Today, I’m sharing my brutally honest review of Tower 28 Beauty after testing their bestsellers. I tested the MakeWaves Mascara, Sunny Days Tinted Foundation, Shine On Lip Jelly, BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm, Bronzino Illuminating Bronzer and SOS Daily RescueFacial Spray. I’m sharing which Tower 28 makeup products were a hit and which were a miss, which detailed reviews of each and how they compare to other clean beauty products.
Founded by former beauty exec Amy Liu, Tower 28 is an affordable clean makeup brand formulated for even the most sensitive skin. Tower 28 contains no fragrance or essential oils and are the only brand to 100% follow the National Eczema Association ingredient guidelines. Now here’s why you need to read this before you buy Tower 28.
Because they like to say they’re non-toxic when they are not. Is Tower 28 clean beauty? Like many new clean beauty lines that have entered the market, Tower 28 is not all-natural or organic and does include synthetics, some of which may raise many an eyebrow in the clean beauty community. I noticed that the brand uses the word “non-toxic” often in their About and Philosophy sections, which can easily mislead people into thinking they’re natural and organic. For a complete list of 100% natural makeup brands, check out this article to read later.
This is very different to what other similar clean makeup brands, who have been around longer, put on their websites. Instead of saying they’re non-toxic, they are transparent in stating that they mix synthetic ingredients with natural ones, and undergo toxicological analysis to ensure their safety.
Check out our master list of 60 clean makeup brands organized by clean vs truly non-toxic brands.
Tower 28’s mascara is my top favorite from the line for a number of reasons. First, it actually does work on my lashes to lengthen, volumize and lift. Second, it’s wildly affordable for a clean mascara. With Tower 28 being an Asian American founded brand, I’m pleased that the MakeWaves mascara was made for Asian lashes as they’re notoriously difficult to lengthen and volumize.
The Tower 28 mascara has a Triple-Wave Wand with three flexible suspended bands that lengthen and define lashes + build boldness. It’s formulated for sensitive eyes with vegan ingredients and Aquaflex® Technology. But does it actually work?
In all my years of trying clean mascaras there’s only three that have worked well for me: Honest Beauty, INIKA Organic and Well People. But I think I may be able to add Tower 28 to the list.
I’m not wearing any makeup whatsoever in these photos except for the Tower 28 mascara on the left eye.
The formula is slick and dense, transferring decently onto my lashes. The worst (and most common) problem with mascaras on Asian lashes is when no matter how many times you apply, nothing seems to really happen. Sometimes, mascaras perform better once the product is exposed to air over time, but not always.
I could tell the performance was there on first swipe with Tower 28’s. And I can also actually tell that it does separate and lengthen with one side and build volume with the other. ILIA’s Limitless Lash mascara is also designed to the same, but I find that Tower 28’s mascara works more effectively on my lashes with less effort.
As for curling I hesitate to say whether that works or not as I know some Asian lashes point downwards and mine do not.
I would characterize Tower 28’s Tinted Sunscreen to be a silky liquid sunscreen with strong viscosity. It feels very similar to Typology’s tinted serum. If you like something that really grips the skin and leaves a dewy finish, you might enjoy this product. But if you prefer something that feels like a light lotion and leaves a natural finish, I would opt for Saie Beauty’s Slip Tint.
Coverage (3/5): The Sunny Days Tinted Sunscreen gives me nearly medium coverage, which is pretty strong for a tinted sunscreen product.
Ingredients (2/5): There are hardly any skin beneficial ingredients. I give it a few stars for being sensitive skin friendly.
Shade range (5/5): Wide range of 17 shades to choose from
This is a mineral sunscreen with 12.6% zinc oxide formulated for sensitive skin and comes in 17 shades. These are the reasons why I would not re-purchase the Tower 28 tinted sunscreen:
Firstly, for $32 it hardly has any skincare ingredients.
Second, I really would rather it have SPF 50 than 30, which shouldn’t be that hard to do since it’s tinted and there’s no risk of a white cast anyways.
Finally, their tinted sunscreen gives me a dewy finish even though they say it gives a natural finish. It feels very moisturizing but also leans slick on my face, which I understand may actually be preferential to others.
I think Tower 28’s lip gloss feels amazing and hydrating on the lips and is SO affordable, but lacks in ingredient quality. The Tower 28 Shine On Lip Jelly is a creamy slick lip gloss that feels moisturizing and non-sticky. The Lip Jellies come in 6 sheer shades that provide a hint of color and only costs $15.
Tower 28 Lip Jellies contain five nourishing oils, but if you look closely at the ingredients list, this lip gloss is made mostly of Polybutene, the first ingredient. Polybutene is a synthetic polymer used as a plasticizer and viscosity agent. You’ll also find at the bottom of the ingredients, the addition of lake dyes like Red 22 Lake. Synthetic colorants can be derived from coal tar and pose serious health threats. This is why transparency from brands who use synthetic colorants is important. Every brand calls themselves clean beauty but has their own standards which can be completely different from yours.
(Tower 28 Lip Jelly in shade Fearless)
POLYBUTENE, HYDROGENATED POLYISOBUTENE, HYDROGENATED POLYBUTENE, PRUNUS ARMENIACA (APRICOT) KERNEL OIL, ETHYLENE/PROPYLENE/STYRENE COPOLYMER, OCTYLDODECANOL, RICINUS COMMUNIS (CASTOR) SEED OIL, PERSEA GRATISSIMA (AVOCADO) OIL, ROSA CANINA SEED OIL, RUBUS IDAEUS (RASPBERRY) SEED OIL, ORYZA SATIVA (RICE) BRAN EXTRACT, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) EXTRACT, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY) LEAF EXTRACT, BUTYLENE/EHTYLENE/STYRENE COPOLYMER, AROMA/FLAVOR, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, TOCOPHEROL, PENTAERYTHRITYL TETRA-DI-T-BUTYL HYDROXYHYDROCINNAMATE, MAY CONTAIN: IRON OXIDES (CI 77492), MANGANESE VIOLET (CI 77742), RED 22 LAKE (CI 45380), RED 28 LAKE (CI 45410)
The Tower 28 BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm is a multi-purpose makeup product that can be used on cheeks, lips and lids.
It’s got a slick creamy consistency that reminds me of Honest Beauty’s but less greasy, and strong pigment power. A little goes a long way. Above I’ve swatches the Tower 28 tinted balm in Power Hour, a deep terracotta shade. The pigment is strong, but I didn’t find the BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm moisturizing enough for my lips. This works better as a cheek tint than a lip balm for me.
Tower 28 BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm costs $20 and comes in six shades.
Note that this product also contains synthetic colorants.
The Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer is a shimmery cream bronzer that warms up the face and adds a luminescent glow.
Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer comes in five shades to match different skin tones and contains 100% ethically mined mica for the shimmer effect. Note that not all bronzer shades contain lake dyes.
I tried the Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer in the lightest shade Sun Coast and found it to be a flattering shade. It’s got a creamy consistency and glides into skin easily.
I am personally just not a fan of the clear plastic packaging. It feels flimsy and like it could break easily.
Andrea is a clean beauty expert from Los Angeles, California with 10 years of experience in clean beauty, natural skincare and organic living. She writes for Organic Beauty Lover using her expertise to guide readers in choosing the best clean beauty products. Andrea graduated from the University of Southern California in 2012 and has worked at multiple skincare companies, big and small. Connect with her @organicbeautylover.