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Last updated on February 10th, 2018
Over the course of a couple years now I have been searching for non-toxic makeup brands that are transparent enough to welcome my questions, meet my strict standards, and make products that actually work well, even for people who prioritize performance over health. If you have been part of our community for some time now, you know that this is a tall order. Today I am excited to finally have a really good recommendation for you. The name of this brand is Crunchi.
When I first saw the Crunchi’s website, I was pleased to see no claims that their products are organic or natural (because shampoos, cosmetics, and permanent hair colors can’t be certified organic). And I was happy to see that the ingredients were listed according to the FDA’s labeling regulations. This communicated to me that they have integrity and respect for us as customers.
After I had gone over each ingredient of their major products, I contacted them to ask to speak with the person who is in charge of product development. That’s where I often get stuck. I always start with the customer service department but often find I can’t break through that level; and they usually have limited knowledge of product ingredients. To my pleasant surprise, one of the co-founders, Melanie Petschke, took time out of her busy schedule to call me and answered all my questions to my satisfaction.
I am impressed with Melanie’s integrity, knowledge, and passion to create a safe non-toxic makeup brand that performs as well as mainstream brands. In fact, she even hired me to do research on ingredients for other products they are planning.
What a contrasting experience I had with Beautycounter, who wasted my time (sorry for putting it bluntly) and did not answer any of my questions. You can read about my frustrating experience with Beautycounter here.
I have looked into and could not recommend many other makeup brands that claim to be safe, because either they did not adhere to my strict standards or they did not call or email me back. They include but are not limited to, Hynt Beauty, Vapour Organic Beauty, Mineral Fusion, Rejuva, and Ilia, to name a few.
Colorants used in Crunchi non-toxic makeup
Ever since I read the FDA test results of 400 lipsticks back in 2010, I have been very concerned with heavy metal contamination in cosmetics. In the FDA test, most lipsticks contained some amount of lead, and the highest amount was 7.19 parts per million (ppm).
The trace amounts of heavy metals can be found in both types of cosmetic colorants: petroleum-based and mineral. In addition to heavy metals, petroleum-based pigments may contain trace amounts of contaminants specific to petroleum, including carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting benzo[a]pyrene, and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). For this reason, I recommend brands made only with mineral pigments.
Crunchi makes cosmetics with mineral pigments that are certified by EcoCert, which guarantees that they are free of synthetic components/additives, and none of the pigments are made in China or other Asian countries. This is so important because the background levels of pollution in China are very high and the regulations there are almost non-existent.
For example, Vapour Organic Beauty was not able to answer my repeated question about what country their pigments are made in, which was very disappointing because otherwise, their products looked good at first glance.
Another reason I value the fact that Crunchi’s pigments meet the EcoCert standard is that they have to adhere to the European limits for heavy metals, which specifies limits for 12 heavy metals, not just the 3 specified by the FDA.
Other Ingredients in the Crunchi Non-Toxic Makeup Line
I read every single ingredient of all Crunchi products and I did not see any ingredients known to increase the risk of cancer or cause endocrine disruption. Moreover, I saw no common bad allergens as specified by the American Contact Dermatitis Society, which is quite an accomplishment. (Anything can cause an allergy. Some people are even allergic to coconut.)
Crunchi does not claim that their products are organic or natural. This is refreshing and tells me that they are not trying to “greenwash” consumers. I think only makeup companies that are trying to prey on consumers’ ignorance use these terms in marketing their products. First of all, mineral colorants are not agricultural products, and therefore by definition can’t be organic. Second, Crunchi uses a handful of synthetic ingredients that are needed for the products to perform well. I do not think it is possible to create a well-performing makeup line that is made only with plant oils, botanical extracts, and mineral pigments. Therefore, some compromises need to be made, and, in my opinion, Crunchi strikes the right balance.
Non-GMO Ingredients in Crunchi Non-Toxic Makeup
All their products (with the exception of one ingredient in the Crunchi mascara) are non-GMO, which is another great accomplishment. Sometimes GMO ingredients can be raw materials used to derive the ingredients used in the products, and thus are not easily detectable. But Crunchi goes the extra mile to ensure that their products are non-GMO, which is laudable.
No Essential Oils used in the Crunchi Products
Another interesting fact about Crunchi is that none of their products contain essential oils. I know many of you love your essential oils. However, some people may become allergic to them.
Crunchi products have a mild and pleasant scent created with 7 plant extracts. The smell is almost non-existent and yet is enough to produce a positive experience while applying and wearing the Crunchi non-toxic makeup products.
Are Crunchi products gluten-free?
For gluten-free people like me, I am pleased to say that none of their product ingredients contain gluten.
Crunchi products are not tested on animals, only on humans. By the way, all the products I recommend on my website are cruelty-free.
There are two ingredients that have no safety data
Having said all of these positive things, if you know me, you know that I will also point out the disadvantages to using a product as well. And there are two ingredients in the Crunchi line that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates as safe in its Skin Deep Database, but notes that the ingredients have no safety data, meaning that the ingredients might not be safe.
Let me put this into perspective. There are lots and lots of ingredients that lack safety data. The way the US system works is that ingredients are used first and tested later. Numerous new ingredients are added every year and thus those new ones have very little data about them. Here are the ingredients.
