Lately, I’ve been reviving some series on the blog. After the United Nations of Green Beauty Products, Make the Green Switch is back.
As per usual, this is not a product bashing. I simply want to provide alternatives that are as green as possible.
Recently, I came across Space NK’s Clean Edit section which is meant to ease their customers into the world of green beauty. I find Space NK’s clean initiative laudable and I applaud them for taking this leap as Space NK undoubtedly has access to a plethora of consumers. My only gripe is that within the same “clean” basket, there’s a large discrepancy. While browsing the clean edit, I spotted some longtime favorites but also some products that I personally would not consider remotely “clean”, especially next to green superstars like De Mamiel, Odacité, and Mauli Rituals. When you put in the same category, brands that have been at the forefront of the green movement, committed to providing high-quality, eco-friendly products and brands that only recently started incorporating codes from the green beauty industry, this can potentially lead to added confusion and eventually, diminish the outstanding work that genuine, authentic brands have done. In my opinion, putting Chantecaille with RMS seems far-fetched. RMS has always been going for synthetic-free, organic ingredients in the most transparent way, whereas Chantecaille for instance, does not even bother disclosing the full ingredient list.
Granted, the products featured on Space NK contain certainly less “controversial” ingredients than what you can usually find in mainstream cosmetics, nevertheless, I would not consider them part of the green spectrum. There’s a big debate on the definition of green/clean beauty and there’s not one “answer-fits-all”. Interpretations vary and, ultimately it is all about making more informed decisions. Transparency is key. If you have all informations in hand, you decide for yourself what you feel comfortable to put on your skin or not. If you’re interested to hear more about this topic, I invite you to read this post I did on the evolution of green beauty and the impact on specialized niche stores (here).
Chantecaille Future Skin foundation
The product description highlights that it is “rich” in botanicals such as chamomile, aloe, rosemary, and green tea”. I absolutely love the natural extracts they picked for their soothing and anti-inflammatory properties but unfortunately, they are at the bottom of the list, surrounded by synthetic polymers. Butylene glycol may cause skin irritation. There’s also contains Phenoxyethanol. While preservatives may occur naturally, a lot are often synthetically produced, thus becoming potential skin irritants and allergens. Phenoxyethanol is still used in certain green cosmetics but recently, Follain pledged to remove any products containing this preservative from their shelves (see the post here).
Price: £63 for 30g.
Ingredients: WATER, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE,CETYL PEG/PPG-10/1 DIMETHICONE, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, DIMETHICONE,BUTYLENE GLYCOL, PEG-400, SODIUM CHLORIDE, SILICA DIMETHYL SILYLATE, PHENOXYETHANOL, GLYCERIN, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE,MICA, DIMETHICONE/VINYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER,Chlorphenesin, STEARIC ACID, ALCOHOL, LAMINARIA SACCHARINA EXTRACT, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS(ROSEMARY) LEAF EXTRACT, ORYZA SATIVA (RICE) BRAN EXTRACT,ARNICA MONTANA FLOWER EXTRACT, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA(MATRICARIA) FLOWER EXTRACT, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF EXTRACT,NATTO GUM, TALC, IRON OXIDES
The “clean” alternatives: Ilia Beauty True Skin Serum foundation/14e Cosmetics Aloe Nourish Foundation
The first option is Ilia Beauty‘s newest silky soft foundation. I picked this one because this seemed like the closest match to Chantecaille. Ilia does resort to dimethicone for their foundations, but as you can see, in a smaller amount than Chantecaille. You will notice that the main ingredient is aloe vera. True Serum is packed with organic botanical extracts (aloe leaf, coconut, rosehip, rose flower, marula, jojoba, squalane, jasmine) to provide nourishment to the skin.
Another option is 14e Cosmetics Aloe Nourish Foundation. It shares common ingredients with Chantecaille’s formula, such as aloe and rosemary – without any synthetic polymers. It is also enriched with vitamin c and a beautiful blend of nourishing plant butter and oils. Added bonus, it has SPF23 thanks to the use of zinc and titanium oxide (non-nano).
