Sigh. It’s been forever since I’ve written a post regularly. Sorry! A lot going on here…
Personal Update: On top of normal life with kids and business, my hubby and I are preparing for a trip to Ukraine this summer to serve in and learn about English language camps, which are a ministry of a local church there called the Grapevine. We are really looking forward to this adventure and seeing what God has in store for the trip.
Sooooo… To jump start myself back into writing, I thought I’d share with you a recent conversation I had with someone on Facebook.
People often send ingredient lists to me and ask me to give them a once-over to spot yellow- or red-flag ingredients for them. I’m always happy to help anyone evaluate labels of any brand. But this conversation was both extra fun – because there were quite a few lists to investigate – and extra timely – because I had been procrastinating on finding a new mascara also.
Those who know me know that I’m pretty low maintenance. I don’t wear much make-up at all, if any. When I do, it’s usually just a bit of foundation and some mascara because my eye lashes are so tiny and light-colored (in other words… invisible!). And maybe, MAYBE, a little lip color if it’s a special occasion.
When I first found Miessence, I was really impressed with their mascara. And I still really love it. Which is why I guess I was procrastinating on finding a new one. I suppose I was in some sort of denial. Or, really, more likely, I was just too busy to do the research.
Why do I need to find a new one, you might ask?
Sadly, Miessence doesn’t have a mascara currently because Narelle (the formulator… nice to have a ‘first-name relationship’ with the product creator… it’s a family-owned and operated company…) wants to make improvements to it. But it’s way down on her R&D priority list at the moment because she is working intently on the real-food-only nutritional supplement products, not to mention a number of other huge projects.
So, my most recent wand of Miessence mascara was very nearly dead, and I kept trying to stretch it hoping Narelle would bring it back sooner rather than later. But she told me it’ll be indefinitely later.
At just the right time, along comes a Facebook message from my friend Heba over at My Life in a Pyramid, asking for some help evaluating ‘natural’ mascara options. (I almost always put ‘natural’ in quotes because you just never know these days!)
Ready to test your label reading skills with me? How would you rank these?
Here are the options she had found:
Ingredients: Purified water, vegetable glycerin, beeswax, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, vegetable glyceryl stearate, lecithin, vegetable stearic acid, safflower oil, glycine soja (soybean) oil (and) aloe barbadensis leaf extract, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, silica, cellulose gum, tocopherol, xanthan gum, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract and phenoxyethanol.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Alcohol*, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitol, Tricaprylin, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Hectorite, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Wax, Lysolecithin, Xanthan Gum, Jojoba Esters, Rosa Damascena Flower Water*, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Fragrance (Parfum)**, Citronellol**, Geraniol**, [+/- Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Ultramarines (CI 77007)] * ingredients from certified organic agriculture ** from natural essential oils
Ingredients: Purified Water, Beeswax, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Candellila, Cellulose, Pure Plant Extracts, Iron Oxide
Ingredients: water, candelilla wax, organic beeswax, glycerin, glyceryl stearate (coconut derived), aloe vera, proprietary herbal extract blend, grapefruit seed extract, iron oxide, mica. GLUTEN-FREE
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Alcohol, Sorbitol, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis Extract, Hectorite, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Rosa Damascena Flower Wax, Fragrance (Parfum), Citronellol*, Geraniol*, Linalool*, Xanthan Gum, Lysolecithin, Maltodextrin, Silica, Carmine (CI 75470), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Ultramarines (CI 77007) *Component of natural essential oils
Ingredients: aqua (purified water), fructose (organic, made from corn)*, euphorbia cerifera (wildcrafted candelilla) wax, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cera alba (organic beeswax)*, glycerin (vegetable), glyceryl stearate, stearic acid, mica, aloe barbadensis (organic aloe vera) gel*, citrus grandis (organic grapefruit) extract*, rosmarinus officinalis (organic rosemary) extract*, usnea barbata (wildcrafted lichen), arnica montana (organic arnica) extract*;May Contain [+/-]: titanium dioxide (77891), iron oxide (77492, 77891,77499), ultramarine blue (77007) *certified organic
So? How’d you do? What did you observe? What yellow or red flags were raised in your mind? Did you rank them?
Here were my thoughts back to Heba…
1) I’m really not a fan of phenoxyethanol. It’s the toxic synthetic chemical companies are using most often nowadays instead of parabens. Look up the MSDS on it. I wouldn’t buy the Honeybee mascara because of that (even though I was pretty impressed with their nail polish ingredients… I’m not a big fan of nail polish in general, but I do have a 6 year old girlie-girl princess who loves it, so I need to find the safest options. Went with Keeki a couple years ago and still have it because I don’t let her use it that often, but it’s running low and I might give Honeybee a try… Another post for another day!)
2) Lavera has some obvious synthetics but none that jump out as red flags. Couldn’t say though whether they’re in the ~10% that have been more closely evaluated and deemed safe thus far or in the ~90% that haven’t been very well studied. Since their “fragrance” is from essential oils, it should be fine. Narelle also mentioned it to me as a possible alternative, and I trust her judgement completely.
3) I would confirm with Real Purity that this is the complete list. Vagueries like “pure plant extracts” beg more questions, including “how are they extracted?” It’s important to know the extraction methods a brand uses for it’s ingredients. If they are not extracted via some nasty chemical process and that is the complete list, it looks good.
4) Same sorts of questions on Earth’s Beauty. Plus… “Is it vegetable glycerin?” And… “Derived HOW from coconut?” “Derived from” is always a yellow flag. Lots of things are ‘derived from coconut’ in very toxic processes. Also, ‘gluten-free’ claims on skin-care and cosmetics are generally considered irrelevant and misleading because gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin (though, I suppose this could of course be important in the case of very severe topical or airborne-type allergies to gluten, but I’ve not heard of that happening with gluten as it does with say, peanuts. Does that happen with gluten? Anyone know?).
5) Interesting to see “Fragrance” in Hauschka. They’re generally pretty good though, as far as I know, so it’s probably fine (from essential oils), but I usually stay away from ‘fragrance’ unless it is clearly specified to be from essential oils, since it’s such an industry loophole word for ‘potentially hundreds of chemicals.’
6) After Glow has some synthetics in it, but nothing that I’ve seen ‘red flag’ research on – again with the ‘have they studied those synthetics fully or not’ question, and in the line up I probably wouldn’t choose it as my first try since I prefer ‘the more natural/organic the better.’
So, what did I actually choose to buy and try?
I ordered the Real Purity mascara, and then also picked up Lavera at the grocery store for comparisons sake. So far, although I know some may call me biased, I still prefer the old Miessence formula both for the…
Ingredients: certified organic aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, certified organic rosa damascena (rose) essential oil, certified organic oryza sativa (rice) bran extract, black iron oxide, certified organic simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, non-gmo lecithin, sclerotium rolfsii gum, aqua, certified organic rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, certified organic butyrospermum parkii (shea) fruit butter, certified organic unrefined cera alba (beeswax), certified organic ethanol (sugar cane alcohol), citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) fruit extract
… and for its performance. It just worked better, at least for me.
But alas, it’s not an option at the moment, and I’d say both the Real Purity and the Lavera are working fine for now.
What other brands of ‘natural’ or truly natural mascara have you found out there, tried, and liked?