Another installment of Make the Green Switch, I’ve been showcasing alternatives to popular mainstream cosmetics for over two years now and I’m perpetually amazed by how quick the eco and organic industry develops. Making the green switch keeps getting more fun and easier as we go. (Click here to see the past “swaps articles” ). As usual, let me know which products you struggle replacing and I’ll go on the green hunt for you.
Dermalogica Ultracalming serum concentrate
The very first facial I had in my life was from Dermalogica, I must have been 16 at the time. I enjoyed the experience and my skin felt clean and fresh, but when I started taking a deeper interest in organic beauty, I knew that my relationship with this brand would be a shortlived one. Amongst the ‘problematic’ ingredients, we have dimethicone and cyclomethicone which are synthetic polymers, and butylene glycol. Butylene glycol can cause skin irritation. The FDA declares that it’s safe in small doses, but for a product that claims to be ” the antidote for skin sensitivity”, it remains a bit odd for it to contain potentially irritating ingredients. In the middle of the list there’s oat kernel extract which is an excellent ingredient for sensitive and reactive skin, but you’ll see below that Pai’s serum is much more concentrated in oat extract.
Price: $56 for 38mL
Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Clyclomethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Dimethicone, Behenyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Ophiopogon Japonicas Root Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Coco-Glucoside, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Bisabolol, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Phytosterols, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Decyl Glucoside, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 60, Limonene, Linalool.
The alternatives: Pai Skincare Instant Calm redness serum with Sea Aster & Wild Oat
Pai needs no introduction, it’s been touted as one of the safest and most trust-worthiest brands for reactive skin. Oat extract is the third ingredient in the formula. I talked in more details about the oat benefits in my Rivelles review, whose line also uses organic oat extract. (here). Without being too redundant, oat has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is an excellent source of essential and Omega fatty acids. Since it’s #organicseptember, Pai Organic is one of the Soil Association certified organic brands and I’ve loved pretty much everything I’ve tried from their line. Pai is free of synthetics and petroleum-based ingredients and works tirelessly to provide fresh and effective skincare.
Price: £42 for 30mL
Ingredients: Purified Water, Orange Fruit Water, Oat Extract, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Aster Maritima/Tripolium Extract(Sea Aster Extract), Sodium Hyaluronate, Hickory Bark Extract, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil*, Adesmia Boronioides Flower / Leaf / Stem Oil*, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil* , Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Glyceryl Caprylate ,Tocopherol, Lactic Acid, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract* -Naturally occurring in essential oils: citral*, limonene*. Certified Organic by the Soil Association (*Organically produced 79% of product).
Fresh rose deep hydration face cream
When you look at the cream, you expect to find rose at the top of the list, but if you have a closer look, the rose extract is sandwiched between synthetic ingredients. Just like Dermalogica, we find the usual petroleum byproducts and synthetic ingredients (Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Dimethicone etc.). Laureth-7 is a polyethylene glycol-based surfactant which may contain potentially toxic impurities such as 1,4-dioxane and thus become problematic. Last, but not least, the term Parfum or Fragrance is a catchall for hidden chemicals. The brand doesn’t disclose its origin, and we now know that over 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances. Bottom line: not so fresh, Fresh.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Etbylhtxyl Isononanoate, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Caprylyl Methicone, Isostearyl Isostearate, Dimethicone, Behenyl Alcohol, Nylon-6/12, Steareth-2, Xantham Gum, Prunus Domestica Seed Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Algin, Angelica Keiskei Extract, Acacia Senegal Gum, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ammonium AcryloyldimethyItaurate/VP, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Dimethiconol, Laureth-7, Tetrasodium EDTA, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, BHT, Caramel, Serine, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Citronellol, Geraniol.
The alternatives: The Organic Pharmacy Double rose rejuvenating face cream and The Body Deli Crème de la Rose
Whichever you pick, one thing is certain: you’ll get to smell the scent of genuine roses, without any artificial fragrance! Your choice here will depend on your skin type and ingredient preferences, but both are delightful and packed with soothing and skin protecting ingredients. The Organic Pharmacy is aloe-vera- and coconut oil- based, whereas The Body Deli is water-based with an aqueous solution of plant and fruit oils.
Price: 59 Eur for The Organic Pharmacy and $75 for The Body Deli
The Organic Pharmacy ingredients: Aqua (Water) , Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis)*, Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera)*, Sesame Seed Oil (Sesamum Indicum), Jojoba Oil(Simmondsia Chinensis)*, Glyceryl Stearate, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii)*, Honey (Mel)*, Soybean Sterols (Glycine Soya), Rose Hip (Rosa Canina) Oil*, Ceteryl Alcohol, Bilberry (Vaccinum Myrtillus)*, Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica)*, Marigold (Calendula Officinalis) Extract*, Ginger (Zingiber Officinale), St Johns Wort (Hypericum Perforatum)*, Propolis Cera* , Rose Geranium (Perlagonium Graveolens)*, Aloe Barbardensis, Xanthan Gum, Vitamin E (Tocopherol) , Sodium Lactate , Vitamin C (Ascorbyl Palmitate) , Benzyl Alcohol, Glycerin (vegetable)*, Sorbic Acid, Rose (Rosa Damascena)*, Parfum (Fragrance), Geraniol, Linalool.
