Hello. I just read your post on a makeup starter kit and it inspired me to write to you with a question of my own that I have been struggling with for a while now.
I am 14 years old and I would like to start wearing makeup. The only problem is that I am allergic to parabens, which are in almost every makeup that I can find. I cannot find any makeup or makeup companies that are completely free of parabens.
I have blond hair and light blue deep set eyes. My skin is very fair and it has a cooler undertone. I’m looking for a basic BB Cream or Foundation, Concealer, blush, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, and any tools. I also have very oily skin and would like some type of powder or oil absorbing sheets. I’m not sure if I will be able to find any paraben free products in a drug store, but there is a CVS nearby and also a Sephora that is within driving distance. I am ok with spending a good amount of money as long as I don’t react to the products.
Thank you for helping.
Parabens are a hot topic these days. While the medical community feels they’re safe based upon our current level of knowledge and scientific research (Dr. Cynthia Bailey has a great post going over parabens in skin care), there are people who want to avoid them due to safety concerns. However, this weekend I received an email from a reader asking about paraben free products due to an allergy, in which case she can’t really fudge it and ignore the paraben in her blush. Luckily, parabens are getting easier to avoid, even when you’re shopping at the drugstore!
I’ve spent a few days looking for products that I recommend and building a makeup kit full of paraben free products. I looked primarily at drugstore products (as a teen I would have had to save for quite a while to shop at Sephora instead of CVS), and I looked at ingredient lists on manufacturer websites, CVS, Walgreen’s, Drugstore.com, etc. I’ve found some higher price alternatives that are paraben free, and while they’re not in the graphic I’ve listed those below.
BB Cream or Foundation
Here’s where I admit that I only looked at BB Creams, not foundations. BB Creams are considered skincare usually, so they’re more likely to be paraben free and there’s more than enough coverage for almost everyone.
1. Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-In-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector: This is one of my favorite BB Creams to recommend, and there’s a new version of it (Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream), which I haven’t tried yet. It has 2% Salicylic Acid to fight blemishes (which isn’t pregnancy friendly, hence my lack of testing) and there are some great oil absorbing ingredients as well.
2. Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream: Everyone loves this one. I fully admit I haven’t used it, it doesn’t match my skintone.
3. Pond’s Luminous Finish BB+ Cream: This is the BB Cream I use pretty much every day.
Concealers that are paraben free seem to be really, really hard to find. These were the only 2 drugstore options I was able to find.
Also Works: ELF Studio High Definition Powder
This looks like an ode to Maybelline! I was impressed that so many of their blushes were paraben free, while so many brands I checked had parabens in everything.
11. Milani Illuminating Face Powder: I like that this product can be used as an illuminator or as a blush, just by changing the size of your brush.
Also works: Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush
Eye Shadow Primer
If you’re going to wear shadow, I’m of the opinion that a primer underneath is an absolute must! It will keep your shadow in place much longer and the colors will be more vibrant.
12. Wet n Wild Fergie Eyeshadow Primer is one that I hear a lot about, but I haven’t tried it myself (check out Vampy Varnish’s review of Fergie Shadow Primer), though note that it is a pink shimmer, not a neutral/invisible primer.
e.l.f. Eyelid Primer and e.l.f. Natural Mineral Eyeshadow Primer are frequently talked about and I know a lot of people have luck with them, so I’ve mentioned them here (their $1 price tag is pretty appealing), but I haven’t had a lot of luck with them. I have used Prestige Primed & Ready Eye Primer with decent results.
13. NYX Eye Shadow Base: This is my favorite drugstore primer, all 3 shades are paraben free. It covers up any visible blood vessels while it primes.
More expensive options: Too Faced Shadow Insurance (original)
I’m a pretty big snob when it comes to eye shadows. There are only a few drugstore formulations that I think are worthwhile. Unfortunately, most of them (Wet’n Wild, L’Oreal and CoverGirl) seem to have parabens. Note that parabens are sometimes in individual shades, not necessarily all shades. So, if one palette is ok, it might not translate over to the rest of the brand. I was only able to find 2 options for drugstore eye shadows, though all of the shades of the Revlon Colorstay were fine.
More expensive options: My favorite formulations from more expensive brands are from Too Faced, Urban Decay and Stila. These ones are fine: Too Faced Country Nashville Nudes Palette, Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Palette, Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette, Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette, Naked2 Palette and Naked3 Palette (not Naked), Stila In the Moment, In The Garden, Eye Shadow Trios, In the Know, In The Light
More Options: Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Spoon Brush Washable Mascara, L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Washable Mascara, L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Excess Mascara, Maybelline The Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara
There seem to be a lot of options for lips. I favor tinted balms and glossy stains for little bit of long lasting color that you can keep in a pocket and apply on the go.
I’ve gone over tools some in the past, but I recommend the eye brushes in my Makeup 101 post (yeah for ELF!), a blush brush and a powder blush. I like to use a slightly damp BeautyBlender sponge to blend my BB Cream and Concealer (pat, don’t rub), and you’ll need a good eyelash curler (Tweezerman is my fave). The BeautyBlender really is much better than all of the dupes in my opinion, but there are some great brushes available for less! I like Real Techniques, ELF and the special MAC and Bobbi Brown sets that you can buy during the Nordies sale (going on now!) or at the holidays.
Also: Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets These are amazing. I buy them at Target, they’re cheaper there than anywhere else for some reason. They don’t leave powder on your face like other blotting sheets. Stock up!
Have I forgotten anything? If you have any paraben free products that you would like to recommend, let everyone know in the comments!