Makeup Overhaul and Product Review (Wardrobe Planning Post #11)

Before we get into this, I just want to throw out there that all of the products mentioned have been purchased with my own money, are not sponsored in any way, and all reviews are based on my opinion and experience working with the products.  I have a lot of links to a lot of other websites and reviews; these are included primarily to reference the articles I read in my preliminary research, which may have had some impact on my choices or decisions.  For some reason, discussion of beauty products on the internet seems to bring up quite a bit more vitriol than you’d think, so I’m just establishing that this is all based on my personal experiences, and that I’m writing all of this as an extension of my ongoing Wardrobe Planning series, as I try to figure out what is and is not working for me as I try to establish and understand my own sense of style.  This post is in no way meant to be judgmental over what others may choose to do or use in their own routines, but really is more of an explanation as to why I’ve made changes to my own habits, and how I feel they’ve worked out for me.

Along with the desire to overhaul my wardrobe, which I’ve been thinking about and working through in lots of previous posts, I’ve also made the decision to overhaul my makeup and personal care products this past year.  This decision, while partially motivated by my goal of having a more cohesive and put-together appearance, is more strongly motivated by my desire to remove inflammation-causing chemicals and products from my daily routine.  About 5 years ago I changed my diet to being gluten-free, eventually restricting it to the paleo diet, and finally going on the autoimmune protocol diet.  While I’ve relaxed my dietary restrictions somewhat as my health has improved, I have maintained a strict gluten-free diet, and eat mostly AIP or paleo meals.  I did a bit of research when I started this health journey to figure out which of my makeup and personal care products weren’t gluten free and made some changes, but it wasn’t a full commitment or change to healthier/cleaner/organic products at the time.  If it was gluten free, it was good enough.

Except I think I’ve gotten to that point where “good enough” is no longer good enough.  I’ve know that there were a lot of not so great chemicals in a lot of the personal care products I’ve been using, but it had never really been that high on my priority list to change or replace them.  However, after listening to quite a few podcasts about the issues with conventional cosmetics and personal care products, combined with my reading of Marie Kondo’s book about decluttering, and the discovery that a large number of my cosmetic products had gone bad (to be fair, they were really, really old), I decided a major overhaul and update was necessary.

The funny thing about all this is that I have always hated wearing makeup.  I mean, I like the way I looked in it, and I sort of have fun applying it, but I always felt so icky the day after wearing it.  Everything would be puffy, my skin would break out and be itchy for days, and I’d generally feel gross.  So I was never much into wearing makeup, except for skating contests and very special occasions.  Honestly, I likely wouldn’t have gone as in-depth in this journey if I hadn’t discovered that I needed to replace a fair number of products before competing at roller skating nationals this year.  But by the end of season competitions I was nearly out of foundation and primer, almost all of my lip products had gone bad, and my mascara had certainly dried up in the bottle.  I may have mentioned that I didn’t use makeup much except for skating?  Not competing for nearly two years meant a lot of makeup sitting around, and not wearing makeup often meant a majority of it was quite old to begin with.  My collection was long due for an update, so it seemed like a good time to invest in healthier options that were more in line with my other lifestyle choices.

