramatic look. Unfortunately, it’s also a possible carcinogen and is classified as potentially toxic to human organ systems. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration lists carbon black among colour additives that are no longer authorised in cosmetics, particularly in those that will be used in the eye area. Nonetheless, it is still an ingredient in many eye liners, mascaras, eye shadows, and eyebrow liners. Carbon black has an EWG score of 6. It also goes by the names acetylene black, thermal black, lamp black, furnace black, pigment black 6 or 7, and channel black.

does your mascara have toxic ingredients

Parabens

Because the moist environment inside a tube of mascara is the perfect place for bacteria and mould to grow, some sort of preservative is needed to keep the product safe to use. In mainstream mascaras, this typically means parabens. Unfortunately, though parabens keep microorganisms from multiplying, these chemicals are also pretty bad for us humans.   

Some parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, which has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, early puberty, and reproductive toxicity. Scientists have yet to find a causal relationship between parabens and breast cancer. However, because we’re exposed to these chemicals through so many different products on a daily basis, we could be overloading our bodies, which could lead to a wide range of health issues.

The most common types of parabens in cosmetics are propylparaben (EWG score of 7), methylparaben (4), ethylparaben (4), and butylparaben (7).

BHT and BHA

Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) control the growth of microbes in mascara and other cosmetics. BHT, which EWG gave a score of 4, is classified as a respiratory irritant and is considered toxic or harmful to human organ systems. BHA, on the other hand, is rated 5-7. It’s an endocrine disruptor and a possible carcinogen.

Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing chemicals

The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) and the U.S. National Toxicology Program have both classified formaldehyde as a known carcinogen. The chemical, which EWG has given a whopping hazard rating of 10, is also an allergen and a skin toxicant. Despite the obvious risks, formaldehyde releasing cosmetic preservatives like DMDM hydantoin (7), quaternium-15 (8), and diazolidinyl urea (6) are still found in things like facial cleansers, moisturisers, toners, foundation, blush, eye liners, and — you guessed it — mascaras!

Retinyl acetate

Retinyl acetate is a synthetic vitamin A ingredient that lends its moisturising benefits to some mascaras. Unfortunately, it’s a human reproductive toxicant and is possibly carcinogenic. On the EWG hazard scale, it has a score of 9, which tells you that this one is really best avoided.

Phthalates

Phthalates have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and developmental and reproductive toxicity. The European Union has banned the use of these chemicals in cosmetics, but they are still common in products from the U.S.

Aside from the word “phthalate,” look for “DEP,” “DBP,” and “DEHP” in labels. Be suspicious of products that list “fragrance” or “parfum” as an ingredient. Cosmetics companies don’t have to provide a list of the individual ingredients in the fragrances they use; therefore, consumers won’t be able to tell by the label alone if there are phthalates hiding under that umbrella.

Pigments (colourants)

Some pigments are safe for use in cosmetics, but many, like carbon black, pose a wide range of health hazards. Aluminium powder, a metallic substance made of finely milled aluminium, is another colourant that’s bad news. Aluminium powder is a neurotoxin and can damage the immune and respiratory systems. EWG has given it a score of 4-9.

Make sure your mascara doesn’t contain heavy metals by looking for the specific colour index number of the colourants (such as CI 77491 for iron oxide or CI 77019 for mica).

toxic beauty mascara wand

What’s the alternative to toxic mascara?

While there’s a good chance that your current mascara contains harmful chemicals, you don’t necessarily have to ditch mascara altogether and compromise your beauty routine.

Not all mascaras are bad. Lucky for us, there are now heaps of green mascaras that really work and don’t contain a bunch of toxic ingredients. Natural mascaras are safer and are no harder to find than regular mascaras. Most of them even offer ingredients (like coconut oil, aloe vera, and sunflower seed oil) that help nourish your lashes. With all the lovely nontoxic mascaras out there, there’s just no good reason to still purchase mainstream mascara.

We recommend (and use!) these top natural mascaras:

And one last thing! Aside from the products you use, it’s also how you use them that’s important. With mascara, it’s best to stop after two coats, as more layers can clog the oil glands along your eyelids. Always store your mascara in a cool place — never in the car — as heat will degrade the product. Replace your mascara every three months. And never share or swap mascaras.

Trying to figure out which mascaras are okay and which ones are bad? Look out for our upcoming Safer Mascaras Cheat Sheet.

Have you made the switch from mainstream to natural mascara? Share your favourite brands in the comments below.

