Category Archives: MakeUP SmackDOWN

MakeUp SmackDown: All Natural Cream Foundations

Posted by:  Jordan

A reader asked us to do a SmackDown version for affordable all-natural cream foundations, a product she was searching for to replace her expensive department store brand.  Thanks to several suggestions from other readers of which brands to test out, here are my findings from this version of MakeUp SmackDown!

The contenders: 

Vegan Liquid Foundation from The All Natural Face

The All Natural Face Liquid Foundation

Health Glow Foundation by Real Purity (an Indiana company–Hoosier shout out from an Indiana native!!)

Real Purity Health Glow Foundation

Creme Foundation by Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques

Lauren Brooke Creme Foundation

Ease of choosing my color when purchasing online:

I put this category first because a lot of people feel uneasy buying cosmetics online without trying them in person first, which is a fair concern.  Finding your foundation color is difficult in person, let alone doing it all by yourself in front of a computer.

Lauren Brooke was super simple because they offer samples of all their products for $1.40 (I did try a sample of a serum for $3.50, but all the other samples are only $1.40).  Plus, they offer free shipping if you spend over $25 so it’s easy to order lots of samples of cosmetics and not have to pay additional for shipping.  I ordered two foundation samples and found that Warm #2 worked best for me, which surprised me because I would have thought I would have been Neutral rather than Warm.  There were several colors to choose from, but not an overwhelming amount.

The All Natural Face sells 51 shades of foundation (and if you find that none of those work for you, they’ll work with you to create a custom blend)!!!  With that many choices, they thankfully also sell a sampler kit of all the powder foundations in your range (pale/ medium or medium/dark) for only $4.60.  My trouble was there were SO MANY colors to choose from in the kit that I was a bit overwhelmed.  I made Emily help me narrow down the colors to a handful of potentials and then I went home and applied them to my whole face.  After much debating and second guessing, I found that Tan Warm was the best color for me (which is odd because I would consider my skin neither warm nor tan). After choosing a color from the powder foundations you can order liquid foundations, powder foundations, or concealer all in the same color.

Real Purity also sells samples for $1.50, but their free shipping promo is after you spend $50 so that makes it a little more difficult to load up on samples without paying shipping (am I the only person who tries anything to avoid paying shipping?  I hate it when you spend $5 on something and then pay $9 in shipping!).  However, finding your shade isn’t too difficult because they have 13 colors to choose from and accurate descriptions of the colors/undertones on their website.  I found that Soft Beige blended beautifully on my skin (described as “Fair skin with a slight pink undertone, cool skin tone”–which very much describes my skin, much more so than “Tan Warm” from The All Natural Face!).

Winner: I thought Lauren Brooke made it easiest to find my perfect shade with cheap sample prices and free shipping over $25, but really all of these companies make it pretty simple to choose your perfect color.


Spoiler–I really like all of these liquid foundations and they all offer nice coverage but in varying degrees.

The sheerest coverage was from The All Natural Face.  I found it to be just a notch more than a tinted moisturizer, in my opinion.  If you’re looking for a more full-coverage foundation, this one probably isn’t the best.  If you prefer a lighter coverage, I think this is an amazing choice.  I found that it leaves a pretty sheen on my face, almost like a built-in highlighter, but in a very subtle way.

Real Purity offers fantastic coverage which feels lightweight when you apply it, but just evens everything out and makes your skin look prettier.  I’d say it’s a middle of the road coverage foundation.  Great for everyday and blends beautifully!

Lauren Brooke is definitely more full-coverage–ideal for a big evening out when you’re getting glammed up with a full face of dramatic makeup, or for someone who has a lot of acne or skin discolorations they need to even out.  The cream was thick in my hands, but felt moisturizing and light on your face–not at all heavy.  I found it really covers imperfections nicely, as I have a few dark sun spots on my face that the foundation covered entirely, without even having to use concealer on top, like I normally do.  It made my skin look healthy, glowy (not greasy) and was a great base for the rest of my makeup.  I loved this foundation for a special evening, date night, or an interview, but for this stay-at-home-mom it was something I’d probably only use a handful of times in a year.  That’s not to say it’s not someone else’s ideal foundation because it does have amazing coverage and feels luxurious on your skin.  For me, however, I prefer something slightly more sheer for everyday.

