for Intl Women’s Day: women-owned beauty biz

It’s still International Women’s Day in Cambodia (holidays falling on weekends are observed on the next working day), and today’s topic is natural beauty.

Photo from the "All Natural Beauty" site

About the time I got married 5 years ago, I was on an organic / natural makeup and skincare kick. I don’t normally use makeup, but around a year ago people started asking if I were tired, since I’ve started to develop dark undereye circles. Yikes– back to those companies I used for my wedding makeup! Here’s a list of my favorite women-owned small-business eco-friendly natural makeup and skincare lines:

Markey has a lot of raw materials for the do-it-yourself skincare enthusiast. In recent years she’s begun to offer finished formulations, and now she opened a storefront location in Arizona. I’ve used other ‘natural’ lines before which are just natural botanical products for the sake of using natural materials. Markey’s products are effective and she really knows how to synergise ingredients. The customer raves aren’t hype, the products truly do work (in synergy with a good overall skincare routine, that is)!

Camellia Rose is also a natural skincare formulator, and very knowledgeable with years of research into the raw materials going into any product that touches your skin. Based in California, Jen has been working with Markey for years, and their products really do complement each other. Jen specialises in skin conditions like rosacea, acne, eczema etc.

Solarkat’s Eco Blog is a graduate student in the environmental sciences and will soon open her own line of natural skincare. She collaborates with the above women and shares her passion for eco-friendly botanical-based skincare products.

Monave is a company based in Baltimore, MD. Debbie, its owner, shares a space with Botanical Skinworks (also a good line). Her line of mineral makeup is great for me and other ethnic skintones. I stopped by while she was there once and she gave me a complete makeover. Was a very nice treat!

This stat is often seen: The average woman applies at least 150 different chemicals to her body through her skincare and cosmetics everyday. “Many of these chemicals are hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and toxic heavy metals”, says the Natural Solutions magazine editor Linda Sparrowe. Check out this magazine’s 2008 Beauty With a Conscience Award Winners.

There is a noticeable clearing of conditions (eg rosacea, acne, eczema etc) and brightening of skin when non-toxic drugstore or department store brands are removed from the routine. The Essential Day Spa and Garden of Wisdom forum users can provide some info and experiences with going natural. This is also a good place to start with articles on natural beauty products: All Natural Beauty.

As an aside (since these aren’t necessarily women-owned products), yesterday Keith and I explored the outskirts of Phnom Penh by renting a motorbike ($4/day!). I’d have avoided this kind of extended tropical sun exposure if I hadn’t had my trusty little tubes of natural sunscreens. Didn’t know there were “natural” sunscreens out there? Check these products out, and don’t take my word for it, google for reviews:

Lavera, a German-based natural cosmetics company. Their spf20 facial sunscreen doubles as a moisturiser. There is still a whitish cast if you don’t blend the cream in well, but it’s light, non-greasy and good especially for oily skin types as it can be drying.

Dr Hauschke, a UK-based natural cosmetics company. I don’t agree with all of their skincare philosophies but the products are very nice. And I have yet to try their sunscreens, but they now have a spray which I’ll get when I go back to ‘civilisation’ this summer on my annual leave back to the US.

Devita has a GREAT product that I am so happy to find. This is the lightest sunscreen facial formula I have ever tried, and sinks into my skin really well.

For a more thorough review of these and more natural sunscreens as well as shampoos, mineral makeup, and other natural products, see my friend’s Solarkat’s Eco Blog.

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