Giving Up Favourite 'Dirty' Make-up (or not?)

February 08, 2014

Okaaayy... So most of us know (or are starting to realise) that some of the top brands out there that we know and love may not actually be that good or safe for us.

I wanted to look at a few of the make up items that it has been REALLY difficult for me to give up (i.e. I haven't yet) and some that have stayed in my collection longer than others as they are slightly cleaner than the rest.

Sleek i-Divine Pallet (in Au Naturel)

Ingredients: Mica, Talc, Kaolin, Magnesium, Stearate Dimethicone, Paraffinum Liquid, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Propylparaben and Methylparaben, +/- [CI77510, CI 77289, CI 77491, ,CI 77492]. (Suitable for vegetarians. Not suitable for vegans.)

(FYI - all ingredients scored 1-2 unless I mention them separately)

Things I worry about:

Talc - Not a huge concern but rated a '3' by EWG and described as a 'moderate hazard' this is something I will avoid in future, but it is not enough to stop me using a product I already own.

Stearate Dimethicone - Also rated a '3' and with limited data on it - I can't pronounce it, I don't know what it is, do I want it on my eyes?!

Paraffinum Liquid (aka mineral oil) - again another '3' and not enough on its own to completely stop me using the palette but these 3s are all adding up.

Ethylhexyl Palmitate - this is mentioned as being a possible concern for products used round the eyes... erm, like an eye shadow maybe? 

Propylparaben and Methylparaben - We know what these naughty little things are - parabens. Propylparaben is actually rated a shocking '10' out of 10 by EWG because there is 'strong evidence' that it is an endocrine disruptor. It is also an allergen concern with worries about its toxicity and effect on the environment/wildlife. Methylparaben is along the same line but it is rated a '4' or a 'moderate' risk rather than high.

CI 77289 - Scores a 2-4 out of 10. Canada classified this as 'expected to be toxic or harmful' it is a green pigment. These shades are very pigmented so I'm guessing there is a fair amount of this in the shadow.

Things that go in Sleek's favour

This is not tested on animals, a huge pat on the back for any company that can say that. I don't want the scary list above to take anything away from the fact that they made a positive, ethical choice on animal testing.

It's so pretty... It works so well, the shadows go on very nicely, I love the colours, they are easy to use and blend, they last all day, it was very affordable (only £7.99), it has great packaging... I could go on!

What am I going to do?

I am going to keep this until I find/can afford a replacement. My Lily Lolo quad will be a great start but it doesn't have half the colours that the Sleek pallet does.

I will only use it when I really need to and I will pro-actively look for a replacement (suggestions welcome!)

Bourjouis Blusher (Rose Frisson)

It is difficult to find the exact ingredient list for this, I looked on the site for the shop I bought it from but there were no ingredients mentioned. I found a list on another site but this one had Methylparaben in it when the packaging on my blush clearly says 'without parabens' so the ingredients I found must be the old formula. 

From what I can guess (out of thin air) is that this contains a lot of similar ingredients to the eye shadows - dangerous pigments, talcs, etc. As it doesn't contain parabens - which was the worst ingredient in the Sleek make up - I am guessing it isn't as evil as I might have first thought so I am keeping hold of it for now. I think there is some kind of fragrance in there too but I have not reacted to it (yet) so I will let that slip for now as well.

I currently own three mineral blushers. None of them are perfect for me really, I didn't choose any of them individually, they came in kits or collections. One is a reddy colour, one is a browny red colour and one is a bright pink. This Bourjois one is a soft pink and really buildable. I do love this product and I only bought it a few months ago... It will go to a new home soon but not until I have enough clean blushers so that I don't miss this one. 

Bourjouis Eye Shadow (01 - Light)

Same with the blusher - impossible to get a reliable list of ingredients for some reason. This packaging also proudly states 'without parabens' and it doesn't seem to smell of anything so I don't think it has a fragrance. 