Winner (for my skin’s coverage needs): Real Purity Health Glow Foundation (health glow is such an appropriate name for it…it really does make my skin look healthier and glowier!)  Followed very closely by Lauren Brooke.


The All Natural Face costs $13.80 for a 1 oz bottle.  However, you pretty much have to first buy the sampler kit of foundation colors because there’s absolutely no way you could choose your color without doing that step first.  So tack on an initial $4.60 to spend on finding your right color.

Real Purity costs $26 for a 1.5oz bottle.

Lauren Brooke costs $27 for a 24 gram pot (a little over 3/4 oz).  A little will go a long way with this foundation, however.


This is no way to choose your best foundation, but if you’re someone who likes to display pretty bottles and jars in your bathroom, Lauren Brooke is the only one of these three that spends any money or thought in their packaging.  It looks like something you’d buy at a department store, whereas the other two look like a high school intern might have designed their packaging.  Again, this doesn’t affect my decision in any way regarding the product, but I thought it should be mentioned!

To sum up this SmackDown, I really love the liquid foundations from all of three of these companies, but I’d reorder the foundation from Real Purity and then invest in the AMAZING concealer that I sampled from Lauren Brooke to even out under eye circles and imperfections or discolorations.  I feel that a more sheer-medium coverage foundation combined with a heavy-duty, super blendable concealer is my best combo.  You really can’t go wrong with any of these foundations.  Choose your coverage level, and I think you’ll be happy with any of these choices.


In sampling these foundations I of course had to sample some other types of makeup from these companies.  Here are the highlights (and one fail):

-As mentioned, the creme concealer from Lauren Brooke is out of this world!  It’s $14 for 1/2 oz, which I feel is a great price.

Laruen Brooke Lip Gloss-The Botanical Lip Gloss in Coral from Lauren Brooke.  It ended up being more of a red than coral but so pretty with buildable color.  Loved the saturated color combined with the sheer moisturizing gloss.

The Vegan Oily Lid Eyeshadow Primer in Buff from The All Natural Face is now a part of my daily routine.  It actually allows me to have color on my eyes all day, which I’ve complained about before how by the middle of the day all the eye color I applied that morning had disappeared.  No longer the case, thanks to this incredibly effective yet insanely inexpensive product.  Only $3.45 for a little pot that should last me at least a year of daily application.

Mascara from the All natural Face in Black.  At first I wasn’t impressed with this mascara.  It took 3 coats just to give my lashes a little bit of emphasis.  However, after wearing it all day and even testing it through a sweaty class at the gym, it stayed put with no signs of smudging.  After trying it over my favorite Jane Iredale Purelash primer, it was a great mascara.  The primer made the mascara have more oomph and defined my lashes much more.

Mascara from Real Purity in Violet.  This is not at all something I’d think to pick for myself, but I was sent a sample of their new colored mascaras (available in violet, navy, and emerald green) and was pleasantly surprised!  The mascara itself is a buildable formula–I found it took me 3 coats to get to the level of definition I like for my lashes.  But it stayed put all day (especially when applied over the Jane Iredale primer).  But the violet color was so fun!  I wore it over to a playdate at Emily’s house and I received positive feedback. “I could tell that you had color on your eyes but I didn’t realize it was in your mascara”, said one of the moms.  And Emily raved how she didn’t know I was wearing colored mascara until I was sitting in front of her window and the light happened to catch it.  A fun addition to your natural makeup collection, for sure!

Real Purity powder blushPowder blush in Parfait from Real Purity. The bright pink isn’t something I’d normally be drawn to, but it turns out it really brightened up my face with a flattering pink.  Would be interested in trying out the Light Coral or the Shrimp colors as well!

