Q: Why does Westman Atelier avoid silicones in its formulas? Are they bad for my skin?
"When we started Westman Atelier, I knew that I wanted to create a foundation that could soothe and heal the skin with clean, active ingredients formulated at efficacy levels. I also felt passionately that what wasn't in our formulas was as important as what we put in them.
Silicones are synthetic polymers that act as a water repellant and sealant. Cosmetic-grade silicone is widely considered safe as a topical ingredient; some experts believe that certain silicones have the potential for environmental risk when discharged into water streams, but more scientific research is needed to determine whether this is true. Beyond that, I've never loved them as a professional makeup artist— they give a feeling of "slip" or silkiness to foundations but in reality, they sit on the surface of the skin like a barrier and I find them to be irritating. I didn't want them to prevent our beautiful treatment actives from being able to penetrate and do their work!
To develop Vital Skin, our 100% silicone-free foundation, we went through countless trials with lab after lab. Nothing was working! Then we made a breakthrough using camellia and coconut oils as natural alternatives that could nourish the skin and create a luxuriously creamy texture without interfering with the other plant-based actives in the formula.
There are trace amounts—less than 1%—of silicones in our Baby Cheeks blush, Face Trace contour stick and Beauty Butter bronzer, but not for the reasons you might think. Vibrant makeup shades, like the kind found in a warm rose blush, are achieved by the use of “lakes,” an industry term for pigments that are precipitated by heavy metals and produced from sources like coal tar or petroleum.
As a makeup artist, I absolutely needed to create exceptional shades that would perform at the highest level, but putting these potentially irritating chemicals in contact with the skin didn't feel acceptable to me either. After lots more trials and loads of research, we worked with our labs to implement something called biomimicry technology, which encapsulates these '"lakes" in a shell that requires trace amounts of silicone. Ultimately, these small amounts of silicone felt like a better option than having such dyes in contact with the skin.
Green chemistry is complex and it's making breakthroughs every month. We'll always be transparent with you about exactly what's in our products. As the clean movement evolves, our Westman Atelier clean formulas will, too. I want you to be part of this journey with us—and I want you to keep us on our toes. Send us your questions and concerns—your trust means everything to us!"