Monday, January 11, 2010

Natural Foundation

Q: I was wondering if you have any perspective on foundation? I want to get a new foundation but something organic, easy on my skin, no fillers, wax or perfumes and was wondering if you have any suggestions...?

A: Good for you for looking to include natural/organic products in your daily regimen! The natural makeup movement has become much more mainstream thanks to the popularity of mineral powder foundations, which are now available from almost every cosmetic company. Natural/organic liquid foundations are a bit more difficult to find, but are growing in the market. Here are some of my favorite natural foundations:

NVEY Eco is an Australian cosmetics company that carries a full line of makeup certified as organic by the OFC (Organic Food Chain) and Australian government. These certifications ensure that the ingredients and processes used in creating their products meet a strict organic standard. In addition to being certified organic, NVEY Eco also leaves out the nasty ingredients like parabens, preservatives, genetically modified crops and animal testing. The exclusion of these ingredients makes this line perfect for anyone with skin sensitivities. NVEY Eco offers the following foundation formulations:
  • Organic Moisturizing Fluid Foundation ($45) - this hydrating liquid formula contains soothing plant extracts and provides sheer, natural coverage best suited for normal to dry skin types. It only comes in 6 shades, but because of how sheer it is, most people should be able to find a shade that works for them. It is easy to apply and wears well throughout the day.
  • Organic Creme Deluxe Foundation ($58) - this creme compact foundation contains safflower and jojoba oils plus vitamins and antioxidants, all working to soften and improve the skin. While this foundation is listed as a "full coverage" formula, I found this to also be more of a sheer to natural coverage foundation. It smoothes on easily with the included sponge applicator or with a foundation brush and leaves a soft, dewy finish to the skin. This is a great choice for all skin types, unless you are looking for a matte finish . With a wider range of colors than the liquid formula (available in 10 shades), it might be easier to find an exact match with this formula.
  • Organic Compact Powder $42 - this talc-free powder foundation offers the most coverage out of NVEY Eco's line, but offers the least color choices (6 shades), with one being a translucent powder and one being a bronzer. While it has a nice matte finish and buildable coverage, the powders do contain bismuth oxychloride, which can be very irritating to the skin, resulting in redness and often aggravating acne, so use with caution.
suki® is a Massachusetts-based company that offers a full line of makeup, skin and hair care based on using natural oils, plant, and flower extracts. While not organically certified, they do claim to use organic ingredients when possible. They are also very eco-friendly in their packaging, using recycled materials for their boxes, soy-based ink, and opting for glass containers over plastic (which I love! Glass feels much more luxe and is more earth friendly). suki® offers the following natural foundation options:
  • Tinted Active Moisturizer ($45.95) - This formulation gives you sheer natural coverage with a pretty, dewy finish. This product is really easy to use (just slap on like a moisturizer using your fingers), and is great for those that don't want to fuss with brushes or sponges. It only comes in 3 shades, but is sheer enough to work for most skin tones. It does a good job of evening out skin tone, but a separate concealer will definitely need to be used for any blemishes or dark circles.
This is a great drugstore option from Almay, known for its hypoallergenic ingredients. The SPF 20 foundation ($12.99) offers sheer coverage in 9 shades, and is a good alternative to the more expensive brands listed above. While not organic, this foundation does contain 95% natural ingredients, without talc and parabens. The colors wear a bit lighter than they look because of the SPF (from mineral titanium dioxide), so go one shade darker than your complexion for a natural look. It offers a sheer coverage, and wears like a tinted moisturizer - this is great for people on the go, as it is hydrating and has SPF coverage combined with coverage.

Alima Pure is a mineral makeup company that offers a full line of complexion and color products. I have to admit, after seeing the explosion of mineral makeup on the market, and trying a number of different mineral foundations, I was not a fan. I thought they all left me looking cakey and unnatural, and the powders always settled into my pores. Then I tried Alima Pure and was converted. They have an extensive range of foundations, concealers, setting and camouflage powders in beautiful, natural finishes (not cakey or shimmery!), plus a full range of cheek and eye colors.
They offer a staggering 60 shades of their Satin Matte Foundation ($20), and if you still can't find the shade you're looking for, they will custom blend one for you. The powders take about 20 minutes to settle into the skin when applied dry, and can have a tendency to look lighter than they do in the container once settled (so go a shade or two darker than your complexion). Or, if you prefer liquid formulations, mix a pinch of the powder with a moisturizer or hydrating toner and apply with a brush - a little bit goes a long way and results in a surprisingly full yet natural coverage.

I hope this helps! If you've found a natural formula that you love, tell me about it!

Press samples provided by NVEY Eco and Alima Pure

Saturday, January 2, 2010

5 Healthy Beauty Resolutions for 2010

2010 is upon us! In honor of the new year (and new decade!) I've put together 5 health and beauty resolutions to help make 2010 our best-looking year yet!

1. Use sunblock every day. We've all gotten very good at slathering on the SPF during the summer, but the sun's rays are just as damaging during the winter. Even if you can't see them, those sneaky UVA rays (the ones that damage collagen and cause wrinkling) can penetrate through windows, clouds, and clothing. Be sure the protect yourself daily with an SPF of at least 15, which can be found in most daily moisturizers. Don't rely on your makeup alone to provide adequate protection, because you'd have to spackle on the foundation to get the amount of coverage promised on the bottle. And who wants to walk around with a face caked with makeup in the new year?

2. Wash your face every night. Skin needs to breathe at night in order to repair, so it's very important to wash away the makeup, dirt, and grime of the day before hitting the pillow.
Wearing foundation to bed (even those that say they're safe to sleep in) can lead to clogged pores, breakouts and irritation, and can accelerate aging. Be sure to remove eye makeup too! Aside from leaving you with a black ring around your eyes, sleeping in mascara can really damage your lashes. Most mascaras cover the lashes in a rigid coating, leaving them brittle and easily breakable at night. Be sure to remove all eye makeup with a gentle makeup remover, and wash with an alcohol- and soap-free cleanser. Finish with a treatment or moisturizer with antioxidants to boost skin's overnight repair activities. You'll wake up looking fresh and radiant, without mascara-streaked raccoon eyes!

3. Green your routine. You already recycle and reuse your shopping bags; why not spread that eco-consciousness to your beauty routine? Green beauty products have come a long way; there are now hundreds of products and brands on the market that offer healthy, green alternatives to the products you use everyday, making your routine kinder to you and the environment without sacrificing efficacy. These products do not contain harsh chemical fragrances or preservatives, making them perfect for even the most sensitive skin
types, and use recycled and eco-friendly packaging and operations, making them kinder to the environment. Many of these products also contain organic ingredients, and are even certified by the USDA, among others, which certifies that they contain at least 95% food-grade quality organic ingredients. With products available to fit any budget, it's easy to make the switch. Not sure where to start? Check out to see how your products rate based on the safety of their ingredients. Didn't score so well? Not to worry; it also has a list of safer alternatives.

4. Drink more water. Not much explanation necessary here! Keeping hydrated helps flush your body of toxins and gives your skin a fresh healthy glow. In keeping with your newly greened routine, opt for filtered tap water over bottled water; you'll save money and keep waste to a minimum!

5. Get 30 minutes of exercise every day. Besides helping you reach your weight loss goal this year (I know I've got one!), regular exercise boosts blood and oxygen circulation, which helps important nutrients reach your skin. This helps keep collagen and elastin intact. Sweating during exercise also helps release toxins, giving you a healthy vibrant glow once all that gunk is out of your system. So get your 30 minutes a day to see a youthful new you!!