The Crunchi Collection
Get ready to brace yourselves, you're about to read a positive review about a multi-level marketing company. *Gasp*
I know, I know, I'm more shocked than you since I've beaten the drum about MLM companies and why we should be cautious of them (full post available here). My opinion about tiered systems has not changed, however, Crunchi is the first MLM brand to offer truly clean products, some of which are better than non-MLM brands you may be using now.
What caught my attention?
- Crunchi products are made with a combination of safe, certified organic and EcoCert ingredients
- An Impressive Blacklisted Ingredients List (more on this later)
- Product Oversight
- Crunchi developed extremely close relationships with industry leaders in organic ingredient suppliers and product manufacturers prior to their partnership and know exactly what is going into their products and where they were sourced
- Third party testing and EWG ratings are coming very soon!
- Vegan or Vegetarian
- All products are either Vegan or Vegetarian. The foundation, concealer, mascara, lip gloss and lipstick are considered vegetarian because of the use of 100% organic and humanely sourced beeswax
- All products are currently formulated gluten-free and safe for those with Celiac Sprue or gluten sensitivity
- All products are cruelty free, including the brushes
- Use of Glass
- Crunchi uses glass and paper packaging where possible but where plastic is used, it is phthalate and BPA free
- The kettles used to heat and mix the products are stainless steel
- Made in the USA
"Toxin-Free" to Crunchi means if it does not contain any ingredients known to cause harm or health hazard based on available ingredient data and research. Well, I would argue that just because a product hasn't yet been proven "toxic" doesn't mean it isn't. So, this is where my appreciation for their blacklisted ingredients comes in.
They have blacklisted several ingredients, including my pet-peeve "greenwashing" ones used by "non-toxic" beauty companies on a regular basis including:
- Ethoxylated Compounds
- Ingredients processed with ethylene oxide can be contaminated by the bi-product 1,4 dioxane, both of which are carcinogenic
- They are harder to spot, but can be, but not limited to: PEG aka Polyethylene Glycol (PEG-40, PEG-200 etc), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cetereath-20, Polysorbate (-20, 40, 60, 80, etc.), Steareth (2, 4, 10, 20 etc.) Read more about it here
- Phenoxyethanol (aka PhE, Euxyl K 400)
- Also treated with ethyl oxide, this synthetic ingredient is a neurotoxin, skin irritant and allergen
- Instead of Phenoxyethanol, Crunchi uses a combination of certified organic extracts as a preservative which keep all products, with the exception of mascara, preserved for one year. The mascara should be discarded 3 months after opening.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
- The process to create GSE is far from natural. It is first ground into a fine powder, dissolved in water and distilled to remove fiber and pectin. It is then spray dried at low temperatures forming a concentrated flavonoid powder. This powder is then dissolved in vegetable glycerin and heated under pressure along with ammonium chloride and ascorbic acid. The amount of ammonium chloride and ascorbic acid remaining in the finished product is 15-19% and 2.5-3.0% respectively. The mixture then undergoes catalytic conversion using natural catalysts, including hydrochloric acid and natural enzymes. There is no residue of hydrochloric acid after the reaction. The slurry is cooled, filtered and treated with UV light.
- During this unnatural process, GSE is exposed to cross-contamination with triclosan, methylparaben and benzethonium chloride. (Additional sources here and here)
- Japanese Honeysuckle
- There have been studies that show the molecular structure of this seemingly “natural” ingredient is almost identical to that of a paraben and could mimic the role of parabens in the body. Here’s a great article for further reading on this ingredient.
Outside of these lesser known "bad guys", they have outlawed numerous other ingredients including:
- Synethetic fragrance
- Retinyl Palmitate/Retinol/Vitamin A
- Formaldehyde Releasers
- Mineral Oil
- Synthetic colors/dyes
- Ethanolamine Compounds (DEA/TEA/MEA)
- Butylated Compounds (BHA/BHT)
Safe ingredients with a Bad Rap
Crunchi chose to use a few ingredients which unfortunately have negative or unfavorable “risks” in the green beauty world, even though the claims are unfounded. Hopefully I can clear some of those up now:
- Titanium Dioxide
- The health concern involving titanium dioxide involves the inhalation of the loose powder form. The International Agency for Research on Cancer identifies inhalable titanium dioxide as a possible carcinogen. To avoid this risk, Crunchi does not use titanium dioxide in loose powder formulations.
