By Erin Williams, of Erin's Faces
The weather is finally warming up here in NYC, and Spring Cleaning is in the air! It’s a great time to grab a Sunday afternoon, empty your makeup drawer, and make some cuts and “greenify” your goodies. We spend so much time thinking about what we put in our body, how about the ingredients we put on our skin? Here’s my wish list for you.
1. Try a Pop of Color
Whether it’s on the cheeks or on the lips, spring is the perfect time to get inspired by the beautiful flowers growing, and get a super-saturated shade to throw on as blush, lipstick, or lip gloss. Any shade of pink is perfect for spring – think juicy, fruity colors like watermelon, raspberry, or strawberry.
2. Get Into Highlighter
I love me some highlighter. Go shimmery if you’re a youngster, luminous or matte if you’re concerned that it will exacerbate fine lines — and pop it on your cheekbones. If you feel for the hard bone under your bottom lashline, that’s where you want to put it. Start right at the outer edge of the iris, along that bone, and go up the bone to the outer corner of the eye. You can sweep a little under the brow too (making a Pac-Man shape) for extra oomph. Highlighter pulls the focus up to your beautiful eyes, brightens the face, and gives you a dewy look – I’m a huge fan.
3. Replace Your Mascara
Your mascara should be like a steamy fling – you break it in the first week, you get used to one another, it gets REALLY GOOD, and then three months in, it’s over and on to the next. This is non-negotiable, ladies! Your eyes are wet, mascara is wet, so when mascara rots (the nice word for “becomes contaminated”), you’re literally painting that into your eyes. It starts to die a quick death at three months on the contamination front, so in the words of Idina Menzel, “Let it go.”
4. Get Rid of Petrochemicals in Your Products
Here’s the deal – gasoline and mineral oil come from the same family. Mineral Oil is in baby oil (don’t get me started), tons of body moisturizers, and - in makeup land - many concealers and lip balms. Check yours out (look for the ingredients online if they’ve worn off your item), and if you see Petroleum, Petrolatum, or Mineral Oil, I would love for you to replace said item. (There are a bunch of other petrochemical ingredients, but we’ll start with those three). Why? Petrochemicals are linked to endocrine issues, and some studies link them to cancer. And did I mention you eat the equivalent of one tube of lipstick per year of whatever lip product you use? So make sure it’s a good one.
5. Flip from Chemical to Physical SPFs
The short story is that you want an SPF that has either Zinc or Titanium Dioxide as your sunscreen – that’s it! Everything else is a chemical sunscreen (Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, etc). Bottom line - chemical sunscreens mess with your hormones. A lot. They’re in everything, because the SPFs of old that contained Zinc were super thick, white, and hard to blend. Progress is a wonderful thing — now there are foundations, tinted moisturizers, lip balms, and straight-up skincare SPFs that have a more sheer formula, keeping you safe and looking cute. And speaking of that…
6. Wear an SPF Daily
A proper SPF. The FDA wants you to wear a nickel-sized amount of SPF on your face. Now, I wear a lot of makeup when I am turning it out, but even on those days I have, tops!, a pea-sized amount of foundation on my face. So, you have to rely on the SPF, or moisturizer with SPF, that’s UNDER your foundation/tinted moisturizer/BB/CC Cream, and view the SPF in your makeup as a bonus. Sunscreen is the #1 anti-aging thing you can do for your face, so jump on the bandwagon – I promise you’ll be glad you did.
7. Shop Smarter
You can find green makeup and skincare lines anywhere, from lines like Burt's Bees at the drugstore all the way to Omorovicza at Bergdorf Goodman — and you can also find chemical-filled lines at both locations, as well. Another roadblock is that you will find lines with a natural slant, but you should still always read the labels – it doesn’t mean every product they make is green. Tools like the Think Dirty App and EWG (Environmental Working Group) are two resources to help you look at products and ingredients, to get educated on what to keep and what to toss. (Although EWG thinks petrochemicals are totally okay, which I disagree with, as you know.) Another great resource is The Never List and Ingredient Glossary at BeautyCounter.
So dig into your makeup drawer and make some good choices this spring!
Erin Williams is a celebrity makeup artist in New York City and owner of Eco-Friendly Makeup & Skincare line, Erin’s Faces. Her whole purpose in doing makeup, whether it’s for NYC’s Fashion Week, editorial shoots, red carpets, or giving a lesson at someone’s house, is to empower and educate women. On her blog, Erin’s Faces – Magic Dust & Lipgloss, Erin writes everything from beauty ingredient overviews and video how-to’s, to drugstore swaps. She lives in NYC with her husband and their Cavachon, Jasper.