One of my favorite podcasts is The Paleo View, hosted by Sarah Ballantyne and Stacy Toth.  I’ve been listening to the show for years, so I figured looking for recommendations on their websites would be a good place to start.  That’s where I found Stacy’s article about BeautyCounter.  I looked at Stacy’s recommendations and decided to start down this rabbit hole of healthier personal care options based on her article.  I’ll detail my reviews below, but suffice it to say that based on her recommendations, Tarte, BeautyCounter, and Surface Shampoo all made it into my early purchases.  While I found that some of these products worked well, further research indicated that these companies were not exactly operating at the level I’d hoped for when making the switch.  My biggest disappointment was BeautyCounter.  Aside from their somewhat odd business practices, I have to openly admit that their products, on the whole, just weren’t working out well for me.  I was having the same skin reactions I had to traditional cosmetics.  It turns out that banning 1500 chemicals doesn’t mean that you are choosing optimal ones as a replacement, it just means keeping out the worst offenders that often find a place in makeup.  “Better beauty” doesn’t mean the best beauty.  I just wish I hadn’t spent so much money figuring that out.  (Luckily, I have a sister who benefited greatly from my poor choices and is much enjoying the use of their products.)  I did learn a valuable lesson though: if I’m doing this I really need to read all the ingredients on everything in addition to checking them in the EWG database (which isn’t as complete as it could be, but it’s a pretty good start).  I can’t just blindly follow the suggestions of others; their skin is not my skin, and it turns out my skin is really hyper-sensitive.

So I turned to the internet for guidance.  There are tons of articles willing to recommend natural makeup products.  Everyone has different brands on their list, for different reasons.  Some are looking for purely organic ingredients.  Others are looking for vegan, cruelty free options.  I’m not a vegan, but I’m all for cruelty free.  However, I’m also really interested in making sure my products are gluten free and soy free too, which many vegan options are not.  With the cosmetics industry being largely unregulated, it is often hard to know what companies mean when they make advertising claims.  Through the internet and YouTube, I managed to find a few brands that I’m really growing to love, namely Araza and Red Apple Lipstick.  Aside from having wonderful gluten free products that are actually healthy for the skin, they also have affordable sample sizes of nearly everything – perfect for trying out colors!  Right now I’m really digging both of these brands, and it seems like Araza has been getting some pretty good press elsewhere too.

I have been able to find replacements for most of the makeup products I’d been using before deciding to go through this overhaul, though I haven’t really settled on personal care products yet.  I’m also interested in having a better skin maintenance routine; moisturizing has always been given as advice, but I’ve always felt gross putting goopy stuff on my body, and it often caused an undesirable rash or reaction in the past.  I’m trying to be better about this, since I’ve got sensitive, dry skin.  So I’m looking to find it skin food that will help it restore and repair itself better in the future.  It’s still a work in progress, but after I finish my product reviews I’ll throw in some links to things I’m thinking about trying in the near future.

Product Reviews:

Surface Hair Shampoo and Conditioner

Shampoo and Conditioner – Expensive, but I generally liked it for the first few months of use.  My hair was clean, shiny, smooth, and doesn’t frizz easily.  There are likely some cheaper hair care products out there that don’t have phthalates and parabens, but in general I’ve been mostly happy with it because it was working for me.  However, I’ve been thinking that when I run out of my current containers, I’ll try the Moroccan Method Shampoos and Conditioners; partly because I want to try something else, and partly because I haven’t been totally happy with how my hair has been feeling lately.

BeautyCounter

As a company, I find their business model somewhat odd, but it seems to be working for them.  As far as their products go, every single one was a disappointment for me.  My sister is now enjoying them, but I won’t be making any future purchases from this brand.

Skin Tint Foundation – This was one of those products that really didn’t play nice with my skin.  As a moisturizer/foundation it is actually pretty good; medium/light coverage, it blends well and looks pretty good on the face.  But it definitely made me itchy, so I didn’t use it much before passing it on to my sister.  She really seems to like it though.

Concealer – I wasn’t very happy when this arrived with the concealer exploded all over the inside of the cap.  It is a brush-on applicator, which is nice for getting a precise application, but I could never manage to get the right amount of product to come out; it was either way too much or not enough, and it tended to get more onto the container than onto my face.

