Reviewed: Saint Cosmetics' Natural Makeup (Made in Canada!)

This range is free from harsh chemicals, but does the performance measure up?
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Michelle Villett
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This range is free from harsh chemicals, but does the performance measure up?
Saint Cosmetics

Saint Cosmetics makeup is Canadian-made and free of harsh chemicals.

Most people (including me) think that buying natural cosmetics means they have to make some kind of trade-off. 

Like, the ingredients might be safer, but the textures, colour selection and/or longevity probably won't be as good as mainstream, Sephora-type brands. Am I right? 

So, of course it got my attention when I heard about a new, natural makeup brand claiming we can "have it all." 

Saint Cosmetics is a 144-product range for lips, eyes and face that's made right here in Canada—in Pickering, Ontario, to be exact. 

The premise is that we don't have to compromise performance for safety, since their formulations are vegan, gluten-free and made without artificial perfumes or harsh chemicals. Specifically, they avoid parabens, sulfates, silicone, PEGs, phthalates, SLS, mineral oil, triclosan and petrolatum.

As a supporter of indie Canadian brands and a longtime lover of natural beauty products, that got me intrigued enough to want to do a test-drive. Here's what they sent me to try, and how it all measured up:

Saint Cosmetics Lip Gloss

Saint Cosmetics Lip Gloss

Saint Cosmetics Lip Gloss in Kiss & Tell and Big Teaze.

Their lip gloss is decent. It feels nice and hydrating, but not thick or sticky. There are eight shades; I tried two. 

Kiss & Tell is a sheer peachy pink, kinda like a NARS Orgasm minus the shimmer. It's a little streaky, but okay. 

Saint Cosmetics Lip Gloss in Kiss and Tell

Saint Cosmetics Lip Gloss in Kiss & Tell.

Big Teaze is a hot pink. This shade packs a lot more pigment and goes on more evenly.

Saint Cosmetics Lip Gloss in Big Teaze

Saint Cosmetics Lip Gloss in Big Teaze.

Ingredients: Organic Castor Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus annus (sunflower) seed oil (Organic), Copernicia Cefifera (Carnauba) Wax (Organic), Ricinus Communis (Castor Seed Oil), Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Cera Alba, Euphoria Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Glyceryl Caprylate, Olea Europaea (Olive Fruit Oil), Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Vanillin, Tocopherol, Gamma Decalactone, Gamma Octalactone, Ethyl Butyrate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract. * May Contain (+/-) Iron Oxide, Red 7 Lake, Red 27 Lake, Red 6 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Mica, and Titanium Dioxide

Saint Cosmetics Lipstick

Saint Cosmetics Lipstick

Saint Cosmetics Lipstick in Eternally Yours Fuschia (sic) and Shrine On.

I think they nailed it with the lipsticks. The formula looks and feels great—it's smooth, lightweight, moisturizing and loaded with pigment. Although pricier, it definitely holds up to any non-natural brand. There are 18 shades; again, I tried two. 

Eternally Yours Fuschia (yes, they spelled fuchsia wrong!!) is hot pink. Really, it's the exact same colour as Big Teaze, just in lipstick form so more intense.

Saint Cosmetics Lipstick in Eternally Yours Fuschia

Saint Cosmetics Lipstick in Eternally Yours Fuschia (sic).

Shrine On is a super-bright coral pink that's very unique. This was my favourite product I tried. I don't think I have a shade quite like it in my collection.

Saint Cosmetics Lipstick in Shrine On

Saint Cosmetics Lipstick in Shrine On.

Ingredients: Organic Castor Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (Organic), Euphoria Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Copernicia Cefifera (Carnauba) Wax (Organic), Cera Alba (Organic), Cetyl Alcohol, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive Fruit Oil), Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Vanillin, Tocopherol, Gamma Decalactone, Gamma Octalactone, Ethyl Butyrate. * May Contain (+/-) Iron Oxide, Red 7 Lake, Red 27 Lake, Red 6 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Mica, and Titanium Dioxide

Saint Cosmetics Blush

Saint Cosmetics Blush

Saint Cosmetics Blush in Cheeky Cherub and Peach-ing to the Choir.

