In these pages, we often offer recipes to makeyour own simple, toxin-free skin- and body-care products out of theherbs you grow at home. But making more complicated cosmetics —like mascara and foundation — might be too difficult ortime-consuming for many of us. Luckily, the number of companiesoffering natural, herb- or botanical-based and chemical-freecosmetics seems to increase every day. And while these increasingoptions give you easier, more widespread access to naturalcosmetics, they also can increase the confusion and muddle as yousearch online or in your health-food store. Here are a fewcompanies that offer high-quality, natural cosmetics that our staffhas tested.
Who they are: Arbonne manufactures anddistributes a complete line of pure Swiss skin care, colorcosmetics, nutrition and aromatherapy products. Every product isbotanically based, pH correct, hypoallergenic,dermatologist-tested, never tested on animals, and formulated withno animal products or byproducts, mineral oils, dyes or chemicalfragrances.
What they offer: Arbonne has an incredibly widearray of cosmetics, including foundation, concealer, powder, eyepowders and pencils, mascara and lipsticks. Their colors rangewidely in every category, and their packaging is attractive. Plus,you know you’re doing something good for your skin when theproducts, such as the concealers, include natural ingredients likegreen tea, chamomile, ginseng, cucumber and arnica.
Any drawbacks? Like many natural cosmetics,Arbonne products can be a bit higher on the price scale than manydrugstore makeup products. But their high-quality, skin-friendlyproducts make it reasonable to spend the extra cash.
Prices: About Face Line Defiance: $26; AboutFace Concealer: $16; About Face Blusher: $12.50; About Face LashDuos: $18.
Who they are: Ecco Bella was created in 1992 toprotest against animal testing in the cosmetics industry. EccoBella uses no animal testing, and instead ensures safety by usingproducts proven safe over time and by testing the productsthemselves, the company says. They use organic or ecologicallygrown herbs, aloe vera and cold-pressed vegetable oils.
What they offer: Ecco Bella has recentlydiscovered a wax present on flower petals that helps lock inmoisture and keep petals intact longer. They now add this delicatewax to cosmetics for products that go on smoother and create asofter finish. Ecco Bella offers a large array of cosmeticproducts, from lipsticks and glosses to mascaras and eye pencils.They feature a very attractive, recyclable duo compact that can berefilled with custom-shaped powders and shimmers. And lip glossesand mascaras are cleverly packaged with a small mirror on theoutside, so you’re always able to touch up.
Any drawbacks? While most products have a widerange, a few, like the eyeshadows and eye pencils, are somewhatlimited in color choice. Still, their varied product line is sureto include nearly everything you would need.
Prices: FlowerColor Mascara: $12.95;FlowerColor Natural Eyeshadow: $7.95; Good For You Gloss: $12.95;Natural Foundation: $18.95.
THE ORGANIC MAKE-UP COMPANY,
Who they are: This Canadian company was createdto offer the next step for those interested in holistic well-being.They promise to use only pure, natural ingredients and preparationmethods, to respect the environment in the manufacture of theirproducts, to use no products that have caused the suffering of ananimal, and to use certified organic ingredients as much aspossible. All products have a non-beeswax alternative for veganconsumers.
What they offer: The Organic Make-Up Companyoffers blushing powders, concealers and foundations, eyeshadows,lipsticks and lip glosses. The products cover very well, and stayput, although they can be somewhat heavy at times. Their lipglosses, in particular, are rich and creamy and offer a greatfinish. And while some products, such as the blushing powders, seemto have limited color choice, they are designed to blend well withvarious skin tones.
Any drawbacks? Because they are a Canadiancompany, prices run fairly high for American consumers.
Prices: Foundation base: $20.70; Lip Gloss:$16.10; Eyeshadow Regular: $17.25; Blushing Powder: $17.25.
There’s no cosmetic for beauty like happiness.
— Maria Mitchell, first
U.S. female astronomer
Who they are: Earth’s Beauty offers pure loosepowder makeup based on organic arrowroot with added naturalcoloring. All the company’s products are in loose powder form toeliminate the need for extra ingredients, and are speciallydesigned for those who are sensitive or allergic to traditionalcosmetics. Because the particles of arrowroot are so fine, themakeup looks light and natural, the company says.
What they offer: This company offers a widerange of colors in their eyeshadows and face powders. The productsreally do blend for a light, natural finish, and blend well withmany skin types. The concealers are a bit heavier, more solidformula than all the others.
Any drawbacks? If you are looking for aheavier, fuller coverage, this product line may not offer what youare looking for, and they don’t offer mascaras. They do offerall-natural lip glosses and lip nectars, and for those looking fornicely blended, light makeup, these feathery formulas will beperfect.
Prices: Undereye Concealer: $12.95; Mineral EyeLiner: $10.50; Mineral Colours Original Foundation Powder: $20.95;Lip Glaze Compact: $10.95.
Who they are: A leader in natural cosmetics,Dr. Hauschka has been manufactured since 1967 by WALA-Heilmittel, aholistic pharmaceutical company in southern Germany. FoundersRudolf Hauschka and Elisabeth Sigmund hoped to elevate skin carefrom superficial cover-up to preventive health care by creatingcosmetics using a mixture of medicinal botany, herbal cosmetics andancient principles, according to the company.
What they offer: Designed to “work in harmonywith your skin,” Dr. Hauschka offers a full line of decorativecosmetics, including lipsticks and liners; eye shadows, liners andmascaras; translucent makeups and face powders; as well as coversticks, rouge and bronzing powders. Ingredients like rose, jojobaand beeswax, and extracts of witch hazel, carrot, hawthorn, neemand calendula give your skin a natural glow.
Any drawbacks? The somewhat pricey products arenot available for purchase on Dr. Hauschka’s website, but the siteoffers a store locator to find a distributor near you, or you canmail-order by calling their toll-free phone number. Available onthe Internet by authorized dealers.
Prices: Lipsticks: $19.95; Mascara: $22.50;Eyeshadow Duos: $27.95; Translucent Make-up: $29.95.
Who they are: This German company was foundednearly 20 years ago, along with one of Germany’s first naturalproducts stores, because of the founder’s sensitive skin andtrouble with most skin-care products. Based on all-natural, herbalingredients, this company is dedicated to using organicingredients, free of additives, dyes and synthetics. Theirinnovative formulations, such as their 100-percent mineral SunSpray and all-natural berry-scented lip glosses have won InnovationPrizes in the Natural Cosmetics Industry.
What they offer: Lip sticks and lip glosses,loose powders, liquid foundation, mascara, eyeliners, eye shadows,tinted transparent moisturizers and more. These products allinclude essential oils and herbs, such as the Volume Mascara withorganic jojoba oil and wild rose oil for nourishing lashes, or theMake Up Fluid Naturel with organic aloe vera and organic almondoil. Their foundations truly are light and sheer, and blendbeautifully.
Any drawbacks? This company’s color sets,especially for face powders and foundations, is very limited. Theirwebsite does offer a nice guide to cool versus warm skin tones, andmakeup tips, but the limitations of only two skin-color variationscan be restrictive to U.S. consumers.
Prices: Make Up Fluid Naturel: $23.95;Lipstick: $20; Tinted Transparent Moisturizer: $22.95; VolumeMascara: $19.99.
Jessica Kellner is coordinating editor of The HerbCompanion.