Ocean and Pacific Palette – Perhaps the biggest disappointment from Beauty Counter.  I was super excited because I loved the teals and coppers in the palette, and the blush was a really pretty color.  I’m not sure what it is about their formula, but my face just totally resisted this makeup.  I’ve watched YouTube tutorials – beauty vloggers didn’t even prime their eyes and got intense pigmentation.  I tried every trick in the book – primer, damp brush, applying with the finger – nothing.  I could not get this color to build up or stick on my face.  The blush and copper colors were pretty, but i just couldn’t get the look I was going for.  And the highlighter was just way too chunky on the glitter.  Again, I watched other people use this palette and it looked great; for me it was a total fail.  As a kicker, I seemed to have a slight skin reaction to the products here as well; I definitely had skin irritation when I used the highlighter, and my eyes would water when I used the shadows.  As with all my Beauty Counter products, I’ve passed it on to my sister, and she seems to be enjoying it in good health.

Eye Liner (black, brown, blue) – Again, the products themselves worked pretty well, but I was definitely having eye irritation when I used them.  The blue was the worst offender, but I’ve moved on to other products that cause me zero irritation, even when used on the waterline, so I don’t need these in my collection.

Brow Pencil – I still have this, and it works pretty well.  I like having the spooly/pencil all in one.  The color was a bit too warm and light for me, a bit redder than my shade of brown.  I still have this, but I’ve actually found a better color from a different brand.

Lengthening Mascara – This stuff was interesting.  It dried really, really fast.  I prefer something that is a bit more volumizing than lengthening, but it worked ok.  It did not cause me too much eye irritation, but I’ve since found a few different products I like better.  I believe they have changed their formula since I bought mine, so this review could be a bit outdated as well.

Lip Sheer (Terra and Scarlett) – I liked the consistency, I wasn’t a fan of the colors.  I think the selection is great if you are on the warmer side, but the colors looked a little nuts on me.  They seem to be working out great for my sister though, so she should enjoy them.

Night Cream – I used this a few times, but probably not enough to properly review.  It was another product that seemed to give me a skin reaction, so I don’t have much to say from personal experience.  My sister says this stuff works miracles though, so there’s that.

Peppermint Lip Balm – I liked this, but I sort of got freaked out by all the bad reactions the other products were having with my skin, so I passed it along.  My sister lives in a city with a frigid winter.  She is really excited to have this.

CounterMatch Moisturizer – Another case of bad sin reactions.  Plus, if I’m avoiding eating hydrogenated vegetable oil, why would I put it all over my face?

Cleansing Balm – It is supposed to help remove makeup and moisturize, but I just felt kind of greasy using it.  I didn’t use it enough to give a proper review.

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Full face of Beauty Counter.

Tarte

This is definitely a major brand that most people have used.  I only bought three items at the start of my journey; I’ve since replaced them with products from other brands that I find are better for me, but I thought I’d share my reviews anyway.

Mascara – I was excited to try the Tarte mascara because people seem to love it, and it was my first non-drug store mascara, but I found that it dried really, really slowly.  It sort of got all over the place on me; my eyelashes are really long, so any eye movement was making it smear all over my face.

Maneater Liquid Eye Liner – Great.  I really love this.

Lip Paint – I used this for skating competition.  I think it might not be the *best* in terms of “green beauty” but it worked well as performance makeup.  It dries down matte, and the color pigmentation was really good.  It was pretty drying though, so I’d use this for performances, but not in an everyday capacity.

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Tarte was my performance makeup for nationals.

Araza

Probably my favorite brand – everything is not just free of bad stuff, it’s full of good stuff!  Everything I’ve used makes my skin feel great, and most of it works very well.  I’ve tried their full line, and I expect I’ll purchase anything they come out with in the future too.

Coconut Creme Foundation – Love this!  It is a creamy, full-coverage foundation that comes in lots of shades.  Color #2 matches my skin nearly perfectly, and my skin actually looks better the day after I wear it.  It really is a beauty product that is also nourishing for the skin.  I’ve found it applies best with the fingers for a lighter coverage or the Araza foundation brush for fuller coverage.  I haven’t had a lot of luck using a beauty blender type sponge with it; the sponge seems to take off product rather than applying it to the face.  I’ve also enjoyed applying it on top of the Araza “Glow” Oil (see below for review) – it thins out the foundation to a really great consistency and acts as a sort of primer for the face.