The blush is a powder formula and frankly, nothing special. I don't like that it's talc-based—as I explained here, it's not the safest ingredient for a natural brand to choose. Talc also tends to sit on top of the complexion, adding visible texture and accentuating dryness. These need extra attention to blending/buffing in order to look natural.

There are nine blush shades; I tried two. Cheeky Cherub is a cool light pink that would only look good on fair skin with distinct cool undertones. Even though I have light skin, the coldness is all wrong for me—looks way too obvious. Peach-ing to the Choir is a warm peach that is more universally flattering. I could get away with it, but it is deeper.

Saint Cosmetics Blush swatches

Saint Cosmetics Blush in Cheeky Cherub (top) and Peach-ing to the Choir (bottom).

Ingredients: Talc, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octyldodecyl Strearoyl Stearate, Silica, Jojoba Esters, Glyceryl Caprylate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract. * May Contain (+/-) Ultramarines, Mica, Iron Oxides, Red 7 Lake, Red 27 Lake, and Titanium Dioxide

Saint Cosmetics Liquid Liner

Saint Cosmetics Liquid Liner

Saint Cosmetics Liquid Liner in Diabolical.

It's rare to find a liquid liner in a natural makeup range, so I'm not sure how this compares to other ones. It certainly goes on more wet than mainstream liquid liners I've tried, and the brush isn't as easy to work with. If you're used to pen-style liquid liners with pointed tips, you might get frustrated with the lack of precision here.

It comes in just one shade, Diabolical, a black. Unless you go over your lines, it's not as intense as most black liquid liners. What does impress me, however, is the dry-down. Within about a minute, it sets and does not budge. 

Ingredients: Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Pullulan, Sorbitol, Trehalose, Acacia Senegal Gum, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Zea Mays Starch, Glyceryl Caprylate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate. May Contain (+/-) Iron Oxide

Saint Cosmetics Eyeshadow

Saint Cosmetics Eye Shadow

Saint Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Zesty Plum.

The eyeshadow is fine. (I dropped my sample, so don't hold that against them!) It has a good amount of pigmentation: not too sheer, like most drugstore eyeshadows, but not as intense as a makeup artist brand, where it's too hard to work with. These are somewhere in the middle. 

At least, I say this having only tried one shade, Zesty Plum. This is a brownish-purple that's actually quite neutral and flattering. Again, it is talc-based.

Saint Cosmetics Eye Shadow and Liquid Liner

Saint Cosmetics Liquid Liner in Diabolical and Eyeshadow in Zesty Plum.

Ingredients: Talc, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octyldodecyl Strearoyl Stearate, Silica, Jojoba Esters, Glyceryl Caprylate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract. * May Contain (+/-) Iron Oxides, Ultramarines, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, and Chromium Oxide Greens

Saint Cosmetics Concealer

Saint Cosmetics Concealer

Saint Cosmetics Concealer in Au Naturel and Buck Naked.

The concealer isn't my favourite. It's a liquid formula, which by nature doesn't give you as much coverage as a thicker cream would. It might be okay for minor darkness underneath the eyes, but I was not successful covering redness around the nose with it. When you try to blend it out, most of the "coverage" just disappears. Don't even bother trying to use it for a pimple. It's not going to do the job.

There are 12 shades; I tried Au Naturel and Buck Naked. The latter was a good match for my skin tone... if only it actually did what it promised.

Saint Cosmetics Concealer swatches

Saint Cosmetics Concealer in Buck Naked (top) and Au Naturel (bottom).

