Project Pan: Powder

I’ve had this post scheduled for weeks, but I kept pushing it because even though replacing an essential make up product or toiletry item was in my exceptions list for my no-buy month, I was still doing a no-buy month. But if I’m going to get something that could be considered clean or low-waste beauty before we go back to the office and I’m doing my makeup more regularly I’m going to have to order something ASAP for it to get here on time.

When I’m looking for a face powder, I prefer a pressed powder, it is much less messy than a loose powder. For both regular use and for travel, when a loose powder opens in your bag it is a disaster. I would prefer something with as little plastic packaging as possible. However, I have also read that people who live in humid climates should avoid bamboo packaging because it doesn’t inhibit mold growth or hold a tight enough seal to inhibit mold growth and I already don’t wash my makeup brushes enough let alone have mold growing on the actual makeup itself.

The options:

Elate Cosmetics Unify Matte Loose Powder

Elate Cosmetics is one of the classic brands you hear of when it comes to zero waste beauty, they use bamboo compacts that are refillable and ship the refills of the makeup in compostable envelopes, generally plant-able with wildflower seeds (I initially wrote wildfire and missed it in my first three edits, if that shows you anything about how much my work has focused on the fires this summer) embedded in the paper. They are extremely transparent with their ingredients and where they source each ingredient, particularly the mined ones like mica.

However, there are also a lot of reasons why I’m not enthused about this that really have to do with the product itself. I don’t really love loose powders, they are super messy to use. I also don’t love that there isn’t a translucent option. I’m just looking for something to reduce shine on my forehead and set my undereye concealer. I’m not looking for my powder to provide more coverage or colour, I find that it can look cakey that way. So, I’m not loving this option.

Elate Cosmetics Pressed Foundation

So this has basically the same advantages and disadvantages as the other Elate Cosmetics powder above but in a way I’m even more concerned about the colour and cakeyness of this product because it isn’t just a powder, it’s a powder foundation. It’s designed to cover up stuff, not just set your makeup and I like looking light and slightly dewy. It’s also the trendy look, we’ve moved beyond the dry, cakey look of our mid-noughties make up styles.

Kjaer Weis Translucent Powder

This is the most appealing product to me. Kjaer Weis’ powder products are really highly reviewed by bloggers that I like (Meghan Donovan, Lauren Singer), and they seem to be a really reputable low-waste makeup brand. There are a few reasons why I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. 1) I can’t figure out whether to get the Red Edition or the Iconic Edition. The Red Edition is the “less sustainable” option. It can only be refilled 2-3 times, whereas the Iconic Edition is the “more sustainable” product. It can be refilled for a lifetime. However, I have concerns about buying a product that is slightly higher resource-intensive (and more expensive) not knowing if I will likely the actual makeup product itself.

I also can’t figure out if they ship to Canada or not, they make it very clear that they ship to Europe and across the USA, but I can’t figure Canada out.

RMS “Un”Powder

RMS Beauty is one of the classic “clean” beauty brands. They’re one of those clean beauty brands that you see in stores and gets used on runways. This is a translucent powder which is what I’m looking for but this is a loose powder which I’ve already mentioned that I’m not a fan of and unlike the other products this isn’t refillable, which puts it down lower on the list.

Ilia Beauty Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20

This is another one of the classic clean beauty brands. However, I am starting to notice that most of the clean and low waste powders are loose which I do not love. It’s not that they don’t work, it’s just that they are so messy. This one also has the most plastic packaging of the options.

There does come a point of decision fatigue and too many options, so even though there are more possibilities out there, this is where I am leaving my choices. At the moment my plan is to email Kjaer Weis and see if they ship to Canada, they do stock it at Detox Market, which is a Canadian clean beauty online shop, but it always seems to be out of stock there. And in the meantime, Elate Cosmetics does these sample tubes (for Unify Powder and Pressed Foundation Powder), which are really cool. And I think I’m going to order samples of both and see what I like best! I would really like the Kjaer Weis powder, I’m thinking starting in the Red Edition to try out, but I still need to figure out if they ship to Canada or not, or wait for Detox Market to restock them (you can sign up to join the waitlist).

Thanks for listening to me ramble through a decision. Changing makeup to low waste options has been one of the hardest parts of living a less wasteful lifestyle because I don’t want compromise effectiveness of my make up or skincare products.

I’ll report back with how I like the Elate Cosmetics samples or if I can ever get my hands on some Kjaer Weis.


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