Jojoba Foundation – I love wearing this powder foundation on days that are too warm for the coconut cream.  It can also be layered on top of the coconut cream for super full coverage.  Looks best when applied with a large fluffy brush.  I have color #2 which now corresponds to “Cool Light.”

Clay Finishing Powder – Great translucent powder that is used to set the foundation and concealer.  Gives a great airbrushed look to the skin.  I really like the way this product works with the foundations from this brand, as well as other concealers I’ve tried.

Concealer – It’s taken me a while to get to liking this concealer, but I’ve realized that it is best applied with the Araza concealer brush (and not a finger or sponge).  Now I’m pretty obsessed with it.

Blush – The color selection is pretty great.  I originally got Glow and Rose, but I’m now really liking Rendezvous.  It’s pretty bright, but it looks good on my face.  The warmer tone colors aren’t the best on me, but it is great that they have options for many different skin tones.  All of the blushes are super pigmented and a little goes a really long way.

Bronzer – I used the bronzer for skating competitions, but I’ve come to realize that I’ve got a super cool complexion and that I should, in general, avoid bronzer as a rule.  The bronzer itself is like the blush – super pigmented and blends amazingly well.  On me it just looks a little much, and I’ve started using some of the Araza eye shadows as contour instead of using the bronzing powder.

Lip Gloss – So many fun colors!  I’m using the plain colors on a near daily basis, and the sparkly colors for special occasions.  I’ve got several in quite a shade range, from the lightest pinks to bold reds.  They are a gloss, not a full coverage lipstick, but the pigmentation is decent for a gloss.  Although not all colors look great on me, I am enjoying having a range of colors to play with.

Lip Balm – Love this!  It is the first lip balm/chapstick type product I’ve ever looked forward to using.  In the past I’ve always preferred having cracked, bleeding lips to the feeling of a gooey face, not even kidding.  This stuff has a lovely smell and does not feel too thick or goopy.

Eye Shadow – The shadows might be my favorite products.  Their selection is mainly in the neutral territory, but they blend amazingly well, and I am always happy with the result.  I’ve been using them with a primer for a more intense color, but they look great and more subtle on bare skin as well.  They last pretty well too; I’ve worn them through skating, and workouts and still look amazing at the end of it all.  My only complaint is that if you build up a fairly large collection, the containers take up a lot of space.  I’ve depotted and placed everything is a magnetic palette, which I’m loving because I can see all my colors at once, but I wish Araza would sell the shadows in magnetic pots as an option to the individual shadows in their own containers.  The only colors I would avoid buying full sizes of are the Plum and Periwinkle.  For some reason, these came hard as rocks in the full sized pans and are nearly unusable, whereas all the other shades are quite soft, blendable, and creamy.  The plum is a lovely color though, so if you want it I recommend getting the sample size – it comes as a loose powder and applies beautifully.  Their eye shadow sets are also loose powders, but are quite lovely.  There are some special colors that only come in the sets that are so pretty!  I’ve also started using Suede and Mirage as contour shades, and Lace, Abalone, and Toasted Coconut as highlighters as well.

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My de-potted Araza shadows.

Eye Liner – Probably my biggest disappointment from Araza.  The colors are all fairly dark, which look good on me, and I will say they cause me zero irritation.  However, they are very soft, so it is impossible to get a sharply defined line.  Also, I got the lid stuck on the back of my brown pencil and so I can’t use it to cap the front!  They are a bit tricky tto sharpen because the point is so soft.  I like to use them on the waterline or if I’m going for a smudgy, smokey look, but otherwise I’ll choose a different liner pencil for different colors or if I want a more precise look.

“Light” Oil – Face food.  Seriously.  I put this on my face almost daily; it is a great moisturizer and my skin feels so much smoother.  It also smells wonderful.

Vitamin Boost Mist – This is supposed to be a facial mist and setting spray.  I love this!  I bought a bottle in November when it was released and I’ve almost finished it.  I’ve tried other facial misting products from a few other brands, but this is the one I’ll repurchase.

Coconut Charcoal Mask – I find I enjoy this as well!  I’d never done the mask thing before, so this was sort of a new experience for me, but I find that if I do the mask then moisturize with the “Light” Oil, my skin feels amazing the next day.

 

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Araza foundation, blush, and gloss

Red Apple Lipstick

I love this brand!  Everything is free of the major allergens, and their products, for the most part, work really well.

Lipstick – Love the color selection, and that it is all gluten and soy free.  What is sad is that they seem to retire colors fairly often, but, happily, that means they also bring new colors out too.  While it is a bit depressing that I won’t be able to find my lifelong “signature red” from them, I’ve built up quite a collection of colors, and I’m looking to add more if they have new colors out.  Right now I’m finding a lot of the selection is pretty warm, but the reds I’ve picked up from them are the best!  I will say that I find that it can wear off through the day, especially after eating, but the pigmentation is good and I like the way the formula feels on my lips, as it feels moisturizing and not too drying.

Exfoliator/Balm – Love these as well!  I use the exfoliator about every other day, and the balm is great.  I’ll use this one or the Araza one interchangeably; it sort of just depends on my mood for the day.  I think the Araza balm has a better smell/flavor, but the Red Apple Balm is sort of a neutral in that it doesn’t have much flavor at all, which can be nice as well.

Lip Liner – Works great.  I wish the color selection was a bit more extensive, but I really like the colors I’ve picked up so far.

Eye Liner – The best!  The blue in particular is a spectacular color.  It is easy to get a fine point, but is also very soft and smooth in application.  No eye irritation from this product at all.

Eye Primer – Not as good as the conventional primer I was using before, but it works pretty well.  I definitely see an improvement in my shadow performance when I do use it versus when I don’t.  I’ve tried a few other primers that I also like, but I do go back to this one for less intense eye looks.

Eye Shadows – Pretty good.  Some of the lighter colors are so light on me I don’t see them as being effective, but on the whole I am pretty happy with these colors.  The mattes are especially nice; I have mixed results with the glitter shades.  The deeper colors seem to work better for me than the lighter colors in general, but I’m also noticing that the colors are more effective the deeper in the pan I get.

Mascara – Expensive, like really really expensive, but hands down the best mascara I have ever used.  Dries quickly, but not too fast, gives a nice oomph to the lashes, has very minimal fallout, and absolutely no irritation.  When people talk about “Holy Grail” makeup products, this is definitely the one that I’d add to my list.  I’ve used up my first bottle and I’m waiting for a sale day to purchase a replacement, because nothing else is as good as this stuff.

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Red Apple lips and eyes.

Mother Bear’s Handmade Etsy

Eyeshadows, Blush, Contour, and Highlighter – I’ve recently discovered Mother Bear’s Handmade on Etsy, and I love her store!  So many beautiful colors, and the shadows work great.  I find I have to build up some of the colors to get the level of pigmentation I want, and some of the shimmer shades apply better with a finger than a brush, but on the whole I’m really liking the fact that I can find fun color replacements for my old eyeshadow palettes that still meet my desire for cleaner products.  I’ve found a great primer that they work with (from the All Natural Face), so I’m actually really loving these products. These shadows let me create the fun, dramatic looks I’ve learned to love from skating competitions and for my blog shoots, without needing my old, less than optimal shadows.  I also got a blush (M5), which is my perfect shade, and some contour and highlights, which have also been really nice.  She introduces new colors regularly, and is super nice to her customers.  I’ve even ordered grab bags, and she has picked out colors that perfectly coordinate with the other shades I’d bought in previous orders!  Can’t recommend her highly enough.

Honeybee Gardens

Not my favorite of the brands.  Their products seem very hit or miss, and the packaging is pretty cheap.

