A few favorites by RMS Beauty and Kjaer Weis
I love makeup! I love creamy lipsticks, inky black eyeliner, mascara that gives you Bambi lashes, blushes that sculpt cheekbones and a good foundation that covers, conceals and creates flawless skin. My love of makeup came early much to my Mom's dismay. My sister and I would buy cheap eyeliner at our local Walgreen's and hide them in our school bags to then hurriedly apply in the bathroom before class. We looked like wild raccoons with heavily darkened eyes and big hair. We wanted to look like Madonna. It was the 80's and we were not sophisticated teenagers!
My love for makeup became an obsession after my Aunt who had come to visit forgot her Vogue, Glamour and Mademoiselle magazines at our house. I took a peek. I was a goner. I do wish I could have waited a few more years before reading such provocative magazines. I wasn't ready at 13 for all the affair confessions or cared much about summer romances (a continuing theme in Mademoiselle for some reason), but I did love the images, the models, the fashion and most of all the makeup. Luckily for me I have always had a good sense of self and didn't fall prey to hating myself for not being a 5'10', Caucasian, blue eyed, 105 pound model. I did wish the Salma Hayeks, Penelope Cruzs and Eva Mendezs of the world would have graced those pages then. I wondered where the beautiful women that looked like members of my family were hiding in the fashion and beauty world. I also couldn't quite compare the makeup colors I was loving on the pages to what it would look like on my Mediterranean skin tone. Makeup back then was created for one type of customer on the planet and that was the Caucasian woman. There was no diversity, no political correctness (men, transexuals, transgendered people weren't even considered a viable customer, yet they did buy makeup then as they do now), At least this was the case in the US. Luckily advocates of high fashion and women of color began to shout, "we love makeup too but need a darker shade of foundation!" Thank goodness for Iman and Naomi Campbell. Their megawatt supermodel power had young girls wanting to be like them and the big companies suddenly noticed and there was a bit of diversity with choices on the makeup color wheel. Jump to 2013 and this is now a non-issue. Makeup comes in all colors and for all ethnicities, which is great for us medium toned women or Asian women who had not been represented for a long time in the cosmetic industry. Supermodel Iman went on to start her own brand and create colors that suit dark skin tones and black women everywhere rejoiced and became loyal customers. Right now, as far as we have come the issue with makeup is the toxicity IN makeup. The same brands that my sister and I smeared all over our eyes and cheeks have not progressed enough to formulate healthier products. I'm not going to go into every single toxic ingredient found in makeup because I'm certain if you're reading this post you already know, but I am going to share some of my views which are personal and experienced based.
Because I am a self admitted science nerd (or as I like to say, enthusiast) and I learned that toxins are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream when applied on the skin, I also learned that in 2013 we are carrying more chemicals in our bodies than Americans did in 1950. It worries me so much that biomonitoring is valid scientific research that proves we are overexposed to toxins yet we are not doing much to demand change. You know who conducts biomonitoring research? The CDC, other foreign governments and a few giant cosmetic companies. Surprised? I'm not going to lecture anyone either just point out that change occurs when not only we know better, but we show with the power of our dollar and voices what we are willing to tolerate. We in turn dictate how these companies treat us and I for one want to stop poisoning myself.
