Baltimore — Cosmetics based on minerals and other natural ingredients were a hot topic at the Natural Products Expo East show here late last month. At the same time, Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas, was launching a mineral-based makeup promotion for the month of October.
In a prominent example of the trend, Whole Foods will feature the products by carrying an exclusive kit worth $120, from Denver-based Mineral Fusion, at a price of $20. A portion the proceeds will go to the nonprofit breast cancer organization Pink United, Los Angeles.
Select stores will also have makeup artists available. Kit ingredients include plant extracts and minerals, and exclude parabens, which are preservatives linked to cancer.
Parabens are common in mainstream cosmetic brands, but at Expo East, participants discussed how the market is developing for natural and mineral-based makeup.
“Natural color cosmetics are worth $302 million and 100% natural [ingredients are] entirely possible,” said Darrin Duber-Smith, president of consultancy Green Marketing, Nederland, Colo., in his presentation on “Trends and Opportunities in Health and Beauty.”
On the show floor, No-Miss, Boca Raton, Fla., displayed “all-natural” eye shadows made from silica, mica and iron oxides. Kiss My Face, Gardiner, N.Y., exhibited 3-Way Color, a lotion-like product for eyes, cheeks and lips. Ingredients include titanium dioxide and fruit extracts.
Aubrey Organics, Tampa, Fla., is moving ahead of the mineral makeup curve with the latest in its lineup, Silken Earth. “We find that mineral makeup can be too drying for the skin and some of the minerals can be absorbed into the body, so we now have a silk powder-based line,” said Maggie Duffy, spokeswoman for Aubrey Organics.
Cosmetics buyers for Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based Manna Grocery and Deli, Ilonne Drennen and Rebecca Hicks, were gathering information on Silken Earth. “It can be tough to merchandise natural cosmetics because the consistency is different from traditional makeup,” Drennen said. Hicks is planning to train on the proper application of natural cosmetics.
Jane Houlihan, vice president of research at the Environmental Working Group, Washington, said, “This is an industry that is operating without basic safety guidelines from the federal government,” during a presentation titled “Ingredients Commonly Used in Personal Care Products.”
The Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act calls for a “self-regulating system,” she said, in which the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, Washington, funds the official body that assesses the safety of products. “Eighty-eight percent of ingredients have never been assessed by this panel, the FDA or any other publicly accountable institution.”
In an investigation published last month, EWG analyzed 23,000 personal care products and found 385 sold in the U.S. that contained ingredients banned in other countries.