Eyeshadows – Hit or miss. I bought 2 palettes (Party Girl and Rock the Smokey Eye) and several single shadows.  I’m finding I really like the looks I create with these shadows, but it takes way more effort than I feel like it should.  These shadows swatch amazing, but application to the eye is very hit or miss.  I like that some of the colors are unique, but I don’t know if they are worth the effort.

Eye Liner – Originally I bought only one liner from them, but I loved it so much I had to get more.  Great colors, great pigmentation, no irritation.

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De-potted Honeybee Gardens on the right; I couldn’t deal with the cheap cardboard packaging.

Primal Life Organics

A Paleo/Primal company.  I definitely want to try more of their products, but as with many of these brands, expense makes me careful in my choices.

Sensitive Lavender Deodorant – My new go-to deodorant.  It is not an anti-persperant, but it does work to minimize the BO.  I try to apply a fresh coat directly before working out if possible.  Sadly, however, the formula I’d been using was discontinued.  I’ll have to try their new formula when I run out of my current sticks.

Toothbrush – I love having an environmentally friendly toothbrush!  Plus, the bristles are nice and stiff, which is hard to find in a lot of typical toothbrushes.  I will definitely be repurchasing soon.

Zak

Mini Smooth Deodorants – Was not a fan.  Found the scent very strong and the formula very hard and crumbly.  May need to give these another shot, but right now I’m preferring Primal Life Organics.

Redmond Earthpaste

Toothpaste – I tried Doctor Bronner’s toothpaste before this, but I wasn’t really liking how it worked.  Earthpaste works well for me; my mouth feels great after I use it.  I do want to try Primal Life Organics’ tooth powder, but I think having this as a paste option is also really great.

Zuzu Luxe/Gabrielle Cosmetics

Definitely feels like conventional makeup, but 100% gluten free!  I love the packaging, and the quality of everything I’ve bought from them so far.

Lipsticks – I love these lipsticks!  There is a great range of colors, and both the Zuzu and Gabrielle formulas last a really long time!  Not as moisturizing as some of the Red Apple colors, but not terribly drying on the lips either.

Eyeshadows – I’ve only bought a limited number of shades, so I don’t use them as much as the other brands I’ve tried, but so far so good.

Concealer – I’ve bought the Zuzu concealer, and I love it!  It is a nice thick formula, and it blends well with a damp beauty sponge.

Brow Pencil – The shade Fig is my perfect color.  This is definitely my favorite brow pencil, ever.

Lipliner – Works great!  Love the shade range too.

Blush – I bought the shade Nymph.  I like the color, but it is too shiny for my face; it looks a bit odd as a blush, so I sometimes use it as a highlighter.

Eyeliner – This is where it’s at!  I’ve bought both the pencils and the liquid liner and they are all great!  The color selection is super fun too.

100% Pure

An expensive brand, but all of its products are made from fruit pigments!  I’m finding I rather enjoy them, and would buy more if the price wasn’t so high.  They do have a nice rewards program on their website however, and decent sales, which does help quite a bit.

Rather than doing a full run-down of all of the products, I’m going to say that I bought a bunch of stuff from the 100% Pure Black Friday $10 Sale, many of which items have been discontinued.  So far, I’ve come to realize that the sale items I bought might not have been the best items for my dry skin, but I do like the products in general.  Now that I know a bit more about my skin type, I would want to try different version of similar products in the future, formulated for dry skin types.  So, rather than go through a long list of things you can’t buy anymore, I’m just going to blanket statement that, in general, this brand is really expensive, but also really nice to use.  Buying during the $10 holiday sale was totally worth it, if only to try out a bunch of new things at a reasonable price.  There are a few products that are part of their more permanent line that I’ve been trying, so I’ll review those below.

