[eyeliner] Recently I was having a discussion with a group of my guy friends over their make-up preferences for women. During our conversation a woman with powder paling her face, thick black mascara coated on her eyelashes, flashy blue boldly draped on her eyelids and scarlet slopped on her lips passed by. One of my friends dubbed her “clown face.” I thought the term was a little harsh, but I could see where he was coming from.
Another one of my friends swooped to her rescue declaring that “clown face” would be gorgeous if she did not, well, wear so much make up. We all agreed when women looked natural, they looked best. However, looking natural does not mean going without makeup. Being a natural beauty is complimented by natural cosmetics, which are beauty products that do not contain synthetic ingredients or extra additives. Synthetic ingredients are chemicals like talc, formaldehyde and various dyes that have been linked to respiratory problems and even cancer. They are used in beauty products to color products like blushes and eye shadows, to moisturize skin and to bind products like foundation together.
The growing market for natural and organic beauty products shows the concept of getting back to the Earth and going all natural has spread beyond the farmer’s market culture. People are becoming concerned not only with what chemicals they are putting in their body during their daily three meals, but also what chemicals they are putting on their body when getting ready for their workday or night out. “You have to be very careful with what you put into your skin,” said Ingo Ausland, owner of European Spa Boutique located in the Meridian Mall. The European Spa Boutique sells many naturally-derived beauty products including a best-seller bareMinerals by Bare Escentuals, which is made entirely of natural ingredients.
The are plenty of benefits to using completely natural cosmetics. “You avoid radiation poisoning, synthetics deteriorate, they supply minerals like generic vitamin E, and bring nutrients in,” Ausland said.
Some people might be wary of breaking their cosmetic brand loyalty by going natural, but evidence of the harmful effects of products laced with chemicals might be enough to push them out of the CoverGirl aisle. “Women ruin their skin through using synthetics,” Ausland said.
[ausland]Synthetics have many adverse affects that can be avoided. “When you use synthetics there is an oil build up from the products. This clogs your pores. The natural ones are more hydrating and leave your pores open,” Sandy Magee, Aveda advisor at Douglas J Institute in East Lansing, said. Clogged pores and dry skin can lead to poorer skin condition which just requires more make-up to cover up. It is a nasty, chemically induced cycle that, after long term use, can leave skin irritated and damaged.
Ausland and Magee both noted that there is a clear difference between naturally derived products and those that are not. Both believe the difference is immediately apparent in both the feeling and the look of the products. “[Aveda] foundations help smooth out our complexion, they work better, doing the same job, but aren’t as noticeable,” Magee said. Aveda uses all natural products. They may be more expensive than drug store finds, but they have better lasting effects on the body, Magee said.
Brittany Blankenship used to turn to Maybelline and CoverGirl as her go-to beauty products. Now she works at East Lansing’s Douglas J Aveda Institute and only uses Aveda products. She says she does not think she could ever turn back to cosmetic giants like Maybelline. The break outs she used to get from mainstream brands have not re-occurred since she made the switch to natural beauty products. “It doesn’t feel like you’re wearing make-up. It’s not thick or cakey and it comes off super easy,” Blankenship said.
In addition to make-up, some shampoos and conditioners have gone natural as well. Like make-up, natural shampoos and conditioners function normally but they are made without potentially harmful chemicals. Instead, natural additives like aloe, lemon, avocado oil and vitamins are added. However, also like make-up, natural hair care products have a tendency to be more expensive than their non-natural counterparts. But, natural hair product supporters like Magee say the pros outweigh the cons. “I think you can tell a big difference, I realized how much cleaner my hair looked after the first experience and even though I thought I’d set a budget, I now use the products for everyone in my family,” Magee said. [makeup]
Product awareness is just as important as cost awareness, Ingo said. Now that the market is booming with organic product lines it is important to be able to decipher between the true au naturales and the impostors. To be certain all chemicals are being avoided it is best to go with products that market themselves as 100 percent organic like bareMinerals. Products that just advertise themselves as natural often add buffers to enhance their natural qualities, but are not purely natural. Reading the product’s ingredients list is the best way to determine how natural it really is because they are listed in order of most used to least used, Ausland said. That way the consumer can gauge how natural the product really is, what buffers and additives it includes and if more than trace amounts of those chemicals are in the product. Natural ingredients will have more recognizable names like those of plants and flowers while synthetic ingredients will appear to have scientific names.
The location in which the natural beauty product is made is also important in determining the degree of its natural qualities because some states have stricter rules as to what can be called a natural product than others. Although there is no national standard for regulating the “naturalness” of ingredients, some states have developed their own regulations. For example, because Bare Escentuals products are made in Utah, a state with high standards when it comes to natural products, so people like Ausland are confident in their quality. “I enjoy selling these products because they have SPF built right into them and they are made in Utah where they are very strict about the quality of natural cosmetics,” Ausland said.
College students have a hard enough time paying for tuition, books, food and rent. It can be difficult to imagine doling out extra money for natural and organic beauty products when the stand-by drug store brand worked just fine. But supporters of natural brands point you to the future rather than the here and now. The switch to natural beauty products not only has health benefits but encourages a lighter touch that is less likely to result in the unpopular “clown face” look. Your pores and your peers will thank you.