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The All-Natural Evolution of Beauty Products

Published: Friday, February 22, 2013

Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 10:02

Eyeliner Application

Every woman has a beauty routine she has mastered over the years. As if on autopilot, she applies her blush and mascara with precision and coats her pout perfectly with her favorite shade of lip gloss.

Most women swear by certain products and others have to try the latest ones available, but, ladies, have you ever wondered what exactly you’re rouging onto your cheeks or swiping onto your eyelashes everyday? What about lipstick? What makes it so kissable and glossy?

Perhaps many woman don’t put too much thought into the ingredients or origin of makeup and other beauty products because they’ve been around for so long.

The ancient Egyptians used kohl as eyeliner to accentuate the almond shape they desired, and it protected their eyes from the sun and pesky insects. Lipstick comprised of henna for color and fish scales for shine was also popular.

Japanese geishas and European noble women during the Middle Ages wore a ghostly white powder foundation called Aqua Tofana, made of lead and mercury, as an expression of their wealth and comfortable lifestyle that excluded them from excess sun exposure.

Today, typical beauty products aren’t as blatantly dangerous as they were in the past, but there are still several questionable elements.

Parabens, preservative chemicals in nearly everything from cremes to mascaras, have been allegedly linked to breast cancer. Other chemicals, such as bismuth, are known to clog pores and irritate the skin.

Fragrances, dyes, synthetic ingredients and clever branding are used by beauty companies to make products appeal to the masses. Companies pinpoint a common problem, like frizzy hair, and produce something that claims to fix it.

The fascination with miracle treatments makes women easy targets.

“[The consumer] does not typically shop for ingredients. The consumer shops for labels,” says Vonetta Dumas of Signature Image Salon.

However, women are becoming more skeptical of the tongue-twisting ingredients on makeup labels and opting for something more natural to put on their skin.

“Customers are becoming more educated, which is the key to the future of all natural and organic products,” says Tara Verkuil, founder of natural beauty product lines, Eco Princess and Green & Glam. “The beauty industry has been hiding horrible ingredients for a very long time, and now they are slowly starting to be called out for it. Customers demand the truth in what they are putting on their skin and are willing to find alternatives to their long-running favorite brands for the sake of their health.”

Doctor Christine Cassel says women are looking for fewer ingredients and no preservatives and conscious makeup manufacturers are turning to ingredients like shea beans, lavender, flax seed and ground minerals as natural elements that work with the skin and its essential oils in place of harmful chemicals. 

It’s hard to let go of products that have been a staple in your makeup bag forever.

Kerry Herta, founder of Colour Box Makeup Studios and a 2011 Emmy nominated makeup artist, used to tell her students and celebrity clients, “Once you take the ‘garbage’ out of the product, the product becomes ‘garbage.’”

Herta now believes natural products are becoming more of a staple than a trend and expects to see more of them on shelves as brands continue to grow.

So what’s the point of ditching drug store and high end brands for organic and all natural cosmetics?

The benefits of using natural products are very similar to the benefits to eating natural foods versus processed foods.

“Natural ingredients can be sourced,” says Dumas. “Each ingredient has its benefits relative to the need. Synthetic products typically provide a coating whereas natural products penetrate and enhance skin, hair and nails.”

Although natural products are generally more expensive than synthetic brands, they very well may be worth the extra cost to keep your skin and body healthy and chemical-free.

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