RSPO-Based Eye Make-Up by ZAO, Range Review #11

In which I swatch several eye shadows, a plum eye liner, an emerald khol, and volume mascara, all RSPO-based, into two EOTD (meaning “Eye Of The Day” in beautybloggish).

How I Found Zao Beauty

Zao Beauty is a French Ecocert-certified brand offering RSPO-based mascaras, lipsticks, lip pencils and khols. I have spotted them in a brand new German online shop for eco cosmetics that carries loads of tox-free cosmetics and healthy foodie goodness such as the infamous Red Espresso, healthy, top notch roiboos tea magically transformed into coffee-like beverages.

On a side note: would you be interested in a post about my favourite (German and international) shopping resources for beauty, fashion, furniture and such?

But I digress. So much to share!

My search for PO-free Mascara and Lip/ Eye Pencils was continuous frustration. And so spotting an RSPO-based range felt quite like hope, even despite the fact that I don’t consider RSPO the answer to our prayers.

Today, having tested several Zao Beauty eye shadows, their khol pencil and liquid eyeliner, I can say they do offer a great alternative to organic products made with PO-based ingredients of a dark pedigree.”

You might also remember Zao from the epic nail polish battle post, where their nail polish in a nearly neon brick orange challenged my 11-free Korres treasures in terms of ingredients, colour and wearability.

Once the brand had caught my attention, I was curious about their make-up range.
Complexion products, unfortunately, all contain Wheat Protein, my personal Nemesis and nasty allergen, and thus fell through the cracks for me.zao-beauty-haulThe eye make-up on the other hand really got me hooked. A variety of finishes for eye shadows, beautifully intense and special colours for khol and eyeliners… Oh, and those lip products – lip pencils, lacquers, glosses and lipsticks! But today, let’s unwrap the eye make-up treasures.zao-beauty-haul-2The cotton bags are tied and sealed with the inci leaflet that looks like a mini gift tag. Several products are refills, and the bamboo jars and tubes are both elegant and a tactile pleasure, slightly warm, smooth and suitably light (not too light) in your hand.zao-beauty-haul-3Seriously, look at this smooooooth wooden goodness (okay, the pencil cap is not wood, granted, and inside parts of the packaging are made of plastic). But look at da wood:zao-beauty-haul-4Gorgeous. And now, let’s swatch and discuss!zao-beauty-haul-op

Ze Zao Review

Let me begin my swatching with the eye khol in “604 dark green”:zao-beauty-review-eye-khol-dark-greenApologies, the white of my Bulbus oculi is quickly PS’d here and in the pics to follow – I had what you could call a “bad eye day” 🙂 when I got the time to swatch Zao.

Anyway, here’s the khol in its full glory. The colour is a clear, pigmented, neutral green, but slightly warmer than emerald. As you can see, the application is smooth and precise, smudging and blending is easy:zao-beauty-review-eye-khol-dark-green-604--swatchNext, sitting smugly in its sublime bamboo net with the magnetic lid, the matt eye shadow in “201 ivory”:zao-beauty-review-eye-shadow-jarUhmmm, can you tell I  dig the packaging?zao-beauty-review-matt-eye-shadow-closedThe eye shadow in matt is quite powdery, blendable, and very, very richly pigmented – you have to apply it with an easy hand to avoid a crepe-paper appearance.

I’ve applied it generously for it to be well visible, and you can tell how it accentuates the tiniest of wrinkles in the inner corner of my eye. Positive side effect: it does add volume to the lashes. The colour is a pale ivory tone, a yellow-tinged beige. One more positive side effect: if you have purplish shadows around your eyes, and can wear yellow-toned colours – this is a two-in-one win to subtly cover purple-ish and blue-ish undereye circles.zao-beauty-review-matt-eye-shadow-swatch-201-ivoryNext onto the most striking colour of today’s review – the liquid eye liner in plum.zao-beauty-review-eyeliner-063-plumHere you see the eyeliner right after application: it spreads very well, and the brush allows for some seriously precise application. The colour “063 plum” is more like a wine red with just a tinge of plum, it’s definitely an eye catcher – but without looking gory or Halloween-ish. It’s close to 2015 Colour of the year by Pantone: Marsala.