No Nasties: Natural Play Makeup for Creative Kids

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No Nasties is an Australian company that sells 100% natural play makeup, face paint and hair chalk for kids. All of their products are handmade in small batches by a group of Mums, and wrapped in recycled brown paper boxes. Each beautifully packaged product features a colourful character with a name and story. They’re super fun gifts for any kid who loves to play with makeup.

The No Nasties Makeup Story

Natalia Michael founded No Nasties after her daughter received some play makeup for her fifth birthday. Natalia says that when she read the ingredients on the pack, she was shocked to discover that it was full of harsh chemicals, heavy metals and FD&C colors.

With 43 confirmed medium to high grade allergies, as well as eczema and dermatitis, Natalia has to be careful about what she puts into her body, and on her skin. Changing her cosmetics to all natural products made a big difference for her, so she wanted to do the same for her kids.

“I believe in living a natural lifestyle,” Natalia says. “I’m not a fan of chemicals around the home or on my body and especially not on my kids. So anything I can do for my family that’s going to be natural is where I’m at.”

Natalia created No Nasties play makeup as a safe way for creative kids to experiment with makeup and hair colour. “Children’s makeup isn’t something that kids need, but they love it!” she says. “Either they’re going to get into your expensive natural makeup, or you can give them an alternative. This is an outlet for children who want to get into your makeup… I’m not comfortable putting toxic chemicals on my kids, and I’d never put it on someone else’s children, and I’m so happy to have a natural alternative.”

Natalia hopes that play makeup will be thought provoking for parents. “It might make people think about the other things they’re putting on their children,” she said.

The packaging for No Nasties products was inspired by Natalia’s now six-year-old daughter, who thinks that every box should look like a treasure. “Every single pack we put together is like a treasure for a child,” Natalia says, with “folded tissue paper, so that they can unfold it and it doesn’t just fall out of the box.”

no-nasties-natural-kids-play-makeupWhy We Love No Nasties Play Makeup

  • Handmade in Sydney, Australia
  • 100% natural
  • Free of FD&C colors, synthetic dyes, talc, mineral oil, bismuth oxychloride, ferric ferrocyanide and paraben preservatives
  • Not tested on animals, and made with ingredients that are not tested on animals
  • Mess free! No Nasties natural kids makeup and hair colours washes off with water

No Nasties Makeup Colours

The colours of No Nasties play makeup are age appropriate in soft and shimmery pastels. The face paints are bright, bold and perfect for dressing up or playing make believe. The hair chalk comes in shades that show up nicely on any hair color, from dark to light.

Who Can Use Them

All No Nasties products are recommended for kids over four years old, but all kids should be supervised while using them. Younger kids can get a grownup’s help to apply them.

Fun Tip: Try mixing the face paint powders with a little natural oil, like extra virgin coconut oil, to create a thicker, smoother paint that smells delicious, too!

Our Favorite No Nasties Products

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No Nasties Kids Play Makeup – Nala

No Nasties Nala Deluxe Pink Play Makeup Box

Price: $36.95 (Shop it at Hello Charlie)

We love the stories on the boxes. The pink box is Nala. Nala enjoys climbing trees, eating pizza and collecting erasers (162 so far). Nala’s pink face paint box includes everything a kid needs to create a pretty pink look. There’s eyeshadow and blush mineral powder, an applicator sponge, brushes and a mirror.

It also includes a beautiful shimmer balm and lip balm. They’re made from organic Australian beeswax, coconut oil, sweet almond oil and other natural ingredients.

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No Nasties Natural Kids Makeup – Naomi

No Nasties Naomi Lemon Play Makeup Pack

Price: $24.95 (Shop it at Hello Charlie)

Naomi’s story is that she once snuck her Mum’s lipstick and eyeshadow into school and put it on at lunchtime.

Naomi’s sunny play makeup pack includes two citrus-inspired eyeshadows, plus blush, lip balm, an applicator sponge and two brushes.

Our favourite is the sheet of fun temporary tattoos. Kids can go mad with tattoos and you can be happy that they’ll come off in a couple of days!

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No Nasties Nox Natural Hair Colours for Kids

No Nasties Nox Happy Hair Chalk

Price: $25.95 (Shop it at Hello Charlie)

My favourite in the range! Nox loves breakdancing and ham and cheese toasties, but detests tomatoes and custard. The natural hair chalk pack includes three surprise hair chalk colors, an applicator brush, and an art palette for mixing colours.

My son loved the sheet of temporary tattoos, too. Like all No Nasties products, the hair colour is all natural and safe for kids. And the bonus is, no matter where it ends up, it won’t stain.

It’s really easy to use, too. You just mix the colours with a little water and paint onto your hair. My son absolutely adores this set, and is often seen sporting blue and pink hair!