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Jessica Alba’s line of baby, household and personal care products has been feeling the heat from sunburned users of The Honest Company sunscreen, not to mention a less than squeaky clean verdict on the hand sanitizers and dish soap. So when The Honest Company came up with a cosmetic line I was curious to see if it would live up to Ms Alba’s mission to “reduce toxic chemicals.”

Mostly, I would say yes. Honest Beauty’s face, lip and eye makeup have more than their fair share of botanical extracts and natural oils and they are “made without parabens, phthalates, paraffins, formaldehyde carriers, PEGs, steareth-n, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, petrolatum, mineral oil, chemical sunscreens, or synthetic fragrances”. But they are not entirely toxin free and there are some controversial ingredients.

I looked at three Honest Beauty products (my review is based entirely on the ingredients list): Everything Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 ($28), Lip Gloss ($18), and the Everything Cream Foundation ($30).

Their Everything Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 has a zinc oxide mineral sunscreen and plenty of nice extracts such as chamomile and ginger, oils from passion flower and sesame are a nice touch as is the natural preservative made from radish root. Less welcome is sodium benzoate. This preservative has unfortunately earned Ecocert backing. I don’t really understand why since there are serious concerns that it destroys DNA and is carcinogenic when combined with vitamin C.

Emulsifiers, emollients, surfactants are all benign (although some may be helping the over use of plantation coconuts and deforestation). A couple, such as polyhydroxystearic acid, have raised concerns about bioaccumulation and, as a result, are restricted in Canada.

The Lip Gloss has the odd solvent such as ethylhexyl hydroxystearate, but they are without safety issues. A safe mineral oil substitute is used, hydrogenated polyisobutene. Ammonium Glycyrrhizate is a salt from licorice and is used as a stabilizer. While there’s not much to love except some pomegranate, there’s nothing to dislike

The same is almost true of the Cream Foundation. There are a couple more things to love with jojoba oil and mareigold and chamomile extracts. Unfortunately sodium benzoate mars what would otherwise be a clean bill of health.

Ok, so there are some things that purists won’t like and I personally like my color cosmetics to offer up more in the way of skincare. But I have to admit that Honest Beauty pretty much lives up to the company’s mission statement.