Earth Day Special: Gingerrama’s Green-ish Lists (2011)

(April 2011 version; see also: updated ’12 version)

There will be a counterpoint tomorrow, to balance things out: a long post–more of an essay, really– on greenwashing.

“Skincare” is treated holistically: face, body, hair, also some toothpaste. “Cosmetics” is everything decorative, ornamental; not strictly necessary to life, but enhancing it (and oneself). Quicklinks:

  1. SKINCARE (I): MAIN NO-SCENT LIST
  2. SKINCARE (II): THE “OK” BUT NOT SCENTLESS LIST
  3. SKINCARE (III): THESE EXIST, AND ARE +/- GREEN, BUT I’LL HAVE NO TRUCK WITH THEM
  4. COSMETICS

Caveats:

  • May be more or less acceptable, depending on one’s definitions of green-ness.*
  • I have skin that’s more towards the sensitive and irritable end of the spectrum, drier, some allergies, and eczema (currently under control, but there for life). This limits what products I can use (natural or otherwise).
  • Most of those below are fragrance-free, unless indicated otherwise.
  • I pick and choose products from different companies, brands, and lines on a case-by-case basis. And would always recommend going product by product, individual by individual, and never advocate a whole-line approach (unless someone has an OCD and this is part of their condition-management and/or treatment).
  • This is not a total and comprehensive list. It’s just what I’ve tried, test-driven for a longer, and/or used. There are also lots and lots and lots of greenlists online, of various shades of green, and all shapes and sizes. There are many that are heroic attempts to collect together names of companies that don’t test on animals, that use organic ingredients (whatever the cut-off points are on both of these, dates for the former, percentages for the latter…), etc. My lists are practical rather than abstract–used and abused in the real world on this real skin, rather than collating information in theory/on paper.
  • This list is, indeed, very far from comprehensive. There are lots of green companies out there, and greenish ones, and green lines from bigger players (and of course greenwash too from all these categories too). New stuff appears all the time on Etsy: individual craftsmen, mom & pop artisan outfits, small handmade businesses, niche specialists (with, as ever, both praise for the artisanal and quality, and warnings about health & safety & quality control). So besides seeing what’s in the shops, and from the usual suspects (grandaddies like Dr.Hauschka and Weleda), do look there and online. This is where the MakeupAlley Green board is a very useful resource, as people on there will often ask about companies they’ve just found online and never heard of before. It’s usually there that I hear first about new green beautification stuff; some of my older reviews will be posted up on this blog, but all of them and all my new ones and discussion will be over on that board and in MUA product reviews.

* I’m including here some brands that are cruelty-free and use sustainably-produced ingredients, and plant-based as far as possible, but that also use mineral oil and petrolatum; super-squeaky-green people would dismiss, reject, and possibly be horrified… this being my own personal decision and policy as an ethical consumer. I’m not OCD about organic (don’t spank me!!!). Though as you see, a lot of the brands I use are organic, or use a lot of organic ingredients. I do buy organic and local for FOOD (or, if not possible, organic plus sustainable and fair-trade). Very important! At least as important as topical application!! More into cruelty-free, sustainably-sourced, environmentally-responsibly produced, and fair-trade/equitable labour & human rights. Which often coincide or intersect with organic. And I’d rather spend less money on something that works (and is cruelty-free, and satisfies as many of the other criteria above as possible) then donate more money straight to charities and other active/activist organizations–rather than spending more on organic.

