Just what makes makeup "green"? Cosmetics that don't have any chemical emulsifiers, binders, synthetics, fillers, or paraben preservatives and that use botanicals and minerals, says Jessa Blades, a professional green-makeup artist, based in New York City. (And some purists say this should also mean no talc, no animal products, and no bismuth oxychloride, a luster-lending mineral that may cause skin irritations.) "Green makeup does not have the chemical ingredients that make mascara waterproof or lipstick last all day, so you'll have to reapply more often," she says. "Long-wear products are a red flag."
Of course, minerals are the cornerstone of many foundations, loose powders, eye shadows, and blushes-but don't call them "organic". The USDA only grants that term to food-grade cosmetic ingredients, if they meet the same strict farming and processing regulations used for, say, your Whole Foods apples and peaches. Minerals aren't farmed or food. "No one can guarantee that minerals haven't been exposed to chemicals while they've been in the earth for thousands of years," explains Kayla Fioravanti, an organic formulator and founder of von Natur and Essential Wholesale Labs. The same goes for water and seaweed.
Right now what most brands call organic makeup is really a combination of minerals and non-toxic naturals, as well as a smattering of organically grown botanicals.
Afterglow Cosmetics just debuted new, gorgeous organic lip-glosses, eyeliners, and mineral shadows, but their remarkably natural Pure Soul Mascara ($21, www.afterglowcosmetics.com) is a perennial favorite thanks to its highly interpretable ingredients: Organic fructose (made from corn), wild-crafted candelilla wax, and loads of botanicals.
Lavera is one of the best-selling beauty lines in Germany, and their natural formulations have the seal of approval from the BDIH, which strictly regulates cosmetics. A simple black Eyeliner is made with organic beeswax and palm oil and Volumizing Mascara gets a boost from organic jojoba and rose ($28.50 for both, www.lavera.com).
Kroma is the brainchild of Florida makeup-artist Lee Tillett, whose chic cosmetics in refillable packaging leave no color untapped. There are 150 rich mineral shadows ($19, www.kromamakeup.com), plus four new gorgeous shades for fall (Picasso blue is sure to be a cult favorite), so let Tillett and her team custom match you. (They nailed my shades even via e-mail.)
Warm or cool? Those are the new, natural fall-color collections from Minerologie, a popular spa makeup line, which includes two Pressed Eye Shadow palettes with three-colors made to work together (www.mineralogie.biz). Sweet almond oil in the formulation gives lids a bit of hydration, and the pigments their staying power.
With E.L.F. Mineral Eye Liners ($3, www.eyeslipsface.com), the mainstream, budget-conscious cosmetic line has defected to the natural side with twist-up, glide-on pencils containg "no parabens, ...