- It has been comprehensively studied and determined that dimethicone is unlikely to be absorbed into the skin due to the large molecular weight of the polymer and has been deemed safe for use in cosmetics
- There are several, cheaper, chemically-treated forms of dimethicone which can be contaminated with toxins, however, Crunchi uses the pure, single molecule form of dimethicone in a few select products to enhance the performance and wear
- An example of a dangerous form of dimethicone is that found in Jane Iredale's foundation. Several forms of dimethicone are listed in this product including PEG-10 dimethicone. PEG-10, aka Polyethylene Glycol and all PEG compounds, are ingredients which have been processed with ethylene oxide. This process makes the ingredient "ethoxylated" and carries a high risk of contamination of the bi-product 1,4 dioxane. Both ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxide are carcinogenic, so avoiding these forms is highly recommended. More info here
- It is rare for someone have a topical reaction/allergy to pure dimethicone, however, if you are one of these people, please avoid the products where dimethicone is used: Beautifully Flawless Foundation, Mascara and Eyeshadows
So...ingredient standards aside, do the products actually perform?
Crunchi Cosmetics Review
Yes, yes, yes and yes! After switching from liquid foundation to powder, back to liquid, then to cream foundation, here I am, back to liquid! I first saw the foundation on Amanda, from Organic Bunny and asked her what it was, and a few days later, I had the product in my hands for testing.
My struggle with liquid foundation has always been the dreaded “line of demarcation” but I found that this one blends so well, it’s not even an issue. I think their vegan flat top foundation brush was a big part of this as it has the perfect combination of soft/firm for the foundation application.
I recommend to always start out with very little product and build as needed. If you add too much up front, it will look cakey, which how it turned out on my first application, but once I corrected the application, the end result was a flawless matte finish.
While you can carefully build for fuller coverage, one thing people noticed off the bat was my freckles were clearly visible, which gives such a natural look. I had some blemishes to cover, which is where the concealer came in to play before I applied the foundation.
The foundation wears well all-day, and seriously is the winning product from this line. If I wasn’t a fan of the foundation, I probably wouldn’t be writing this review because we all know how hard it is to find a good, clean, well-performing foundation, and this one meets the bill.
Because of their limited shades, I mixed together Medium (03) and Tan (04).
Not sure of your shade? You can order a sample pack here for $7.
Like the foundation, less is more here. Start with very little since you don’t want any cakey-ness. I prefer to apply the concealer before my foundation, but some do it after. In my case, I like the way the foundation brush blends them together without removing the concealer. I use the shade Medium.
So, maybe this product deserves at least partial credit for the foundation application and longevity. The design of this product is to hydrate, smooth and prep both dry and oily skin for make-up application. It helps fill fine lines and wrinkles and hold onto the make-up after application. Outside of 100% Pure’s primer, I’ve never been a fan of primers, but I like this one just as much.
The finishing powder is “translucent” so it should apply without any whiteness, but I had to apply very, very little, otherwise, it would lighten my face too much for my likening. I do like the performance as the make-up was set for the entire day, though I would prefer a tinted finishing powder.
The bronzer is very shimmery and at first, I thought I wouldn’t like it, but after applying a light layer of the Finishing Powder, I added just the tiniest bit of bronzer on my cheek bones and around the edge of my face with the blush/bronzer brush and was pleasantly surprised my face wasn’t a glittery mess. I actually quite like it.
I’m either wearing a bronzer or blush, but rarely ever both. Personally, I don’t struggle to find good color blush that lasts, and while these are good options, if you’re not a big blush wearer, I wouldn’t say you need them. I might suggest they add a good peachy color (like Kjaer Weis’s Precious) to add to their pink options.
OK, sorry gals, I didn't try them. I hardly ever wear lip color and I since I wanted to give these away, I didn't test them out...Plus, my test period wouldn't reveal much, as I know I wouldn't like them no matter the shade or ingredients.
Since I’m not an eyeshadow wearer, I didn’t try these either, but they have 13 shades to choose from. Sorry for being so boring! ;)
Mascara is definitely a hard one to please everyone on. I wrote a green beauty mascara guide last year and my favorites were flops for some people, and some of my flops were better for others. It’s all about what kind of look you’re going for, how oily the skin around your eyes are, use of a setting powder, how much you wear, etc. etc…
So my initial thoughts about this mascara was that it was ok, but not great. The first application took several strokes, and it never built up as thick as I normally like my lashes. It gave a more “wispy” look. However, upon further use, I found the mascara took a few more applications before it began to build more easily and thicken up. So I would definitely say this is an 8/10, just give it a few extra pumps before applying the first time!
I didn't experience any eye stinging or have raccoon eyes either with this formula either. I'll be adding it to my guide!
What do you think?
This is a new and constantly evolving company. Obviously, they are aware the foundation shades need to expand and they will be adding eyeliner and pressed powder options too.
I'm curious what you think about the company, their values and mission coupled with the fact they are an MLM company? Obviously, as I am endorsing this brand, I may make a small commission if you purchase using my links.
I'd also like to make it clear, while I am loving some of the products, no brand is the "be-all-end-all" and you won't ever hear me preaching that this line is "the one." However, Crunchi may be a brand for those looking to make it a part-time or full-time career, but as always, I'd recommend you read my MLM post to ensure the company completely aligns with your values and that you always speak the truth about the products and their performance.