What's In It Wednesday: A Look at W3ll People

Wednesday, September 16, 2009








Several weeks ago, I was contacted by the folks at W3ll People, a line of natural cosmetics and skin care created by a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Makeup Artist, and an Environmentalist. They asked if they could send me some products to try out.


I typically do not do this at Chic & Green, but I let them know that I would try the products and give my brutally honest opinion. If I don't like something, I will nicely say I don't like it. I don't want to recommend restaurants to friends that have terrible food and I don't want to recommend products to you, my readers, that do not live up to their claims. 


I was sent three products: Narcissist, a concealer and foundation stick in one; Universalist, an eye, lip, and cheek tint in one stick formulation; and Nudist, a tinted lip balm.


I'd like to share my opinions on all three.


Narcissist-- I'll start by saying that the shade was a bit dark. I am super duper pale and usually wear the lighest shade with yellow undertones available to counteract my ruddy complexion.  I cannot tell you about the color being perfect for fair shades, but I did put this on one day when I was done being out and about for the day just so I could fairly review it.


I used to have a favorite stick foundation in the 90s: Estee Lauder Minute Makeup. I wore this daily while working for the company, and it was perfect for applying only to needed spots and for covering dark circles. Keep in mind that my dark circles at 22 were much lighter than at 34.


This formula by W3ll People has superior blendability. I used my EcoTools Foundation Brush to apply and it worked beautifully with the formulation. Despite the beeswax and natural oils in this foundation, it never felt sticky or greasy on my skin. It lasted beautifully and provided a natural finish. If you prefer a heavier coverage, it is quite buildable.


If you prefer a long-wearing and transfer resistant formula like the old Lancome Teint Idole Stick Express which came out years ago, this is much more similar to the old EL Minute Makeup, but with much healthier ingredients.


Since this is What's In It Wednesday, let's take a look. There is NOTHING in here to stay away from. Woo hoo! I have mentioned before how much I adore essential oils, but that when they are in makeup, I often have issues (such as in the Almay Pure Blends foundation). This is free of essential oils and chock full of anti-inflammatory ingredients such as Green Tea (the #2 ingredient) and Reishi Mushroom.




Here are the ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil infused with Camellia Sinensis (Green
Tea Complex) Leaf, Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi Mushroom), Morella Cerifera (Bayberry- wildharvested); Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Silica, Essential Oils, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil (and) Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), [+/-: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Mica (CI 77019)]





I absolutely will recommend this and give it a big thumb's up from Chic & Green for those who do not mind spending $38 on a foundation stick. I personally don't buy many higher end products anymore just because there are many stellar products at a lower price, but this is comparable in price to high end foundations--minus the artificial fragrances & horrible ingredients. Given that almost everything is certified organic, this would be a top pick for products in this price range.




Now we'll take a look at Universalist, a tinted color stick for the eyes, lips and cheeks. First of all, I will tell you that I am fiercely loyal to my own 100% natural Lip & Cheek Tint made with fruit extracts. I love it and use it almost daily. I gave this one a fair shake, however, using it for about 14 hours one day. I was sent shade 5 again, a very deep reddish shade. It is too dark for me, but would be good for those with deep skin tones.


For comparison, this is nearly identical in texture as Tarte Cheek Stain. If you've used the Tarte before, these products are nearly interchangeable. The formula from W3ll People does have Green Tea and Reishi Musroom and is preservative free. This formula does not contain water and with the ingredients listed does not require a chemical preservative. This formula also is free of "Hydrogenated" oils, which are present in the Tarte formulation. The Tarte formula is $3 less, but this one is healthier in terms of ingredients. Both, unfortunately contain carmine (crushed cochineal insects to give a red tint). This product sells for $33.


It has great longevity, is highly pigmented--having remained true to color on my cheekbones for nearly 14 hours. In a lighter shade, this would be delightful.




