Green beauty goes mainstream.
Very few (if any) new product launches have recently caused as much controversy in the green beauty community as the launch of Honest Beauty. It seems to me as if people either love or hate it altogether. It’s black or white with not a whole lot of gray area going on.
If you are not familiar with Honest Beauty, let me introduce you to the newest branch of Jessica Alba’s billion dollar empire of non-toxic products! Just as their Honest bundles of eco-friendly personal care, baby and household items, their beauty bundle pretty much follows the same concept. You order three items for $50.00 a month plus up to additional five items for 25% off including free shipping. As with any of Honest’s products, they guarantee satisfaction by accepting returned products within 365 days of receiving and free return shipping. In addition, you can cancel your subscription any time via phone. Sounds pretty good, right?
So, what’s the controversy about? As Gurl Gone Green described so well in her review: The green beauty community is a very tight knit group of people who fiercely support and protect the small (sometimes local) indie brands who work very hard to create superior natural products. These companies often start out very small and with even smaller budgets. Of course, these brands cannot compete with a celebrity-backed giant like Honest who can sell products (especially if bundled) at very affordable prices, who get unrivaled media attention and cater to a very large audience.
On the other hand, many bloggers have mentioned that they are in favor of what Honest is doing due to the very fact that they can actually mass produce green beauty items and make them available to virtually anyone looking to make the switch to safer cosmetics. If anything, I hope we can all agree that this is a huge step in the right direction!
As you may have guessed, the debate certainly does not stop there: The packaging, the performance, the level of ingredient purity (note: Honest is not a certified organic or even truly all natural brand. They do make “safe” products which of course, means different things to different people)…These are all very valid points of contention or, at the very least, personal preference.
My take: Everybody chill out…ha! I personally like to mix a few higher end products with smaller indie brands as well as some more mainstream items and only use and recommend products that actually work for me and my skin. With that being said, things have to fit into my budget and some products that are supposed to be the “holy grail of luxury green beauty” may never be available to me. I’m sure a lot of people can relate. At the same time, not every indie product that is being hyped as the “end-all, be-all” works for absolutely everyone. I know I have bought my share of expensive products that, contrary to other bloggers’ rave reviews, did not do a thing for my skin or worse, didn’t work for me altogether. So why, in that case, wouldn’t I choose a product from a mainstream company such as Honest Beauty if it happens to actually perform better for me and while possibly costing only half as much?
Anyways…back to Honest Beauty and their actual products, y’all! What did I get? How did I like it? Bear with me, this is going to be a long one.
I ordered the trial kit because it was basically free with a $5.95 shipping fee. All you do is go online and decide which set best fits your skin type (dry, oily or balanced) and you’ll receive three sample size products that all come in a cute vegan travel bag.
I was on the fence about which set to get for myself as my skin doesn’t exactly fit into one clear-cut category. However, since Honest doesn’t offer an option for “acne-prone with occasional dry patches, high maintenance and generally ‘does what it wants’ kind of skin,” I decided to go with the oily but actually received the balanced set which I was totally fine with.
- Refreshingly Clean Cleanser: This product is included in all of the trial sets. It offers a nice lather and smells pleasant. It is a nice enough cleanser that gets the job done but for me was nothing outstanding to write home about. Sorry!
- Even Brighter Moisturizer: This product I had to use a few times for me to like it as I am so used to face oils as opposed to actual moisturizers at this point. It is very light and a good product to layer over a serum and under SPF/makeup. It feels very hydrating and not heavy or oily. Unfortunately, I just realized a few days ago that this moisturizer contains dimethicone (a silicone-based polymer). While dimethicone is used by several green beauty companies (it is rated a 3 out of 10 by the EWG) and is generally considered safe by the FDA, it can clog pores and cause breakouts which is not something my skin needs more of!
- Beyond Protected Daily Beauty Fluid SPF 30: This was my favorite skincare product of the bunch! This beauty fluid goes on smoothly, absorbs quickly and does not feel oily or thick on the skin. The formula is non-whitening and luckily, does not remind me of typical sunscreen at all.