Price: 56 EUR for 30g (Ilia) and $44 (14E)
Ilia Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Coconut Alkanes, Caprylyl Methicone, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinloleate, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Polyglyceryl-2 Isostearate, Boron Nitride, Dimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Hull Powder, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Gluconolactone, Glycerin, Isopentyldiol, Sodium Chloride, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Rosa Moschata Seed Oil*, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Squalane, Tocopherol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Pentylene Glycol, Pistacia Lentiscus (Mastic) Gum, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Calcium Gluconate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower/Leaf Extract, Phenethyl Alcohol, Bisabolol. May Contain/Peut Contenir [+/-: Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499)]. *organic ingredients
14e: Aloe Vera*, Plant Glycerin*, Titanium dioxide (CI 77891), Argan Oil*, Jojoba Oil*, Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Acerola* (Vitamin C), Kokum Butter*, Gotu Kola*, Licorice*, Bamboo Extract*, Mica, Rosemary*, Sunflower Lecithin*, Lavender Oil*, [+/- may contain Iron Oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492)]*ORGANIC
Hourglass Mineral primer veil
The good thing is that it is mineral-based with zinc and titanium instead of chemical protection. However, it is filled with synthetics and contains no botanical extracts. The main component, Cyclopentasiloxane is a silicon-based emollient that is potentially a cause of concern, not only for the skin but also for the environment since it can bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms. In certain researches, it is also classified D4 as an endocrine disruptor.
Price: $54 for 1 oz.
Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Polysilicone-11, Zinc Oxide, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Titanium Dioxide, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Stearic Acid, Alumina
The “clean” alternatives: Vapour, Kypris & Juice Beauty
For added SPF protection, Kypris Heliotropic might be worth considering as a solid option since it has a solid SPF30. Vapour Stratus Soft Focus primer offers a mineral veil, blurring pores and making the complexion brighter and smoother (I reviewed it here). The finish is stunning and for added sun protection you can either mix it with spf powder like Moss or apply your go-to sunscreen before. Juice Beauty Phyto-pigment illuminating primer has the function of a serum with illuminating particles.
Price: Vapour $60 for 1.06oz/Kypris-$68 for 27mL/Juice Beauty-$36 for 30mL.
Vapour: Organic Camellia Oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil, Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Silica, Lauroyl Lysine, Isocetyl Stearoyl Stearate*, Mica, Organic Cera Alba (Beeswax), Sambucus, Nigra (Elderberry) Fruit Extract, Organic Lecithin, Organic Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Organic Papain (Papaya) Extract, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit/Leaf/Stem Extract, Canarium Luzonicum (Elemi) Gum Nonvolatiles, Wildcrafted Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh) Gum Oil, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Wildcrafted Boswellia Carteri (Frankincense) Gum, Organic Ocimum Sanctum (Tulsi/Holy Basil) Leaf Extract, Organic Nelumbo Nucifera (Lotus) Leaf Extract, Pogostemon Cablin Oil , [+/–:, Titanium Dioxide (CI77891)] *Eco Cert Ingredient
Kypris: Zinc oxide, Water/Aqua, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isoamyl Laurate, Coconut Alkanes, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Silica, Glyceryl Caprylate, Lecithin, Rose (Rosa Damascena) Flower Extract, Algae, Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice, Isostearic Acid, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus) Seed Oil, Sweet Iris (Iris Pallida) Leaf Cell Extract, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Sodium Chloride, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Kukui (Aleurites Moluccanus) Seed Oil, Pumpkin (Cucurbita Pepo) Seed Oil, Squalane, Xanthan Gum, Tamanu (Calophyllum Inophylum) Seed Oil, Pomegranate (Punica Granatum) Extract, Chaparral (Larrea Tridentata) Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Bisabolol, Tocopherol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citric Acid
Juice Beauty: Aloe barbadensis*, coconut alkanes, silica, glycerin*, potassium cetyl phosphate, bismuth chloride oxide, ethylhexyl hydroxystearate, hydrogenated palm glycerides†, vitis vinifera (organic grape seed oil)*, helianthus annuus (sunflower seed oil), syringa vulgaris (lilac extract), beta-glucan, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel extract), leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, ascorbyl palmitate (Vitamin C),tocopherol (Vitamin E), malus domestica (apple fruit cell culture extract), vitis vinifera (grape fruit cell extract), coco-caprylate/caprate†, lysolecithin†, sclerotium gum, xanthan gum, pullulan†, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose†, caprylhydroxamic acid†, caprylyl glycol†, cetyl alcohol, maltodextrin†, hyaluronic acid†, isomalt, sodium chloride, citric acid, biosaccharide gum-1.* = Certified organic ingredient
† = plant derived
Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder
Described as a blurring filter, imparting a soft-glowing luminosity to make the skin look better and brighter. I could not find the full ingredient list on Hourglass nor Space NK, but Cult Beauty had it. The lightest shades are carmine-free but not the darkest ones. The use of Isoparaffin, a mixture of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum that is acting as an emollient, is low-hazard but impurities in the petrolatum can cause allergies. Hourglass does not specify if the petroleum they use is highly refined and cleaned of impurities. Polymethylsilesquioxane is silicone which can increase the ability for other ingredients with smaller molecules to penetrate the skin and make it susceptible to toxins. Polyacrylamide is used as a stabilizer but it is made up of “repeating molecules of acrylamide, which is a strongly suspected carcinogen and has been linked to mammary tumors. The European Union sets limits for the amount of acrylamide allowed in products containing polyacrylamide, but the United States does not regulate it.”
