How To Become A Cruelty Free, Natural Makeup Artist
I would like to share with you my own personal journey about how, as a professional freelance hair and makeup artist, I successfully made the switch from using popular, yet highly synthetic, cosmetics brands, to using natural, safer, cruelty free accredited brands.
To me using natural cruelty free cosmetics is true beauty!
If someone like myself, whose career depends on her ability to be able to create flawless, fashion-current looks, is able to make the switch, then I believe the decision should be even easier for those who aren’t required to achieve this level of professional makeup application and hair styling.
It is my hope that through reading this article, I will inspire others to say no to unethical, high-end, animal tested cosmetics and to encourage them to make the humane swap over to safer, healthier cosmetics. Cosmetics that won’t cause harm to either animals or us humans!
*Update on June 1st 2021 Choose Cruelty Free Australia merged into the global nonprofit organisation, Cruelty Free International and I took on the role of their Australian Programmes Manager.
See more about the merge in my article here
To see the new 2022 list of approved cruelty free brands now listed under the Leaping Bunny Programme run by Cruelty Free International see https://crueltyfreeinternational.org/leapingbunny
My Journey To Becoming A Cruelty Free Hair & Makeup Artist.
Many moons ago, I used MAC as my professional product line. At the time I wholeheartedly believed that they were cruelty-free, as this is what the sales people convincingly told me, each and every time I asked and I asked a lot!
I became aware that animals were being used to test the safety of cosmetics, hair care, personal care and cleaning products way back in my late teens, whilst doing my hairdressing apprenticeship in a salon in Armadale, Melbourne in the late 1990’s.
Back then we were one of the first salons to embrace what was then known as one of the first cruelty free hair and makeup brands, Aveda – *please note, these days things have changed and unfortunately Aveda are no longer able to be listed as cruelty free by Choose Cruelty Free.
Finding out that animals were being tortured and killed so that we humans could have luxury products, (which let’s face it, this is what cosmetics and hair products are) didn’t sit well with me at all.
I Believed Them When They Said They Were Cruelty Free.
Once I finished my hairdressing apprenticeship, I took the next step towards becoming an independent freelancer and did a makeup course.
The course required we use Kryolan cosmetics, a world renowned German brand of stage cosmetics. I of course asked about their cruelty free status and in correspondence to me Kryolan insisted, that they were indeed cruelty free – * Kryolan are also not accredited by Choose Cruelty Free here in Australia, despite being approached by the organization a few times over the years.
The brushes we were required to use in the course were sable, but again I was told convincingly that these hairs were humanely obtained. You must remember this was in the early 1990’s and there wasn’t the readily available information, or plentiful cruelty free alternatives that we are fortunate enough to have today.
As I started to branch out with my career into the world of high fashion, music and advertising, I found Kryolan was not really suited to the style of work I was doing, as it is designed predominately for TV and special effects makeup. I looked around for a suitable, cruelty free alternatives and believed (falsely) that MAC, was ethical and cruelty free and so stocked my makeup case full of their products. MAC are owned by Estee Lauder, and is sold throughout China, where animal testing of cosmetics is mandatory by law.
Joining Forces With Choose Cruelty Free.
I can’t remember how exactly, but a couple years down the track I came across the non-profit organization Choose Cruelty Free. I was inspired by this small, wonderful group of truly compassionate, and giving women.
Each of them gave of their time and skills to educate the general public about animal testing of cosmetics and they campaigned tirelessly to enforce a ban on this cruel, outdated and unreliable practice.
The team at Choose Cruelty Free were also putting in a great deal of time and effort towards accrediting companies as cruelty free and publishing them free of charge, on their official and very strict Preferred Products List
I approached Liz Jackson the Chairperson of Choose Cruelty Free with an idea of how I could help out. I thought it would be a great idea to create glamorous, photographic beauty campaigns, showcasing cruelty free accredited cosmetics and hair products and getting the message out there that using natural cruelty free cosmetics is true beauty.
The aim was to show woman and men, that you can still achieve the same fashionable looks using cruelty free products. Liz and the team embraced my idea and this was how Nic’s Makeup Tips came to fruition.
