clean beauty

About being a cruelty-free & Clean /Non-Toxic Makeup Artist by emma graef

Made mostly with clean / non toxic makeup products  Photographer: Starky Morillo II Model:  Diane-Laure  II Hair: Campbell and Campbell II Style: Leah Standish II Makeup by me

Made mostly with clean / non toxic makeup products

Photographer: Starky Morillo II Model: Diane-Laure II Hair: Campbell and Campbell II Style: Leah Standish II Makeup by me

Last autumn 2018 I decided to make my kit cruelty-free and with “clean beauty” skin care and makeup products, as long as the quality for my clients would not be disturbed.

What determines clean/non-toxic cosmetics? Unfortunately, the terms are not regulated. For me, it means cosmetic products that are safe for us to us — they won’t cause hormonal disturbances, are not carcinogenic, won’t irritate your skin and are also friendlier for the environment since these companies are paying attention to the recyclability of their packaging.

A couple of years ago I started to have a bad conscience about my profession. I started to be aware of the ingredients of cosmetic products and the consumerism in this business. Buying new products for my kit was difficult. I could spend hours in Sephora trying to make sense out of the ingredient lists. I had products in my kit that I wouldn’t use on myself daily and I couldn’t tolerate that thought any longer. Being a makeup artist is not about saving the world (though who hasn’t gasped ‘thank God for makeup’ on your not-freshest days?), but I started to feel as though I am actually doing harm here.

I started my research about harmful ingredients in cosmetics and the list turned out to be long and frustrating. I learned how here in the USA the FDA has banned 30 ingredients in cosmetics, compared to EU that has banned over 1300. The astonishing difference between the numbers are because EU’s politics are preventative and FDA bans or regulates the ingredients only after it is proved to cause health issues, which can take a long time and the process is complicated to execute. This fact alone makes me very anxious. Our skin absorbs a lot that we put on it and when you think about all the products people tend to layer on, it can get scary. Toners, serums, face creams, SPF, primers, foundations, concealers… Shall I go on?

To make things more complicated, this doesn’t mean that everything coming from the nature is safe and good for our skin. There are great synthetic ingredients as well as amazing natural ingredients and the companies that knows how to combine these ingredients (with high-quality results!) have made it to my kit.

What is inside the NEW NON-TOXIC Lumous Makeup kit?

Ready for the bridal trials

Ready for the bridal trials

Many “natural” beauty companies have essential oils in them. Some of the essential oils are high in antioxidants but are also skin irritants and damaging in the long run. Essential oils are actually very hard to avoid in the “clean beauty” department. Irritated skin shows signs of aging faster and it is like smoking tobacco or sunbathing — even if the damage is not instant there will be signs in later years. It depends on your skin type when the harm starts to show. My sensitive skin showed serious irritation (acne, redness, itchiness) after only couple of months of use (this was a learning experience). According to some studies, the amount of 0.1% of an essential oil is not irritating but this doesn’t take into account that there can be many of them combined. The essential oils are added to these products perhaps because of their antioxidant aspect and also as a fragrance.

Luckily we have some beauty brands that are paying attention to what is actually good for our skin and what makes it more beautiful. I have enjoyed using Paula’s Choice and Drunk Elephant products as skin care. They are fragrance free and the list of ingredients they are not putting on their products is thorough.

To find out exactly what products are in my kit, look for my follow-out post!

It is not beautiful inside-out if it is not cruelty-free

Art by @liina_music

Art by @liina_music

Since May 2018 I haven’t purchased makeup or skin care products that test on animals on any point of their development process. Cosmetic company can have a policy that they do not test on animals except if it’s required by law, which doesn’t make a company cruelty-free then. In China (excluding Hong Kong) animal testing is required by law for all foreign cosmetic companies. The products that are not made in China and that have a physical store in there are required for animal testing. This was very disappointing for me to learn. These companies actually pay for the Chinese government to do the animal testing.'

In comparison, animal testing is banned in E.U. The Chinese way is not necessary at all.
I believe these big companies entering the Chinese market can have the power to stop the cruel animal testing simply by not selling there. To stop the animal testing it needs a decision from a consumer too, to not buy these companies.

Of course I had always heard about the horrid conditions for these animals in labs but it was @rescuefreedomproject that truly opened my eyes. Also owning my own beagle mix rescue dog called Surku. No animal deserves a life in a lab but can you believe they use beagles for animal testing because of their loving, forgiving, calm nature? It’s too heartbreaking.
Luckily there are many brands that don’t test on animals so you can easily find an alternative product! I always check from @crueltyfreekitty before purchasing.
There is no reason to support these companies that test their products on animals. Simply, the animals are not here to try out in a very cruel, torturous way that our beauty products are okay for us to use.

If you are feeling anxious and hopeless after this post and want to throw everything out of your bathroom and beauty bag… I feel you! Because we don’t like stress either for our skin, start by cleaning your routine step by step. Start by saying no to cosmetic brands that are not cruelty-free and have fragrance in them, which is in my opinion the most concerning cosmetic ingredient. There is no benefit of fragrance for the skin at all and since the companies are under trade secret, we don’t know what is lurching under the glamorous “fragrance/parfum”. It is important to do some re-search about the company you are about to support as a consumer.

For my research I enjoyed reading the book “No More Dirty Looks” by Siobhan O’Connor ( I found it hard to put down when it was time to go to sleep!) The documentary “Stink!” about fragrance ingredient on Netflix is good to watch. I downloaded app “Think Dirty” that educates me of the ingredients of a beauty product when I am about to make a purchase (this app doesn’t recognize essential oils as harmful ingredient so just be aware of this). I also use Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary and EWG Skin Deep.

If you have any questions or comments, I am happy to answer in the comments, through my email or on my Instagram @lumousmakeup


Emma / Lumous Makeup