Green Foundation Follies

kohgendoI began greening my makeup and beauty routine by reading lots and lots of blogs. Based on what I was reading, I thought finding a green mascara would be the hardest part. Not for me. I found and really like Pure Anada mascara, a brand I learned about on (see review here). I like Tarte’s Amazonian Clay mascara a lot too (though some may deem it not clean enough). This means I have two solid mascara options to go back to and a few others out there to try. Lipstick was easy peasy. RMS and Ilia dominate my growing clean lippie collection and I have not even been tempted to stray from them! (Reviews herehere, and here, oh and there are a couple new Ilia reviews forthcoming.) And greening my skincare has been pretty easy too. There are so many skincare brands to explore and these brands are rivaling luxe brands in ways that green makeup has not (in my experience thus far).

So back to makeup. I really wanted to go clean with lips and foundation first. My thinking was, I was probably ingesting lots of gunk when wearing dirty lip products and foundation accounts for the largest surface area makeup-wise. I wish my foundation search had been as fun and easy as lipsticks, but it hasn’t been. I have tried clean foundations in the form of: loose powder (1 brand), mousse (two brands), stick (1 brand), cream (1 brand), and liquid (1 brand). Thank goodness for sample programs (although I do have full sizes in 3 of these). I had the best experience with Alima Pure, but I really do prefer a liquid or cream foundation. I really thought Kjaer Weis would be the answer, but I think that foundation works well with a certain skin type–just not mine (review here).

As time (and products) went on, I started feeling less than great about how I looked. Each time I went to the ladies room during the work day, it reminded me how much better my makeup used to look. I love makeup and the point is to boost how I feel by making the most of my features. I wanted to go back to feeling good about my face. So I am on hiatus from green foundations. I am currently using Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation. I had come across it in an article about Jessica Alba’s natural make up choices. The company states it uses no artificial colors, fragrances, petroleum-based mineral oil or parabens.

The KGD also not something I would normally choose. I like matte medium to full coverage foundations. However, this light to medium HD product is loved by makeup artists and fans and I am now on board too. The finish is on the sheer side and a bit glowy—very your skin but better as opposed to your flawlessly made-up skin. It is a light to medium coverage foundation that contains a SPF of 15 (note: I haven’t noticed flashback in photos). I use about 2 pumps and apply with my fingers then blend with a Real Techniques Buffing Brush. It feels light and blends effortlessly. It doesn’t settle or become visible in pores. It doesn’t much of a scent. It lasts about through the workday and holds on to powders/blushes pretty well. In short, this stuff has me liking my makeup again. And that is why this blog is green-ish. This is a process and being happy is part of it. Who knows? At some point, I will resume my search for a clean foundation. But for now, this is working for me. So anyone with recos for a clean liquid or cream foundation that has a matte to natural finish and pretty good lasting power should chime in!


Taking a Powder: Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation


Despite getting sucked in by infomercials for mineral foundation–all the swirling, tapping, buffing–I have never been tempted to buy any. Loose powder is messy. Liquid and cream foundations are just easier. Right? Except that I now use a loose powder mineral foundation. Yeah, no one is more surprised than me. It’s Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation (not sold on tv, or at least I don’t think it is). If you are looking for a greener foundation, you sort of have to consider mineral foundations. Like our favorite movie stalker, they’re no gonna be ignored. Here is why I picked Alima:  their approach to ingredients, their certifications, use of the word “matte” in the product description, the nifty foundation finder tool on their site, and the very reasonably priced samples ($1.75 each).

I used the foundation finder tool and decided on 4 sample colors. They arrived in beautiful packaging with a tiny kabuki brush. I couldn’t wait to try it out…and when I did…I hated it. It looked patchy and didn’t cover well. I put the samples in a drawer that serves as my makeup purgatory. Then one lazy Sunday, I didn’t want to deal with foundation and finishing powder. I remembered the Alima samples. I skipped the brush and used a powder puff because I thought it would be faster. And it worked much better. I liked what I saw enough to use up the best color match of the samples over the course of a few days and then ordered a full size—on sale for $20/.23 oz. (It’s usually $25.) I also got myself a flocked sponge which works much better than the puff I had been using. An aside: flocked sponges, why am I just now learning of you? Of your awesomeness?

I am so glad I gave this another chance. It just turns out the brush isn’t for me. Instead it’s all about the flocked sponge and perfecting my own approach, which includes: making sure to moisturize first (and let it sink in), applying it in light layers, and setting it with my beloved Zen Society Hydrating Rosewater Mist whenever it looks a little dry. (Zen mist reviewed here).

It is very light, yet buildable to a medium coverage. It feels nonexistent on your skin–unless you put on too much! It’s totally gentle and non-irritating, or at least it is for me. Here’s what’s in it:

Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499). Nothing more.

It comes in tons of shades and undertones. My first purchase was Beige 2. I later purchased it in Beige 3 so I can adjust the color as the seasons change. I do notice that as the day progresses, I get a little shiny in the t-zone. Funny thing is, it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. It looks glowy. Some foundations look better after they’ve been on awhile and I think this is one of them. I may get their finishing powder for summer. We’ll see how much glow I can handle before needing to mattify. In the meantime, I am digging it. Good job, Alima.