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Organic Makeup: Getting a Natural Look

Anyone who has applied gooey black mascara will tell you that makeup seems the antithesis of natural. Conventional wisdom is that alfalfa is organic; eye shadow isn't. But now there's an array of "green" cosmetics on the market available in all colors, of course. Retail sales of natural and organic personal-care products, like makeup and soap, reached $4.9 billion in 2005, up 22 percent from the previous year, says the Natural Marketing Institute. "The green movement is so huge now," says Jill Price Marshall, a spokeswoman for Dr. Hauschka, a German skin-care company that sells 100 percent organic cosmetics. "It's been catapulted by a younger generation that's concerned about the environment. We think it's going to keep growing."

Customers aren't just health-food-buying, organic-minded types either. More everyday consumers are trading in conventional makeup for brands that use natural ingredients like organic berries, floral waxes and essential oils because they're trendy (Jennifer Aniston's a fan of the Dr. Hauschka line), and because they're priced roughly the same and work just as well.

But beware. Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, says products that are labeled organic or natural might not actually be. Organic groups are currently developing a system of certification for body care; if the project is accepted, true organic products will be rewarded with a special U.S. Department of Agriculture seal. That way you can make sure your lipstick is as natural as your granola.