Dear Bionic Beauty,
So many liquid foundations and face lotions claim to be oil free these days. Yet, when I’m shopping and read the ingredients it seems like there *are* oils in there. Is there a way to really tell if I’m getting something that is oil free?
I appreciate your help.
Olive Oil 😉
Well, Olive Oil, you are smart to pick up on the labeling that has become such a fad in the cosmetics industry. See, the real problem is that the labeling on cosmetics (makeup, hair care, skincare, etc) is not regulated. Companies can spin all sorts of misinformation on their labels and containers. You really have to be an educated consumer in order to know what is a good buy and what isn’t.
In regards to the “oil-free” claims specifically… there’s a pretty simple test to check if something you have in your stash is truly oil-free. Place a pea-size dollop of the product on a sheet of plain white copy, typing or writing paper (medium to light weight is perfect). Then wait. Let it sit overnight preferably, but you should start to see a change within a few hours.
If a ring forms around the product, it most definitely contains oil.
Here are some experiments I did with a few of my fave makeup and skincare products. Read on for the SHOCKING results…
First off, you can click the photos for a larger version to see the ickiness in detail. (ha!) They will open in a new tab or a new window in your browser.
Secondly… even products labeled Oil Free (such as Lancome’s Aqua Fusion and C.O. Bigelow’s Oil-Free face lotion contained oil. There was only 1 oil free product in the bunch I tested.
Experiment info: I put a pea-size amount of each product on the same types of paper and let them sit overnight (24 hours and 5 minutes to be exact).
Sonia Kashuk “Radiant Tinted Moisturizer with SPF” and e.l.f.’s Shielding HydroTint with SPF 15.
Sonia Kashuk’s tinted moisturizer (from Target) had a HUGE amount of oil. I was speechless. Still it’s one of my favorite TM’s. Please remember, oil is not necessarily a bad thing!
Funnily enough, elf’s hydrotint TM was the only product that I tested that was truly oil free… so this is an excellent option for girls looking for an oil-free makeup. It’s only $1 and you can read my review here.
Lancome’s Aqua Fusion face lotion and C.O. Bigelow’s “Extra-light oil-free face lotion with SPF 15”.
Lancome’s Aqua Fusion is labeled as “oil-free” on the bottle, however, when tested a small ring appeared pretty quickly showing that there is, indeed, some oil in the product.
But it paled in comparison to the HUGE amount of oil in C.O. Bigelow’s “Extra-light Oil-free face lotion”. I bought this lotion from Bath & Body Works since it was supposed to help mattify your face (due to the Kaolin Clay it contains), but I consistently broke out after using it. I’m guessing now that it was because it contained too much oil for my face. I switched over to Aqua Fusion (above) but now need to find something with SPF. Any recommendations, ladies?
Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Tinted Moisturizer and JK Jemma Kidd (for Target) “pro finish moisture tint spf 20”.
Another of my favorite “go-to” products I tested was the Organic Wear tinted moisturizer. It had a moderate circle of oil on the paper, but my skin seems to respond well to this product, so I’m guessing it is keeping me “balanced” so to speak.
The JK Jemma Kidd (available at Target) pro finish tinted moisturizer had another HUGE circle of oil. I figured this one would come in pretty high. The formula is very thick, but spreads easily and feels oily and slippery on my hands and makeup sponge. Plus is has a very heavy set and even felt heavier on the face than most tinted moisturizers. I really would classify this product as a Foundation, not a tinted moisturizer.
Thevi Cosmetics’ “Liquid Powder Mineral Foundation SPF 15″ and NARS “Makeup Primer with SPF“.
Thevi Cosmetics Liquid Mineral Foundation came in second place for the least amount of oil in a makeup product. My review is linked above. I really like this makeup but the color is a bit dark for me in the winter and fall, so it’s shelved for the season. But I can’t WAIT to wear it again. Soft, smooth, and my skin can still breathe. This is one of my favorite “higher-end” makeup products. I rave about it to family & friends constantly.
NARS’ Makeup Primer with SPF 15. Whew… again, another large icky amount of oil. At first I liked this product for it’s scent and primer properties (made my pores appear smaller) under makeup. But it just “felt wrong” so I have been using it as sunblock on my arms and legs when I go out for the day.
So there we go… Bionic’s first science experiment. Will you test any of your cosmetics? If you do, I’d LOVE to hear your results. What others would you like ME to test?