-The Eye & Throat Cream from Real Purity is the best eye cream I’ve ever tried.  I am often asked what natural eye cream I recommend and it’s always a hard question for me because I’ve never found a product that I loved as much as this.  I’ve always felt that eye cream felt very much like a face cream in a smaller bottle–until I discovered this!  It’s so light and has almost a creamy-gel texture that the skin absorbs quickly.  This will be my new daily eye cream!  I only received a sample size of this so I can’t attest to the long-term eye cream benefits yet, but I will be ordering a full size and plan to use it twice a day, so I will report back!

And one fail:

Eyeliner Pencil in Blue from Lauren Brooke.  The color of the eyeliner was beautiful, a jewel-toned navy that was nice for every day.  However, the pencil was too soft and oily so I found that I had to sharpen it every time and it would often break during application, making me have to sharpen it again.  It was $13.50, which I thought was on the expensive side, especially for how little time it will last me since I have to re-sharpen it constantly.


Filed under Blush, Eyeliner, Foundation, Lipstick/gloss/balm, MakeUP SmackDOWN, Mascara, Moisturizers

MakeUP SmackDOWN: Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Lash Boosting vs. Benecos Maximum Volume Mascara

Posted by:  Jordan

This edition of a MakeUP SmackDOWN is comparing two natural mascaras.  The contenders are:

Benecos Mascara  Benecos Natural Mascara


Physicians Formula Organic Wear Lash Boosting Mascara

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Lash Boosting Mascara

Not long ago, I review Physicians Formula Jumbo Lash Mascara, but after getting a tip from a reader that the Lash Boosting formula seemed to smudge less, I decided to give that one a shot to compare.  So really this SmackDOWN is comparing all three of those mascaras, but you can read the detailed review of the Jumbo Lash version here.

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Lash mascara

On with the competition!

Ease of Application:  Physicians Formula is the clear winner here (both Jumbo Lash and Lash Boosting versions) due to the big, fat brush and smooth formula.  The Benecos brush is pretty standard but it requires a few coats.  

The Look:  I prefer the look of Physicians Formula to Benecos.  Between the two PF versions I slightly lean toward the Jumbo Lash version (in the metallic neon green tube) because it makes my lashes extra full.  The Lash Boosting version doesn’t have quite the same volumizing effect that the Jumbo Lash one does, but both lengthen and define my lashes nicely.  Benecos does a great job too, but just gives a more natural look.  Also, I find that Benecos clumps slightly, so I often have to run my eyelash comb through my lashes after the mascara dries.



 Water, Grain Grain Alcohol*, Beeswax*, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-5 Laurate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Acacia Senegal Gum, Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate, Carnauba Wax*, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Glyceryl Caprylate, Jojoba Seed Oil*, p-Anisic Acid, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Sunflower Seed Oil*, Sodium Hydroxide, Limonene, Vitamin E, Fragrance (Natural),Aloe Vera Leaf Juice Powder*, Citral, Linalool, Iron Oxides

* indicates Certified Organic Ingredients
** for natural essential oils

Physicians Formula Lash Boosting

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Water*, Glycerin+, Iron Oxides, Water, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Beeswax*Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract*, Tapioca Starch*, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnuba) Wax*, Oryza Sativa, (Rice) Powder*, Jojoba Esters, Stearic Acid, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Yogurt Extract*, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract*, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract*, Glyceryl Caprylate, Glycerin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Superoxide Dismutase, Soybean Peroxidase, Leuconostoc Ferment Filtrate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, May Contain: Titanium Dioxide

I’ll leave that up to the reader to make an informed decision on which ingredient list they prefer, but I’m feeling good about both of these mascaras.  Both are free of phenoxyethanol, which is rare to find in mascaras–even natural ones.  So that makes me happy and I’m declaring this round a tie.

