Thursday, June 30, 2011

Update: Mary Kay Cosmetics Ingredients

My Mary Kay ingredients list continues to be the most-viewed page on the blog.  It is obvious there are quite a few people looking for more information on these products.  The original ingredients list that was provided by a Mary Kay rep is over 2 years old now.  If anyone is a rep or can provide me with an updated list of ingredients, I would appreciate it (e-mail is at the bottom of the page).  If the company has improved the quality of ingredients in their products, I will happily blog about that.  If not, consumers have the right to know and are actively seeking out this information. 

While searching the web for an updated ingredients list, I did run across an interesting post by a former Mary Kay sales rep who was experiencing severe problems with her estrogen levels. They returned to normal after she stopped using the products she sold.  This is one woman's experience, but certainly something that should make all of us cautious and ask questions about the products that we use.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When Did Drugstore Makeup Become So Expensive?

Back in my day (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth), if a drugstore mascara cost more than $4, it raised eyebrows.  Now, $10 seems to be the norm.  Even figuring in inflation, that is a pretty steep price increase.  What is going on? **

We can make the assumption that a chunk of money is going into research and development.  While the ingredients are questionable, there is always something new and shiny being released.  What about the other $9.99?

$$$ MARKETING $$$

The Rise of the Celebrity Spokesmodel
Remember about 15 years or so ago when companies actually used models to sell products and magazines?  Those days are long gone.  Now, everyone has a celebrity endorsement; an actress or singer attached to certain lines within their brand.  Check out Revlon's Spokemodel List.  Depending on the popularity of a celebrity, no doubt their contract would run into the millions of dollars.  Add a couple more bucks to your tube of mascara.

One Mascara to Rule Them All
Companies are constantly being gobbled up by larger corporations.  One corporation may own multiple cosmetic lines, high and low-end.  They need to protect their high-end properties.  As an example, L'Oreal owns L'Oreal, Maybelline and Shu Uemura.  Maybelline Lipstick: $8, L'Oreal Lipstick: $10, Shu lipstick: $26.  Your cheapest brand will drag you down.  You can't have the same company making $26 lipstick also making $4 lipstick. 

Independent Companies
What is a cosmetics company that is not conglomerate-owned and does not use celebrity spokemodels?  You get Milani.  Surprisingly higher-end quality products for less than what we normally consider to be the bargain brands (Cover Girl and Maybelline).  Lipstick $5.  I bought many of their products back in my Paraben days and can personally speak to the quality.  Milani is in line with what a drugstore cosmetics product should cost, but even their products are creeping up to keep up with the Joneses.

What are your thoughts?  Why do you think drugstore makeup is quickly closing the gap with the high-end brands? 

** Although I mention several different brands in this post, do not take it as an endorsement of any of them.  Each line has one or two paraben-free acceptable products., but still very lacking overall.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Princess on Facebook

Well, I finally got off my throne and created a Paraben Free Princess fan page on Facebook.  I'm not really satisfied with the ability to interact well with folks on here and hope we can do a bit more chatting on Facebook.  I will also be posting all of those tidbits I don't have time to put on the blog.


- The Princess

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

This is actually more of a rave than a review.  I have been using the Caffeine Eye Cream for about two years now.  I can't say enough good things about it.  I use it every morning before my makeup and go through a bottle about every six months.  

I have allergies, so every morning I would wake up with my eyes puffy and it would take hours for them to go down.  The first week I used this, the swelling issues went away.  I did forget to pack it one weekend when I was away from home and by Sunday my eyes had blown up again.  This works for me and is a Holy Grail item I will never give up.

Some people have issue with the smell.  To me, it smells like a latte and cream.  The product is 100% pure, so it is going to smell like the ingredients.  I don't drink coffee but really like the smell of it. 

I generally buy mine from Drugstore.com during one of their sales.  Retail is $19 for 1 ounce.  Sale price is usually $16-$17.


Ingredients:Organic Green Tea1, Organic Calendula Hydrosol1, Organic Rosehip Oil1, Organic Green Coffee2 Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), Extracts of Coffee Cherry, Organic Rosemary3, Organic Oregano3, Organic Thyme3, Organic Grapefruit Seed3 and Organic Goldenseal4, Organic Vanilla Absolute3, Candelilla Wax

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Is The Difference Between Unscented and Fragrance Free?

Made an interesting discovery the other day while trying to find an unscented hair spray.  'Unscented' is a misnomer.  Products still have a smell.  In fact, unscented can have more perfume and fragrances added than something that is scented.

There are apparently no regulations of what constitutes unscented and fragrance free.  As with most of our health and beauty products, manufacturers have a free hand to do what they want.  I have linked Unscented and Fragrance Free below to the explanations on Consumer Reports.