Recently, a very well respected friend/colleague and I had a conversation about organic brands not advertising so much in big print magazines. She had accepted a big contract with a not very clean line and maybe was feeling judged. (Hey, I have big wide and intense eyes and was born that way!) She said if only the cleaner brands would "invest" in advertising the way the "other" brands would more celebrities, models and actresses would be inclined to represent. I had a different take on the matter because as much as I love and adore my Vogue magazine (and yes, I still read it like my Bible) and as much as I look forward to the September issues and badass holiday wishlists these forms of educating, enticing and informing the masses of beauty and fashion are not consistently including us in their printed issues. We who own, operate and create organic beauty still have a way to go. We definitely have a market and we love you smart whippersnappers who discovered us and helped us grow. We also have an emerging interest from newcomers to the "clean scene" as well the newly converted who have become ingredient savvy and product-centric because they are learning (in some cases from other publishings like Organic Spa, Natural Health) the levels of quality in pure ingredients. Expensive petroleum based product vs expensive face oil made with organic, cold pressed nutrient rich ingredients? What makes more sense and is likely to give you that luminous glow the "other" company is advertising in your monthly favorite magazine? While many of us running our own businesses cannot afford to spend thousands or millions in advertising or mega campaigns that create natural beauty hysteria we are still quietly reaching out to a modern customer. They are tickled with the quality of our products and sharing with friends via word of mouth or on social media. We are slowly, but surely growing with our brands and in turn willing to invest more into our businesses. It is a process and for some of us a challenge in staying intact or deciding the next move. We need to figure out the gap and how to make the space between business reality and change come closer. Anyone remember A Night For Green Beauty? That was a small step which had huge benefits to our industry and brands and brought some very sophisticated and well dressed beauty editors to see what the fuss was about.
Change is coming! LBF featured in Harpers Bazaar.com
I understand these politics and play a part in them, but I also like to think I'm part of taking a stand and part of wanting my voice as both a consumer and business owner heard to create change. It has been a personal dream of mine since starting LBF to be featured in Vogue. I'd be kidding if I didn't say it is every beauty brand's dream. We'd be like a kid on Christmas morning to see the benefits of barbary fig seed oil splattered over the pages of Harpers Bazaar or Elle. I really don't think we're far off from having these major players featuring more organic and natural brands in monthly articles. The consumer has spoken and the natural and organic cosmetic industry is booming! We're excited to be a part of something better and there definitely are more strides to make and growth to be had. We do need to show our Vogues and Elles that we're serious and we're willing to advertise and support those glossy pages. It's just a matter of having the bigger kid on the block make the first move. For some of us we're boutique brands and need some revision to suit our budgets and growing pains. I mentioned this to a fantastic PR firm that wanted to represent us. They knew what we could do, but we didn't know what they could do so how do we meet in the middle and support one another's industries? We're lucky that a new kid on the block, the beauty blogger has helped our brands collectively widen our customer base. So very thankful for those enthusiasts and their vision of changing it all up. We all know some of our favorite beauty editors are using, trying, testing and loving some of the organic industry's best products and we all definitely know that one of the first changes a pregnant woman makes is to go clean and green for the health of her baby to be. So why isn't this reflecting as serious of an issue as the one I faced in the 80's when there was basically one skin type companies created products for? What is keeping awareness and our industry from becoming more mainstream? The lack of wanting to change for some of the cosmetic giants is the reason I believe it isn't happening as fast as it should and money of course. It costs a lot of money to research and change those formulations. It is an investment for the big guys to figure out how to keep product on a shelf without using all those toxic chemicals that makes them last for years in your cosmetic bag. These giants are instead investing in scoring the biggest celebrity to represent them instead of creating better products that their loyal customers deserve or going on campaigns that companies like ours cannot match...yet. Never being the type of person who can be told I can't do something, we're doing something. We do expect that change is going to happen sooner rather than later though. How much longer can some of these big brands be in "refusal" that consumers deserve better quality products than what they're giving us? How much longer before the studies that are already telling us we're poisoning ourselves gets the attention of lawmakers and policy changers and we change our laws and requirements for the health and well being of people? I don't want to wait much longer. We're going to keep doing what we're doing and pushing through these challenges and coming up with ideas to bring that gap closer.
A few classics in my personal cosmetic bag
Some of our personal favorite clean and quality makeup, skincare and cosmetic brands include:
and La Bella Figura of course and that's just to name a few because we love so many fellow colleagues and their fantastic products. There are so many beautiful natural and organic brands out there and more on their way into your heart and your cosmetic bag!
If you want to know more about how to change your current regimen for an alternative cleaner one or learn more about toxins in your makeup, please get yourself a copy of No More Dirty Looks by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt.