Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

Review: Mia Mariu

Oh, how I really wanted to love this makeup.  When I was contacted by the folks at Mia Mariu to try some of their products, I was excited because other direct-selling brands such as Mary Kay and Artistry by Amway have unpleasant ingredients and outdated formulas.  Seeing a newer Dallas-based cosmetics company featuring mineral makeup and a focus on botanicals gave me really high hopes.

Sadly, the products didn't live up to my anticipation. I was sent several products to try and I'd like to share my thoughts on them:

Perfecting Finish Mineral Foundation -- This one sounded really great. Billed as an age-defying, hydrating makeup with a luminous coverage, it sounded right up my alley. In fact, when I first saw how perfect a match the shade called Vainilla was, I was thrilled!

I applied with my foundation brush and was immediately unimpressed.  My skin is pretty dry and despite moisturizing and applying primer, this made my skin look even more dry. The worst part, however, was how it made my skin feel.  It itched, made my cheeks sore, and about an hour in, I found myself applying grape seed oil to my face to remove it.

Why did this "natural" makeup do this?  Well, like many companies claiming to be gentle and safe for sensitive skin, this one seems to not live up to that claim.  The ingredients list speaks volumes and this one explained clearly why it made my skin so irritated: Ethylehexyl Methoxycinnamate (AKA Octonoxate) and Triethanolamine.

Ethylehexyl Methoxycinnamate is not a safe ingredient.  In fact, it rates a 6 in the Skin Deep Database. This is a common ingredient in sunscreen. It is an endocrine disruptor and should not be used by pregnant women. It also can trigger acne, dermatitis (as in my situation), and rashes.

Triethanolamine is an emulsifier and pH adjuster; can be especially hazardous when combined with Diazolidinyl Urea. Studies have shown that a large number of cosmetics with TEA (short for Triethanolamine) are contaminated with Nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. Also avoid labels which say TEA Lauryl Sulfate, as it's the same thing. TEA is also very acidic, which is why one reason is can irritate people's skin.

Grade: D (and only because the color was so beautiful...that is why it didn't score an F)

Mineral Loose Powder Foundation -- This one surprised me, ladies. On the surface, I assumed it was just another standard mineral powder as it contains Bismuth Oxychloride, which can be a highly irritating ingredient. I chose the color recommended based on my skin tone, Savanna, and I was thrown because when you look at it, it looks like a VERY unnatural tan shade. It is nothing like the liquid foundation in terms of color.

So, the first time I applied it, the corners around my nose got all red. I thought it was another dud. A few days later, I tried again. I am glad I did!

This is a rare occasion for me to change my opinion on a product because I keep using this one now. It diffuses subtle fine lines and goes on my skin a shade I am used to wearing, as opposed to the odd shade it appears on the brush and in the container.

My complexion looks healthy and I do like this one afterall!

Grade: A-

Eye Liner in Azabache -- Would you believe that in this day and age, there is NO INGREDIENTS LISTING on this product??? None.  Because I have no way of knowing what I am putting around my eyes, I will not try it and the grade will be an "incomplete".  Companies--there is an FDA labeling requirement. Failure to list what is on the labels is ridiculous.

Mineral Eye Shadow Duo -- Argh! Another irritating product! I was really frustrated with this one. Why?  The #1 ingredient in this product is Isostearyl Neopentanoate. Most of you are probably wondering what the heck that is. Well, it is an ingredient that holds powder together into pressed form--a binder. Not a biggie--it is used in SO many products. The problem is that it is not supposed to be used in concentrations over 16%, according to the Cosmetic Ingredients Review (CIR).  This is because of a 1985 study in the Journal of the American College of Toxicology which showed this to be irritating to the eyes of rabbits in test studies.

Why on earth it is the #1 ingredient in an EYE product is bewildering to me. There is also Bismuth Oxychloride in this one.

So, yes, I did try this product. No, I was not happy with the fact that my eyes were red and itchy within 2 hours of application. It also was very choppy in texture if that makes sense--rough--and far from the "silky soft texture" advertised on the box. The color I chose was called Valle Dorado, which was a duo of beige and brown.

Grade:  D- (just because I feel guilty leaving an F.)

Luminous Lip Gloss in Tentacion -- The ingredients in this beautiful shade of crannberry meets plum are unfortunate. Like the other colored items from Mia Mariu, there is Carmine in this. There is also artificial fragrance, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate,

The #3 ingredient in this is something gloss makers should stop using--the dreaded "sticky" ingredient people complain about in many lip glosses: BIS Diglyceryl polyacyladipate 2. If you have tried glosses that leave an unpleasant sitcky, tacky feeling, it is this ingredient.

Another bone to pick-- crude oil! Yeppers, there is Microcrystalline Wax in here, which is a petrochemical. You will also find a host of man made red dyes. What a disappointment.
Grade: D (the color redeems it beyond a D-, but the ingredients keep the grade low)

Loose Mineral Shadow Liner -- After the other Mia Mariu products I tried, I can happily say that I LIKE this one. This is a lovely evening eye liner--just the right amount of sparkle and a nice rich charcoal shade called Azabache. I like this.  I used my Bare Escentuals liner brush and applied it over my eyeshadow (not from Mia Mariu). I detect very little Bismuth (it says "may contain" on the label) in this particular product because it didn't irritate my eyes. It lasted several hours on date night, too.

Grade: A-

The C & G Bottom Line

I was really eager to try Mia Mariu based on their website.  I believed it would be different than the other social selling brands since it gives off the "natural" vibe. I do like 2 products, but I am so disappointed in the others! Unfortunately, ladies, the ingredients in many of their items would be considered greenwashing at its finest :(

*Disclosure: I received a selection of cosmetics from Mia Mariu for possible review at no cost. This in no way has affected the outcome of this review.