The Body Deli Crème de la Rose: Antioxidant Micro-Clustered Ionized Water, Rose Damascena Hydrosol, Aqueous Solution of *Rosemary, *Lavender, *Rose, *Nettle, *Macadamia Nut Oil, *Meadowfoam Seed Oil, *Virgin Coconut Oil, Cetearyl Olivate and Sorbitan Olivate (Olive Oil Emulsifier), Shea Butter, Kukui Butter, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), *Olive Leaf Extract, Goji Berry (Lycium Barbarum) *Rose Hip Seed Oil, *Carrot Seed Oil, Brown Rice Amino Acid Complex, *Calendula, *Comfrey, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol), Tocotrienols (Rice Bran), Vitamin A (Retinol Palmitate) – Lecithin Phospholipid Emulsion, Allantoin, Olive Squalane, *Borage Oil, *Evening Primrose Oil, Tamarind Seed Extract (Tamarindus Indica), Lactobacillus/Kelp Ferment Filtrate, Colloidal Oat Flour, Beta-Glucosamine, Citric Acid, Rose Damascena Bulgaria (Otto), Sandalwood, *Rose Geranium, Ylang-Ylang, Zeaxanthin, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate (Natural Preservative System).
Philsophy clear days ahead cleanser
With a promising name like that, no wonder Philosophy sells many of these. It contains salicylic acid to topically clear and prevent blemishes. Clear Days Ahead is considered a “treatment-cleanser”, but it contains petroleum by-products, Butylene and Propylene glycols which can cause irritations and O-cymen-5-Ol which is a preservative I had never heard of before, but according to EWG, it is restricted for use in certain cosmetics with a concentration limit in Japan.
My advice: steer clear of this (pun-intended ha!).
Ingredients: Active: Salicylic Acid (1.0%). Inactive: Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Acrylates Crosspolymer-4, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Panthenol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Jojoba Esters, Disodium Capryloyl Glutamate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydrogen Peroxide, Propylene Glycol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, O-Cymen-5-Ol.
The alternative: Jillian Wright Congested skin cleanser
Jillian Wright takes green beauty to a clinical level: science and nature are absolutely compatible. She’s also the co-founder fo the Indie beauty Expo, one of the most popular green and indie beauty events. I’ve sung its praises many times on the blog, but her congested skin cleanser is a miracle cleanser for oily and blemish-prone skin (well, it worked for me, but it’s really a one-of-a-kind product). Everytime I’ve had to deal with breakouts I reached for it and after a few times my skin would get back to normal. I also used it as a preventive treatment to inflammation at bay. It contains a small amount of salicylic acid as well and the enzymes in the pomegranate provide a mild and natural exfoliation. It contains neem, cranberry, mioinga, pink grapefruit, organge, amaranth protein to relieve congestions, clear the pores, shrink blackheads and encourages skin cell renewal.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium Methyl Cocyl Taurate, Sodium Hydroxypropylsulfonate Laurylglucoside Crosspolymer, Glycerin, Sodium Hydroxypropylsulfonate Decyglucoside Crosspolymer, Sodium Cocoyl Hydrolyzed Amaranth Protein, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Glycol Distearate, 1% Salicylic Acid, Eclipta Prostrata Extract, Melia Azadirachta (Neem) Leaf Extract, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Oil, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Citrus Grandis (Pink Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil*, Cooper Gluconate, Citric Acid, Flavor/Aroma *Certified Organic Ingredient
Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Summer multiglow palette
Just the fact that the ingredients are not disclosed is very telling. It’s thanks to a blogger’s review, who took a picture of the packaging that I was able to see the ingredients. Estee Lauder was one of the brands called out for containing lead, toxins and nanoparticles in their products (in particular their lipsticks). The multiglow palette is made with numerous synthetic ingredients and petroleum byproducts and comes with a hefty price tag when there’s really nothing that justifies that price.
Ingredients: Not disclosed on any websites, but I found a screenshot (here).
The alternative: Nude By Nature Highlighter palette
As soon as it was released, I ordered it as if I was compelled by a spell. I love powder products as they stay on much longer, but I never had a pressed highlighter before. The amazing news is that this one comes in three different shades. I sometimes use the three shades all at once, the darkest (copper) shade to contour, the lightest to highlight and the middle shade on my eyes. Nude by Nature’s mineral highlighter palette contains tapioca starch and kaolin which are great to absorb excess oils, and enriched with avocado oil, shea butter, beeswax, kakadu plum and safflower. Isopropyl palmitate is used in makeup as a binder and has been classified ‘safe’ and is not expected to be potentially harmful (here). I have a huge highlighter round-up in the works, so stay tuned for more sparkle and shine 😉
Price: (AUS) $39.95
Ingredients: MICA, ZINC STEARATE, TAPIOCA STARCH, KAOLIN, ISOPROPYL PALMITATE, SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL, PERSEA GRATISSIMA (AVOCADO) OIL, COCO-CAPRYLATE, JOJOBA ESTERS, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA) BUTTER, GLYCERYL CAPRYLATE, CERA ALBA (BEESWAX), TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, CENTIPEDA CUNNINGHAMII (CEHAMI) EXTRACT, TERMINALIA FERDINANDIANA (KAKADU PLUM) SEED OIL, CARTHAMUS TINCTORIUS (SAFFLOWER) SEED OIL, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) OIL, TOCOPHEROL, POTASSIUM SORBATE, MAY CONTAIN: +/- [C.I. 77491 (IRON OXIDE), C.I.77492 (IRON OXIDE), C.I.77499 (IRON OXIDE), C.I. 77891 (TITANIUM DIOXIDE), C.I. 77947 (ZINC OXIDE)].
What did you think of these picks? Which products are you struggling to replace?
*Disclaimer: This post is solely based on my opinion and 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 a lot 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 some people are looking to gradually switch to more gentle and greener alternatives.