Hello Hauschka! The green skincare brands making a bid for your make-up bag
28th September, 2011
OK, so Dr Hauschka’s cosmetics range isn’t really news, but the goodies coming out of Haushka and NATorigin HQ are well worth spending a few pennies on. Ruth Styles puts them to the test
One of the few natural brands to achieve genuine mainstream success, Dr Haushka’s (www.drhaushka.co.uk) eponymous line has been wowing devotees since 1967. Its Rose Day Cream, £23.95 – which contains no fewer than 1,075 organic rose petals - has reached cult status and the wonderful Lavender Bath Oil, £17.95, isn’t far behind. But while its skincare credentials are well established, its extensive make-up range isn’t quite so well known. NATorigin (www.natorigin.co.uk), while not enjoying brand recognition on a par with Haushka, is another almost entirely natural range with an interesting sideline in cosmetics. The big question though, is how do they match up to the big brands?
Beauty products, make-up in particular, have long attracted criticism for their reliance on chemical preservatives, synthetic pigmentation and use of crude oil by-products, but thus far, Haushka and NATorigin have managed to avoid them without compromising on colour. So how are they doing it? Could there be nasties lurking underneath the naturals? The answer, for those who think natural beauty is complete bunkum, is no. Take mascara for example. The majority of mascara use a black pigment called Carbon Black. Its inky hue is produced by partially burning petroleum derivatives such as coal tar, although a small amount does come from vegetable oil. Even then it’s not perfect, as Carbon Black isn’t made from used cooking oil; rather, it’s made from substance that could be going straight into human stomachs. Then there’s the methyl cellulose used as a stiffener. Another chemical compound, it’s a synthesised variant on cellulose; a molecule naturally occurring in plants and widely copied in the lab. That’s all before we get to the nylon and rayon microfibres used in lengthening blends, which once more, are made from synthetic polyamides.
So what about Haushka’s take on mascara? Ingredients include sugar cane extract, beeswax, jojoba oil and naturally occurring mineral, Hectorite. The presence of citronellol, linalool and geraniol might raise a few eyebrows, but unlike Carbon Black and co, all come from plant sources. The inclusion of Cetearyl Alcohol is the biggest black spot, and not because it’s a chemical, but because it’s derived from coconut or palm oil. Coconut oil is one thing, but the controversies surrounding palm oil are well documented. NATorigin’s mascara is based on arctic raspberry extract along with jojoba oil and shea butter, but includes mica and titanium dioxide – again naturally occurring minerals. A totally hypoallergenic formula, it comes with an extensive list of things it doesn’t contain, with parabens, mineral oils, chrome and dairy products among them. Clearly, both brands are producing make-up that’s both greener and healthier than the alternatives, but do their products actually work?
Certainly their skincare does, with Dr Haushka in particular making some of the best – and most effective – lotions and potions around. On the make-up side, colour is generally good, and while the range of hues doesn’t compare with the likes of MAC or Shisheido, most are the sort of wearable shades that women genuinely want to wear. Their most recent Natural Glamour range is packed with easy-to-wear make-up bag additions based around flattering slate blue and a whole spectrum of grey. The mineral-based Balancing Teint Powder, £34.95, is particularly useful and won’t irritate sensitive skin. But what about the mascara? I tried the Volumising Mascara, £19.95; a former winner of the Natural Health Beauty Awards and was impressed by the inky colour and smooth consistency. It doesn’t clump either, although it doesn’t have the oomph to give you super-dramatic lashes. Rather, it’s a daywear mascara, which is no bad thing, but will need building up for night. NATorigin’s offerings include a small range of CosmeBio certified lipsticks, most of which are riffs on pink, plus two shades of blusher, loose and pressed powder, two shades of eyeliner and the aforementioned mascara, 13.50, which comes in a choice of four colours. The range is compact in the extreme but once again, focuses on wearable colours for women who want to look good rather than make a statement. The mascara, winner of a 2010 Pure Beauty Award, smells unnervingly acidic at first but goes on easily and stuck around until lunchtime, when it needed reapplying. The lipstick, £15.50, (I tried the classic pinky brown Rose Cuivre) went on like a dream and smelt gorgeous. It is very sheer though, and again, would need building up to make a real impact.
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