The Wear (or How Do These Mascaras Hold Up and Will I Look Like a Heroin Addict By The Time Happy Hour Rolls Around?):  To test this round out I wore Physicians Formula on one eye and Benecos on the other.  My rule was that I wasn’t allowed to wipe under my eyes at all the entire day so I’d be able to see which mascara smudged less after a full day of wear.  The winner here was Benecos!  There was hardly any smudging at all!!  This is clearly a great everyday, need-to-get-ready-quickly-and-get-out-the-door mascara.  Physicians Formula wasn’t horrible , but there was definitely some noticeable Raccoon Eyes (Also, in regards to the reader who found that the Lash Boosting formula smudged less for her than the Jumbo Lash one, I didn’t find one smudged less than the other for me, unfortunately).

Price: Benecos is $16. 49 on Amazon whereas Physicians Formula is $9.95 on  You can also find Physicians Formula products at most local drugstores.

The Overall Winner:  I’m going to have to go with Physician’s Formula, but I think I like the Jumbo Lash (in the green tube) a little bit better than the Lash Boosting (in the black tube).

Jane Iredale PureLash Extender and Conditioner

The Wild Card: Applying Jane Iredale’s PureLash Conditioner prior to any natural mascara makes it stay on all day, smudge-free, and gives my lashes an extra oomph.  So really, I’m declaring this as the all-time winner for my favorite natural mascara (even though it’s really a pre-mascara)!  It’s worth the extra time and expense to not worry that you look like a true Junkie by the end of the day.


Filed under MakeUP SmackDOWN, Mascara, Product Reviews

MakeUP SmackDOWN #2: Jane Iredale PureLash vs 100% Pure Mascara

Posted by:  Jordan

Jane Iredale PureLash in Black Onyx

For our second MakeUP SmackDOWN we’re putting a couple of natural mascaras up for comparison: 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara and Jane Iredale PureLash Mascara.  I have already reviewed 100% Pure mascara in more detail in another post, but as you know we’ve been on the hunt for a natural waterproof mascara for a long time, so when I saw that Jane Iredale’s PureLash mascara claimed to be water-resistant, I had to test it out for our readers.  *Note: I even wore a different mascara on each eye several times to get a true comparison on how these hold up against each other throughout the day.  Now that’s devotion to research!

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara

Clumpiness: Honestly, I go back and forth on this one.  One day Jane Iredale seems to be a bit more clumpy; the next 100% Pure has some clumps.  So this one is really a toss-up because neither of them are perfect, but neither gives you the horrendous 3-giant-spiderly-lashes look either.

Verdict: Tie

Thickening/Lengthening:    I have decently long lashes, but they’re stick straight, light in color, and thin.  So a good mascara does wonders for my eyes and I try to never leave the house without mascara, even if going to the gym.  Although recently pregnancy brain has kicked in and I didn’t realize until late in the day that I completely forgot to apply mascara that morning!  I know that may seem shallow, but that’s an addict for you.  Jane Iredale is more of a natural look mascara–it certainly wouldn’t replace a dramatic mascara, like DiorShow or my old favorite, Maybelline Full ‘N Soft.  100% Pure gives my lashes a bit more oomph–making them stand up a little taller and look fuller.  Need a visual comparison?  This is a creepy closeup picture of my eyes…which eye do you think looks more defined?

Left eye: Jane Iredale, Right eye: 100% Pure

Verdict:  The clear winner here is 100% Pure.

Color choices:  Jane Iredale PureLash has two color choices: black and brown.  Meanwhile, 100% Pure comes in four deliciously named colors:  Black Tea (basic black), Dark Chocolate (I haven’t tried on my eyes, but on my hand it’s a nice dark brown), Blackberry (a dark violet.  It’s so dark it almost looks black, but the woman at Duane Reade sold me on it because she said “it makes brown eyes pop”), and Blueberry (a dark navy–almost black with a blue undertone, which presumably would make blue and green eyes “pop”?)

Verdict:  100% Pure wins again!

