Ever notice when you look at makeup ingredients online, only the nice ones are highlighted? Then when you read the finer print on the label you see those nice ingredients are 8th or 9th on a long list of things you can't pronounce. Most "clean" beauty standards miss on ethical standards (like child labor in mining practices) and don't exclude ingredients that are environmentally toxic. The current clean standards are basic, at best. We wanted a cleaner "clean".
We are proud of the extra effort, cost, and diligence that went into our formula. It took over a year of ethical sourcing, development, and testing — putting transparency and principles over profit. Unlike most makeup, we deliberately rejected common ingredients such as silicones, synthetic preservatives used as cheap bulk filler that are unsafe for the environment, mica with no traceable origin, plastic derived glitters, and mineral pigments that aren't purified of heavy metals. Every single ingredient and supplier has been rigorously vetted.
For our research fans, we've made it easy by linking to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) rating scale for each of our ingredients. EWG has the most comprehensive database of research on ingredient safety to both humans and the environment.
Here's what we are made of:
Desert Nomad Palette:
Natural Mica / Mica, or Magnesium Myristate, is a natural silicate mineral that is a mainstay of makeup, providing the base of the formula. Much of the world's mica is unfortunately mined in unregulated ways in poverty stricken areas of the world. Often children as young as 7 work in these mines. Our Mica is sourced through a partner who is part of the Responsible Mica Initiative. RMI is a global network of people who continually work with local authorities to ensure regulations that end child labor practices. Mica has an EWG rating of 2. A range of 1-3 on their scale is considered very safe.
Fluorphlogopite / Also known as synthetic mica, is a safe synthetic made from magnesium aluminum silicate sheets bound together by potassium. It is known as a safe synthetic for both humans and the environment with an EWG rating of 1 (safest). We use it to achieve a uniform consistency in the base formula. It is widely used in environmentally safe glitters as it is a plastic-free alternative to glitter.
Zinc Stearate / is a zinc salt of stearic acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid. It is in powder form that is used as a lubricant to aid in blending, as well as adhesion of the formula so it will not separate. Zinc Stearate has an EWG rating of 2 (safe).
Silica / Silica is a finely ground mineral abundantly found in sandstone and clay as well as plants. It is used in to aid in absorption of pigments and pigment retention for long-lasting wear. It is not related to silicone. It has an EWG rating of 1-2 (safe).
Rice Bran Oil / Rice bran oil or Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil is an emollient that softens and smooths skin with benefits like reducing puffiness and redness. It also helps with moisture retention and provides a creaminess to the powder formula. Rice Bran Oil has an EWG rating of 1-2 (safe).
Fractionated Coconut Oil / Our certified organic coconut oil is used as an emollient to lend a creamy feel to the formula and benefit the skin. Fractionated means the oil is in its liquid form stripped of the fatty acids that typically harden, so it remains consistent in the formula, does not clog pores, and is easily absorbed by the skin. Fractionated Coconut Oil has an EWG rating of 1 (safest).
Shea Butter / Our certified organic Butyrospermum Parkii (or Shea) butter is also used an emollient (we really wanted a nourishing, creamy feel) and is beneficial for skin. Shea Butter is derived from the nuts of the African Shea tree and is popular in moisturizers for its skin softening benefits. Shea Butter has an EWG rating of 1 (safest).
Jojoba Seed Oil / Our certified organic Simmondsia Chinesis (or Jojoba seed) oil is another emollient that lends a creamy texture while imparting its softening and anti-inflammatory benefits. The Jojoba is a shrub typically found in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico. Jojoba Seed oil has an EWG rating of 1 (safest).
Vitamin E / Our non-GMO Tocopherol (or Vitamin E) is used as both an emollient, an anti-oxidant, and a natural preservative. Vitamin E is a powerhouse, allowing us to avoid adding synthetic preservatives, while adding numerous skin benefits. Vitamin E has an EWG rating of 1 (safest).
Iron Oxides / Iron Oxides are naturally occurring mineral pigments that come in a variety of colors in the red/orange to brown family. We use them to make the rich warm colors you see in our palette in different percentages depending on the color. Our source for mineral oxides is a well-known ethical mineral supplier that goes the extra step to purify and refine their oxides before distribution. This purification process filters out any possible heavy metal residue, which has been the chief complaint about natural mineral pigments. It doubles our raw pigment cost, but we know it's worth it to bring you the purest form of our minerals. Iron Oxides have an EWG rating of 2 (safe).
Titanium Oxide / Titanium Oxide (aka Titanium Dioxide) is a naturally occurring mineral pigment derived from Titanium, the ninth most common element in the Earth’s crust, commonly found in plants and animals. Titanium naturally interacts with oxygen to form titanium oxides, commonly found in ore, sand and soil. It has excellent light-scattering properties that aid in white opacity and brightness of colors. Like our Iron oxides, we also source Titanium Dioxide from our ethical mineral supplier who goes the extra step to purify and refine before distribution to filter out any possible heavy metal residue, meeting stringent EU compliance standards. Titanium Dioxide has an EWG rating of 1-3 (safe).
Tin Oxide / Tin Oxide (or Stannus Oxide) is a naturally occurring mineral compound of tin and oxygen that we use for color opacity and little "grab" to help the formula stick. We also source Tin Oxide from our ethical mineral supplier who goes the extra step to purify and refine before distribution to filter out any possible heavy metal residue, meeting stringent EU compliance standards. Tin Oxide has an EWG rating of 2 (safe).
Ultramarine Blue / Ultramarine blue is an inorganic synthetic pigment specifically formulated for cosmetic use. We use a hint of it in our pink. Historically, blues were sourced naturally from lapis and other natural blue stones, but their rarity and color inconsistency makes it difficult to source naturally now. We source our Ultramarine from the same ingredient supplier as our minerals because they go the extra step to guarantee its purity and safety, meeting stringent EU compliance standards. Ultramarines have an EWG rating of 1-3 (safe).
Caesalpinia Sappan Bark Extract / This bark extract is from the Sappanwood Tree, and is a vegan replacement for reds to achieve our red rock color and rich red undertones for our browns, as well as our pink. Typically reds in most cosmetics are achieved using Carmine pigment which is made by crushing Cochineal insects. We wanted to avoid that! Caesalpinia Sappan Bark extract has an EWG rating of 1 (safest).
Chromium Hydroxide Greens / Chromium Hydroxide Greens are mineral pigments that are synthesized using multiple natural mineral sources and are used specifically for our green colors. We source our Chromium Hydroxide Greens from the same ingredient supplier as our other minerals because they go the extra step to guarantee its purity and safety, meeting stringent EU compliance standards. Chromium Hydroxide Greens have an EWG rating of 2-4 depending on use (safe).
If you ever have further questions about our ingredients, please feel free to contact us with your questions. We love providing thorough answers.