I’ve learned that people tend to associate mineral makeup with one of two things: Bare Minerals or hippie moms in yoga pants who buy their blush at Whole Foods. And nothing against either one of those (Whole Foods carries great beauty stuff, and I’ve personally been using Bare Minerals for years), but there are some other seriously great labels in the green-beauty scene, and I felt obligated to share.
Currently, there are a handful of natural brands, from Ilia to RMS Beauty to Kjaer Weis, that I flit to back and forth. I have a lot of good things to say about them all, but the one that I can't seem to quit is W3LL People, a line founded by a team that includes a cosmetic dermatologist and a former Nars makeup artist (people who know good makeup).
To set the record straight, “mineral makeup” does not mean that someone is pulling stuff right out of the earth and putting it in your compact. Even the most natural of brands has to refine and purify compounds like titanium dioxide to make them safe for your face. Minerals themselves are actually used in pretty much all makeup. So it’s not as much the use of minerals that make mineral makeup special, but it's rather the lack of other nasties (artificial preservatives, petrochemicals, and phthalates for example). So beware, because a lot of companies will call their product a mineral makeup (it's not exactly a lie so much as an omission of the whole truth)—but not all mineral wares are created equal. The advice I was given: Look for the products with the shortest ingredient list. Those are the ones with nothing to hide.
And W3LL People does just that. Their lists of ingredients are short, digestible, and filled with things like camellia seed oil and green tea. Their hero ingredient (and one that they have attempted to include in as many products as possible) is moisturizing organic aloe—the idea being that your makeup should soothe, nourish, and heal skin instead of irritating or harming it. I’ve been testing and sharing the full line for a few weeks now to rave reviews—particularly from my mom (she fell so hard for the brightening stick that she had to go out and buy her own).
My daily routine starts with the Narcissist Foundation Stick. Then, I add a quick swipe of the Bio Bronzer (a little goes a long way). Sometimes, I add a bit of the Universalist Multi-Use Color Stick (a multipurpose stick for eyes, cheeks, and lips) in Bronzed Rose to my cheeks for extra life. I’ve been throwing this in my bag, day or night, for on-the-go touch-ups, too. Spring bags have no room for full-on makeup-kit toting. For day, I brush a little bit of Bio Brightener Invisible Powder onto my face (I put it all over, but you could just hit your cheekbones for a little lift). At night, I do the Bio Brightener Stick, which delivers a more intense glow. And, as I learned from ITG’s resident photographer Tom, this is also an excellent tool to make yourself look better in a selfie (swipe across cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, above the upper lip, and under the brow for best results). Finally, I add a coat of the Expressionist Mascara, which miraculously doesn’t clump on my weirdly long lashes. I also keep the Bio-Extreme Lipgloss in Berry in my bag at all times now. It has a minty scent that allows it to double as a quick breath freshener before a meeting.
Most importantly, when it comes time to wash everything off at night, it doesn’t put up much of a fight. For the face products, your normal cleanser will do. And for the mascara, I use Dr. Alkaitis Organic Mascara and Eye Makeup Remover.
It's rare that I recommend an entire line tip-to-tail, but W3LL People comfortably fits into my eco-luxe ethos of late. And when I say comfortable, I mean $31 for the foundation powder and $23 for a lip gloss—well within the realm of affordable. That, and I love that the packaging is recycled (although I will admit that it doesn’t feel quite as sophisticated as some of my less natural beauty buys—maybe that’s part of the charm). I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice my former favorites if the products didn’t actually stand up to their non-natural counterparts. The bottom line: All things being equal, I’ll take the makeup that’s good for my skin every time. Wouldn’t you?
Photographed by Tom Newton. For the ultimate list of the best of natural skincare, check out 32 Of The Best Natural Beauty Products.