I Was Able To Make A Difference
During the last decade and a half I am extremely proud to have been able to contribute to Choose Cruelty Free, through the writing of many editorial articles, doing the hair and makeup for an array of Cruelty Free Beauty campaigns and the controversial and risqué`, “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign posters.
I even organized a 9 celebrity strong, CSA and a massive, fashion and music event to launch the very first, “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” poster. It was a fabulous event, so full of compassion and giving. So many incredible and talented people donated their skills, venue, products and services and the entire event was run completely cruelty free!
How To Become A Cruelty Free, Natural Makeup Artist
Of course once I became involved with Choose Cruelty Free, I completely revamped my hair and makeup kit. I got rid of all the MAC products and started to use only cosmetics and hair product brands that were officially accredited and featured on the Choose Cruelty Free List.
I now knew the sad truth – there is no law governing whether a cosmetics company can falsely claim cruelty free status. I also understood that the companies who took the time and effort to seek out official cruelty free accreditation with Choose Cruelty Free were truly committed to not testing on animals.
Professionally I chose to turn down many lucrative jobs. I refused to advertise products, or work on high-end fashion shows that promoted cosmetics that were tested on animals, or fashion that hurt and killed animals for their by-products; e.g. fur and skins.
I said no to Melbourne Fashion Week, ( L’Oreal are the major sponsors) and to working on various skin care and food advertising campaigns. My agent wasn’t pleased, but I stood my ground, as I still had work, due to being fortunate enough to have a lot of music clients. When working for the music industry I was always able to use my own cruelty-free products and I was respected for it too!
Taking A Healthy Step Further Than Just Choosing Cruelty Free.
My journey down the cruelty free path was a lot easier in some respects than it has been to take that step further and ensure that I use natural and safer products in my work.
Over the years with Choose Cruelty Free, I have been fortunate enough to professionally trial many different hair and cosmetic products, but it wasn’t until I did a small PR & marketing stint with Aromababy that I became aware that it isn’t just enough to use cruelty free cosmetics, but it is crucial for our own health, to reduce our exposure to toxic, highly synthetic ingredients used in the manufacturing of most mainstream cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products.
I was astounded to learn that the government allowed big brand, high profile baby care products to contain toxic ingredients such as Formaldehyde, Petrochemicals and synthetic fragrances.
I also was personally noticing the unwanted side effects using hairsprays and styling products that contained plastics and other synthetic chemicals were having on my own health.
See more about this in my article Is Your Hairspray Making You Sick. Why We Should Use Natural, Plastic Free Hair Styling Products.
Trial and Error Paid Off
Slowly but surely I started looking for safer and healthier replacements for the synthetic products I used. I was fortunate to be able to experiment,(through my Choose Cruelty Free beauty shoots) with a wide range of natural, mineral based, cosmetics brands and more natural based, hair styling products.
Mineral cosmetics had just hit the cosmetic world with a vengeance and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me.
Yes it did take me a little time to learn to work with the loose minerals and other natural cosmetic mediums and still achieve the results I wanted and was used to getting with the synthetic cosmetics.
It really was a time of trial and error and I found that some mineral makeup products didn’t work as well, or evenly as others. Slowly but surely, I found a great range of mineral and natural, cruelty free and also predominately vegan and certified organic, cosmetics that worked professionally for me and for over a decade now I have used these products in my work and the results have been excellent.
With hair styling products, it really wasn’t until I got the chance to work with Everescents Organic Hair styling products that I was happy. As until then, all the other cruelty-free brands that I was using, while they did contain significantly more natural ingredients, they still also used plastics and other artificial ingredients. For the sake of my own health as well as my clients, I was looking to find a safe, plastic free, product line, that wouldn’t give off toxic vapors when heated with hot styling tools and Everescents fit the bill.
Over the years, I have done the hard yards and experimentation for you and I know what works and what doesn’t and I have published How To Successfully Apply Loose Mineral Makeup as a free training tool and guide and also Best Mineral Makeup Tips- How To Apply Mineral Makeup Like A Professional. Using the instruction I provide in these articles you will find it a lot easier to convert over to more natural and safer, cruelty free cosmetics.
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