A decade ago, the options for eco-chic beauty we still small. Products seemed to fall into two categories: the crunchy-granola no fuss basics and the uber-expensive handcrafted in a monastery in the Alps exclusives. I wanted pretty things minus harsh chemicals at a reasonable price. The search began.

Well, it actually began with something I read. The FDA has few regulations for the ingredients in the beauty, skin and haircare products it oversees. Ingredients that often end up in our bodies either by ingestion or absorption. I began to do my homework.

I decided to cut out parabens, petrochemicals and other harsh chemicals allowed in products here that are often banned in Canada, Japan and the European Union.

Eight years later, I’ve greened my beauty routine about 90% and never stop looking for things to try. When I love a product, I tend to shout it from the mountaintops. When potions and lotions are as good for us on the inside as they make us feel on the outside? That’s something to talk about.

My makeup bag must haves:

* Free of “the big 3” – toluene, formaldehyde and DBP – ZOYA nail polishes ($8) are award-winning and long lasting. Right now, I’m loving jewel toned reds and purples like Eve, Venus and Charisma. (Gia is my go to for pedicures.)

* Tarte Lipsurgence lip tints come in a colors both glossy and matte. They hydrate like lip balm, and range from neutrals with a hint of color to deep, dramatic reds. They’re offered in value sets at the holidays and it makes it a great time to pick them up. Normally $24, the set include 5 for $34.

* I adore primers, but the ones that work best often have ingredients I don’t love. By chance, a Sephora salesman mentioned Miracle Skin Transformer Face SPF 20 ($48). I gave the sample a try and returned to buy it the next day. It’s tinted moisturizer and primer in one. It’s also sunscreen and a face serum. It’s makeup that doesn’t look or feel like makeup, and perfect for everyday.

* I use the MST Treat and Conceal ($36) under my eyes and when my skin decides to act like a teenager’s. (You can find the MST primer and concealer online, and in some stores, for about half the price sold separately.)

* Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour blushes ($25) come in great colors and if you fall asleep without washing your face, your blush will be there in the morning (of course, I always wash my face so I wouldn’t know). The clay absorbs oils but also hydrates skin – be it triple digit temps in Palm Springs or humid New York days, I’ve put it to the test and it stays put.

* Vapour Cosmetics is run by the former head of Kevyn Aucoin. It’s luxe with a light carbon footprint. Stratus Instant Skin Perfector ($44) is like BB cream in stick form. I wear it under makeup or as a primer for eye makeup too. I also love their Multi Use Blush Stick ($28) for cheeks and lips.

* I never leave home without mascara and was skeptical I’d find an eco one I’d ever like. Tarte’s lights, camera, lashes, is as good, if not better than a certain French classic I adored. I tend to keep mascara on my vanity and in my bag, so the Tarte minis are perfect ($10 for two).

* It’s an old trick of the trade to set makeup with a mist of water. Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($18) does double duty hydrating skin and minimizing pores at the same time. I often spray it on after I take off my makeup, too.

Curious to know more about what your favorite products contain? Check out the Skin Deep database for product ratings and smart shopping info.

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3 thoughts on “Green Your Beauty Routine: Makeup Must Haves

    1. alexandra Post author

      Allyson, I highly recommend the value sets companies like Tarte create during the holidays. They have a few exclusives with ULTA that are great, too. KORRES does great sets, too, but they tend to be for skin. I’m also pretty impressed with some of the things coming into drugstores, too. I should work on that list next!

      1. Allyson Siwajian

        Thanks, Alexandra! I love ULTA, so I’m excited to look for these brand recommendations! I’m so glad you mentioned KORRES for skin care as well. I’ve been trying to find a more natural cleanser (but the hubby is allergic to soy, which narrows eco-chic options). Just looked at the ingredients on KORRES’ site, and it’ll work! Thanks again, and looking forward to your potential drugstore cosmetics ideas!

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