Why Switch to Organic Makeup?

Why Switch to Organic Makeup?




Have You Been Thinking About Making the Switch to Organic Makeup?




Our Skin is Not an Impermeable Sheet of Plastic


Certain chemicals make it all the way into our bloodstream. Our skin is not an impermeable sheet of plastic. Stuff gets in and makes it down into the bottom layer of the skin where the blood vessels are.

The fact is, much of what we place on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream:


Just think about nicotine and birth control skin patches:


We administer effective doses through the skin to our bloodstream, enabling us to forgo a daily oral pill in lieu of a patch that prevents pregnancy. Or a patch that keeps nicotine in our system without the side effects of smoking, allowing us to wean off of an addiction. While there may be some chemicals that are too large to enter our bloodstream, many are small enough to penetrate.


Luckily even then the body has defense mechanisms which can kick into action, depending on what’s entered your body in the first place. But that doesn’t mean that all chemicals are neutralized though, and some will undoubtedly make it into your bloodstream.

Cosmetics can penetrate the skin to some degree. 

We also now know that enzymes in the skin can activate and inactivate many drugs and foreign compounds as well as the body’s own natural chemicals such as hormones, steroids and inflammatory mediators (Hotchkiss, 1994).  In other words, our skin protects us from exposure to certain chemicals while actually intensifying the effects of others.

And when it comes to lip products, we inadvertently ingest them! For instance, people who wear lipstick regularly consume 1.5 to 4 tubes in a lifetime.



Consumers are Concerned, and Rightfully So



Personal care products over the last century have contained all sorts of ingredients, many beneficial, many superfluous and many downright nasty. There’s a reason that regulators have banned certain chemicals from being allowed in our personal care products.  Image above: Ere Perez (chemical free) Organic Correcting Powder Foundation.


…But Here’s something Disturbing:

Toxic ingredients banned from cosmetics in Europe: 1,300+. 

In the United States: 10. 

What gives?



Ingredients to Avoid

Forms Found in Cosmetics and Possible Negative Side Effects


Thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Found in almost all antiperspirants.

Works by blocking pores so sweat cannot be released by the skin.

Artificial colors

FD&C, derived from coal tar.

For example, Azo dyes are a risk to asthmatics, eczema sufferers and people sensitive to aspirin.

Causes hyperactivity in children, severe headaches, blurred vision and itchy/watery eyes and nose (Antczak, 2001).


Benzoates Benzoic acid, sodium benzoate or parahydroxy benzoate.

Used as a preservative in cosmetics and fizzy drinks.Causes gastric irritation, numbing of the mouth and aggravates asthma (Antczak, 2001).

Certain essential oils

Rosemary is harmful to epileptics.Sage is not recommended for pregnant women.


Causes allergic reactions, irritating to eyes and dries out hair and skin (Fairley, 2001).

Dibutyl phthalate

Found in all persons tested by the CDC (Center for Disease Control, USA) in a 2000 Fall study.

Highest levels were found in women of reproductive age.

Causes birth defects in animals, and damaging to the male reproductive system (ABC News, Internet Ventures 2000).

Used in cosmetics to assist the absorption of other ingredients.


A preservative.

Causes skin reactions.

Imidazolidinyl urea is the second most identified preservative causing contact dermatitis (American Academy of Dermatology: Fairley, 2001).

DMDM hydantoin

Quaternium 15





Can contain up to 200 undeclared substances (Fairley, 2001).

Major cause, in addition to artificial colours, of skin irritations and allergies (Antczak, 2001).

May cause dizziniess, skin irritation and hyperpigmentation (Fairley, 2001).

Genetically Modified Organisms

Soy, Corn

Effects still undetermined.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Drying agent, from petroleum.

Keratolytic chemicals

Such as hydroxyl acids, retinoic acid.

Corrosive, used in skin peels.

Dissolves the stratum corneum of the epidermis (outermost layer), making skin more sensitive to sun damage.

Accelerates production of dead skin cells; the skin thickens to repair its surface so that vulnerable skin cells underneath are protected from the effects of skin peeling.(Antczak, 2001).


Causes allergic reactions and irritations (Fairley, 2001).


Petroleum product.

Triggers skin irritations and may be an xerestrogen (Fairley, 2001).May play a role in falling sperm counts and rising breast cancer rates (Fairley, 2001).Used in 99% of all cosmetics (Fairley, 2001), and in many so-called ‘natural’products.


Derived from petroleum.

In the form of wax, mineral oil or petrolatum.

Comedogenic, i.e.blocks pores.

Propylene Glycol

When derived from petroleum.

Increases the amount of acid in the body, resulting in metabolic problems.

Large amounts are needed to produce this effect (Agency forToxic Substances and Disease Registry or ATSDR, 2003).

Sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate

Forms carcinogenic nitrogen compounds when combined with specific ingredients.

Irritating to eyes, skin and lungs (Antczak, 2001).

Harmful if swallowed and may cause damage to eyes (Antczak, 2001).


Animal fat.

Not suitable for vegans, and may be a skin irritant.


Found in many nail products and nail polish removers.

Produced during the process of making gasoline and other fuels from crude oil or coal.

Evaporates into the air when products containing toluene are opened.

May affect the nervous system, and/or cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, nausea, or loss of appetite.

Symptoms disappear when exposure is eliminated (ATSDR, 2003).



It’s probably best to ask yourself whether you want some of these chemical compounds there in the first place. They may be there in tiny quantities, but that doesn’t make them inherently risk-free.

My personal preference has always been to use beneficial plant-derived skincare and makeup.  If you know what you are using is good for you or even edible, you are generally going to be less concerned about applying your beauty products.




Au Naturale Cosmetics High Lustre Lip Gloss


While it still may not be an exact science, if you consider the ingredients being absorbed and ingested by the body over a life of cosmetic use, absorbing plant oils and waxes certainly seems healthier than absorbing synthetic chemicals and petroleum by-products.



The Benefits of Organic Makeup:


  • Natural and organic cosmetics contain organic vegetable oils and organic essential oils. Vegetable oil is rich in active substances, such as, essential fatty acids, vitamins which have a natural feel and texture; it has a moisturizing effect on the skin;


  • It is better to use organic products on a daily basis especially for skincare and hair care because there is little chance of harsh reactions.


  • Organic makeup does away with experiments on animals and promotes fair trade etc;


  • People with skin conditions and other medical requirements should go for organic products as they are natural and safer than their synthetic counterparts. To be on the safe side, always test for allergies as certain products can react differently on some of us;


  • In case of reactions, they subside very quickly as natural products are much safer than the chemical compounds;


  • It doesn’t contain endocrine disruptors – Endocrine disruptors are man-made chemicals, which mimic, change hormone production or the system carrying them. Many of these endocrine disruptors are found in regular makeup and can be linked to mood swings, hormonal imbalances, fertility issues and even cancer;


  • It’s good for the environment – organic makeup is generally more nutrient rich and tends to contain more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many consumers that are fans of its true environmental benefits look at using organic products as a way of cutting down the amount of pollutants that can enter the body, and


  • It’s widely available and affordable.



The Drawbacks of Organic Makeup


  • The shelf life of organic beauty products is shorter, as they are free of preservatives and lead;


  • Not as many options as are available in mainstream cosmetics;


  • Organic makeup isn’t usually waterproof;


  • No preservatives – If a product is truly made up of ‘all certified-organic ingredients,’ then it does not contain the preservatives that have been developed to keep bacteria and other contaminants from forming in your makeup bottle. These well-understood preservatives ensure your makeup mixes smoothly and lasts longer. There are some ‘natural preservatives’ that do help, but they just don’t work as well, and


  • It’s not safe for everyone – There is a misconception that natural or organic means safe and meant for everyone. However natural and organic ingredients are some of the strongest on the market. Therefore some skin, especially sensitive skin types, can react badly to these ingredients.


Final Thoughts



Au Naturale Cosmetics Swipe-On Essential Eye Pencil


While our skin isn’t a sponge, it’s certainly taking in some ingredients that we apply to our bodies and transporting them further down into the body where they may or may not make it into the bloodstream.

One thing is absolutely clear: it is impossible to put a figure on this absorption rate and it is impossible to estimate how much ends up in our bloodstream. Every person is different and every chemical is different. It is always good to question what you put on your skin but your body’s response will be individual.

Green Meets Glam

Making the switch to organic makeup can help your skin because your skin is not being fed harmful chemicals. For instance, skin problems such as, acne, contact dermatitis, irritations and allergies may disappear once petroleum or synthetic ingredients are removed from your skin care regimen.

My advice to you?

Read your labels, understand what you’re putting on your skin.  Consider a gentler alternative if you want or need one. There’s nothing wrong with being cautious. If you don’t want to use certain ingredients, then look for alternatives.

Ultimately, you are in charge.

If you would like to wear organic makeup, there are some great choices at Amazon, drugstores and department stores.

I purchase my organic makeup at Au Naturale Cosmetics.  They are vegan, organic, paraben free & ethical.  And, importantly,  they make lovely cosmetics:  highly pigmented and refined, and cosmetically elegant.

In particular, I am a fan of their Créme de la Creme Eye Shadow, Eternity Lipstick, and Zero Gravity C2P Foundation.

They have very responsive customer service, and offer samples and free shipping over $50.

You can read their story here.



Eternity Lipstick



Zero Gravity C2P Foundation



Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information on organic makeup.

I welcome your comments below.




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