Bare Escentuals crowns Sephora's top ten and we give our take (part one)
Bare Escentuals BareMinerals SPF15 Powder Foundation ($25). I've never heard a bad word said about this product that looks like a powder and feels like a cream. Personally, I think it makes my skin look a little dry, but you can't beat the coverage that is consistent in tone and lasts all day. There's only five ingredients, but a couple of them would make me think twice about buying this again. Titanium dioxide (which provides the SPF) is a photosensitizer and some scientists think that, if absorbed by the skin, can lead to an increased production of free radicals). Bismuth oxychloride is considered by some to be toxic. It probably isn't, but it does seem to be a harsh irritant. So beware if you have sensitive skin.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($22). This primer comes in three shades and if I were you, I'd choose 'Sin'. It is the only one that doesn't have talc, a substance that Senator Kennedy wants banned from cosmetics. Sin has the usual suspects in the preservative department. Apart from that, it is a typical concoction of silicones and emulsifiers. Reviews around the Web and even on Sephora are mixed.
Dior DiorShow Mascara ($24). Most people say that this does what it says on the tin: makes lashes look thick and sumptuous. However, you need to be quick about it because the one thing that draws complaints is that this mascara dries up in the tube quickly and eventually becomes flaky. Apart from the usual waxes, DiorShow gets its gloss from shellac, a resin secreted by a bug that lives in India. Interestingly shellac dries out over time so this might be responsible for the aforementioned complaints.
Sephora by Opi Nail Color ($9). The 54 colors of this range made for Sephora by Opi, the salon nail people, are gorgeous. I'm relieved to find that there are none of the traditional nail polish nasties here. There is no formaldehyde, phthalates or toluene. There is benzophenone, which is photosensitive and can destroy cells if it penetrates the skin. The quantities used in a polish (as opposed to a sunscreen, which is what this ingredient also turns up in) are unlikely to be harmful. And, as I said, those colors are to die for.
Nars Blush ($25). Oh dear, oh dear. The Environmental Working Group gives this blush a 9/10 hazard rating. The main culprits are the parabens, talc and silica. While the first two do seem to be carcinogens, the latter, silica, is only harmful if inhaled and is probably fine applied topically (although it absorbs moisture, so could make your skin dry.
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Ingredients in Bare Escentuals
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 25%. Inactive Ingredients: Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Mica (CI 77019), Iron Oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492). May Contain: Zinc Oxide (CI 77947)
Ingredients in Urban Decay Primer
C Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Polyethylene, Trihydroxystearin, Triethylhexanoin, Isopropyl Lanolate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Dimethicone, PEG-40 Stearate, Propylene Carbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben. May Contain: Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491/ CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride).
Ingredients in Dior Mascara
Aqua (Water), Glyceryl Stearate, C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Stearic Acid, Copernica Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Silica, Glyceryl Stearate, Isostearic Acid, Shellac, Myristic Acid, Triethanolamine, Glyceryl Hydrogenated Rosinate, PVP/VA Copolymer, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Parfum (Fragrance), Diazolidinyl Urea, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben, Geraniol, Citronellol, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde. +/- May Contain: Mica, CI 77491, 77492, 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), CI 77288 (Chromium Oxide Greens).
Ingredients in Sephora Opi
Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Tosylamide/Epoxy Resin, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Benzophenone-1, Silica, Trimethylpentanediyl Dibenzoate, Polyvinyl Butyral. May contain: [+/- CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 15850 (Red 6, Red 7), CI 15880 (Red 34), CI 77491, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77510 (Ferric Ferrocyanide), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), Polyethylene Terephthalate, CI 77000 (Aluminum Powder), Mica, CI 77007 (Ultramarines), Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Ethylene/VA Copolymer, Tin Oxide, CI 77120 (Barium Sulfate), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet).]
Ingredients in Nars Blush
Talc, Polyethylene, Zinc Stearate, Silica, Tricaprylin, Caprylic/CapricTriglyceride, Cera Alba (Beeswax), PEG-150 Distearate, Lanolin, Laureth-4, Tocopherol, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Ascorbyl Palmitate, May Contain: Mica, CI 77491, 77492, 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 75740 (Carmine), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), CI 15850 (Red 6, Red 7 Lake), CI 45410 (Red 28 Lake), CI 17200 (Red 33 Lake), CI 45370 (Orange 5), CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 15985 (Yellow 6 Lake), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake)