“As a makeup artist I want to show that Clean Beauty is as effective as limitless.”
I was born and grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and I’ve lived in London since 2012. I’ve been doing Hair and Makeup professionally for 18 years now, but it was in 2012 that I had an epiphany around the way I approach beauty. I live my life mindfully, though I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But I’ve always recycled, turned off the water, just simple practical solutions. While my work compromises at least 80% of my life – I’m a workaholic – I realised that my work didn’t reflect my ethics at all. So I started by seeking out more sustainable packaging options and through that I found out about organic beauty and ingredients. Organic beauty is just better environmentally – for me, making more conscious choices wasn’t health-related or about a trend, but it just made sense in my life at that point to consider.
“I am probably slightly controversial in the green beauty world in that I believe that not every synthetic ingredient is harmful. “
When anybody starts on any journey, they can become very regimental and blind-focused. I am probably slightly controversial in the green beauty world in that I believe that not every synthetic ingredient is harmful. My first point of view was from an environmentalist perspective but I’ve since moved towards thinking more about sustainability and balance. I am especially interested in Green Chemistry, in what can be made by man and be safe at the same time, and what can be made by nature and not overexploit our natural resources. I also believe it is irresponsible for green beauty brands to claim that they are ‚chemical-free‘. It’s incorrect information, just like if a conventional brand put flowers all over their packaging and claimed they used natural ingredients. Tocopheryl Acetate, Vitamin E are all natural ingredients, but they have to be synthesised for use in cosmetics, because natural Vitamin E is not stable. Often times, there is not a lot of understanding behind the chemistry of ingredients in the natural beauty community.
Not everything you put on your skin is even absorbed. Depending on the ingredients, anywhere between zero and one hundred percent get absorbed into the skin, and it depends on what other ingredients are in the product that help absorption. A lot of information focuses on scaremongering. My personal mission as a makeup-artist is to get people to see that clean beauty is as effective and can be even better than conventional beauty. Sure, there isn’t as many products and finishes available, but I see that as an opportunity to push boundaries, because you have to think differently. We don’t need a choice of 50 million different eye shadows! As a consumer, you have the ability to step back and ask ‚Do I really need all that‘? And while sometimes you should be able to buy beautiful things, appreciating what you’ve got and being resourceful with it has to come first. Finish something before you buy anything else. Whether it comes to fashion or beauty – consumption is a mindset. I think we should be using what is already here. Before we buy a single new item, sustainable or not, we should be going to Charity Shops and Vintage Stores and find pieces there.
“I have identified 5 different criteria that we apply when choosing green beauty products. They’re Health, Animal Welfare, Environment, Sustainability and Religion.”
I have identified 5 different criteria that we apply when choosing green beauty products. They’re Health, Animal Welfare, Environment, Sustainability and Religion. Green Beauty always encompasses a few of them – but no matter what, there is compromise that you have to make. If you are a new mother you will want to buy beauty products that have absolutely no synthetics in them. If you then still want to wear a red lipstick, you’ll have to be aware that red does not exist in nature except in carmine. So you can either wear a completely natural red lipstick that contains an animal ingredient, or not wear a red lipstick at all. Or you could wear a lipstick that is made up of beautiful organic oils and plant butters but has a couple synthetic colourants in it. There is always something you will have to prioritise.
“As a makeup artist I only use green products – If I can’t find a natural option for a colour, I just don’t use the colour.”
Some products that people look for just cannot exist as a complete natural – a natural waterproof mascara for example, is a complete oxymoron! It’s another perfect example of where you will need to compromise. Because they are emollient, natural waxes and butters are never going to be waterproof – they aren’t designed like that. So to make them stay on your face, you will need to use a synthetic component. The Ere Perez waterproof mascara is fantastic; you go into the water with it and it stays on. It’s filled to the brim with natural ingredients – but is has dimethicone, because that is what makes it stay on. Of course, I don’t want dimethicone in all my products, but if I need the mascara to stay on for an editorial or a bride, this is a compromise I am willing to make. Certain times, in order to get an effective product, it needs a synthetic. As a makeup artist I only use green products – If I can’t find a natural option for a colour, I just don’t use the colour.
“I’ve never been interested in make-up, but in the things I could express with it.”
The first half of my career was mostly spent in commercials and advertising – it was a way to earn a living. It wasn’t until I moved to London and started applying concepts and learning about ingredients that I became really interested in beauty. I’ve never been interested in make-up, but in the things I could express with it. I like to understand the nuances of things, and how they work at a base level – that enables me to apply them to anything. As a makeup artist who only works with clean products, it’s sometimes challenging to get my work published in magazines, because it’s not associated with any major advertisers. So I can only go to the odd art magazine, which is great, but it usually takes a couple months to get the pictures. I started my platform Untainted as a way to get the whack ideas out of my head! I am an artist, I just happen to use make-up as my paint, and I wanted a space where I could creative a different narrative. Because of how my brain works, I needed to structure it, and so I started doing themes for each issue, which in themselves can be quite controversial and thoughtprovoking. It’s about playing with societal concepts – but in a beauty context. I wanted a place where I could show that clean beauty was as effective as limitless.
Since I started Untainted Magazine, a lot of brands reach out to me, and I always test new products for my kit. I have many incredible products that I write about and review or use in my professional makeup kit, but if it weren’t for that I would probably have three things. A face wash, a moisturiser and my favourite lip oil … the Hyalurol Lip Oil from Twelve Beauty. It’s quite shiny and it goes with me everywhere. I use it personally, and in editorial work when I want a really glossy lip. I can definitely pass on make-up. I wish I was a bit more glamorous, but I just don’t know how people find the time. Maybe I’m too busy writing or doing stuff, but the thought of spending time on my own make-up doesn’t appeal to me at all. Anything I do I have to be able to do in 5 minutes. Mascara, a little bit of concealer – just whatever I have lying around to test. If I’m feeling festive, some lipstick on my cheeks.
“In the morning, the first thing I do is have a cup of coffee, sit in my armchair and answer e-mails.”
In the morning, the first thing I do is have a cup of coffee, sit in my armchair and answer e-mails. If I’m not going anywhere, I don’t do anything to my face. I don’t think that our skin should have an overconsumption of treatments – if it’s happy, I’ll leave it alone, if it’s unhappy, I’ll treat it. The water here in London is so disgusting, so whenever I wash my face (with whatever face wash I’m testing at the moment) I use Absolution’s Addiction Oil afterward. My skin is loving it, and the smell is a little bit of luxury every time you use it. I’m also taking a bit of my own advice now, and spending some time in the morning massaging my face. Just quality time for myself. I’m really enjoying my rose quartz roller for that. I also like to sleep as much as I can and try to limit the amount of stress I put myself under – stress is the worst thing for your skin. At night, if my boyfriend’s away or when I’ve had a really long week and feel like my skin and body need it, I’ll take a little luxury night. I love baths! A glass of wine, a face mask, just something completely indulgent.
“ I use social media for my work, but I don’t let social media use me.”
I enjoy a glass of wine, but I won’t have a drink if I’m sad or angry. It needs to always remain something pleasurable, not a crutch. I apply the same mentality to social media. I use social media for my work, but I don’t let social media use me. A lot of people get really upset about what they see in their feeds, and I feel sad about that. Whatever you see on someone’s Social Media is just a curated image – whether it be well-curated or not. But you cannot judge yourself harshly based on it. I don’t use Instagram for creative Inspiration, or follow any Influencers – instead, I still reference a lot of books. Actually, most of my feed are just pictures of my friends babys.