As usual on the Green Switch, I’m humbly showing you my picks for 4 popular mainstream cosmetics. I’m trying my best to stay close to the price range/packaging/ingredients/color so that the swaping doesn’t feel like a ‘sacrifice’, so to say. As usual, please let me know your thoughts and/or if there’s a product you struggle replacing.
Nivea Q10 plus day cream
I was watching a video when a Nivea add popped up, showcasing their Q10 collection and I didn’t even have to think twice, because it reminded me immediately of Lavera. Q10 is short for CoEnzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) and is a vitamin-like, fat-soluble substance
present in all human cells which plays a role in cell protection and
production of the body’s energy. Often used in “anti wrinkle” creams, (CoQ10 is known for reducing
UV damage, stimulating healthy collagen production. Nivea’s cream contains a significant amount of synthetics and the amount of ubiquinone is rather limited (highlighted in bold). Also, the term Parfum or Fragrance is a catchall for hidden chemicals. They don’t disclose its origin, and we now know that over 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances.
Price: Eur. 14/£9.99
Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin,
Butyrospermum, Parkii Butter,
,Methylpropanediol, Glyceryl Stearate SE
C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
Sodium Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonate, Synthetic Beeswax,
Dimethicone, Trisodium EDTA
The alternative: Lavera Moisturizing cream Q10
Lavera’s moisturizing Q10 cream has the same properties as Nivea’s plus day cream and look how similar they are packaging-wise too! Lavera offers numerous certified organic ingredients, and is free of mineral oil and synthetics. Formulated with nourishing ingredients (she butter, sweet almond, olive, jojoba and sunflower oils) it’s a thick, rich cream. The CoEnzyme Q10 appears in the middle of the ingredient list. Unlike Nivea, the fragrance listed here comes from the essential oils. While some people are sensitive to essential oils, at least we know where the fragrance comes from.
Price: Eur. 9.99
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Glycerin, Alcohol*,
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate,
Butospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed
Oil*, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf
Juice*, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water*, Melissa Oficinalis
Water*, Rosa Damascena Flower Water*, Ubiquinone, Xanthan Gum,
Hydrogenated Lecithin, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Lecithin,
Lysolecithin, Tocopherol, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols,
Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Fragrance
(Parfum)**, Limonene**, Linalool**, Geraniol**, Citronellol**, Benzyl
Benzoate*** Ingredients from Certified Organic Agriculture ** Natural Essential Oils *** Fair Trade
Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer (SPF 20)
It’s safe to say that the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer appears frequently on glossy pages and videos, because it provides a dewy finish with enough coverage. A lot of shades are also available which is always a good thing. However, I had never paid attention to its formula prior to preparing this post, which resulted in me being quite astounded by the concerning ingredient list. The formula slightly alters depending on the shade you pick, but they all contain parabens. So for that reason itself, it’s a no-go for me, because tinted moisturizers are products that people use on a very regular basis, if not daily. Also, the presence of Octinoxate and Avobenzone is not really reassuring, because when both are combined, the sunscreen won’t provide adequate sun protection as the protection is unstable. Also, I invite you to check out EWG comprehensive report on all the UV filters (here). Octinoxate is a potential hormonal disruptor and is rated 6 (red) on EWG, which is very high.
Price: Eur. 44.00
Ingredients(for Bisque, Caramel, Mocha): Active Ingredients: Octinoxate, Avobenzone – Purified Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Castor Oil,
Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cyclomethicone, Potassium Cetyl
Phosphate, Hexyl Laurate, Dromiceius Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cetyl
PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Polysorbate 60, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene,
PEG-15 Cocamine, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium
Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Methylparaben,
Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sodium Ascorbate, Isopropylparaben,
Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben. May Contain: Titanium
Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica.
The alternative: Ilia Beauty sheer vivid tinted moisturizer (SPF 20)
While I can’t speak for the product itself, you can find online several in-depth reviews. The finish is semi-matte and just like Laura Mercier, it contains SPF 20, but in a mineral form (zinc and titanium oxide), instead of a chemical one. Many ingredients are also certified organic, such as Aloe Vera for extra hydration, and shea butter, sesame oil, avocado, sodium hyaluronate for a moisture boost. White Tea and Rosemary
Extract help combat free radicals. If I’m not wrong, more shades are in the works too, because right now there are only 6 shades availables. In regards to the small silicone presence (dimethicone) in it, I’ve incuded below, Ilia Beauty’s response to that matter (from their Facebook page, 5 october 2014): “we
decided to add a small amount of dimethicone over silica as unlike our
other creams and face/lip products that can be applied several times
throughout the day – foundation and tinted moisturizer cannot. If we
silica the product would only sit on the skin for roughly 4 hours and
then be gone as it is absorbed fully by the skin. We do our best to keep
the products cleaner than other competitors but we also choose to not
sacrifice the performance of the product as in the end many people do
not want to re-apply this type of product every 4 hours. The amount we
use is minimal, and less dangerous than absorbing natural mineral dyes
3-4 times a day. We do wish it could be different but in the end this is
how we choose for it to be.”
Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 12%, Titanium Dioxide 2% – (Sunscreen)
Ingredients: Water (aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract*, Glycerin,
Caprylic Capric Triglyceride, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil*,
Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Olivate, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Persea
Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extract*,
Stearic Acid, Dimethicone, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Methylcellulose,
Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Butyrospermun Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Rosa
Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf
Extract*, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Sodium
Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenethyl alcohol. May
contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI77891), Iron Oxide (CI77491, CI77492,
CI77499).*Certified Organic Ingredients.