To get a variety of products, I ordered a beauty bundle which included the foundation, an eye shadow trio and a lip crayon. In addition, I ordered an eye pencil at 25% off and with a $20.00 off coupon, I also bought the mascara.
- Everything Cream Foundation: I got the shade Linen and have to say it matches my skin tone exactly! I have been a loyal RMS Beauty Un-cover Up 11 fan for almost 2 years but this foundation totally rivals it. It is not quite as pure ingredient-wise but offers fuller coverage and is a little more matte than RMS (just make sure your skin is adequately exfoliated and prepped). It comes with a mirror and application sponge (which I don’t use) and it works well with the RMS foundation or any flat foundation brush. I think $30.00 is a great price for this foundation that can also double as a concealer and considering that many clean foundations cost twice as much for very comparable quality. Lovely product!
- Eye Shadow Trio: I ordered the Truly Warm Sable Brown palette. It comes in a card board box with a mirror and an applicator. This palette offers three beautiful shades of eye shadow (vanilla cream, light bronze and soft stone) with good pigmentation and easy blendability. I use these shadows for a natural day and a more smokey night look (but mostly day, really! #momlife). The eye shadows are not as long lasting as I would like for them to be but I blame my oily lids more than the actual product (I am still looking for a good clean eye shadow primer – let me know if anyone has found one yet!).
- Truly Kissable Lip Crayon – Sheer: The lip crayons come in two finishes, sheer and matte. I got the Sheer Blossom Kiss and it is such a pretty color! It is described as a sheer ballet pink that actually looks more like a peachy nude and gives my lips that desired “my lips but better” look. Its amazing formula smells fruity and goes on effortlessly. The lip crayon feels more hydrating than a lipstick but not as sticky or wet as a lipgloss. It is a lovely product and now I really want to try the matte Strawberry Kiss lip crayon – a pretty warm red.
- True Velvet Eyeliner Truly Cocoa: This is a deep brown eye liner that comes with a built-in smudger. Its application is a total breeze and it offers good pigmentation that is very long lasting. I think I might just have to try the black and gold eye liners next!
- Truly Lush Mascara+Primer: After the foundation, this was my favorite product of this line! If you are familiar with green beauty at all, it is pretty hard to get excited over a clean mascara. However, this one did it for me! It is very lengthening even for my stubby little lashes and while not too thickening, it is definitely buildable and holds a curl really well. On me, it is long lasting and I have not experienced any clumping or the ever-dreaded raccoon eyes. One word of caution: Some people have complained of the mascara (or rather the primer) irritating their eyes which I have not had a problem with (totally surprising to me since most eye creams I have tried sting my eye balls pretty good!).
To wrap things up – Honest is great for anyone who is looking to switch to green beauty but does not know where to start or does not want to spend hundreds of dollars on new products. You can probably get the basics of a foundation, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, blush and lip stick for around $100.00 which, considering other options, is relatively inexpensive. Sure, the packaging is not as luxurious as some other brands. Sure, some clean cosmetic companies use even purer ingredients that are actually certified organic or 100% natural. However, the price difference can be significant therefore you have to decide for yourself what’s most important to you.
Biggest plus besides budget – convenience! The bundle concept and the email reminders that come with it along with free and speedy shipping, great customer service and satisfaction guarantee are all very user-friendly. Also, Honest Beauty is a one-stop shop great for those gals who do not enjoy ordering from a bunch of different websites and whose idea of fun does not include constantly testing the latest and greatest of what green beauty has to offer.
Of course, if you do not like shopping online in general and feel uneasy providing your credit card information for a company to keep on file, this business model definitely is not for you!
I hope to (re)order a few more Honest Beauty makeup items although I am not sure if I keep subscribing to the bundles every month. Even for me, that would be lot of makeup to go through! As far as the Honest skincare is concerned, I will not be reordering at the moment. Unfortunately, none of the products I have tested stood out for me enough to stray from my tried and true skincare favorites that have really done great things for my unruly skin and that I happily continue to use for my daily regimen. Leahlani Skincare, I’m looking at you…
Have you tried Honest Beauty? What do you think?