End of day smudge factor:  When I first bought the Jane Iredale mascara, I thought for sure that it was going to beat 100% Pure in the smudge factor category.  However, I don’t know if 100% Pure changed their formula, or if the Blackberry color just seems to smudge less than the Black Tea, which I had originally tried.  However my latest test shows that 100% Pure in Blackberry seemed to smudge just a bit less than Jane Iredale PureLash.  Neither were perfect, unfortunately!

Verdict:  My recently purchased 100% Pure in Blackberry wins this category, but not by much.

Water-resistance:  Another creepy close up of my eyes!  What do you think?  Granted, I splashed a lot of water on my face for this test (no rubbing, just splashing)…so when Jane Iredale claims to be water-resistant, I don’t think they had a giant handful of water thrown in your face as a good test.

Left: Jane Iredale, Right: 100% Pure

Verdict:  Tie.  The 100% Pure on the right eye looks a little less raccoon-y, but I think that’s just because the Blackberry color is not as dark as the Jane Iredale in black.

Ease of removal:  Both mascaras wash off very easily with soap and water, though 100% Pure seems to rinse just a little cleaner with less effort.

Verdict:  Again, this is a super close contest, but 100% Pure takes the prize.

Ease of purchase:  In NY I can buy both of these mascaras at local stores: Duane Reade drugstores sell 100% Pure in their select “Look Boutique” locations, and C.O. Bigelow sells Jane Iredale.  My mom bought several Jane Iredale products recently at a local boutique in her town (a suburb of Illinois).  Both mascaras are of course sold at several online retailers, including Amazon.  But I think overall Jane Iredale is sold at more physical locations.

Verdict:  Though both are easily bought online, Jane Iredale seems to be available at more locations nation-wide, so I’m giving this category to her.

Price:  Not a huge price difference…100% Pure is $18 and Jane Iredale PureLash is $15.

Verdict:  Jane Iredale wins by $3

Naturalness:  The ingredients in both formulas pass my strict standards, as well as SkinDeep’s.  Jane Iredale scores a 1 and 100% Pure scores a 2!  However, looking at the ingredient list for 100% Pure’s formula reads like a fruit smoothie, so I’m not concerned.

Verdict:  Really about a tie, but according to SkinDeep Jane Iredale scores a little better on the rating scale.

Overall Winner:  100% Pure wins this installment of MakeUp SmackDown–though not by a landslide!  It was a pretty close contest.  We’d love to hear your feedback on any other natural mascaras we should be trying!


Filed under MakeUP SmackDOWN, Mascara, Product Reviews

MakeUP SmackDOWN #1

Posted by: Emily

Summer’s over, and I’m blue about it. (I hear it’s going to get hot again this week, but the days are getting shorter and that always makes me a little sad!) So, to cheer up myself and, hopefully you as well, I will write about lipgloss!  I’m starting a new regular column, MakeUP SmackDOWN, which will be a comparison between two (or more) brands of a similar product using several categories of comparison. Naturally, I will begin with my favorite thing in the world: Lipgloss!

In this corner, we have Revolution Organics Freedom Lip Gloss in Vibe!

And in this corner, introducing 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip Gloss in Sheer Cherry!

Let the games begin!

Color: In a perfect test, I would’ve bought these products in very similar shades, so as to better compare the two. But who wants two nearly identical lipglosses? Not this addict! Each of these is a wonderful shade, even if quite different.

“Vibe” by Revolution, looks really orange in the container, but goes on so sheer and glam. Worn alone, it’s a pretty coral, and I’ve also used it with various lipsticks to amp up pinks or tone down mauves. The woman who sold it to me looked at me like I was insane when I said I wanted that shade, but once I tried it on, she agreed that it was subtle and pretty. I must say, for those of you like Jordan who don’t like shimmer in lip gloss, it has some nice sparkle, but, like the shade, it’s very subtle and classy. The color selection is small but diverse. There are only 5 shades, but each is pretty unique. I originally tried out “Integrity” which is a “shimmering golden rose” and is nice, but very, very subtle. Too subtle for me– might as well wear something clear. The other three shades are all sheers (no shimmer).