I bought this eye shadow specifically to highlight the inner corner of my eye when doing a smoky or dark look. I am not ready to let this one go either, it is the perfect shade. 

I am slightly reluctant to continue using this too freely as I use it in my inner corner so it probably gets in my eye quite a lot.

Not only are these Bourjois items paraben free but the whole brand is completely cruelty free - no animal testing at any stage of the process in either the main laboratories or the out sourced ones.

Avon Colour Trend - Poppy Love

Again, very difficult to find the original ingredient list and I notice the packaging is different now so maybe the formula is. Avon don't test on animals and they don't authorise or endorse third parties to either. They also have a statement on their international site stating that their lipsticks are safe and meet all the FDA and legal requirements.

Hmm... very reassuring. Not.

I have kept hold of this one in case I want to wear a bright red lip. I will look for a replacement eventually but it's not a priority as I rarely wear it.

Rimmel Eye Brow Pencil - 004 Black Brown

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Sorbitan Palmitate, Stearyl Heptanoate, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyglyceryl 3 Diisostearate, Cera Alba/Beeswax, Simmondsia Chinensis Oil (Jojoba), Octyldodecanol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Lecithin, Methylparaben, Propylene Carbonate, Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate.

Well, it's a great start the first TEN ingredients (i.e. the main ones) are completely clean and score a zero on the EWG site. 

Lecithin - this is scored 3-4 but seems to be okay for cosmetics, it is advised against use in food.

Methylparaben - there is that naughty paraben again! Luckily this is only rated a 4 out of ten for toxicity/hazard levels. 

The rest of the ingredients are all okay as well, yay!

So, I haven't replaced this as it is reasonably new and is the result of EXTENSIVE searching for the right shade and general product that I am happy to use.

I am in no rush at all to replace this and I may even re-purchase it! *gasp*

It is so affordable (around £3), it is the right colour for me, it is easy to use and very natural looking. It is easy to get hold of in supermarkets or drugstores.


Some of these I've kept purely to avoid the expense of replacing them although I barely use them.

I'll gradually replace these as and when the opportunity arises.

I wanted to do this post to show you just how bad some of our make up is, but equally how some of it really isn't that bad... when going green pick your battles. I've realised that there is no rush to replace my eyebrow pencil but I also now know that I should avoid using my Sleek palette as much as possible.

Have you got anything that you just can't let go of? Have you got any good suggestions for replacements?

Thanks for reading,

All ingredient information and ratings from: 


  1. I think that's a really sensible approach, it's true that some products are much worse than others and I'm really surprised at how many natural ingredients are actually in the Rimmel Eyebrow pencil! Also quite shocked to find out the rating for propylparaben, it really does make you think about what you're using. Loved this informative post :) x

    1. Thank you very much! I know, I was suitably impressed with the eyebrow pencil, and considering how much of it goes on my skin and he fact that it's not on my actual eyes (like a liner) I'm pretty much happy to keep going with it! So surprising. Yes, propylparaben really shocked me too, I knew parabens were best avoided but did not know the extent of it until researching this post. Thanks so much for reading and lovely to hear from you! Rach xx

  2. I am taking a similar approach to you. I read another blogger's post about having an 80/20 % approach to how toxic your products are. I think that makeup will take me much longer to find the right alternatives x

    1. I certainly think (as I said) that we need to pick our battles, some things really are best avoided - lip products as we ingest them, hair and body sprays as we breath them in, moisturiser as we apply a lot of that on a (twice) daily basis - make up was the last thing I changed, I did skin care, hair care, cleaning products, etc first before turning to my make up, partly because I don't use it that much and partly due to the expense! I think we can get swept up in the fear of it all and get carried away - but I still want to get rid of all those chemicals from my life!! Thanks so much for reading, Rach xx

  3. Luckily for me I found it quite easy to let go of my old makeup...I think if I phased it out too gradually I would've found myself clinging onto stuff so going cold turkey was the only option. I'm still looking for replacements of a few things but have all the basics covered now :) I think your approach is really good as you're not wasting what you have whilst still being aware of what's in it. For your eye pencil (even though it's not a huge concern) I would look into Une's Sfumato Eyes Pencil and their Eyebrow Pencils...very affordable and good quality. As for the eyeshadows, if you're not ready to give up pressed ones it might be worth investing in a z palette or something similar so you can buy individual colours and slowly be able to replace the ones you have.