They’ll have an * next to them in the list below…

SKINCARE (I): MAIN NO-SCENT LIST

  • A-Derma* cleansing bar, skin care cream, and exoméga line (moisturisers, shower oil)
  • Alaffia (shea butter)
  • Alba UnPetroleum balm
  • Allergenics (UK): skincare basics and shampoo, designed for sensitive skin and more severe conditioner such as eczema. Outstanding lotion and emollient cream.
  • Aura Cacia oils
  • Avalon Organics olive & grapeseed unfragranced range: body wash, moisturising lotion, shampoo, and conditioner (strongly recommend the latter two)
  • Avène* skin repair cream/cream for intolerant skin, soothing eye cream, tolérance extrème line, trixéra line, water spray
  • Badger balm comes in an unscented version
  • BalmBalm unscented balm
  • Barefoot Botanicals (UK) SOS Botanicals range: cleanser, moisturiser
  • The Body Shop Aloe Vera line
  • BurnOut Eco-Sensitive Clean & Clear sunscreen
  • California Baby: some unfragranced products
  • Clinique* (cruelty-free, using increasing amounts of plant-derived ingredients, in process of greening-up: one of the grandaddies of sensitive-friendliness)
  • Derma E: a few products ex. pycnogenol eye gel
  • Desert Essence jojoba oil
  • Dr Bronner’s castille soap, both the bar and liquid sorts, unscented version; not moist enough & pH off to use (on me) as a cleanser, can be mixed with other things (ex. oil)
  • Earth Science: fragrance-free almond & aloe moisturising lotion, unscented body & massage lotion, fragrance-free shampoo & conditioner
  • Elave* (Ireland/UK): designed for sensitive skin
  • Eucerin*
  • Everyday Shea unscented body wash: one of my tip-top multi-tasking marvels
  • Garden of Wisdom (online): several finished products and loads of raw ingredients, such as oils and hydrosols
  • Green People (UK): unscented range for sensitive skin
  • Jason fragrance-free bath and hair ranges: I actually prefer their (not fragrance-free) aloe vera stuff
  • John Masters Organics sunscreen.
  • Lafe’s: deodorant (crystal/mineral rock solid and spray version)
  • Lavera Neutral and Babies & Children Neutral lines: wash, shampoo, moisturisers, oil, sunscreen (the spray one)
  • Lotioncrafters (online): especially raw ingredients
  • Marks & Spencer*
  • MountainRose (online): especially raw ingredients
  • NatureClean (Canada): cleansers, moisturisers, hair stuff
  • NOW oils
  • L’Occitane: plain shea butter
  • Paula’s Choice: cleansers, moisturisers, shampoo, conditioner
  • Sainsbury’s*
  • ShiKai: the borage dry skin range (various moisturisers)
  • Silk Naturals (online): some products
  • Simple*: washes, moisturisers (hair stuff not moist enough), new derma-line
  • Tautropfen (though their less- and non-fragranced items are harder to find in North America: online …)
  • Terressentials: washes, moisturisers, hair stuff
  • Trilogy rosehip seed oil, eye contour cream
  • Urtekram: unscented washes, moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant
  • Vanicream* : cleansers, moisturisers, hair stuff, stellar sunscreens
  • Waitrose*
  • Weleda Almond line
  • Whole Foods own-brand 365: wash, body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, baby wipes

+ [sorry, this bit is rather stream-of-consciousness…] straight-up unrefined etc. shea butter (ex. Alaffia in WF) for eye cream, and various oils (mainly from the cooking-oil aisle, also cosmetic, though food-grade is made to a higer standard). Oils for: make-up removal, sunscreen removal / precleanse, serum-moisturising, body-moisturising, etc. If sensitive, rec. hazelnut, safflower, sunflower, sweet almond, rice bran, possibly jojoba. Dryer–avocado, coconut, macadamia, meadowfoam, olive, sesame. Oilier–grapeseed. Oils and other ingredients/DIY materials: no brand loyalty, some from cosmetics aisle, some from cooking (ex. sunflower, safflower). There’s quite a lot of online sellers of ingredients and finished products: many on etsy.com, and see also drugstore.com, gardenofwisdom.com, iherb.com, luckyvitamin.com, upurea.com, vitacost.com, and well.ca.

SKINCARE (II): THE “OK” BUT NOT SCENTLESS LIST

The following have at least some products that are OK on me, but do contain essential oils. Many are technically “fragrance-free” in terms of not containing any extra fragranced ingredients, that is, ingredients included for the purpose of scenting the product. As opposed to ingredients already in the product for functional reasons (ex. rose petal derivatives), which may also just so happen to give the product a scent.

