First of all, before you get angry about your celiac disease and tell me about all of the horrible things that happen to you due to your gluten sensitivity, let's get something straight. Unless you intend to drink your foundation, you do not have to worry. Gluten that is found in makeup is usually used as a binder, and it is used in trace amounts. That fact coupled with the fact that you are not ingesting the gluten means that you are safe.
Many of you will argue with me, I know. To be sure, I spoke to a representative from Beyond Celiac, an organization dedicated to helping people navigate their life with celiac disease and/or gluten sensitivities.
The expert told me that "current research indicates that gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin. People with celiac disease need to be careful with cosmetics that may be accidentally ingested, such as lipstick or if they have open skin legions. If a person with celiac disease develops a skin reaction to a product, it is likely due to a separate, unrelated reaction to an ingredient in the product."
This was music to my ears and it should be to yours, too! One less thing to worry about.
Now on to the whole organic obsession everyone has. I am not quite sure what people are trying to prove by switching over to organic makeup and skin care. As a makeup artist at a beauty counter, I get a lot of requests for natural products. And if one more person — who is wearing leather boots and drinking a Diet Coke out of a styrofoam cup from McDonalds — asks me for organic makeup, I am going to scream.
I really want to know what you hope to achieve by this new mission besides not looking as gorgeous as modern technology would allow you to. All I know is, since this craze began, women's skin has never been drier. Somewhere along the way, people started spreading a rumor that you can just throw away your Chanel Sublimage Night Cream and replace it with coconut oil.
Coconut oil is not a night cream. Sorry.
The person who started this rumor was very misinformed. Now we are all misinformed, and our skin feels and looks like sandpaper. (Well, some of us. These are just my opinions and observations.)
I know that you all watched an episode of Dr. Oz about parabens and chemicals, and now you are determined to only use organic products. But there are some things to consider about this decision. The wearability of most organic makeups isn't great. You might find that the makeup doesn't sit well on your skin, doesn't last through the day, smudges off around your eyes, and doesn't last long in your drawer. This is the trade-off when you rid yourself of modern technology.
I, personally, am not a fan of much in the organic makeup department. The thought of wearing makeup made out of beets and almond oil doesn't appeal to me. I am far too vain for that. I need my makeup to be its best and I need it to last the day, because I don't want to reapply.
I am confused by those of you who choose to wear natural makeup — with mascara made from wheat-grass and coal running down your face — all in the name of being "organic." I know there are several convincing reasons for your choice. Apparently, some of the ingredients used in nonorganic makeup are hurting the rainforests. I am sorry to say, I am not going to walk around looking bad for the rainforests, sorry.
Another concern is that many brands of makeup utilize animal-testing to achieve their perfect formulas. This, I can understand, may be disturbing to consumers.
Also, a few years back, the news alerted us that parabens, used as preservatives in makeup and skin care, were found to be "endocrine-disruptors" that could cause hormone-driven cancers in women.
So — paraben-free makeup that 500 bunnies didn't die for and is made up of mostly natural ingredients — makes sense. Yet we have to choose wisely and not get too carried away. We have a lot to worry about as we are inundated with news articles and social media posts denouncing chemicals and parabens and talc. We want to look beautiful, and yet we don't want to die. It's a real dilemma.
I have found a few great products that are cruelty-free, paraben-free, and made from mostly natural ingredients that actually work! We can use some of these products and feel like we are doing our part for the rainforests, the lab rats, and ourselves.
Maybe we won't be dedicating ourselves to a life of organic hemp and charcoal makeup, but we can sleep soundly at night knowing that we are wearing some pretty safe stuff.
Here are my top five picks:
Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream ($45)
Years ago, Jennifer Aniston announced that she was using this cream and we all scrambled to find it. She was the first celebrity that I can recall who was using organic skin care. Well before it was cool and well before Goop was telling us to live a "clean" life, Dr. Hauschka created this luxurious cream using rose oil and shea butter to hydrate, strengthen, and soothe the skin.
Shea Moisture African Black Soap ($4)
This is an amazing product for a mere $4! I recently discovered this little gem and now my entire family — who are riddled with acne, eczema, and other weird skin ailments — claim to no be able to live without it. It says right on the label that it will help calm and clear "problem skin." It is for face and body and it is completely certified organic.
Too Faced Hangover Primer ($32)
This makeup primer is vegan and cruelty- and paraben-free. It is infused with coconut water and probiotics — two ingredients that "organic people" love! The formula will hydrate the skin while simultaneously smoothing and priming the skin for makeup.
IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact ($38)
This is brand-spanking-new and it is absolutely groundbreaking. This is the first-ever solid serum foundation that is also infused with antiaging skin care ingredients. The coverage is superb, and it protects the skin with SPF 50+ physical sunscreen. The formula will hydrate, make the skin look radiant, and reduce the look of pores and fine lines. It Cosmetics is paraben-free, cruelty-free, and infused with natural ingredients — so it is a win-win!
Chantecaille 3 Mermaid Eye Matte ($95)
OK, this is everything you could ever want in a "feel-good" product. These three eye shadows are gorgeous, water-resistant, and crease-proof. Not only are they cruelty-free — they feature endangered animals like elephants, bees, and lions. Five percent of the proceeds are donated across the three African-based charities supporting the featured animals! Wear these shadows and know that you are looking like a bombshell while simultaneously saving the world.
At the end of the day, we have to find a way to look like Gwyneth Paltrow, not kill animals or rainforests, and not ingest or absorb harmful chemicals and ingredients. It's a hard battle to win. Use these products, and it's a solid start.
Product Credit: Achro Top, Jenni Kayne Pants, Theresa M Lee Ring, Delfina Delettrez Bracelet