Drugstore Eco Beauty: Physicians Formula Organic Wear


Like any girl born with naturally pale, sparse lashes, I rely on mascara to keep me from looking like a creepy Children of the Corn extra. And since I’m not a big fan of putting carcinogens and other toxins adjacent to my eyeballs, I am always on the lookout for great natural, non-toxic mascara – and damn, is there a lot of hype for a little drugstore product called Physicians Formula Organic Wear mascara.

A panel of green beauty experts rated this product ‘Best Natural Mascara’ along with a $22.50 product from Couleur – but the Physicians Formula stuff costs just $10. After taking a gander at the ingredients, learning that the Organic Wear line is the first ECOCERT® makeup line in the U.S., and reading tons of positively glowing reviews online, I figured I’d give it a shot.

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The ingredients are of 100% natural origin and many are organically farmed, and the brush is completely recyclable. No harsh chemicals, no synthetic preservatives, and this brand doesn’t test on animals.

While it’s not going to give you lush, dramatic lashes like Dior Show (sigh…), Organic Wear mascara performs better than any other natural mascara I’ve tried. The ‘Ultra Black’ shade is nice and intense, and it added a good amount of length and volume with zero smudging or flaking.

I tried the pressed powder, too, and while it’s a wee bit on the chalky side unless you use a really light hand, it worked well enough and warranted a super-low hazard score of 2 at Skin Deep. The packaging is nice, too – it’s made from paper but holds up really well.

So what about the rest of the Organic Wear line? Two color-correcting concealer sticks in ‘soft green’ and ‘soft yellow’ also rated just ‘2’. But get into the liquid foundations, tinted moisturizers and loose powder, and the scores jump to 4 – not terrible, but definitely not too impressive. (Check out the full list at the Cosmetic Safety Database.)

However, you should definitely steer clear of Physicians Formula “Mineral Wear” product line. Despite the connotations of “mineral makeup”, these products aren’t much better than the usual drugstore junk. Many of them, including the Talc-Free Mineral Loose Powder, contain parabens of all things. Forget about the Mineral Mascara – it’s packed with all kinds of nasty ingredients, giving it a score of 7.

In sum: Organic Wear Mascara? Fantastic. Pressed powders? Awesome. But you may want to skip the rest.

Stephanie Rogers is a fashion- and beauty-obsessed freelance writer with an abiding love for kale and organic wine, living in Asheville, North Carolina.