Usually–unless skin very stressed, sensitised, full-blown eczema–my skin and nose can take some scent. I’ve tarted up hair stuff with those EOs that are OK on me even at the worst of times. Neroli/sweet orange flower water added to the shampoo. DIY oil blend (not neat, in jojoba oil) added to the conditioners: 70% neroli, 10% rose, 20% sandalwood. Mixed together and added at under 1% concentration (about 2 ml–under 1/2 teaspoonful–for 325-350 ml). Chamomile and calendula/marigold are also OK (on me).

  • ABBA hair stuff: the Gentle stuff and the very mild range for coloured/dyed hair: OK but not wowed
  • A’kin: hair stuff
  • Apivita
  • Aubreys Organics Vegecol & Rose & men’s skincare lines, the GPB conditioner, men’s deodorant and scents, and the B-5 styling gel (which can be used as a defrizz thing like Phytodéfrisant)
  • Aveda unscented bosy and hair care: haven’t seen for years, last time I did they had some EOs (but so little as to be near-scentless); intended for you to mix in your own individual scent blend, but could be bought as they were
  • BalmBalm rose-scented balm
  • Barefoot Botanicals (UK): rose line, cleanser and moisturisers
  • Beauty Without Cruelty: the grandaddy of them all (but fragranced & reactions to their skincare, which has too much lavender for my skin)
  • The Body Shop: some of the Wise Woman, Vitamin E, Hemp, and Organic lines; the peppermint foot stuff; some of the body butters; honey lip balm
  • AnneMarie Börlind: ZZ Sensitive and LL Regeneration lines
  • Burt’s Bees: some of the Baby and sensitive milk/oat stuff. Though bad habit of throwing lavender around, so watch out for that. Nice baby powder.
  • California Baby
  • Caudalie: great eye creams, other producs woe
  • Clarins*: some good eye creams, very good sensitive skin care line (white, pink-peach lids), and some of the few scents I can wear (Eau dynamisante, Eau ressourçante)
  • Crabtree & Evelyn*: goat milk “swiss” range, jojoba body range, rose stuff, lily of the valley scented range
  • Derma E vitamin E cream, avocado & e cream
  • Desert Essence essential daily moisturising cream
  • Dr.Hauschka: very variable–reactions from skin range from delight to hair-raising horror; like the rose cream light, eye contour balm, eye cream, rose-scented body powder, other body stuff
  • Earth Science: ADE creamy cleanser, men’s aftershave balm, deodorants
  • Ecovert hand wash, shower
  • EO hair stuff: the rose range, and the chamomile & honey
  • Faith In Nature especially hair stuff
  • Giovanni hair stuff: my hair dried out, and had some scalp and neck irritation.
  • Hugo: hair stuff
  • Jason Aloe range, and look at their small pots of cream, balm, etc.– ex. the vitamin E cream. Also, excellent SLS-free touthpaste (best I’ve tried), available in various flavours and fluoridated or fludoride-free flavours: PowerSmile and Seafresh
  • John Masters Organics: Bare range, no added fragrance but does contain some EOs. Excellent body wash and lotion; will be testing out the shampoo and conditioner. The skincare tends to be too fragranced for me, but nicely formulated.
  • KIBIO: new plant-based, organic, etc. brand made by Clarins (under their umbrella, operating semi-independently)
  • Kiss My Face fragrance-free soap and moisturiser (usually with body stuff): the least awful of their stuff, but not EO-free. KMF are, alas, mostly heinous offenders against the sensitive nose and skin, though.
  • Klorane* Oat Milk hair stuff: OK but hate smell; left hair a bit too tangled for my tastes, but nice on scalp
  • Korres (this is a drugstore brand, cleverly marketed and sold in North America as higher end; some very similar products in UK & French supermarket own-brand ranges, heheh… ): the yoghurt and rose ranges. I used to put this in category THREE below, because the remarketing and price mark-up outside Greece are outrageous.
