A more natural beauty routine

I fondly recall those precocious toddler years when I used to watch my mother as she followed her nightly beauty regime. It was all organic and healthy, mind you, and consisted of only warm water mixed with a dab of honey and a tablespoon of raw oats.

She hummed softly to herself as she applied the mask to her face, and it fascinated me. Fast forward many years later and she pretty much sticks to the same routine—which is probably why at age 74 her skin remains glowing and wrinkle free.

In an age of health consciousness, more people are becoming astute about what they’re putting into and on their bodies…and that includes the face. And while the current trend of natural/organic beauty products is much more sophisticated than my mother’s nightly routine, women want the same end result: to maintain flawless skin as healthily as possible.

As a three time cancer survivor, Chicago makeup artist Susie Lee was forced to make many changes in her life. In 2012, she merged her personal and professional lives by creating Echo Vie, an all-natural line of lip balms and organic body oil found at P.45 Boutique and Shop 1021. They contain no parabens, petrochemicals or synthetic coloring.

“I had been playing around with ingredients for a bit and started making lip balms and oils for friends,” says Lee about how the project came to fruition. “I love natural and organic products because I know there are no harmful chemicals.”

She admits, however, that during her daily work as a makeup artist it’s impossible to have an entire kit of only all-natural products.

“I do mostly photoshoots for print. The makeup that I do is different than every day makeup,” she explains. “The makeup needs to translate under the bright lights, so it needs to be a little heavier and pigmented enough that it shows. All natural and organic lines are getting better and coming out with brighter colors, but sometimes they fail to be pigmented.” 

On clients, she uses Jason Natural Vitamin E Oil mixed in with Echo Vie organic oil as a face moisturizer. She also praises RMS Beauty Luminizer, which contains non-toxic ingredients and works well as a highlighter. Bare Minerals powder foundation and eyeshadows additionally get the thumbs up.

Veteran celebrity makeup artist Juli Valdez, who’s worked extensively on Hollywood movie sets, Chicago newsrooms as well as weddings, offers a completely different view of natural and organic beauty products.

"I don't use any natural products on a regular basis,” she says. “I've tried them, but in my opinion, I just don't think they work that well. … Cosmetics tend to lack the pigment found in regular products, so they don't wear as well."

Her professional go-tos consist of Bobbi Brown, Nars and Chanel—which you will always find in her makeup kit. She does offer solid advice for those insisting on going “natural”:

“The best place for them to go is Whole Foods. Products have to meet certain criteria to be labeled as such and carried in their stores.  I would also recommend they speak to one of their Whole Body Specialists. Although their opinions on using natural or organic beauty products differ from mine, they are well versed on which ones are best.” 

Tia Dantzler, considered one of the foremost celebrity makeup artists/beauty experts in the industry, promotes the benefits of wearing natural beauty products: “The ingredients contain fewer additives, coloring and fragrances than regular cosmetics. Wearing natural beauty products over time can improve the overall condition of your skin, (including) its texture and appearance. If you have sensitive skin, then mineral makeup may be the way to go.”

Some of her makeup kit staples include Dr. Hauschka's Lip Care Stick, PUR Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup Foundation and Bare Escential's ID Quick Change Brush Cleaner. Dantzler adds that regular cosmetics versus mineral makeup are comparable in cost.

The lines also target women of all types, says Dantzler, adding that mineral makeup, in particular is suitable for all skin types, skin tones and all ages. She highly recommends curious shoppers to utilize their local cosmetic counters to gain more knowledge on the products.

Because she works with celebrities on the regular, she’s certainly witnessed more and more incorporating natural beauty products into their daily regiments, from moisturizers to face powders.

For example, she says, “beauty model and actress Josie Maran created a pure, 100% organic argan oil-infused, eco-friendly skincare and cosmetic line.

Influential beauty blogger Patrice Grell Yursik (Afrobella)— who’s also a contributing editor to Glam.com—is a strong proponent of natural products for skin and hair.

“I believe they’re very important, but not all completely natural skincare products have the efficacy factor I need,” she says. “I tend to use what works, instead of sticking to completely natural beauty products.”

As a beauty expert in high demand, she likely gets a weekly arsenal of samples, yet she’s narrowed down her favorites. She gushes over Lush (“They’re all natural and have wonderful ethics in the beauty space”), but she also showers praise on companies that utilize natural ingredients such as Kiss My Face, MAC, Make Up For Ever, Too Faced and Urban Decay.

As a person of color, however, she confesses: “I am still seeking the ideal foundation from a self-described natural brand. The foundation shades tend to stop before they get to my skin tone.”

Yursik believes that she won’t have to wait too long as more major companies enter the natural beauty products category.

“I think natural is a trend with all kinds of companies, from hair and beauty to clothing and style. It’s a holistic lifestyle; so many people are jumping onboard. Words like natural and organic have a big buzz around them and people are buying products because of those words. Brands are definitely paying attention to that.”

3 Additional Organic Beauty Products To Try

Chatto’s: All the products are made with all-natural ingredients, in small batches, and by hand.

RMS Lip & Skin Balm: An original, pure, organic color cosmetic line created by celebrity make-up artist Rose-Marie Swift. It’s sold exclusively in Chicago at space519.

Sephora Collection: The Skin Perfect CC Cream SPF 20 is all natural and ideal for wearing under foundation or alone. It’s for all skin types—including sensitive skin.