Ingredients: Mica, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Boron Nitride, Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Octyldodecanol, Silica, Benzoic Acid, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Dehydroacetic Acid, Diamond Powder, Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Laureth-7, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylamide, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sorbic Acid, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate. May Contain (+/-): Carmine (Ci 75470), Bismuth Oxychloride (Ci 77163), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891)
The “clean” alternatives: Emani, Alima Pure, Denovo, and Hynt.
All of them contain mica like Hourglass. Mica is the mineral that brings the velvety, illuminating finish. They also give that “airbrushed” effect. Silica is a magnifying powder which has the ability to “blur” texture and soften the skin. You can either opt for effective and minimalistic formulas like the ones from Denovo and Alima Pure or go for more elaborate, sophisticated powders such as the ones from Emani and Hynt beauty which are enriched with botanical oils and organic flower extracts. All of them are weightless and can be worn over foundation or on their own. They are all formulated without artificial fragrance, silicone, parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, phthalates, dimethicone, talc, bismuth oxychloride, and nanoparticles.
Price: Emani $34, Alima Pure $24, Denovo EUR 19, Hynt: $70 (comes in a kit)
Emani: Mica (CI 77019), Silica, Zinc Oxide, Bambusa (Bamboo) Arundinacea Stem Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Powder, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Alaria Esculenta Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Extract, Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Aqua, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)
Alima Pure: Mica (CI 77019) [+/- Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)].
Denovo: Silica*, Mica*, CI 77492*
Hynt: Mica, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch*, White Kaolin Clay, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil*, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil*, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove Bud) Flower Oil*, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Fruit Extract*, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil*, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf*, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Herb Powder*, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Pulp Powder May Contain +/-: Zinc Oxide CI 77947, Ultramarine Blue CI 77007, Iron Oxides: CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499. *Certified Organic
Philip B. Oud Royal Forever shine shampoo
The use of fragrance which appears very high on the ingredient list is already questionable. It is not being disclosed – no mention if it’s coming from essential oils or if it’s artificially produced. Fragrance is a catch-all term that can hide potential allergens and irritants. The formula also contains very little plant extracts, thus it does not feel like a shampoo that stands out from the usual hair salon brands. On the brand’s website, they highlight that they are paraben-free and contain “a time-released botanical delivery system (made with natural Safflower Oleosomes) infuses hair with lasting glossiness, bounce, and the light, seductive scent of pure Oud”. Looking at the list, I can’t say that it is rich in plant extracts. I would not consider this brand “green/clean” especially next to Josh Rosebrook and True Botanicals.
