Flawed: What we do to appear Flawless

eyepatch-poisonI have a secret, and I’m going to share it.  I have found a holy grail among “natural” undereye concelears.

I’m going to preface my disclosure with another disclosure:  my current favorite undereye concealer is not as clean as the company would have you believe (their slogan is “Clean-Natural-Beauty”)

I’m also going to rationalize my use of this product by confessing that I suffer from extraordinarily dark undereye circles: I’m an insomniac, my diet suffers the perils of bad timing and low blood sugar, and hey– dark circles are largely heritary and hormonal, anyway.  (Let’s blame science!)

I’ve tried everything out there, and if it’s clean and green, I’ve tried it twice.   I really DO love 100% Pure’s peach pigmented natural wand concealer (not available on their website, but on QVC):  I like the consistency of the product, ease of use, and edible ingredients. I carry it in my purse for touchups (a surprise blemish, a fixer for smeared mascara, etc).  But (for me) it’s simply not dense enough to battle the darkness that lies beneath…100-percent-concealer

To really achieve a flawless looking undereye–and by that I mean this: when the skin beneath the eye matches the skin above the eye (brow bone)–I prefer a two step product.   One pinky/peach step, and one yellow step.  Most makeup artists agree.  The pink cancels out the greenish or bluish aspects of your circles, and the yellow step warms the skin up, and brightens the undereye.  Combined, they are magical.

I found my new concealer a few months ago, while perusing the cosmetics section at Whole Foods.  A nice counter person asked if I needed help.  I told her I was deciding between the clean stick concealers of Gabriel or MyChelle.  She said, “You know, my favorite is Mineral Fusion.  It’s really thick.”

Now, some people don’t want to hear the word “thick” when it comes to makeup.  Some of you naturalists are no doubt wrinkling your noses at the prospect of smearing a heavy concealer anywhere but over a hole in your living room wall.   But to me, it was like hearing, “Circles, what circles?”

What raised a flag for me, (and the reason I have not written about this product sooner) is the company itself, Mineral Fusion.  A company backed by Whole Foods (who often sport an enormous display of the line, next to a teeny tiny display for the completely clean makeup line by Dr. Hauschka) Mineral Fusion is NOT  the poster child for organic, green makeup.

The lipglosses contain petrochemicals (polyethylene being the worst offender, scoring a 6-9 on Skin Deep’s toxicity guide: polyethylene is determined by the  “safe” for use on skin by the CIR, assuming a low skin absorbtion rate (despite studies that show tumors developing on the areas of application by both American and British medical journals), we STILL KNOW that everything on our lips we eat….that’s major absorption!  I’m going to say that WEARING Mineral Fusion’s lipgloss on your LIPS means you’re EATING polyethylene, a little, everyday.  Maybe it’s meant to be worn on the earlobes, instead.

And while Mineral Fusion products are paraben-free, who cares, if we’re going to be ingesting disgusting ingredients? (By the way, the company is a proud donor to the Pink United Breast Cancer Research Foundation)  So when the gentle counter person said “Mineral Fusion!”, I understandably hesitated.

mineral-fusion-concealerThen I tried the creamy concealer duo in “cool”.  ACK!  It works like nothing else.

I asked to read the ingredients.  Argh.  Number seven (out of nineteen ingredients).  You guessed it.  Polyethylene.

WHY?? Why do they do it?  Is it possible that polyethylene is sooooo important that they can’t make a fantastic product without it?  Clearly, there are 18 other ingredients that make this product work.  Can’t we just leave that one out?  Or is it possible that they’re in cohoots with the polyethylene producers? Is this some kind of flouride rehash, waiting to be exposed?

I was miserable.  And yet, I had never looked so happy, nor so well rested.   I held a magnifying mirror up to my face, and even under the hideous glare of energy saving flourescent lighting, I was magnificent.  A flawed flawlessness.

I didn’t buy it.  I bought the heartily clean MyChelle concealer stick instead, which I wore dutifully for a week.  It’s fine, but it’s no match against the dark void which exists beneath my eyes.  I went back to my 100% Pure, sniffling with resentment and heartache (nothing was good enough anymore).  Then I stopped wearing concealer altogether.

That’s right.  The girl whose mantra has always been “Concealer makes you look happy” was willingly going about looking like a sucidal heroin addict.  Finally, seeing my sad circles in the mirror day after day caught up with me, and I genuinely began to feel sad.

So I bought it.  I’ve been wearing Mineral Fusion’s concealer duo for two weeks.  I look like a new person.  I look younger, happier, healthier.   Ironic, isn’t it?

How does this all relate to my previous blog about “being Beautiful” (capital B) and “acting Beautifully”?  I’m not sure.  There’s a balance to be struck, I suppose, between finding the products that make us feel beautiful, and finding companies who are willing to act beautifully, themselves.

I have conceded this round to Big Industry, but as soon as someone develops the same product without using polyethylene, I will drop Mineral Fusion like a bad habit.  Which is, for now, what it is.

eyepatch image courtesy of Flickr’s  eye-patch

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22 thoughts on “Flawed: What we do to appear Flawless

  1. Yes, I have the same dilemma. I really, really love 100% Pure’s concealer, but I’ve been wondering if I need heavier coverage for my dark circles.

    Thanks for the recommendation; I might have to check out Mineral Fusion’s concealer.

    At the moment, I’m interested in the Jane Iredale Circle/Delete concealer. Have you seen/tried this? It’s got two colors like the Mineral Fusion, and I hear it is also very thick. Very green too.

  2. I just happened to come across your blog in my search for an under eye corrector. i noticed that you have two articles on the subject. The first mentions Sheer Cover as a good choice, but not green enough. How does Sheer Cover and Mineral Fusion compare IYO?

    Thanks!

    • Thanks for reading, Rya! I am a HUGE fan of concealer for the undereye, and hence always on the prowl for something that does the trick in the greenest way possible. Sheer Cover, last I checked, has parabens in their mineral based concealer, whilst Mineral Fusion carries a different unsundry ingredient. I really do love DUO concealers (those which have both a peach side and a yellow side–layering is the way to go for undereyes), and these are both being marketed as green, so I felt the need to investigate and report. However, to go a step further, I urge readers to seek out greener peaches and yellows. Here’s what I’m onto now: I’m a fan of Tarte’s peachy undereye concealer (I wouldn’t eat it, but they removed parabens, petrochemicals, pthathalates, and other nonsense from their line earlier this year. So, in this sense, they are greener than both Sheer Cover and Mineral Fusion, although they are not squeaky clean. You can test out the whole line at Sephora) and I use Afterglow (INCREDIBLY GREEN nudey pot concealer and yellow pot concealer) and I’m using Sappho cosmetics concealers, too (Canadian–find them online; nice green line developed for actresses of the L-Word show). I’m usually using Tarte’s peach first (or Afterglow’s nudey), followed by Sappho’s yellow for a gorgeous, shadow free undereye. Hope that helps!
      Cheers:)

  3. Hi there. Just happened across your blog as I was continuing what seems to be a never-ending search for a (truly!) natural concealer. It sounds like we have exactly the same problem in finding a natural concealer that provides real coverage.

    I recently discovered something that finally seems to work for me and I wanted to share in case you or others might benefit. I like the 100% Pure Brightening Concealer, but found it to be too thin to provide maximum coverage. Previously I had been using Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Concealer Stick (in soft yellow color) and found it to be a bit too cakey. One day I decided to mix the two and it’s the best concealer I’ve come across! (Believe me I’ve tried a bevy of them as I am very fair-skinned with dark undereye circles.)

    Anyway, if you scrape off a tiny bit of the Physician’s Formula stick and mix it with about an equal amount of the 100% Pure concealer, it makes a beautiful mixture that’s still creamy, but thick enough to give substantial coverage. I hope you try it! Cheers!

    • May,
      Thanks for reading and writing in! That’s such a great idea. I, too, was disappointed with Physician’s Formula Organic Wear concealer, because of its hard, waxy nature (and bizarrely fruity smell), but by combining it with 100% Pure’s Brightening Concealer or Concealer Wand, I imagine you’d formulate a stage-worthy product! If it’s thick enough, it might even alleviate the need for a peach base, depending on how it wears as it warms up on the skin. And what a nice green solution! Good for you!

  4. Not sure if the WFM team member told you the story of MF but it’s made by Glominerals/Caleel Hayden. It was created for WFM and was supposed to be a cleaner version of Glominerals, and it is, but yes. Unfortunately both of them still have plenty of yucky stuff in them.

    I love the Glo pressed foundation…nothing has made my skin look better. BUT–Dr. Hauschka is really stepping up their color palette so I am excited about that. They are who I use for truly natural products. The rest I use for the same reason you do..because unfortunately they work best for a tricky issue.

  5. Hi! I have been considering the Mineral Fusion concealer. Do you still use it? I looked at the ingredients and did not see the polyethylene. I was told that they’d cleaned up recently. Have you found that to be true? Thanks!

  6. Hey Suzanne, I have permanently thrown over Mineral Fusion for Sappho, 100% Pure, and Afterglow concealers. I haven’t heard about MF cleaning up, but Amazon carries their concealers, and lists the ingredients:
    Caprylic/ Capric Trigliceride, Octyldodecanol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax/Candelilla Cera, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/Cera Carnauba, Jojoba Esters, Polyethylene, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Punica Granatum Seed Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol

    • Thanks! I went ahead and checked the concealer out at Whole Foods and found that the ingredients have changed!! Since this is a product easily accessible for me (and I was able to try it in the store :-), I’m going to go ahead with the MF for now. I’ll check out the others in the future though. Thanks again for your help!
      (Oh, the new ingredients list is:
      Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Silica, Jojoba Esters, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract (Pycnogenol), Zinc Oxide, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (Licorice Root), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos Red Tea) Leaf Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Phenoxyethanol. May Contain (+/-): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).)