    Mayah x

    1. To be fair, I'm not actually struggling to find replacements as I've only been buying 'natural' make up for about two months now and found some great stuff, I just struggle with the pain or chucking out something that still works and was purchased within the last six months :-( I hate wasting things.
      I did go cold turkey to an extent - I got rid of the main things as I see it: foundation, bb cream, mascara, eye pencils, etc.
      Thanks for the tips of products to look at, will defo look into the eyebrow pencils. I've seen that Benecos have some and they're not a bad price either, it's just the hassle of searching for the right colour all over again!
      Thanks for reading and leaving a very helpful comment, great to hear from you! :-) xx

  4. Really enjoyed reading this, it just goes to show how important it is to be able to understand ingredients and make your own informed decision on whether to use it or not. I'm gradually replacing my make up, and I don't swap something for organic unless it performs as well as the conventional product - after all, the only way natural & organic beauty is going to get into the mainstream mindset is if it does the job as well as, or better than 'normal' and conventional items x

    1. Thank you :-) I totally agree, we cannot swap something unless it is for a superior option - I've found with skin and hair care, cleaning products, etc generally this is the case, make up too has been fine, mineral make up is amazing, also agree that joe public will not take organic and natural products into their hearts without it being as good if not better than what they use at the moment. The main trouble I have is the price - you don't get any cheap as chips natural brands, you get a few that are reasonably priced though so I support those ones!
      Thanks very much for reading, I've just checked out your blog and followed you on bloglovin so I can keep up with your posts :-)

  5. Loved this post! I'm currently working my way through A LOT of mainstream makeup and am gradually filtering in natural or natural-ish replacements. I agree with you that it is so important to be able to make an informed choice and then at least you are able to learn what you are comfortable using. Skin and hair care were the first and easiest to change. Everyone is different and I would love to start from scratch but I'm not "throwing" my money away by getting rid of everything (i.e I have a lot of eyeshadows). Yes, it was spent on makeup that is not the best for me but at the moment it is all I have!

    1. I think we need to keep it all in perspective - while mainstream make up is not good for you and is not ideal... it is not 'the devil'!! haha! I think hair and skin care has more of an impact and is absorbed more - we don;t remove our moisturiser at the end of the day like we do our make up.
      Luckily I didn't have a huge amount of make up, just two make up bags full - I never liked wearing it much as it felt itchy, heavy and horrible on my skin! Plus it made my eyes hurt, etc. Instead of looking for alternatives I just avoided it! funny how brainwashed we are into thinking there are only the options in Boots and Superdrug!!
      Rach xx

  6. I also just started to replace old stuff with new not-so-dirty stuff. Usually I try to finish the products I already own and I think to cut down the amount of 'bad chemical' is already an improvement.
    Did you try to contact Bourjois or Avon? They might send you a list of ingredients if you ask them (many companies do, not all of them though).
    About the eyeshadow: I think Stearate Dimethicone is some sort of silicone (mineral oil). But if you find a good replacement for the Sleek pallet please let us know! Or for the UD Naked 1... Dr. Hauschkas eyeshadow quad is supposed to be good but not really cheap and just a quad.

    1. I think that is a great way to look at it - you have already paid for the products so you may as well carry them on (unless you start having a reaction which I did with eye liner all of a sudden!)
      I didn't try to contact them because it's a bit of a moot point now, I will use them up and/or replace them regardless I think.
      I've heard that silk naturals do a good dupe:
      but they are US based and I am not so I will have to decide if I want to pay taxes and shipping! They look great though! I may treat myself one day :-)
      Rach xx

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