I wouldn’t go for this exact look on a daily basis, but in this case it’s more swatching than make-up, so bear with me:zao-beauty-review-eye-liner-063-plum-worn-swatchAnd here it’s dried. The finish is subtly metallic but more on the side of silky, not glossy. I must say I like how the colours and textures look together:zao-beauty-review-eyeliner-plum-swatch-2You might remember from my Signature Summer Look that I’m not the mascara type of gal. You can steal all my mascara from me and I probably won’t even take notice. But mascara without palm oil (or in this case, based on RSPO-certified raw material which is definitely better than standard) is one of the most reader-requested items.zao-beauty-review-volume-and-sheathing-mascaraVolume & Sheathing Mascara in “085 black” (brown is available as well) comes with a classic brush that gets fuller in the middle, and is nothing exceptional but as good as any quality mascara out there. One coat will elongate the lashes with a lot of class, two coats definitely add volume.

You can take it off with water which is a win on one hand, but on the other hand it will smudge if you tear up. What shall I say, Berlin is a windy city! *pats eyes dry*
BTW: beauty knows no pain, really… I had to stare into the sun to take this picture and to showcase the mascara in its full glory!zao-beauty-review-volume-and-sheathing-mascara-swatchNow, how does it wear, how is it removed?

To my utmost pleasure, everything is easily removed with a muslin cloth soaked in warm water, and I am honestly over the moon each time my make-up can part without added product. However, all products (except mascara!) survived several 2-hour walks under rain. The mascara is reserved for the days your barometer points to dry and sunny. You have no barometer? Didn’t you get the memo that all things Steampunk and Jules Vernes are hawt?

Now let’s move on to my second look and purchase!
After the “ivory” matt eye shadow had won my heart, I lusted after the glittery, pink-infused beige “sand-gold 105” and the matt “dark brown 203”:zao-beauty-review-matt-shimmering-eye-shadow-brown-gold-sandA little closer? Yes, please, so you can spot the tiny fine shimmer in the “sand-gold 105” and the matt goodness of the “dark brown 203”:zao-beauty-review-matt-shimmering-eye-shadow-brown-gold-sand-closeupBoth colours are soft and silky, a pleasure to apply; the brown matt eye shadow doubles beautifully as eye brow powder, the shimmering eye shadow in “sand-gold 105” is an ideal neutral to define the crease:zao-beauty-review-matt-shimmering-eye-shadow-brown-gold-sand-swatchThe prices are quite moderate:
Eye shadows appr0x. €17 each;
Liquid eyeliner approx. €18;
Eye khol €9.90;
Volume & Sheathing Mascara €19.30.
Links (as usual, no affiliates):
Zao website
Ecoco Organics online shop (Germany)

Bottom line Zao Beauty

On the plus side, apart from the tox-free, Ecocert-certified formulas and completely RSPO-based ingredients:
1. Formula love. I liked the colour pay-off, the wear, and the texture of all products I bought and tested.
2. Colour love. The eye shadows are nice to work with, blend very well and, like the khol pencils and liquid eyeliners, have beautiful, naturally flattering hues.
3. Instant faves. My favourite products here are the khol pencil and the liquid eyeliner for the intense, bold colours and for the naturally extended wear.
4. The refill idea. Also, bamboo is a beautifully sustainable raw material.

As for criticism, it would be four things:
1. Bits and pieces. The liquid eyeliner, if applied in a thick layer, can dry to a film that crinkles and, eventually, creases.
2. Tempus fugit. The eye shadows need a base. Without, their wear barely gets past 90 minutes.
3. Panda eyes. The mascara is adorable but way too water-reactive. It will smudge at any given occasion.
4. The refill idea. The bamboo packaging is truly adorable, both aesthetically appealing and nice to the touch BUT: not all products are refills, only eye shadows, lipsticks, blushes, powders and the liquid foundation. The majority of that bamboo goodness goes to waste.

I hope you’ve stayed with me till this line, Adventurer, and enjoyed the review.
Nothing beats spending half a night over a helpful post for me 🙂
Now I wish you a great day or night, and while the next post on palm oil is in the making, the turn of the Quest road that follows tomorrow will take us to a completely different place!


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

14 Responses

  1. I love the wooden packaging and was thinking to buy something because of it… You know how much I love plum mascara and the eyeliner is gorgeous. I think it will be my first Zao product.

  2. diealex

    I just love the wooden packaging! Good to know the products also perform well.
    And yes, I’d be very interested in getting to know your shopping resources!

  3. I wear more wooden than metal jewellery and would be stroking that packaging all day long. That metallic plummy colour really makes your pretty eyes “pop” as per blogger parlance 😉

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