Justainable Beauty Blog

How I became a cruelty free and vegan make up artist: My journey

My interest in natural and organic products has always been a passion. Eight years ago, whilst on a natural cosmetics course, I learnt that cosmetic animal testing still existed. I was in total shock. What deeply disturbed me, was that friends and other make up artists were unaware of it, so it was obvious that the consumer didn’t know about it either. It was like the beauty industries ugly secret, shoved under the carpet by clever brand marketing departments. Right then and there, I knew I had to do something. Make a stand for something. Show people that as a make up artist, if I could become cruelty free and produce magazine front covers and create red carpet looks for celebrity, then anyone could be cruelty free. It’s a matter of consumer awareness, transparency and choice. So I worked rigorously trying to create that awareness, writing countless articles, appearing on panel talks, writing a Huffington Post blog, and becoming an ambassador for animal welfare charity, Humane Society International. Out went 90% of products in my kit, and in came cruelty free brands I had tirelessly researched. Gone were the products from Dior, Bobbi Brown, Mac, Chanel, Armani, Lancome etc that I’d relied on for 12 years, only to be replaced by unknown brands. I worried that my clients would reject me without those big brands in my kit, but they were incredibly supportive. I’ve discovered amazing products and brands over the years, that maybe I never would have before. 

Yes it can be frustrating at times when big brands bring out new products  and textures that I would like to try, but I just remind myself of the images and videos that I’ve seen showing the extreme cruelty to animals. By selling in territories that demand animal testing, these brands are effectively condoning the cruelty. Once you’ve seen those images, there’s no going back. It’s an exciting time to be cruelty free, as there are now countless products and formulations available, and it’s only going to get better.

Every day I dedicate myself to pioneering cruelty free and vegan beauty. I love my industry, and though things are changing, I find it abhorrent that such pain is still inflicted for the sake of a new mascara or shampoo.

I’m proud to say the words ‘cruelty free’ and ‘vegan’ are now widely discussed, and I’d like to think that I’ve been instrumental in opening up that discussion. I love being part of such an important change in my industry.

Consumers are not legally protected, so never solely rely on the information on brand websites. There is no law preventing a brand from stating they are cruelty free or organic, when they are not. Check websites like LeapingBunny,  Logical Harmony, and The Vegan Society. They have done the research for you, so you safely know the brands listed are cruelty free. And remember, a cruelty free brand isn’t necessarily vegan, and a vegan brand isn’t necessarily cruelty free, so do your research.

I’m really excited by some of the indie brands and products coming on the market. Code Beautiful is a British vegan brand, synonymous with creating problem solving products. One of their latest offerings is Code LLE, Lid Lift Enhance, a moisturising and brightening eyelid concealer and primer. Gently pat onto the eyelids, to eliminate redness, and lift the eye. Endless compliments will ensue.

UpCircle is an exciting handmade UK skincare line that uses innovative ideas to remove products from landfill. For example, their scrubs are made from Arabica used coffee grounds sourced from London cafes, and the brand ticks all the ethical boxes. Palm oil free, vegan, ocean friendly, repurposed, recycled, sustainable, organic. Totally evil free! A must new brand to look out for.

Clean and vegan beauty brand Athr Beauty are tricky to get in the UK but if you can get your hands on them it’s worth it! Their new offerings are the  Supernova Crushed Pure Diamond Highlighter and Supernova Crushed Pure Pink Diamond Highlighter. If you like sparkles, then you’ll love these! Dust onto cheekbones and décolleté for glamlight, and add over your eye make up to really bring your make up to life. Once used, remove the recyclable aluminium pan, and recycle the card!

Tints Of Nature is a hair brand based in the New Forest. There are reported potential health dangers attached to some ingredients in conventional hair dye, but these guys produce products free from ammonia, parabens, resorcinol and sulfates. Made from recycled and post consumer recycled plastic and cardboard, 75% of ingredients are sourced in the UK and 15% in the EU. My new joy is their Dry Shampoo. Delivered via a nozzle, you can really work the product into the roots where you need it. There’s no chalky residue, and it gives hair extra volume too!