  • Lavera Basis line, some of the Aloe and Rose skincare lines; the Basis and Rose hair stuff is highly recommended, also the Basis cleansers and moisturisers, and the Almond shampoo
  • Living Nature
  • Marks & Spencer has plant-based green lines, good stuff and well-priced; one of the flagship greening-up companies in the UK, one of the first to use fairtrade organic cotton (cosmetic stuff and clothing), etc.
  • Melvita: lovely. That is all. Just lovely. Everything I’ve tried and used. Alas, not very available outside France.
  • Mosqueta’s: ditto; last used in Ireland. Good rose-based line.
  • Nature’s Gate hair stuff: the Hemp, Aloe Vera, Herbal and Jojoba ones are the least scented
  • Naturopathica: some good stuff that’s nice and simple, but overpriced
  • Neal’s Yard: variable results, much is too scented for me
  • Nivea*
  • NutriBiotic NaPCA cleanser
  • Nuxe: eye creams (contour des yeux prodigieux, nirvanesque, and the new bio one), bio organic range, crème fraîche de beauté (various densities: lovely stuff…), rêve de miel range (lip balm, hand cream, intensive balm)
  • L’Occitane: shea hand/body wash and lotions and creams, almond shower oil, baby stuff, hand cream, cuticle cream, olive hair stuff, men’s scents (deodorant etc.); the face stuff is usually too fragranced for me, the least–and otherwise least sensitive-unfriendly–being their immortelle range, buriti do pará sunscreen veil; some like the cotton & shea range that’s targeted at sensitive skin (I reacted).
  • Ojon: overpriced but decent haircare
  • Organic Apoteke
  • Origins
  • Pai: perfectly nice, but overpriced
  • Phyto*: love but not always love for their scents, nor for their prices. Phytojoba, Phytolactum, Phytoneutre shampoos; Phytobaume conditioner OK (not worth the money); Phyto 7 and 9 good leave-in conditioners; Phytodéfrisant my favourite defrizz and generally conditioning thing ever.
  • Pratima: neem rose sunscreen
  • REN: tested some stuff out: overpriced for what it is, for those products I can actually use. Never bought any. With less sensitive skin, you might do better. Over to you. Lovely packaging, though 🙂
  • Sainsbury’s: has plant-based green-looking lines, good stuff and well-priced
  • St Ives*
  • ShiKai hair stuff
  • Silk Naturals
  • Simple*
  • Sophyto
  • Tautropfen
  • Terressentials
  • Tisserand almond range
  • Trilogy: the original range, everything balm, hair stuff; not the very gentle (sensitive) or age proof lines, and not the sunscreen
  • Urtekram: body wash and lotion, excellent hair stuff especially the aloe vera, chamomile, and and rose lines
  • Waitrose: plant-based green-looking lines, good stuff and well-priced
  • Weleda Baby Calendula line, some of the Iris and Rose products, cold cream, everon lipbalm, pomegranate hand cream, skin food cream
  • Yes To Carrots*: some products (patch-test results variable, several reactions, never ending up buying any of their stuff)
  • Yves Rocher Culture Bio (some controversy on ethical status of parent company; this line is sustainable and organic)
  • Zia

SKINCARE (III): THESE EXIST, AND ARE +/- GREEN, BUT I’LL HAVE NO TRUCK WITH THEM

Reservations, or else useless or counter-productive on me: with most I’ve had reactions, all are simply expensive, and for some while they tested out as non-reactive on me, they seem to do no more (on me anyway) than cheaper stuff with similar main/active ingredients. I see no immediately directly practical reason to buy something if there’s a cheaper equivalent that performs the same job and does it as well. But different strokes for different folks. That having been said: let’s call a spade a spade: I call this “overpriced crap”. With at least some suspicion of manipulating prices to what the green/guilt-prone/purist “my body is a temple” markets will bear. On which, more tomorrow, in the greenwashing post…

  • 100% Pure. Many love their stuff, but I’ve had nothing but irritation from the skincare. The makeup is a different story.
  • Bliss (I can’t remember if they’re cruelty-free or not, but crap with insanely hilarious marketing claims: refuse to buy on principle)
  • Boscia (reactions)
  • Decléor (reactions)
  • Dermalogica (reactions: everything except the SuperSensitive sunscreen)
  • Devita (sorry… looks nice on paper, irritated the heck out of me, and pricey)
  • Druide (reactions)
  • Ecco Bella (though they make a lovely mascara and cake eyeliner; skincare useless on me)
  • Éminence Organics (much is OK but like a lot of other stuff out there; overpriced)
  • Fresh (reactions)
  • Josie Maran (irritation, reactions on some products)
  • Juice Beauty (irritation, overpriced)
  • Juice Organics (irritation, overpriced)
  • Jurlique (some is OK but like a lot of other stuff out there; otherwise irritation; overpriced)
  • LUSH (highly irritating)
  • Marie Veronique (reactions)
  • Miessence (much is OK but like a lot of other stuff out there; overpriced)
  • Mychelle (much is OK but like a lot of other stuff out there; overpriced)
  • Ole Henriksen (reactions)
  • Pangea (reactions)
  • Suki (reactions, overpriced)
  • Tarte (irritation)

COSMETICS

Many on this list are really FYI: I wear little makeup, partly as I can’t be bothered, partly as I don’t need it (excuse smug moment and little happy dance), partly as very few companies make stuff that’s anywhere near the same shade as my skin, and partly as this is one of my biggest areas of skin reaction.

I’ve indicated with a ✓ those that have a decent range of colours to suit a goodly range of naturally-occurring human carnations. Redhead-appropriate, most obviously and selfishly; but all those that cover the ginger end of the spectrum tend to cover the rest of the spectrum too. Most of those listed below do redhead-suiting lippies and blushers.

I do, however, wear mascara and eye liner every day, have worn mascara every day for 25 years, and have tried and tested quite a lot of those available on the market over that time… Note to self: remember to post about mascara.

  • 100% pure: good eyeliner, barely-OK mascara (smudgy and goes off fast)
  • ✓ Alima: especially foundation
  • Almay have a more-or-less organic line
  • Aubrey Organics (no use for pale redheads though)
  • Aveda mascara, lipstick; less luck on their face slap
  • ✓ Bare Escensuals (meh, and bad irritations, except the mascara)
  • Beauty Without Cruelty: makers of the only good waterproof “green” mascara. And one of the few that’s any damn good as a mascara. Like, being waterproof.
  • The Body Shop: cruelty-free makeup brushes; makeup less exciting, though for fans of mineral stuff, they have that.
  • Boots Natural Collection/Botanics (different names in different countries): I’ve used many things from them over the years, all excellent, and bargainaceous. While this range and the rest of Boots cosmetics and skincare are cruelty-free, the company as a whole is not (still testing for the pharmaceutical/medical/serious drugs end of the business; over to you how you deal with this difference in approach.
  • Dr.Hauschka: others love; I loathe–irritating and over-priced; the mascara was particularly heinous: smell, shite brush, lumpy, irritation. Face stuff has been useless on me. Weak colour range.
  • AnneMarie Börlind: not used in years–last used lipstick and mascara; shades pulled towards the orange
  • Couleur Caramel: mascara
  • Ecco Bella: mascara, eyeliner (little cakes, can be used as liner or shadow)
  • EcoTools: cruelty-free sustainable etc. makeup brushes
  • Éminence Organics: no use on me, irritation, but it’s green so on the list it goes…
  • Fresh: nice mascara, but dries up fast; some pretty things; also alas some irritation
  • Fyrrinae: fabulous coloured things (eyeshadow, etc.)
  • Gabriel: good mascara
  • Honeybee Gardens: mascara (tolerable but no great shakes: too runny and smudgy)
  • Jane Iredale: decent lipsticks, poor face stuff; pulling on the yellow for both
  • Josie Maran (meh, overpriced meh at that)
  • Korres: overpriced (outside Greece) for what they are; fabulous blusher and lip things; mascara unimpressive, but many like it
  • Lavera: good mascara (though slight scent), terrible skin stuff
  • Lipstick Queen: lipstick, oddly enough
  • Miessence
  • NVEY Eco: good all-round
  • ✓ Origins: self-sharpening eyeliner, fringe benefits mascara
  • Physicians’ Formula (yep, in drugstores!): OK organic mascara–tolerable–and some of the face stuff; issues with redhead-appropriate colours
  • Reviva Labs: fabulous mascara–one of the most smudge-proof and long-wearing, whilst leaving lashes light and fluttery, yet not too fluttery as they stay in place (none of that cross-lashed look)
  • ✓ Silk Naturals: perfecting powders, blushers, eye shadows, lipsticks–largest range of lippies around, I think. And cheap.
  • ✓ Stila
  • Tarte: some nice stuff, including mascara, but overpriced compared to better out there
  • Too Faced: not thrilled
  • ✓ Une: NEW NEW NEW–watch this space–not yet (I think) on shelves in North America. Affordable; from the Bourjois-Chanel group. Tested some out when last in the UK: good.
  • Youngblood: massively overpriced, not good on redhead-appropriate colours, pulling too warm
  • Zuii Organics: no luck, but organic and in many WFs.
  • ZuZu Luxe: mascara

I would also recommend at least looking at the following, which don’t usually feature on green lists, but do tick a lot of green boxes. Count them as more or less in the * category. Cruelty-free and sensitive-friendly,  for starters:

  • Annabelle 
  • Barry M: it’s all fab; might even be the quintessence of fab
  • ✓ Bobbi Brown: eyeliner especially; bonus points for suiting all human skin colours, including redheads
  • ✓ Bourjois: not fragrance-free, but much very decent stuff, and des prix démocratiques. Limited colour range, but includes many that work on redheads; also, the little round pot blushers (Lune d’or, Lilas d’or, Rose d’or, Rose de jaspe), lovely baked eyeshadows
  • ✓ Chanel (their parent company; ditto on fragrance and decency): very nice blushers
  • Clarins: eye things, especially the double fix’ mascara
  • ✓ Clinique: especially mascaras (Lash Power, Naturally Glossy)
  • ✓ Cover FX
  • E.L.F.
  • Essie
  • Hard Candy: excellent cruelty-free and vegan credentials, plus street cred; fab stuff
  • ✓ Laura Mercier
  • Lise Watier
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Maybelline especially some mascaras (Full & Soft, Lash Discovery, and both especially in their waterproof versions too) and the gel eyeliner
  • OPI
  • Revlon: especially nail varnish; one of the very first companies to go Big Three Free
  • Rimmel
  • ✓ Smashbox: ditto as for Hard Candy
  • Urban Decay: ditto as for Hard Candy
  • (meh from me, and irritation, but many like)
    • Avon
    • ✓ Bare Escentuals
    • ✓ Bare Minerals
    • BeneFit: mixed bag. I remember when it was very new and shiny and different, but that in the last century; there are now many brands that do the same sort of stuff, better, and cheaper. Still: creditable mention–like Just For Redheads–for pioneering activities. And for some hilarious product names. And for combining the funny with the frivolous, keeping cute on the canny/clever side of kitsch…
    • ✓ Cargo
    • Chantecaille (outside conscionable budget)
    • Estee Lauder (it’s so frumpy!)
    • ✓ Just For Redheads (online): a meh from me, dislike their mascara, but redhead solidarity!
    • ✓ MAC 
    • Marcelle
    • Mary Kay
    • ✓ MUFE aka Make Up For Ever
    • ✓ NARS
    • NYX
    • Prestige
    • ✓ Pur Minerals

Image at top: Google

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