Ingredients: Grapeseed Oil infused with Green Tea, Reishi Mushroom,
Bayberry, Beeswax, Olive Oil, Passionflower Oil, Castor Oil,Silica, Coconut Oil, Silk Powder, Castor Isostearate Beeswax Succinate, Essential Oil blend, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Lysine, Grapefruit seed Extract, Japanese Knotweed Extract, Pomegranate Extract,[+/-: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Mica (CI 77019), Carmine (CI 75470), Manganese Violet (CI 77742)]

Would I recommend Universalist? I have mixed feelings. It contains carmine. I don't particularly care for using products with a colorant derived from crushed bugs when there are so many alternatives -- using beet root juice, purple carrot juice, etc. In fact, I wholeheartedly recommend 100% Pure Fruit Pigment Lip & Cheek Tint. It is a tiny bit smaller, but is $15 and truly all-natural without carmine. In fact, I'd like to recommend Cocoa Berry -- a must-have for my friends who like old favorites such as Lancome Blush Subtil in Cedre Rose or the old Clinique Plum Fabulous blush. If you want to spend over $30 on a tinted color stick, this would be a decent option.




The last product I tried from this line is Nudist. My shade was a deep magenta in the tube (color 5) and went on very shimmery and sheer. The taste was very off-putting to me. I need to fully disclose that I prefer honey, peppermint, and vanilla flavors or no flavor at all. I am telling you that I am biased  right off the bat because the bayberry and calendula, while skin soothing, taste terrible to me. Your experience may very well be different. It does have wonderful botanicals for soothing the skin around the lips, especially with winter dryness concerns. Again, there is Carmine. I do not buy products with carmine, so if carmine bothers you, I would skip this one.






Ingredients: OG Castor Oil infused with OG Bayberry*, OG Green Tea**, OG
Calendula flowers*, OG Mallow Sylvestris*, & OG Rosehips*; Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Fordii Oil Coplymer, Beeswax, Castor Isostearate Beeswax Succinate***, Essential Oils, Pomegranate Extract, Tocopherol (natural Vitamin E), L-Lysine, Stevia Leaf Extract, [+/-: Carmine (CI?), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Mica (CI 77019), Manganese Violet (CI 77742)]




How is it? On my lips, this was fairly nourishing, but felt pretty dry in terms of a lip balm. Compared to a lipstick, though, it's pretty moisturizing. Color is sheer to medium and lasts through a cup of coffee.


I have to say that this is $23. For a tinted lip balm. This isn't a high-end lipstick. It's a simple tinted lip balm with some nourishing ingredients, but you can make your own with this recipe found here on Chic & Green or try Juice Beauty Lip Moisturizer ($8) for so much less. Burt's Bees also offers tinted lip balms, but you will need to contact customer service to find out which ones are carmine free, as the labels just say "may contain carmine." DuWop Prime Venom tinted lip balm is also less expensive than the W3ll People, and is carmine free but does have Red Lake in it.





The Chic & Green Bottom Line

I like what W3ll People is trying to do. Any time a company sets out to create a line of products free of harmful toxins in the best interests of the consumers, I think they're to be commended. I like how 3 people came together to develop a line using their diverse backgrounds. The fact that carmine is used is bothersome to me, but this is commonplace in the cosmetics industry. I wish companies took a page from 100% Pure's book and would use natural extracts. It is simply a matter of using wholesome ingredients derived from natural ingredients (bug free).


I find the products to be overpriced, especially the lip tint. The foundation was quite lovely. At a lower price point , I would buy it. If price is no object, try it--it's really great. Honestly, though, there are equally as impressive foundations on the market at much lower prices.


W3ll People will achieve success one day, I believe, and be a viable competitor to many companies. The price point, though, is a bit too high. Josie Maran is probably its main competition in terms of product cost, and Josie Maran's products feel and look so much more luxurious. Maran's products, though, aren't quite as natural.


All in all, I tried three products and was impressed with the first one I tried, the Narcissist. Otherwise, I would pass because of the price point and carmine issue. If the company addresses these issues, though, I really feel I could recommend more than the one product.

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