Beauty Pick: Organic Cosmetics You Can Count On

Organic makeup so rarely beats out the competition, but Ilia Beauty's medal win comes in new shades of gold, silver and bronze.

Organic makeup so rarely beats out the competition, but Ilia Beauty’s medal win comes in new shades of gold, silver and bronze.

Sasha Plavsic started as a graphic designer in Vancouver, but the health-minded artist’s curiosity about the contents of her lipstick got her rethinking her day job in colourways. She soon launched Ilia Beauty, a line of six tinted lip conditioners with 85% certified bioactive organic ingredients in on-trend shades. The branding and packaging of this new cosmetic line were the easy part; the commitment to organic, ethical and sustainable practices were harder to convince others of (“people often assume that organic doesn’t work as well”).That was 2011. Two years later, and a leap from six to 40 products, proved the industry wrong—Ilia is now sold in upscale boutiques like Colette, Barney’s, Harvey Nichols and Net-a-Porter and still remains as committed as ever to the principled ideals that inspired the line. This Fall, Ilia Beauty adds organic eyeshadows, eyeliners and foundation to its cosmetic stable and, while Plavsic may have relocated to L.A., her collection just landed at Beautymark.The line-up rocks: the Rockglam era Pure eyeshadow shades feature vitamin E and sesame oil (to heal), as well as shea and coconut butter (to moisturize). The new Vivid Foundation has a matte-like consistency (thanks to a natural tree resin), which negates the use of primer—just use face oil and this and you’re good to go. Its aloe vera tightens the skin while green tea and rosemary extract combat free radicals. Lastly, the line-up of six Silken Shadow Sticks offers a velvety wash of metallic colour. Healing argan, sesame and rose hip oils mixed with shea and coconut butter deliver the same creamy effect with long-lasting results. And herein is the key: organic beauty products, while good for the skin and the environment, often don’t deliver the same quality and consistency as their chemically laden counterparts. But when we first tried Ilia’s uber-cool copper-hued Macao mascara, it didn’t immediately dehydrate (organic mascaras are notorious for being too dry and flaky without practically lethal doses of preservatives) so from then on, we didn’t bat an eye—we were hooked.Pure Eyeshadow shades in rock glam (from Sweet Jane to My generation), $31Vivid Foundation shades in desert hues (from Gobi to Mojave), $54Silken Shadow Sticks in ‘80s pop and wave songs (You Spin Me Around to Take on Me), $35Ilia Beauty available at Beautymark, 1268 Pacific Blvd., 604-642-2294,, and online at