Ingredients: Water, Coconut Alkanes, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Sorbitan Olivate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Olea Europaea (Olive Fruit Oil), Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Silica, Jojoba Esters, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Cera Alba, Euphoria Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Sodium Benzoate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Potassium Sorbate. * May Contain (+/-) Iron Oxides, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, and Ultramarines

Saint Cosmetics Foundation

Saint Cosmetics Liquid Foundation

Saint Cosmetics Liquid Foundation in Barefaced Beauty and Pearly Gates.

Finally, I had to try their foundation, since natural ones are few and far between, and I am always on the lookout. It's silicone-free, which is an immediate plus, and has a creamy, liquid texture. I would describe the coverage as medium-to-full. 

There are 14 shades; seven have cool undertones and seven have warm undertones. I tried Barefaced Beauty, which is light and cool, and Pearly Gates, which is light and warm. Neither one was exactly right for my neutral complexion, so I ended up just mixing the two together and that was a match. (Honestly, I think it's a mistake on their part not to offer neutrals. So many of us aren't distinctly warm OR cool. It's also next to impossible to figure out your shade from their website, as there are no shade descriptions.)

Saint Cosmetics Liquid Foundation swatches

Saint Cosmetics Liquid Foundation in Barefaced Beauty (top) and Pearly Gates (bottom).

So again we have the problem of the talc in here, which I do not like. Even with the sheerest application, this foundation leaves some texture on my skin so you can see the makeup, and it also seems to accentuate baby hairs. (I'm wearing the foundation in all the photos here, but no powder.) I found I got a more natural result by using my fingers; with a brush, it just went on way too thick for my liking. However, that might be acceptable to you if you prefer a fuller coverage.

The other thing I found is that it looked dewier than I would like on my skin, right away upon applying it. I could not wear this on its own, without powder. I had high hopes, but there's just no comparison in look or feel to my beloved Sappho, I'm afraid.

Saint Cosmetics Liquid Foundation on skin

Saint Cosmetics Liquid Foundation in Barefaced Beauty and Pearly Gates (mixed).

Ingredients: Water, Coconut Alkanes, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Sorbitan Olivate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Talc, Olea Europaea (Olive Fruit Oil), Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Silica, Jojoba Esters, Butyrospermum, Parkii Butter, Cera Alba, Euphoria Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Sodium Benzoate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus, Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Potassium Sorbate. * May Contain (+/-) Iron Oxide, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, and Ultramarines

Conclusion

Saint Cosmetics

Saint Cosmetics has some hits, but more misses.

If you can't tell by now, I was disappointed in this line. 

The concept of "not having to choose" between safety and performance is kind of dated and cliché, but does have potential, IF the brand lived up to that. Unfortunately, they over-promise and under-deliver. 

(Speaking of clichés, their slogan is, "Bring out the bad girl in you and feel good about it!" MAJOR CRINGE. Good grief, what does being a "bad girl"—whatever the eff that means—have to do with makeup? Sorry but reading copy like that drives me mental.)

If you try anything from this line, I'd go for the lip products. Everything else, well, I think you can do better. Maybe these formulas would have been okay 10 years ago, but natural cosmetics have improved by leaps and bounds since then. There's no reason to settle for basic, talc-based products that don't take advantage of modern cosmetic technologies.

This test-drive proved to me that you NEED a top-tier professional makeup artist doing the formulating. Someone with a discerning eye for colour and texture, like a Rose-Marie Swift or a JoAnn Fowler. As consumers, we now have such high performance expectations for our makeup, it's just not enough to try and launch something on the basis of natural ingredients alone.

Saint Cosmetics were way too ambitious in launching 144 products in their range. (Their parent company is in construction, maybe that has something to do with it? So random.) My advice to them (I should really start charging for this) would be to forget about getting on the radar of media people like moi, and to go back and invest in the formulas. They need to edit down the line into just A FEW outstanding products that really "wow" people in terms of ingredients, textures and colours. You've gotta walk before you can run...

Where To Buy

Find Saint Cosmetics at SaintCosmetics.ca and at their retail store at 15160 Yonge St., Suite 103, in Aurora.

Have you tried anything from Saint Cosmetics? What did you think?