The Clean Makeup Challenge: Who Says Eco Can't Be Pretty?

The authors of the book, No More Dirty Looks want to clean up your beauty routine

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard that beauty products can be chock full of sketchy chemicals that aren't so great for your health. (Have you been under that rock? No shame. Rocks are cozy. Just head here to learn more.) 

But when it comes to getting potential carcinogens and reproductive toxins out of your cosmetics bag, well, until pretty recently, homegirl didn't have a lot of options. Anyone who has ever used that crystal rock deodorant knows that eco-friendly products don't always perform as well as we'd like.

Enter Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt, co-authors of NO MORE DIRTY LOOKS: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics. They've been scouring the market for toxin-free beauty goodies that actually work and blogging about their finds over at A few weeks ago, they issued the Clean Makeup Challenge:

We want you to go wild with your clean makeup! What does that mean, exactly? It’s totally up to you. Maybe it means putting on eyeliner for the first time in your life, or wearing a bright pink lipstick, or doing a face as bananas as the Black Swan’s. All we ask is that you have FUN with the challenge, and take at least one risk. It’s your going-out face we’re looking for, not your doing-groceries face. You decide what’s bold for you, then take a picture, and send it in.

The results are in -- including yours truly (I'm the last gal in the last row on the right, photo by Jason Falchook).

I'll admit, I didn't go glam-crazy. I come from a pretty minimal makeup background, so wearing two colors of eye shadow (a base color and an accent shade, you say?!) is a big deal. But I glammed it up for me, which means I did wear a full face of clean makeup: Primer, concealer, foundation, blush, two eye shadow colors, eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss. (Clean cosmetic brands that I love: Afterglow, Jane Iredale and Naked.) Whew!

And I wore my clean cosmetics hard -- from first thing in the morning, through a busy day of meetings, and then to a friend's dinner party afterwards. And really, only my lip gloss needed touching up. Everything else stayed more or less where I put it and looked great all day long. Plus nothing wreaked havoc on my skin, the way a lot of pore-clogging mainstream products can do.

I'm still just as happy to go makeup-free on most days. And I'm not saying I'd just say no to a truly waterproof mascara on the occasions where I know I need serious performance. (Though I'll continue to draw the line at permanent makeup or a camera that lets me paint it on after I snap the picture.) But for most girly, getting-glammed-up days, I've had no problem switching over to cleaner cosmetics.

To see how your beauty products stack up, check out the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database.



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