Fruit Pigmented Healthy Foundation – A very full coverage foundation.  I find that it tends to emphasize where my skin is flakey and dry.  I need to play with it some more, perhaps try mixing it with other foundations to get a better shade match and see if I can get the consistency to be a little less likely to highlight the flakiness of my skin.  I do love how light it feels though; compared to the Araza foundation, it doesn’t even feel like you have anything on your skin!

Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer – Might be my favorite light coverage foundation of all time.  It barely feels like anything, but does a nice job of evening out the skin tone.  It can be built up, but I’d recommend mixing it with the Healthy Skin Foundation if you want more than a light coverage.

BB Cream – I like this, but you can definitely smell the SPF in this cream.  I find it applies best with the fingers, and provides a nice amount of coverage.

Mattifying Primer – I bought this as part of the $10 sale.  You can definitely feel it smoothing on your skin, but I think for me it is a bit too drying.  I’d like to try their luminizing primer instead.

Sex Kitten Palette – I’m not the biggest fan of their shadows.  They almost blend too well; everything looks a bit smudgy on my face.  The blush is nice, but I don’t notice that the highlighter does much for me.

Eye Brow Gel – I’m not the biggest fan.  It does look ok, but I think I prefer the speed and ease of a pencil?

Luminating Highlighter – It is pretty, but it dries really fast.  A bit hard for me to avoid the streaky look on the face.

Fruit Pigmented Mascara – I am using this currently because my Red Apple Mascara ran out.  I don’t like it as well as the Red Apple; it can be a bit more finicky to apply.  But, it isn’t bad.  It is the sort of mascara where you get one swipe and that’s it.  The more you try to “fix” it, the more clupmy and messy it looks.  If you get your one swipe right it looks really natural and great though.  It also has a lovely fruity smell (due to being fruit pigmented).

Lipsticks – For me, this is where 100% Pure has got it right!  I’ve tried all of their formulas (Anti Aging, Matte, Lip Caramel, and Lip Glaze) and I love them all!  Even the matte formulas feel creamy.  The color selection is very fun; they have warm and cool shades, from neon pinks to very muted mauves.  As with everything from this brand, it is expensive, but the results are great.

All Natural Face

This is a great brand for cheap makeup, but you sort of get what you pay for.  You can tell the quality of ingredients isn’t the same as the other brands, but, it is an affordable way to make a change if you want to do a major overhaul on the cheap.

Eyeshadows – Lots of fun colors, but I find the pressed shadows tend to fall out of the pans.  I did not have issues with eye irritation, and they shadows look pretty good when used with a primer.

Eye Primer – The best!  It makes shadows stick great, lasts all day, with no irritation.  My favorite of the eye primers I’ve tried.

Eye Liner – Love the colors and formula, hate the application brush.  I should have bought the pots and used a brush to apply; it would have been more effective.

Diva Sticks – A decent primer for the eyes. I don’t like them as well as the Eye Primer, but they work alright.  I find it handy because you don’t have any dry time, so if you are in a rush this is a good primer.  Plus, the colors can be good primers for different colored shadows.

Lipstick – The color was pretty, and it definitely had staying power, but it was hard, which made it very difficult to actually apply.  Not my favorite.

Lip Gloss – I got a free sample, but I didn’t like it.  It feels grainy on the lips, and super sticky.  I’d go with Araza over this brand if you are looking for a clean gloss.

Face Glows – I haven’t used these enough to give a full assessment, but I also don’t find myself reaching for them either, so perhaps that is sort of telling.  They do have something of a blurring effect, but I don’t find them to be especially highlighter-y or glow-y on my skin.