“Sheer Cherry” by 100% Pure also looks in the container like something I would never wear, but I took a chance and I’m SO glad I did. It’s the softest, sheer red, as the name suggests, and looks like I’ve just eaten a popsicle, but in a very grown up, sophisticated way. It has no shimmer, so Jordan will like it. It’s equally as subtle as Vibe, and equally as influential in terms of subtly punching up an underlying lipstick color. The selection of shades is almost double that of Revolution, but they’re all kind of similar in my opinion. The sheer fruits are all pretty close, and there are a lot of pinky browns and shiny reds. No complaints, as I love a good pinky brown, but I wish the line had some coppers and corals as well.

Verdict for Color: Tie

Texture: Both of the glosses are a little thinner than I remember MAC or Bobbi Brown’s lip glosses to be, but I think that’s because they are chemical free. I guess that’s just the trade off. They’re a little thinner than Bare Escentuals’ gloss, and slightly thicker than Vapour Organic Beauty’s, but all in all, Revolution and 100% Pure are almost identical in terms of texture. Both are very moisturizing, which is an amazing bonus for a lip gloss.

Verdict for Texture: Tie

Smell: Separate but equal. Love them both, but they’re very different. 100% Pure’s gloss has, as you might expect from this fruit pigmented brand, a very sweet, fruity smell. It’s divine, and I am always happy to wear it. Revolution’s smell is harder to describe– I am reminded of that old saying, which, of course I cannot remember or find on line, which is something about how difficult it is to talk about Art. I feel the same way about smells– how can you put it into words? Revolution’s smell is like something I’ve smelled before, and with which I have a very happy associated memory, but I cannot place or describe it. It smells clean and fresh and natural and sweet, but not like fruit, laundry, perfume, or food, or like any of the usual comparisons one makes. I can only say that I absolutely LOVE it. I can’t get enough of the smell, and yet I’m saving it, trying to make the tube of gloss last as long as possible!

Verdict for Smell: Almost a tie, but Revolution wins by a hair for originality.

Ease of Purchase: Both are available on line, of course, and each of these two lines is sold at a different store near my office in New York City. But that doesn’t help you, does it, unless you work near me 🙂 Both lines’ websites offer free shipping over a certain amount– %100 Pure is over $50, Revolution Organics over $75, and with the price difference, you’ll get to that $75 faster, so I say that’s about equal.

Verdict for Ease of Purchase: Neither is everywhere, but each is somewhere, and both on line. Tie.

Price: Yikes, here’s where the real difference sets in. 100% Pure retails for $13, and at a whopping $26, Revolution Organics Freedom Gloss is exactly DOUBLE. Yes, DOUBLE the price!! As I’ve outlined, they are almost identical, so it would be easy to say this is a no-brainer when deciding which to buy, but did I mention the smell of Revolution???? And the color selection of Revolution is a little more interesting to me, but that’s so subjective. Still, there is an undeniable winner in this category, hands down.

Verdict for Price: Definitely 100% Pure.

Naturalness: These are two incredibly exemplary lines. Revolution uses “only certified organic plant-based ingredients that meet the rigorous standards of the USDA to ensure the integrity and purity of our products” and 100% Pure is, well, 100% Pure. I didn’t see anything on the latter gloss description about being certified by the USDA, but I know that’s an expensive certification, and perhaps that’s how they keep costs down? Either way, both brands’ ingredients check out, and satisfy my need for healthy products. As always, only you can choose your level of comfort with ingredients, but I feel great about both these brands.

Verdict for Naturalness: Maybe Revolution, by a smidge, because it’s certified USDA organic. But really, mostly a tie.

Overall Winner: Tie! But you have all the data with which to make an informed decision based on your priorities!

There you have it, folks. The first MakeUP SmackDOWN. Stay tuned for such upcoming contests as Concealer, Tinted Moisturizer, and Facial Oils! Some will come with giveaways… Keep reading! And post in the comments to tell us what you think of these lip glosses if you use them! We love hearing from you.


Filed under Lipstick/gloss/balm, MakeUP SmackDOWN