Vow to Love Your Makeup

10 Ways to Say “I Do” to Greener Cosmetics

1. Become Aware
If you are one of the hundreds of brides who will plan a sustainable wedding this year, you have undoubtedly researched green catering companies, chatted with eco-event planners, found a “green” dress (perhaps even hemp!), and will probably use local flowers. Surprisingly, though, many green brides don’t consider what they’ll be wearing on their face the day they march down the eco-aisle. Whether or not you typically wear makeup, chances are you’ll want to be fully fabulous on your wedding day. Now is the time to mull over your makeup options and become aware of the growing availability of green makeup.

2. Look for “Organic”
In your eager search to locate sustainable foundations, lipsticks and eyeshadows, you will often encounter the word “natural”. Natural is a nice word which easily imparts feelings of goodness to the naive cosmetic consumer. Unfortunately, there is not a rigorous standard for “natural” makeup: it can include (and often does) synthetic ingredients, harmful dyes, and even petrochemicals. Develop the habit of reading labels– you may be surprised by what some cosmetic lines sell as “natural”. If you want to save time in the cosmetic aisle, look for brands that are certified “Organic” to begin with. While these brands can still contain controversially harmful ingredients (parabens, etc.), they are easier to weed through (because there are less of them).

3. Carry a “Dangerous Ingredients” list in your wallet
I’ve worked in the cosmetics industry for nearly ten years, and I still can’t keep my dangerous ingredients straight! The ingredients label on the side of your foundation or mascara often reads like a foreign language. It’s easy to fall for a good looking, yummy smelling lipgloss and disregard the non-informative babble printed on the back of it, but before you buy it STOP and glance at the label. Chances are, if you don’t understand what it’s made of, you don’t want it. Smarter and healthier cosmetic companies are parenthesizing the common name for an ingredient after the scientific names (this is especially helpful with essential oils). You will never find a label, though, that reads “toluene (used in gasoline)”. This is where your little list will come in handy. Here’s a link to a list of cosmetic ingredients which also includes the nicknames used for common toxic ingredients. Naturalnews.com/016898.html
Don’t worry, you don’t have to study the list–just print it out and refer to it when you’re shopping.

4. Choose “No Animal Testing” Lines
Just because a brand touts “this product was not tested on animals” doesn’t mean that the company itself doesn’t do animal testing. I learned this the hard way, when I grilled cosmetic vendors on the phone to the point that they began stammering that they didn’t really know what their company’s testing policies were. Also, keep in mind that smaller animal friendly lines are often owned by larger, animal testing lines. Where you draw the line is up to you.

5. Recycled Packaging
Look for brands with the recycled symbol on it. Easy as pie!

6. Look for Local Lines
Depending on where you live, this isn’t always possible, but here in Northern California, local green beauty companies abound. It’s always more sustainable to choose locally made products over those that are flown or shipped or trucked in.

7. Try a Few Brands
Natural Makeup has gotten a bad rap in the past for being too sheer, smelling “unusually”, fading too quickly, or (ironically) not looking “natural” enough. You’ve got to get your face and your fingers dirty and try a few brands before you give up. See what works with your skin and coloring. Make sure you like the scent and texture of the skincare. Finally, wait to see which products bring you the most compliments. (You may not be line loyal, but you’ll certainly be product loyal!) Once your find your favorite green makeup, you’ll be glad you put in the hard work, and even happier when your friends start making changes, too.

8. Hire a Green Makeup Artist for your Wedding
So you’re in love? Do you love the planet as much as your fiancé? If so, you’re probably planning a green wedding from A to Z. Just don’t forget that what you wear on your face the day you say “I do” says just as much about your philosophy as what flowers you’re carrying! Look for makeup artists who use green makeup in their work, and you’ll be one step closer to making your vows their greenest.

9. Replace as You Replenish
You don’t have to buy all your green makeup in one go and toss your traditional stuff into your local landfill (although that’s exactly where some of it belongs). Instead of splurging and wasting, shop now for the replacements for products you use most often. When you run out of your old makeup, you’ll already have your eye on something better. In other words, don’t sweat the greenstuff!

10. Spread the Green!
When your friends compliment your new glow, and ask what you’ve been doing differently, don’t smile coyly and say “Gee, I just rolled out of bed.” TELL them about the new products you’re using (even the ones you didn’t like) and let them catch the green bug. And if you really like them—consider giving eco-makeup for bridesmaids gifts!

Green makeup artist Aimee Valentine specializes in eco makeup for Bay Area Sustainable Brides.


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