The criteria that will be used to evaluate said products are largely ingredients & performance. As I'm not an expert on the ingredient side of things, I'll be using other sources to help evaluate that.
First up to bat is concealer. I picked up a tube of ZuZu concealer (color C-7) from my local health food store.
Let's look at the ingredients:
Aqua (Infusion of Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice)
Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract
Crithmum Maritimum (Sea Fennel) Extract
For easy reference I go to my handy-dandy Ecoholic Body book (love the Ecoholic books, they're great resources for us Canuks AND I love that she's realistic - i.e. testing products and rating them, not just "stop using deodorant and washing your hair"!) and reference the "Mean 15" ingredients list to check for the 15 top offenders.
This product only has one of them - retinyl palmitate. The reason this ingredient is on the list is because it seems to speed up the carcinogenic effects of UV rays in mice. :( Ie. there's potential that exposure to sunlight could increase cancer risks.
It does however appear to be free of the other offending ingredients, including parabens.
In Ecoholic Body, the author Adria Vasil recommends 2 sites to check out your cosmetics - goodguide.com and EWG Cosmetic Database.
Good Guide gives this product an overall rating of 5.0. Their ratings are comprised of Environmental, Social and Health ratings. This concealer rates well Health-wise, but pretty poorly in both Social and Environmental ratings.
Health - 8.0 They rate Kaolin as an ingredient of low concern "This ingredient is suspected of causing respiratory toxicity"
It appears that Environmental & Social ratings are low due to poor transparency.
Unfortunately I couldn't find anything on the EWG Cosmetic Database.
So far I've really liked this concealer. It's creamy, has good coverage, and lasts all day. I wouldn't know the difference between this and a chemical-full formula. The price was resonable and I would definitely continue to purchase this one!
Now for fun, let's compare this to the concealer I had previously been using.
NARS concealer - $23 (CAN)
I couldn't find a complete ingredient list for this one, however Sephora lists it as being without:
- parabens (Mean 15 ingredient)
- synthetic fragrance (Mean 15 ingredient)
- phthalates (Mean 15 ingredient)
- triclosan (Mean 15 ingredient)
But just because it's lacking these things doesn't mean it's all fine and dandy.
Let's see how it rates:
Health: 0 Ummm, yikes?
It looks like the low ranking is largely due to the lack of information available. They list Silica as an ingredient of medium concern (which is apparently in the ZuZu concealer too, but wasn't listed as an ingredient of concern...I'm wondering if the formula of that one at the time did not contain silica...)
Other ingredients of low concern include mineral oil (Mean 15 ingredient), lanolin, talc, kaolin, and propyl paraben. Again, I'm not sure if this had been reformulated between when it had been evaluated by the Good Guide, and now, as Sephora has listed it as paraben free.
The EWG rating is for the 2009 Vanilla shade formula
Overall: 3 (a 3 is a moderate hazard level)
Here they rate all the ingredients individually (0-2 is a low risk, 3-6 is moderate, 7-10 is high) and the propyl paraben is the only ingredient in the high risk level.
It again appears that data is limited.
I actually found this concealer a little bit chalky feeling. It wasn't something I was all that interested in buying again, for $23 it didn't wow me.
**So after I was looking at the Good Guide website I got to wondering if there was an app for that...and guess what - THERE IS! I downloaded it right away and it's really good. The reason I wanted the app was so that I could look up products as I was shopping. The app even has a barcode scanner which makes it really quick and easy to use it as you shop!**
Well, that was fun. I learned something, and I hope you did too! Have you checked out your cosmetics? How do they rate?