Urban Decay Revolution lip gloss
I picked Urban Decay, but this could apply to other lipgloss brands. The Revolution lip are apparently non-sticky, moisturizing with a good color pay-off. I won’t go into much details about the synthetic polymers, but I want to point out the presence of nano silica in this product, because of the potential for nanoparticles of silica to break out of the agglomerates and enter cells. (It’s also currently investigated – read more here).
Ingredients: Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Polybutene, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene
Copolymer, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Diisopropyl Dimer Dilinoleate,
Silica Silylate [Nano], Isohexadecane, Butylene/EthyleneStyrene
Copolymer, Boron Nitride, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isopropyl
Titanium Triisostearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium
Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla/Vanille) Fruit
Extract, Tripeptide-1. May Contain:
CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491/77492/77499 (Iron Oxides), CI
15850 (Red 7 Lake), CI 45410 (Red 27 Lake), CI 45410 (Red 28 Lake), CI
17200 (Red 33 Lake), CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake),
CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 73360 (Red 30 Lake).
The alternative: Modern Minerals Emotive and Invigorating lip gloss
Launched very recently, the lip glosses are divided into two collections: Emotive and Invigorating. Emotive features three shades that are infused with Lotus Wei’s blend of flower essence and crystals. I have B. of Love lip gloss which is a beautiful pink shade and it smells heavenly (here). I can only recommend you to give them a try, because like I’ve said a few times, makeup has never felt more zen. The scent will instantly perk you up.
The second collection, Invigorating, has a plumping effect and is formulated with Algae Extract, Marine Collagen, and Dragon Fruit Extract to make lips look and feel fuller. New to me, is the Swertia Chirata Extract which is supposed to repair and reduce fine lines around the lips. In terms of pigmentation, the lip glosses are not opaque, however the color pay off is great,and they have a beautiful shine. Modern Mineral lip glosses also do not feel sticky at all, which is also why I really love them.
Ingredients: (for emotive) Triiosostearyl Citrate (natural vegetable fatty acids derv.),
Organic Persea Armeniaca (Avocado) Oil, Organic Ricinus Communis
(Castor) Oil, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Organic Helianthus
Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Organic Punica Granatum (Pomergranate Seed)
Oil, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Seed Oil, Brassica
Campestris/Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer (Vegetable Oils deriv.),
Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Esters, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candellia)
Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa)
Seed Butter, Water (and) Marine Collagen, Hylocereus Undatus (Dragon)
Fruit Extract Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) leaf Exrtract,
Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle Extract), Stevia Rebaudiana (Stevia)
Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). Blend of Essential Oils: Citrus Aurantitum
(Neroli) Oil, Matricaria Chamomilla (Chamomile) Oil, Lavanda Officinalis
(Lavender) Oil, Rosa spp (Rose) Oil, Camellia Japonica (Camellia)
Flower Essence and Pink Tourmaline gem essence. May contain: Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (Cl 77891), Iron
Oxides (Cl 77491, Cl 77492, Cl 77499), Red 6 Lake (CI 15850), Red 7
Lake (CI 15850) and Manganese Violet (CI 77742).
Tom Ford lips & Boys “liam”
I couldn’t find the ingredients, which is never a good sign, except on a few blogs so I linked to a picture of the ingredients (here), and as expected the lipstick is filled with synthetic polymers. Tom Ford Beauty is owned by the Estee Lauder group. Estee Lauder has been known for using certain ingredients now known as carcinogens, and Estée Lauder has not signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, which calls
for the removal of cancer-causing ingredients from personal care
products. So even if I couldn’t find a specific alarming ingredient on Tom Ford’s lipstick, it’s still preferable to opt for an alternative, especially when there’s a great match 😉
The alternative: Ilia Beauty lipstick “Ink Pot”
I checked numerous swatches and Ink Pot genuinely seems like the green version of the shade “Liam”. I could rave about Ilia lipsticks for hours, and I can guarantee you that you won’t miss your conventional lipsticks if you try Ilia. They formulated with a blend of organic ingredients (Jojoba oil,
Cocoa Butter, Rose Hip Oil, Aloe Leaf Juice and Vitamin E), which provides a dense and creamy texture. Ilia Beauty lipsticks are amongst the most hydrating lip products I’ve tried. Ink Pot is what purple dreams are made of, it’s bold, yet flattering and it doesn’t bleed. It’s opaque and matte and for a long time, this shade was actually sold out, a testament of how popular it is. (more details about Ink Pot on the blog here)
Price: Eur. 28/$26
Ingredients: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed
Oil*, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis) Seed Oil*, Helianthus Annuus
(Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Beeswax (Cera Alba)*, Triisostearyl Citrate,
Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed
Butter*, Manihot Esculenta (Tapioca) Starch *, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf
Juice, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit
Oil, Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol. May Contain:
Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide (CI 77499, CI 77492, CI 77491), Red 7
CI15850, Red 28 CI45410, Yellow 5 CI19140. *Certified Organic Ingredients.
What are you thoughts? Any products you struggle to change?
post was based on my opinion and my 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, because I have tried almost all of them. I’m not making the green
switch an imperative, you’re free to decide for yourself. If you enjoy
any of the non-green product listed, it’s fine. These are only suggestions, in case there are some people looking to gradually switch to more gentle and greener alternatives.
Green hunter, wellness junkie and pun maker on the website, I'm on a journey towards a kinder and healthier life. @lizthegreenspirit on Instagram.