A woman and her products. This is my story…
As a vegan, I have always been cognizant of beauty products that test on animals, but I really suck when it comes to knowing the environmental or health impact of my favorite makeup items.
Everyone has products that they swear by. It took me forever to find a foundation that matched my skin tone and now the thought of having it taken away from me is just plain unbearable.
Earlier this year, I met a guy from the EPA at New York City’s Earth Day celebration EarthFair. I confessed that I’m not completely conscience when it comes to green beauty. He recommended that I check out GoodGuide to help me size up how green, healthy and socially responsible my favorite beauty products are. Well, I’m finally getting around to investigating my stuff now, several months later.
I am so afraid to find out that my favorite stuff is terrible for the environment but I’m ready to start down my road to redemption. So let’s see what is lurking inside of my cosmetic case (see above) because frankly, I’m clueless. Is my beauty routine eco-swagful or is it in dire need of a green makeover?
(Now keep in mind that this only includes my on-the-go makeup, which isn’t even a fourth of my total collection.)
1 – Sephora Collection Matifying Foundation
Active Ingredients: Talc, Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Nylon 12, Silica, Dimethicone, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Zinc Stearate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Glycerides, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), Zinc Oxide, Zeolite, Sorbic Acid, Methylparaben, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Lauroyl Lysine, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), Propylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, Butylparaben, BTH.
VERDICT: Find a new favorite. I can’t lie–this is some really hard news to swallow. It took me a very long time to finally find a foundation that matches my skin tone, and I can’t go back to the drawing board! But when some of the toxic chemicals found in this foundation could potentially cause gastrointestinal or liver toxicity, it would be difficult for me to turn back.
While GoodGuide rates this product as average overall, they have scored Sephora’s environmental practices as above average, which is great.
2 – Sephora Collection Colorful Mono Eyeshadow
Active Ingredients: Mica, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Talc, Magnesium Stearate, Acrylates Copolymer, Phenyl Trimethicone, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Diisostearyl Malate, Dimethicone, Polybutene, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenoxyethanol, Maltodextrin, Sorbic Acid, CI 77266 (Black 2), Polyurethane-11, BHT, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tin Oxide, CI 77000 (Aluminum Powder).
VERDICT: Keep it. This contains Butylated Hydroxytoluene, an ingredient that raises a medium health concern according to GoodGuide and Butylparaben, a known controversial ingredient. On GoodGuide, Sephora scores above average for its environmentally sound practices and average for its social impact but this product rates below average because of those potentially harmful ingredients. It’s kind of a wash here but I don’t really mind losing out on this–I am sure that there are hundreds of green cosmetic companies that can help me make my eyelids blue.
3 – Maybelline Great Lash Mascara
Active Ingredients: Petroleum Distillates, Pentaerythrityl Hydrogenated Rosinate, Carnuba Wax, Polyethylene, Synthetic Beeswax, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Ceresin, Magnesium Carbonate, Beeswax, Kaolin, Aluminum Stearate, Silica, Propylene Carbonate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Wheat Germ Oil, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Iron Oxides (May contain), Titanium Dioxide (May contain), Ultramarines (May contain), Mica (May contain).
VERDICT: Find a new favorite. Though several ingredients are cause for concern, Maybelline’s ubiquitous Great Lash mascara has an overall above average rating on GoodGuide, and the company itself actually has one of the highest environmental scores for its use of resources. However, its health score is below average because of multiple low and medium concern ingredients, including the controversial Butylparaben. Beeswax, an animal byproduct, is also used in Great Lash.
Gee whiz. It looks like I’m going to have to phase this one out of my beauty routine, which is really sad because it’s one of my favorites.
4 – Sephora Collection Lip Attitude
Active Ingredients: Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate/Hexastearate/Hexarosinate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Lanolin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Polyethylene, Cetyl Acetate, Cetyl Alcohol, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Extract, Jojoba Esters, Vp/Eicosene Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Ci 77019 (Mica), Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Stearyl Acetate, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Ci 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), Oleyl Acetate, Parfum (Fragrance), Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Ci 15850 (Red 7), Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Bht, Tribehenin, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Ci 45380 (Red 21 Lake), Sorbitan Isostearate, Tocopherol, Limonene, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide.
VERDICT: Find a new favorite. This contains Butylated Hydroxytoluene, an ingredient that raises medium health concern on GoodGuide. It also contains several other ingredients of low concern, as well as beeswax, an animal byproducts. Once again, GoodGuide rates Sephora above average in its environmental practices.
This lip stick really didn’t add as much lip color as I would have liked so I actually don’t mind giving this up.
5 – Benefit The Gloss Lip Gloss
Active Ingredients: N/A
VERDICT: Inconclusive. I literally could not find any information on this at all, not even on Benefit’s website. I’ve been using this gloss since I was in high school so it would be a really pity if I had to give it up.
6 – Chanel Fresh Body Lotion
Active Ingredients: N/A
VERDICT: Find a new favorite. I’m pretty sure this product is discontinued so getting attached wasn’t really an option for me to begin with.
7 – Sephora Collection Long Lasting Eye Liner
Active Ingredients: Aqua (Water), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), Propylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Oleyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Isopropylparaben, Stearic Acid, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Glyceryl Stearate, Cellulose, Hectorite, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer.
VERDICT: Find a new favorite. Not again! GoodGuide gave this product an overall average rating but a really low health rating. While again, Sephora’s environmental rating is above average, that was not enough to make up for this product’s abysmal health score. But I can switch to a new eye liner. I actually only liked this one because I got used to the application wand.
Looks like I have a major overhaul on my hands, my friends.
I want you all to know that green living isn’t a life of deprivation. I take solace in the fact that there are indeed a plethora of environmentally sound and vegan beauty products on the market but I have to find them first. Just as I had to research which lip gloss would look best on me, I’m going to have to find a gloss that can dually be a good look for my health and planet.
In the interest of reducing waste and general logic, I’m going to continue using this stuff until it’s time for me to buy new makeup. However, the biggest disappointment for me here was the verdict on my foundation. As a woman of color, it took me a heck of a long time to find something to match my skin tone. But I am optimistic that I will find something else.