UNSCENTED = combination of fragrances to create a neutral smell.  Think of air fresheners, particularly Neutrair.  It doesn't smell like flowers, but puts out a bland smell that is supposed to make odors inoffensive.  It uses a combination of different fragrances to create the blandness. Same for beauty products.  If you look at the label, you will see:  fragrance, perfume, parfum.

FRAGRANCE FREE = shouldn't have any type of added fragrance.  There shouldn't be any fragrance listed on the label.

As with any labels, these are guidelines.  Remember to READ before buying.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why Is It So Hard To Read Product Labels?

Dear Product Manufacturers,

Why do you make it so darned hard to read your labels?!  

I did a lap of Rite-Aid, CVS, and Walgreens this afternoon to see if there were any new goodies to find.  I probably read close to 100 labels and my eyes are not very happy about it.  I have above-average eyesight and yet I was squinting, scrunching and straining to read labels.  The cosmetics labels were the worst. 

The mainstream cosmetic companies (Maybelline, Cover Girl, Revlon, L'oreal) had the majority of their ingredients inside the product labels.  'Peel Here' to see ingredients.  Three broken nails and plenty of store employee stinkeye later, I have read all of them. 

Not surprisingly, every label I had to peel back contained questionable to bad ingredients.  The bottom-dollar brands I frequently malign such as Wet 'N Wild and N.Y.C. had their ingredients printed in readable type on the back of the product with only a few exceptions.  So a big thumbs up to them.  I wish they didn't use crap ingredients, but at least they are open about it.

Do they make it difficult to read the product ingredients on purpose? Oh, yeah.  Consumer behavior has changed drastically in the past decade.  People are paying attention to where their products are made, animal testing, and the all-important ingredients list.  The harder the label is to read, the better.  The average consumer is not going to stand in the store squinting and scraping at a product label with an store employee hovering a few feet away to make sure you don't steal something.  They are going to glance at the product, check out the price tag and if they like what they see, in the basket it goes.  Those of us who are trying to live a more chemical-free life are anything but AVERAGE.

Products and Ingredient Lists:
  • If there is a product I am interested in and I can't read it, I take a photo of it to look it up online later.
  • I do most of my 'window shopping' online.  I watch dozens of You Tube videos a week of people talking about products they like and I start digging around until I find the ingredients list.
  • Manufacturer websites.  This SHOULD be the only place we need to look for ingredients, but that is usually not the case.  I always start there, but usually end up on a retail website.
  • Retail websites:  Drugstore.com, CVS.com, Ulta.com, Cosmetic Safety Database
Please post any other sites you go to look up product ingredients below! 

Review: Beauty Blender - Worth the Money?

After watching several videos about the Beauty Blender, I finally broke down and purchased one of these crazy pink eggs.  Drugstore.com was having a sale and I picked it up for $15.  LOVE IT!  Naturally, I have my complaints, but for the money I would definitely recommend this.

I have sensitive skin, so the less poking I do at my face the better.  I have tried foundation brushes, stippling brushes and a wide variety of makeup sponges over the years.  My default is fingers.  The Beauty Blender gives me a more even look and to borrow a phrase, 'air brushed'.

It is interesting watching other people use their blenders.  Everyone does it a bit differently.  Some people soak their entire egg, others just an end.  Enkore even uses it with mineral makeup.  I am still experimenting with mine.

Price: $20

TIP:   Wet frequently during application.  It absorbs quickly and if you don't keep it wet, kiss your makeup goodbye.

PROS:
  1. A snap to use, more complicated to use it well.  I'm mostly a wide-end user.
  2. Fantastic finish.  
  3. Speed.  I can do my foundation in half the time it used to take with my fingers.
Cons:
  1. That frigging pink.  It looks pretty, but that dye just never stops giving.  I washed mine 10 times before I first used it and my sink was still full of hot pink dye.  Be careful where you lay this and of the water splashing.  I have spots on a shelf that are never going to come out.
  2. Difficult to clean.  I didn't purchase the cleaning solution with my sponge.  I normally use liquid castile soap to clean everything but it doesn't make a dent with the liquid foundation on this sponge. I have been using cheap bar soap to get the makeup off and then washing with my castile.



Paraben Free WINNING!

I spent several hours this evening watching You Tube videos and am thrilled to see so many people reading their labels and avoiding Parabens and other dangerous chemicals.

I have also been revisiting many of the products I have dodged in the past due to Parabens and low-quality ingredients.   Whether manufacturers have finally started to bow to consumer pressure - or they see a hot new market - we are in a better position than ever before to find products on our shelves that won't send us to an early grave.

WINNING!