  7. I’ve been using Cargo’s Jet Lag for a few months now, and I don’t think it has any really objectionable ingredients. I really like it, but haven’t tried the others you’ve listed here…

  8. Hey there! Just stumbled across your blog… I just thought I’d let you know that I am in the same boat. I have tried a lot to conceal my acne and I can’t seem to drop my good standby for 7 years. I’ve been using CoverFX. I know it’s not the most natural/organic brand. BUT I e-mailed them to ask about the “questionable” ingredients in some of their products and they literally have been working to change their entire line. I brought SkinDeep to their attention and they have now PURPOSEFULLY made most/all of their products (working towards all of them) to rate in the 0-2 safe zone. A few of them still rank a 3 due to the sunscreens, but I would HIGHLY recommend their “total coverage foundation” which I’m pretty sure ranks a 2… Make sure you get the new formula (off their site) and use very little. It’s a heavy product but WILL cover everything! Start with your fingers, blend it out, and then use a concealer brush for touch-ups. It’s magic I promise 🙂 and none of the ingredients are all that scary! 🙂 good luck!

  9. ahhhhh i just came across your blog, and I’ve just bought the mineral fusion concealer. I didn’t think there would be any harmful ingredients because its sold at Whole Foods! but anyway, the one that I have actually doesn’t contain polyethylene but it does contain Phenoxyethanol. I’m not really sure about this ingredient because I’ve read many controversial articles on it, some saying it’s okay, and others that it is extremely harmful. What do you think? Do you have any knowledge on this ingredient? Thanks for your help 🙂

    • Cheers, Nam, thanks for bringing up this ingredient!
      I DON’T yet have an opinion about phenoxyethanol. For those of you who are seeing this word for the first time (and for those of you who’ve seen this word on product ingredient lists, near the end, and said what the ?!@#$* is that?!), phenoxyethanol is the new-fangled preservative used in cosmetics primarily as a REPLACEMENT for the paraben monster (methylparaben, propylparaben, and others).

      There’s been a HUGE anti-paraben backlash in the cosmetic industry in the past few years (thank you), and companies are scrambling to replace the offending ingredient whilst still preserving the shelf lives of their product. Nothing worse than oils going rancid, and ingredients spoiling. When a product “goes off” it can cause breakouts, rashes, allergic reactions, and worse: ineffectiveness. That’s a joke. You would sue a company whose spoiled product caused a horrible rash which left you with a scar on your gorgeous mug, and they KNOW this. Therefore, much time is spent in R&D sorting out exactly how to “preserve” their product. (Also, a longer shelf life means they don’t have to pull product before it has a chance to be sold. Companies lose less money the longer the product can safely sit.) Enter: Phenoxyethanol. The new “nonharmful” preservative. I have no opinion yet because it’s still new. I need more data.

      But you know what my FAVORITE preservatives are? Vitamin E and/or Rosemary. You’ll find these ingredients used as preservatives in your strictly natural products, and they work very well. I’m lazy and rarely clean out my medicine cabinet. Furthermore, I have no qualms about using dated product. Sometimes I forget what I have–a first world problem, I have too much. When I rediscover products, I use them, and I have NEVER had a reaction to an “old” product which used Rosemary or Vitamin E as its method of preservation. And that’s all I have to say about that. That’s not a testimony to the products’ efficacy, but no harm done. And that’s all the big companies really want, in the end. An ingredient that’s cheap and meets our lowest standard of “no harm done”. Remember, they don’t care if it “works”, or if we’re “good looking” as a result. They want us to BELIEVE (ads) that it works, because they want us to keep buying said product from said brand, and MOST IMPORTANTLY…they don’t want us to sue. Big industry is aiming for marginal satisfaction. And we are not surprised or delighted.

  10. Wow! This is the first post I’ve read on your blog here, and I am so impressed. I love how frank you are about how you feel, and I think I would be in the same boat as you. I really hate to use products that I just KNOW are terrible for me, but if they work, what can I do? As long as it isn’t something REALLY terrible (like MAC or some drugstore brands), I have to make concessions based on what I want to achieve in terms of my look and in terms of what goes into my body.

    I have the same kind of struggle when it comes to food. I have a Bachelor’s in Nutritional Sciences, and I am so painfully aware of what food I should be eating… and what I am craving or what I wish I could eat (e.g. cheddar popcorn is such a guilty pleasure of mine, or snickers bars lol). So when I got into the realm of natural/green makeup, it turned my world upside down. I was using Too Faced products a lot and had just started using a Dr. Jart’s BB cream when I discovered the horrors and ended up giving everything away and starting from scratch. Man it has been such a journey, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for new posts from you, I really appreciate your style! Thanks xoxo Sabine

    • Thanks for your comment, Sabine!
      I think it will always be up to US to read the label, do the research, make the decision. And that’s fine. The more information we have access to, the better. Yes, it’s annoying that the average citizen doesn’t get to choose from a plethora of wonderfully healthy beauty brands at their drugstore or makeup counter. Rather, we have a choice between a small handful of brands that won’t kill us outright, and may or may not be effective in their purported endeavor. Still, it is a choice worth making. Not just for health. Not just for beauty. But for something bigger. Beauty, capital B.

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