Being beauty-conscious and Earth-conscious are increasingly intertwined. A proliferation of lipsticks, powders and eye shadows with natural ingredients and recycled packaging has appeared in drugstores, department stores and specialty cosmetic shops.

Being beauty-conscious and Earth-conscious are increasingly intertwined. A proliferation of lipsticks, powders and eye shadows with natural ingredients and recycled packaging has appeared in drugstores, department stores and specialty cosmetic shops.

Green cosmetics, which generally use natural oils and minerals in place of synthetic ingredients, work in better harmony with the body, says Kayla Fioravanti, vice president and chief formulator for Essential Wholesale, which develops natural cosmetics for large and small beauty brands.

However, because eco-friendly cosmetics have very few labeling guidelines, confusion and misinformation can abound. Here Fioravanti breaks down seven surprising facts about
going green at the cosmetics counter.

1 Natural cosmetics perform just as well as their traditional counterparts — often better. While synthetic ingredients create barriers on the skin, natural oils work in synergy with the oils in your skin. The minerals used in color cosmetics deliver more intense colors, says Fioravanti, and last much longer. Over time, this also means fewer empty packages heading to the landfill.

2 The exception to this may be shampoo. Natural versions are often watery rather than viscous and don’t have the lathering abilities we expect from shampoo. These products operate like soap and tend to strip too much moisture from hair. “It’s really the only place where natural isn’t able to compete,” Fioravanti says.

3 Don’t worry about lead in lipstick. Studies revealing the presence of lead in lipstick have made headlines recently. However, lead is a naturally occurring ingredient, and the amount found in lipstick is less than what’s in a typical glass or bottle of water. According to Fioravanti, you would have to eat three tubes of lipstick daily for 70 years to accumulate a significant amount of lead in your body.

4 Makeup can’t technically be certified as organic. The ingredients in a lip gloss or eye cream are held to the same U.S. Department of Agriculture standards as food. The problem with this, says Fioravanti, is that most cosmetics can’t be made entirely with food ingredients: “Other than making castile soap, nothing else qualifies.”

5 Natural ingredients on your face mean fewer bad reactions. Unlike traditional color cosmetics, mineral versions of eye shadow and blush contain no synthetic fillers. These are the agents that cause allergic reactions.

6 Mineral makeup doesn’t go bad. Minerals are inert, meaning they don’t react with other substances and last for ages.

7 Green options abound. There are multiple factors that make a cosmetic green, including high ratios of naturally derived or organic ingredients, recycled or recyclable packaging — or all of these things. Vegan cosmetics are another big trend, Fioravanti says.