Many beauty brands are promoted as natural makeup but quite often it’s in their name only.
Sustainable Shopper digs deeper to find three genuine and ethical natural lipstick brands that perform beautifully and are safe to wear daily.
The problem with most lipsticks
Most lipsticks are made with synthetic ingredients and most things we put on our skin eventually ends up in our bloodstream. Some of the ingredients include BHT – petroleum derived and toxic to the skin, methicone – a silicone polymer that makes a lipstick water-repellent and long lasting, and heavy metal colourings.
On their own some of the ingredients might be okay but when you bombard your skin with multiples of them, it adds up.
We settled on ethical Australian natural makeup brands Nvey, nudus and Miessence.
They are all certified organic. This means they don’t contain petrochemicals, aren’t tested on animals and any plant ingredients used have been organically grown. Each offer very different experiences.
Pronounced envy, this Australian organic brand has been around since 2005, but it’s got a bigger following overseas than here.
Nvey has international organic certifications Natrue and NSF. Its main market is the US so it needed a certification that was recognised in the States and at the time COSMOS wasn’t available.
Nvey’s Rohan Widdison says as a certifier NSF has an approach to raw materials and ingredients that is more vigorous than some other organic certifers and he feels it offers better transparency with auditors. Natrue only certifies cosmetics.
The company offers a full range of cosmetics and it has 16 natural lipstick shades.
Like most cosmetic ingredients almost all ingredients Nvey uses are imported because they’re not available in Australia.
Typically Nvey lipsticks include seed oils, waxes (bees, plant), vegetable oils, ethyl macadamiate, shea butter, benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid, sorbic acid, Vitamin E, glycerin and colours titanium dioxide, iron oxide, mica, manganese violet, ultramarine blue.
If you check ingredients such as benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid and ultramarine blue in The Chemical Maze and the Environmental Working Group they trigger alarm bells, Sustainable Shopper isn’t worried by this.
The accreditations Nvey are certified to prohibit petroleum-derived ingredients and those referenced in these publications are not necessarily the same ingredients used by Nvey.
The name might be the same, but the origins and the extraction processes are different. We’ll discuss the complexity of green chemistry another time.
Wearability: The Nvey range was developed as a makeup artistry range, emulating the quality of high-end synthetic cosmetic products with green chemistry. It goes on smoothly, without stickiness and doesn’t stain or have a scent.
Availability: Only online nveymakeup.com
nudus is a relatively new Australian company started by former interior designer Diana Saltoun Goltsman. Read more about her journey.
The nudus range includes 10 shades all certified to COSMOS Organic. nudus only does natural lipstick, although it’s exploring other organic beauty products like lip balms and eye shadow.
Founder Diana Saltoun Goltsman is intent on developing makeup from pure ingredients. She couldn’t achieve the colour range she wanted using ingredients traditionally used in organic cosmetics such as iron oxide and turned to plants to provide more shade flexibility.
COSMOS is usually fickle about using environmentally friendly packaging. nudus received an exemption because there wasn’t a suitable eco alternative.
Paper tubes used by some green cosmetic companies didn’t stand up to wear and tear in handbags and plastic tubes made from renewable sources were made from GM corn – which is prohibited in organic standards.
Each natural lipstick contains over 20 ingredients including seed oils, beeswax, iron oxide, mica, plant and fruit extracts. A full list can be seen here. This lipstick was designed to nourish lips as well as colour them.
Wearability: Wears really well. The lipstick loses its shape after several days in tropical heat. It’s smooth and not sticky.
Availability: Only online nudus.com.au
This Australian company offers a lip colour range that is at the opposite end of the sophistication spectrum to nvey.
Miessence describes their natural lip colours as crèmes – more tinted lip balms than lipsticks. They are made up of just a handful of basic ingredients designed to apply with fingertips. Ingredients include seed oil, beeswax, zinc oxide, rosemary leaf extract, and vanilla extract. They can also be used as rouge.
The ingredients are so simple that this natural makeup has been certified organic by Australian Certified Organic to its ‘inputs’ certification.
It can’t achieve Australian Certified Organic accreditation because it consists mostly of minerals, which – like water and salt – are not farmed and therefore can’t be certified organic.
This doesn’t diminish its organic status. In terms of ingredients, it is the most pure of the natural ‘lipsticks’ we tried.
Cosmetics are just a part of Miessence’s large range of natural products. Owned by Onegroup, it also makes body and oral care, superfoods and household cleaners.
Wearability: The scent and texture are lovely. It’s not very true to colour so go with a much lighter shade than the one you think. Nutmeg offers a middle of the road option. Since it’s made up of very basic ingredients this product performs more like a tinted lip balm rather than the all over coverage of lipstick.
Availability: Online or via a distributor distributor.
Other natural options
Skincare company, Jasmin Organics also makes 12 shades of a natural lipstick which are similar to nudus in terms of ingredients. They’re certified organic and come at a higher price tag of $55.
Sustainable Shopper recommends
For a genuine, high quality lipstick definitely Nvey or nudus.
Nvey has developed a natural lipstick that delivers the quality and performance of conventional artistry makeup. nudus promises a little bit more as a moisturiser with its plant goodness and lasting colour.
Miessence has provided an option for those wanting the bare minimum in a lip tint.
Top marks to all three Australian brands for integrity and uniqueness.
Have you tried any of these? We would love to know if you agree.