Other Brands I want to Try:

Dragonfly Traditions

Dr. Haushka

RMS Beauty

Brija Cosmetics

How it’s going so far

If I’m completely honest, it’s been about about 50/50 with the products I’m using.  On the one hand, they smell amazing, leave my skin feeling healthy, and in the case of Araza’s and 100% Pure’s foundations, work much better than anything I’ve used before.  On the other hand, the color choices in green beauty are, in general, somewhat limited, and I do find that the lip colors need to be reapplied more often, regardless of brand.  The eyeshadow colors from different brands are hit or miss; the pigmentation isn’t nearly as strong as the conventional cosmetics I’ve used before in general, though I am liking Araza for neural looks and Mother Bear’s Handmade for anything more dramatic.  The other great downside to this endeavor is the price.  I understand I’m getting better quality ingredients, which often require that the products be made in smaller batches, thereby increasing the price.  However, replacing an entire line of drugstore products with organic/green/healthier options is definitely something that one should view as an investment.  I’m happy to spend the money to support brands that are providing the sorts of products I’m looking for, and I’m so happy I’ve found Araza, Red Apple, 100% Pure, Zuzu Luxe/Gabrielle Cosmetics, and Mother Bear’s Handmade, as I think their products work great.  And, to be fair, I’m definitely slowing down my rate of acquisition now that the initial year of transition is done.  Last year I really was starting from zero, and really was trying to replace everything from my makeup collection, as it had all gone bad.  Ultimately, I’d love to find those ultimate “holy grail” products; the ones that work amazing which I can repurchase in the future as needed.  I think I may have found a few so far; I’ll definitely keep Araza’s foundation and Red Apple’s mascara and eye liners in my makeup kit.  Araza and Mother Bear’s Handmade will be permanent members of my eyeshadow collection, and Red Apple, 100% Pure, and Zuzu Luxe/Gabrielle are definitely staying in my Lip drawer.  I really like a lot of the 100% Pure skin care products.  I don’t think I’ve found specific products I’d repurchase yet, but I’m definitely going to try more from that brand.  I’m also hoping to test out more organic brands in the future, and search for those perfect colors and formulations that can help me achieve the styles I was used to creating with my traditional drug-store makeup brands.  I think I’m also narrowing in on my ultimate color choices.  I can go bright with reds, but there do seems to be pinks that read too neon on me.  100% Pure’s bright purple Tempest Matte lipstick is surprisingly flattering, but some of Red Apple’s toned down neutrals make my face look sort of dead.  The challenge, to some extent, is that many of these brands aren’t in stores (at least, not close to me), so I have to rely on internet photos or buying sample colors to make decisions.  Thus far it’s been ok; I’ve gifted my sister a few of my less successful purchases as she can handle warmer tones than I can.

For those of you who think this is a lot of makeup – you are right.  It is.  I have a lot of links to a lot of products.  I didn’t buy all of this all at once; this is a long list that has been compiled from nearly a year of product tests and experiments.   Plus, a large portion of the products I’ve tried didn’t work out for me, and have since been passed on to my sister and others.  Although it seems like I have a lot of makeup, based on the reviews above, I can say it all neatly fits into a few storage containers and really doesn’t take up much space.  I’d also say that I think I’ve hit a point of saturation; I feel satisfied with my collection.  At this point it is a matter of seeing what I gravitate to; what I like, what I use, what works over the long-haul.  As I stated before, I viewed this transition as an expensive, but necessary, investment in my long term health by completely revamping my beauty routine.  I will say that it seems to have worked out well for me; I no longer have terrible skin issues after using makeup, and I really enjoy the new skin treatment products I’ve been using.  My skin is much healthier, and it shows.  I also dropped quite a bit of weight when I removed endocrine disruptors from my shower products; I made no other changes other than the change to a paraben and phthalate free bath routine and I lost nearly 20lbs.  So, was this transition expensive?  Yes.  But worth it?  Definitely.

If you’ve had any experience transitioning to non-toxic/gluten-free/organic makeup or personal care product feel free to share in the comments!  Which brands work for you?  What do you recommend?  What was an utter failure?  What is the line between healthier products and inconvenient products?  If you haven’t made the transition, would you consider it?  Or is the performance of traditional cosmetics something that you wouldn’t consider giving up?  Discuss!


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