C20-40 Alcohol: The Skin Deep database describes it as a mixture of synthetic fatty alcohols with 20 to 40 carbons in the alkyl chain. It is rated 1 in the Skin Deep database but has no safety data. The only product made with this ingredient is mascara.
Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2: This ingredient is what makes the lip gloss glossy, adhesive, and moisturizing. And it is used as a vegan alternative to lanolin. It is rated 1 in the Skin Deep database, but no independent data is available, with the exception of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel’s report issued in 2012. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel found bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2 safe to use in present use and concentrations.
When there is not enough data available, I look into how the ingredient is made to gauge its nature. Bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2 is made by heating diglycerin, adipic acid, isostearic acid, 12-hydroxystearic acid, stearic acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid with catalysts (source). The adipic acid, one of the components of bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2 is a mild irritant and has been found to be slight to moderately toxic to aquatic life (source).
Considering the lack of safety data and some environmental concerns over adipic acid, I recommend choosing lipstick over lip gloss. And if you decide to go for the lip gloss, make sure you wipe it off before eating or drinking.
A Controversial Ingredient
In addition to the foregoing, Crunchi also uses one ingredient that has generated some controversy. However, I could not find any credible sources that indicate we should have any concerns about it.
The ingredient is called dimethicone. It is also known as a silicone oil. It helps mask wrinkles. At first I tried to avoid using dimethicone; however, now when I am in my forties and have wrinkles, I was motivated to look into its safety closely. While there is a lot of negativity on the Internet about this ingredient, the information I found lacks references.
Sometimes what happens is that someone writes something bad about an ingredient, but does not state a source. Others then amplify the concern, also without citing their sources, and then the ingredient develops a bad reputation on the internet. For this reason, I always do my own research, rather than just parroting whatever others may have said.
In this case, I searched high and low and was unable to find any scientific evidence linking it to any health concerns. Instead, I found comprehensive evidence to the contrary. You can read my detailed analysis of it in my ingredients’ study of the Crunchi Beautifully Flawless Foundation.
Preservation System in the Crunchi Non-Toxic Makeup Brand
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that I always look into how products are preserved. When products contain water, they have to have preservatives that protect them from mold and bad bacteria growth. In their water-based products, Crunchi uses 6 certified organic extracts that are known to have antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. They also utilize packaging that limits access to moisture and air.
And lastly, because their preservatives are not as strong as synthetic ones, it is recommended that Crunchi mascara is used up within 3 months after being opened; Crunchi recommends that its other products are used within 1 year.
Eco Packaging of the Crunchi Non-Toxic Makeup Products
Crunchi Beautiful Flawless Foundation and Crunchi Smart Primer are packaged in glass. Its lipstick, lip gloss, and eyeshadows are still packaged in plastic but I have not seen these types of products in non-plastic materials yet. Have you?
I was also pleased to see no plastic wrapping when I received my order. Here is the picture.
Crunchi products are rated in the Skin Deep database
Recently, all 10 Crunchi non-toxic makeup products have been rated in the EWG Skin Deep Database. With the exception of one product rated 2, all their products have the best possible rating of 1. You can see their ratings here.
How did I like Crunchi non-toxic makeup?
To begin with, let me give a point of reference. My skin is on the drier side and yet prone to breakouts if I do not use the right products. And I am in my forties so I have some wrinkles.
I was afraid that dimethicone would make my skin to break out like some say on the Internet. But it did not. I have been using Crunchi non-toxic makeup products for over 2 months now exclusively and have not experienced any skin issues.
Foundation: I use the Crunchi primer before applying liquid foundation, which creates a semi-matte finish, evens out my skin tone, and masks my wrinkles. These products are very lightweight. I do not have to re-apply them, and I wear the liquid foundation all day long with no problems. You can start by ordering a sample pack here to give Crunchi a try. I highly recommend getting the primer too as you can use it even as a stand-alone moisturizer. To read more about the Crunchi non-toxic liquid foundation, please visit here.
Powders: I do not use the Crunchi Loose Bronzer Powder and Translucent Finishing Powder. I found them unnecessary for me. If you have oily skin, you might find them beneficial. If you do use them, please make sure that you do not inhale them during application.
Concealer: I also use Crunchi My Alibi Concealer under my eyes to smooth out my complexion, which makes me look younger.
Mascara: And I use Crunchi Lashes for Days Mascara. I like that it creates a good volume, gives a great definition, and stays put – it does not shed or leak. When you apply it, make sure to swash the brush well so you get a good amount of it on the brush, which will reduce the number of strokes you would need. You can read more about the Crunchi mascara and my search for the best safe mascara options here.
Blush: I use a tiny bit of Crunchi Make Me Blush. Out of the 4 shades offered, I think the Crave shade compliments my skin tone the best.
Eyeshadows: Crunchi has 13 shades of Eyeshadows. I use two of them, Champagne Pop and Fauxe Suede, to accentuate my eyes and yet look natural. By the way, when I apply the primer I apply it around my eyes as well.
I love the fact that there is a quick and helpful video on how to apply a Crunchi non-toxic makeup product posted on every product description page. I watched them all.
Here is my picture wearing Crunchi non-toxic makeup.
Conclusion about Crunchi Non-Toxic Makeup
Based on the fact that I have looked into each ingredient of Crunchi makeup brand, asked a lot of questions, and tried all 10 of their products, I strongly believe that Crunchi is as safe as cosmetics can be on the US market at the moment. Crunchi is a brand that I trust and that also delivers a very good performance.
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