Price: $84 for 22omL
Ingredients: WATER (AQUA), SODIUM COCOYL ISETHIONATE, DECYL GLUCOSIDE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, FRAGRANCE (PARFUM), CARTHAMUS TINCTORIUS (SAFFLOWER) OLEOSOMES, COCAMIDE MEA, GLYCOL DISTEARATE, ACRYLATES CROSSPOLYMER-4, DISODIUM LAURETH SULFOSUCCINATE, SODIUM METHYL COCOYL TAURATE, GLYCERIN, STEARIC ACID, PHENOXYETHANOL, GLYCERYL STEARATE, HYDROXYPROPYL GUAR HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, PEG-100 STEARATE, POLYQUATERNIUM-39, PANTHENOL, LINALOOL, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, HEXYL CINNAMAL, CITRONELLOL, BENZYL SALICYLATE, BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL, LIMONENE, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, AMYL CINNAMAL, ALPHA-ISOMETHYL IONONE, HYDROXYISOHEXYL 3-CYCLOHEXENE CARBOXALDEHYDE, CINNAMAL, CITRIC ACID, SODIUM PCA, HYDROLYZED LUPINE SEED EXTRACT, SODIUM LACTATE, ARGININE, ASPARTIC ACID, PCA, GLUCONOLACTONE, YELLOW 5 (CI 19140), GLYCINE, ALANINE, YELLOW 6 (CI 15985), SERINE, SODIUM BENZOATE, VALINE, ISOLEUCINE, PROLINE, THREONINE, GREEN 5 (CI 61570), RED 4 (CI 14700), HISTIDINE, PHENYLALANINE, STYRAX BENZOIN RESIN OIL, BENZALDEHYDE, BENZOIC ACID, BENZYL BENZOATE, CINNAMIC ACID, CONIFERYL BENZOATE, VANILLIN, IRON OXIDES (CI 77491), MICA, TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891)
Josh Rosebrook Nourishing shampoo & True Botanicals Nourishing shampoo.
The inci lists of Josh Rosebrook and True Botanicals speak volume (no pun intended), They are filled to the brim with botanical extracts and intelligible ingredients most of us are familiar with. If you tend to have dry hair, Josh Rosebrook’s Nourishing shampoo is perfect to beautifully restore and replenish brittle locks. Normal to combination hair will enjoy True Botanicals to the fullest as it is nourishing without feeling overwhelming or greasy. Both contain aloe vera and coconut oil. Aloe vera is excellent at preventing moisture loss while soothing the scalp, while coconut is rich in fatty acids to moisturize, strengthen, and add shine. Green beauty sometimes has this reputation of being elitist and expensive but both shampoos are significantly more affordable than Philip B and they contain a myriad of exquisite and nourishing plant and flower extracts.
Price: JR-$32 for 240ML/ TB- $34 for 240mL
Ingredients Josh Rosebrook: Saponified Coconut oil, *Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Vitamin Infused Water, *Vegetable Glycerin, §Xanthan Gum, *Camelina Oil, *Hemp Seed Oil, *Coconut Oil, *Evening Primrose Oil, *Apricot Oil, *Jojoba Oil, *Grape Seed Oil, *Burdock, *Calendula, *Cayenne, *Chamomile, *Cinnamon, *Horsetail, *Goldenseal, *Lavender, *Flax, *Alfalfa, *Peppermint, *Catnip, *Oregano, *Ginseng, *Rose Hips, *Rosemary, *Sage, *Dandelion, *Thyme, *Linden flowers, *Nettle, Potassium Sorbate, †Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, †Orange Essential Oil, †Rosemary Essential Oil, †Lavender Essential Oil.*CERTIFIED ORGANIC†ORGANIC§NON-GMO PLANT SOURCED
True Botanicals: Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea)* Leaf Extract, Water, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate (From Coconut), Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine (From Coconut), Lactobacillus Ferment, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Sodium Cocoyl Apple Amino Acids, Camellia Oleifera (Tea) Seed Oil*, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Citric Acid (Occurs Naturally In Citrus Fruits), Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate (For Biodegradable Foam Preservation), True Botanicals Fresh Scent** [Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, Viola Odorata (Sweet Violet) Flower/Leaf Extract, Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract], Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Chloride.
What do you think of these swaps?
*Disclaimer: This post is solely based on my opinion and researches. I have personally not tried the non-green versions, and I’m not claiming that the green alternatives would be identical, I can speak for them as I have tried a lot of them. The green switch is not an imperative, you’re free to decide for yourself and my intentions are not to lead into fear mongering, I simply want to highlight eco-conscious brands that have something outstanding to offer. If you enjoy any of the non-green product listed, it’s completely fine. These are only suggestions, in case some people are looking to gradually switch to more gentle and greener alternatives. Some affiliate links might occur (see terms and condition here)
14e cosmetics, alima pure, beauty heroes, Chantecaille, clean edit, clean swaps, denovo, emani, follain, foundation, hourglass, Hynt, Ilia Beauty, josh rosebrook, juice beauty, kypris, make the green switch, Philip b, powder, primer, RMS beauty, shampoo, space NK, true botanicals, vapour beauty, vegan
Green hunter, wellness junkie and pun maker on the website, I’m on a journey towards a kinder and healthier life. @lizthegreenspirit on Instagram.