Eye shadow is beautiful, flattering and exciting. It brings out your natural eye color and draws peoples’ gaze to them. It makes you feel less inhibited when you have it on and it shimmers and glows and makes any face look striking and interesting. But it’s still important to go with a natural brand.
So what are the typical ingredients in conventional eye shadows? The answers are varied, but in most cases, the ingredients are materials you should never want on your body, let alone near your eyes. Heavy metals such as nickel and chrome are poisonous and often result in allergic reactions, especially near the eyes, or long-term consequences such as brain damage. Titanium dioxide is a possible carcinogen.
Many dyes and preservatives, such as carbon black and parabens, are linked to organ system toxicity and cancer, as well as being endocrine disruptors that toxify our reproductive systems and trigger early puberty. Formaldehyde, nitrosamine-carrying ethanolamines, retinyl acetate and retinyl palmitate all poison are bodies and are incredibly difficult for us to ever flush out. Overwhelmed yet? Just wait.
These are obviously ingredients that we do not want in our eye shadow, but it’s not always easy to spot them. The ingredients list on cosmetics can be hard to navigate! First, you have to avoid anything with colors that use capitalized letters or numbers to describe themselves, such as Red 40 or LAKE. Second, avoid anything that ends in —paraben. After that, avoid quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, urea, benzalkonium chloride, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, DEA, TEA, MEA, D&C Black No. 2, and a hundred other chemicals. Okay, now I’m definitely overwhelmed.
Many harmful chemicals have multiple pseudonyms and it is nearly impossible to try and keep track of them all. It’s hard to tell if an oil is natural or has been synthesized from petroleum or if a preservative will release formaldehyde in your body or was made with coal tar. As if that wasn’t hard enough, companies can use the term ‘fragrance’ to mean almost anything, sometimes even hiding dozens of additional chemicals there.
Because it’s so confusing, it is best to just stick with brands that are straightforward about their ingredients and committed to harmless products. It makes the hunt for a good product significantly less stressful and much more likely to be successful.
Let go of the anxiety of sifting through dozen-ingredient products and look at a few that come from companies that are committed to honesty, transparency, and ethically clean products. Here are a few of the better choices:
1. The Organic Face
This brand is an eye shadow lovers dream. Three different color sets come with perfectly coordinating shades for versatility and all sorts of potential for drama.
The Organic Face 100% All Natural Quad Eyeshadows is made primarily with mica and rice powder, with thyme, cinnamon, rosemary, lavender, and golden seal root botanicals added for antimicrobial properties and eyelid nourishment.
This product is free of gluten, FD&C dye, petroleum, preservatives, and fragrance! The formula is also vegan and 90% organic, making it great for sensitive eyes, and the company is cruelty-free and never tests on animals.
These three different color palettes go on smooth and silky and can be applied with fingers, a brush, or sponge, all for different effects, and the handy mirror makes it easy to see what you are doing while you work your magic.
2. Au Naturale
If none of those palettes fit your goals, Au Naturale’s Organic Eye Shadow comes in many more shades. An impressive 31 shades grace this line, a shocking number for an organic product.
Even more impressive is the low number of ingredients: Most color options are made with only four! The base is a simple mix of iron oxides, silica, zinc oxide, and mica. This means that the final product is paraben, fragrance, gluten, bismuth oxychloride, nano, and carmine-free! Au Naturale’s products are all vegan, not tested on animals, and made in the USA.
But do they work? Consumers overwhelmingly say yes. The variety is appealing to everyone and none of the shades seem irritating to even the most sensitive eyes. They have a good balance of shimmer and color and are easy and simple to apply. The Organic Eye Shadow is often paired with Au Naturale’s Organic Eye Liner Pencil for a complete package.
If four ingredients are still too many for you, try Omiana’s Loose Powder Shimmer Eye Shadow. They only have two. The Shimmer Shadow is a potent blend of only iron oxides for color and mica for shimmer. It comes in five different beautiful shades. Or if you prefer a shadow without the shine, they have twelve shades of mica-free eye shadow that is made from zinc oxide, non-GMO rice powder, kaolin, and iron oxides. Some shades also include ultramarines. These blends come in a matte loose powder and can be applied with a brush, or mixed for a liquid application.
None of Omiana’s products contain any harmful chemicals (as you can easily see from such a small ingredient list!) and none of them are ever nanosized or micronized in size. This means they do not contain the minuscule particles that so easily find their way into the blood stream, ending up all throughout your body.
Because these brands do not contain all of the endless stabilizing agents and chemical hoopla that the commercial alternatives do, they may not stay in place quite as well. This can be easily fixed by applying an eye shadow base to your skin before applying the powder. This doesn’t have to be a complicated operation, a quick sweep of shea butter over your eyelid will work wonders at keeping the powder in perfect position for as long as you want. And the butter and powder will wash off without any hassle.
So stop putting poisons on your eyes! You can still look glamorous and beautiful with natural products. You can even look glamorous with cruelty-free products! We don’t still need to be making these compromises. There are better products out there.