I have been greening my makeup kit for quite some time now, and I have to admit, after years of working at Genlux as the beauty editor, I had acquired soooo much makeup…and its been hard breaking up with some of it, but I know I had to do it! I feel guilty applying products on people that I wouldn’t use on myself.
In the process of finally greening my makeup kit, I wanted to do a clean non-toxic makeup series where I go through each product and find its most effective clean makeup replacement.
I have searched for products that are effective, have good reviews, and that I believe to be clean and eco-conscious from companies that have high standards and are transparent about ingredients and business practices and try to make the most effective, cleanest makeup products… and its a definite bonus if they are environmentally sound and use charitable practices as well.
With all the green washing and marketing out there, it’s hard to decipher whats actually good and effective, so I have tried to do the work for you, along with testing the products to find what works best.
I’m not saying you can’t keep some of your favorite conventional makeup products, like your favorite lipstick or liner but if you can at least start to swap out a few products for cleaner ones, especially the products you use daily, that is a great way to start!
In this series, I’m going to go through each makeup product and find some great clean non-toxic beauty options for you, along with tips and reviews.
First up in our series is makeup primer. I admit, I don’t use a primer everyday, but I do like it for work and going out at night. Primer helps your makeup stay on longer and controls shine.
The Issue With Primers:
Most conventional makeup primers contain silicon which can be called dimethicone, this is what helps the makeup glide over your face and hold the makeup on. But silicon can actually make your skin look worse over time, it doesn’t let the product absorb into the skin which might sound good, but it forms a plastic like barrier on the outside of the skin and in doing this can trap things under the skin like bacteria, sebum, impurities and could cause breakouts. This also prevents your skin from breathing and disrupts its normal patterns which can increase dryness, cause fine lines and wrinkles.
To avoid this, stay away from ingredients such as cyclomethicone, dimethiconol, and phenyl trimethicone.
- Always moisturize your skin before priming, this helps the primer apply evenly.
- With primer, a little goes a long way, so start with a tiny bit in the center of your face and work it out from there. You can use your fingers if it’s your own face. I like to use the beauty blender or foundation brush when I’m working with clients. You want to apply a light coverage all over the face, make sure you hit all the spots, especially the T-zone where it tends to become more oily. Less is definitely more with this product as it can tend to pile up under foundation if too much is applied.
- Gently pat a little around your eyes and on your eye lids which helps to soften crows feet and counteract redness.
- Now allow your primer to set for a few minutes before you apply your foundation or tinted moisturizer.
- For the best results, you want set everything with a light dusting of powder.
Benefits of Primer
- Primer can make your makeup last longer.
- Make your skin look smooth, and help to fill in lines.
- Can help if you have large pores while making your skin look flawless.
- Controls shine.
- Primer can help control smudging and creasing by absorbing the oils on your lids and also help your shadow to stay on longer.
Our Favorite Primer Reviews
Infused with red wine resveratrol, vitamins and antioxidants to shield from free radical damage. This primer also has light reflective pigments designed to diffuse the look of lines and wrinkles and makes skin more luminous. This is the perfect product if your looking for a more of a luminous completion. It’s free of most of the nasty items we often find in primers and contains no silicon, but yet it still provides a really nice sheer base and feels very similar to the conventional silicon primers.
Ingredient rating: 3 on the Think Dirty App which is good.
This primer is perfect if you tend to have oily skin, it really helps to control the oil and allows your makeup stay on longer, 100% vegan. This primer does feel like a silicone once applied due to the seaweed collagen which helps plump the skin. The mattifying formula minimizes shine and helps keep your complexion fresh, there is a slight scent to this product that comes from the purifying herbs, its slight but not overpowering and actually kind of refreshing. If your a makeup artist this product work’s great on guys.
Ingredient rating: Couldn’t find on Think Dirty or EWG but I checked them out and they are all good ingredients.
This lightweight primer is free of silicones and infused with antioxidants, it also has an age defying serum that help’s illuminate your skin, smooth lines and wrinkles. I love the fact that this is a serum primer, I always love a good multi- use product.
Ingredient rating: This product was not on EWG, so I looked up all the ingredients and this product checks out really well.
This is another multi-use primer that I really like, its actually a three-in-one; moisturizer, sunblock and primer all in one. This primer has won a fair share of beauty awards and is such a great product. Living in L.A., I wear sunscreen year round, so I find myself using this primer all the time, its one of my staple products. Its non greasy, chemical free and offers broad spectrum protection against UVA & UVB rays. When you apply this product you can feel that it protects your skin, it absorbs well and the product on really nicely. I also like that this works well on sensitive skin and is infused with antioxidants like jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, aloe, green tea, and is a non-nano sunscreen (which is good; nano sunscreens are a definite hazard, see my article on the Top 10 all natural sunscreens http://pinkkale.com/our-top-10-favorite-natural-sunscreens/ ). It does take a minute or two to absorb into the skin before you apply your foundation and is a little bit on the thicker side, which I don’t mind, you just need to let it rest on your skin a couple minutes before applying a base.
Ingredient rating: Rated 1 on ewg.org
Vegan, Cruelty Free
Primers that are mostly natural but contain silicon.
If you still are not convinced and want a silicon primer these are great options, they do have silicon but other than that, they check out to be pretty clean.
Its lightweight non-greasy matte gel is vegan, GMO free and works well on sensitive skin. This product does contain dimethicone which is a silicone derived ingredient which is why it goes on so lovely, oh and did I mention it’s vegan! Note that this product also contains lavender, so watch out of you’re allergic.
Ingredient rating: Couldn’t find a rating on this, its pretty clean but does contain silicon.
For some people, this is a game changer, for those of you with darker lids or oily lids, eye shadow tends to glide off your eyes, this eye primer works wonders to combat that. In the past, I used the Benefit lid primer and it worked really well, but I wanted to find a cleaner alternative. At times some of the natural products don’t stay on as well but this product really helps to give your eye shadow good staying power.
This lid primer works really well to hold your eye shadow on, and bonus- it doesn’t cake on your lids. I find that a little goes a long way with this product which is great because it will really last you a long while. Also, it can double as an eye shadow if you are going for a light look. When I was looking online, I found an interesting tip that you can use the lid primer on your under eye as it deflects light away from your eye, you can then apply foundation over the top. This product is vegan and gluten free!
Ingredient rating: 1 on EWG which is great.
I hope you find this article helpful. Please let me know if you have any clean beauty primers that you like? Or any questions or comments.