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Shade Grown Hollywood: Q&A with Celebrity Eco-Makeup Artist Christy Coleman
Posted By Katherine Butler On July 18, 2011 @ 2:41 PM In News & Culture | No Comments
ColumnWhere celebrity becomes conscious.
Hollywood is a place where a “natural beauty” can mean a woman who has saline, not silicone, implants. But at the heart of Tinsel Town lies a rich field of fertile earth from which a green beauty industry has sprung. And who is harvesting it?
Recently, I spoke with celebrity makeup artist Christy Coleman, who tells me she was the first top makeup artist to switch to all-natural and eco-conscious cosmetics. Coleman has worked as a makeup artist for 25 years in both New York City and Los Angeles. She weighs in on greenwashing, industry trends, and her celebrity clients who like to keep their cosmetics clean.
What made you decide to go green with your makeup kit?
It’s the legacy of my father who suffered and passed away from Lou Gherig’s Disease – ALS nearly four years ago. I want to honor him, myself and others by doing something to promote the health and well being of our planet and its inhabitants.
How prevalent is the use of green cosmetics in the entertainment industry?
Not prevalent enough. I am one of the few who makes an effort with these kinds of cosmetics on set.
So how then do you define a product as “green?”
Green, natural, organic – These are three words that are smeared on the wall wherever you go these days for marketing purposes. At the end of the day, it is all about the quality of the ingredients and making sure that you are avoiding potentially harmful synthetic chemicals such as preservatives, petrochemicals and hormone disruptors. It took me a solid year to completely wrap my head around ingredients, making sure I recognized what chemicals I would like to avoid regarding to personal care and cosmetics.
Most of us are concerned that our food is healthy, so we should do the same with our personal care and cosmetics. Our skin is our largest organ that absorbs nearly 60 percent of what we put on it. If we wanted to, we should be able to eat our product without any repercussions.
I’ve heard rumors that celebrity makeup artists are extremely resistant to crossing over to green product. True?
It is all about what you are comfortable working with. If you invest the time to find new products that perform as well as you like, it is possible to find products that are green and provide favorable results both on and off set.
I demand names – who are your clients who prefer green makeup? Miranda Kerr, Alicia Silverstone, Emmy Rossum….
What surprises you most about working as a green makeup artist?
The lack of knowledge that most people have about what they are consuming and putting on their bodies. Everyone assumes that because it’s in a bottle and sold everywhere that it is a perfectly safe and natural thing to use day or night.
So what, then, are your best tips for determining if a product is greenwashed?
(Greenwashing is when products claim to be organic and or natural while they still include potentially harmful synthetic chemicals and preservatives.) You have to read what is in the product. So get out your magnifying glass and/or your glasses and take a look. If you don’t recognize an ingredient, be sure to look it up. Become a conscious consumer. It is also tough when there are so many different types of certifying agencies.
Some of the certifying labels I look for are USDA, Natural Products Association (NPA), Eco-Cert, QAI Organic Certification (Quality Assurance International), and the Soil Association just to name a few. A product doesn’t HAVE to have a certifying label to make it into my kit – but the ingredients have got to meet my standards. It is all about what is and isn’t included within the ingredient deck.
And these green products would be….
RMS Beauty, Jane Iredale, Dr. Hauschka, The Organic Pharmacy, 100 Percent Pure, Tata Harper, Primitive, Juice Beauty, Zuzu Luxe, Kora Organics, Rare Elements, Eminence, Weleda, Nvey Eco, Living Nature, Patyka, Couleur Caramel…I have many. These are just a few of my top favorites – my list keeps growing, thank goodness!
Where do you see green makeup five years from now?
Still evolving. Our regulatory systems in the U.S. have a long way to go. But we’ll get there eventually because it will have to be consumer driven. There are a lot of new natural and organic U.S. brands launching every day.
And finally, can you answer this age-old question for us? Lip gloss or lipstick?
Lipstick – absolutely.
You can find more beauty tips from Christy Coleman here.
This is the latest installment in Katherine Butler’s column, Shade Grown Hollywood, where celebrity becomes conscious. “Shade grown” refers literally to shade grown coffee, a farming method that “incorporates principles of natural ecology to promote natural ecological relationships.” Shade Grown is our sustainable twist on Hollywood.
Image courtesy of Christy Coleman
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