What not to wear

New beauty store suggests organic products to swap for your non-natural makeup, but does not judge you and suggests organic alternatives (no judgement)

The interior of Credo on Prince Street
The interior of Credo on Prince Street

After her age and her weight, the contents of a woman’s makeup bag are perhaps one of her best-guarded secrets. The face I present to the world every day is a carefully constructed mask, painted on with considerable diligence. No one needs to know the creams and concoctions and liners and lipsticks that are necessary to make it happen.

So when I heard about a makeup swap service at the new beauty store Credo on Prince Street, I was rather reluctant to try it. The service involves bringing in my bulging makeup bag and having the sales staff pick through it and suggest all-natural alternatives. Not only did this mean strangers looking through my makeup bag, but strangers who would judge me for using non-natural products. Yikes. But curiosity got the better of me and off I went to Credo’s sleekly designed store, which has the same Zen-like feel of a yoga studio, only with better lighting.

Shashi Batra, a former top executive at Sephora, started Credo in San Francisco last June. Unlike Sephora, however, Credo only sells natural makeup with no “dirty” (unhealthy or unethical) ingredients. It features brands like Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics, African Botanics, Rituel de Fille and RMS. 

Credo only sells natural makeup with no “dirty”
(unhealthy or unethical) ingredients.

Before the swap, store manager Kristen Scaturro asked me quite a lot of questions about my beauty preferences to find the right products for me: Do I prefer the dewy or matte look? Do I use a powder or a cream finish? Do I brush my foundation in or rub it with my fingers? Do I prefer light or heavy coverage?

Once we sorted out my beauty profile (dewy complexion with light coverage), it was time to swap out my products. Rather embarrassed, I opened up my beauty bag to reveal my decidedly non-organic makeup: Olay moisturizer with SPF, Chanel foundation, Lancôme eyeliner, mascara and mascara primer, a Chanel brow pencil, Lancôme Génifique serum and a blush from Estée Lauder.

Thankfully, Scaturro and her team did not judge me for my basket of goods. Natural makeup, after all, is a relatively new trend, and most customers come in with makeup bags similar to mine, looking to learn about natural substitutions for them.

“We want it to be a positive energy and experience. We don’t want people to feel like what they’ve been doing for all of these years is terrible,” Scaturro said, adding she only started using natural products herself a couple months ago. “And now that I’ve switched over, I can’t go back.”

The products she showed me, I must say, were just as good as, if not better than, the ones I already use.

A lightening serum from Marie Veronique ($110) brightened my complexion and didn’t leave any sticky residue on my face; Lina Hanson’s Global Treasures balm smelled like coffee and had specks of 24-carat gold in it ($105); the Kjaer Weis foundation provided full but lightweight coverage and came in a refillable compact ($68).

But the best part? Later, at a party, friends complimented me on my newly glowing and dewy skin, asking  me what I was using. I was able to reply, in all honesty, “Wouldn’t you know, it’s all natural?”