After meeting Christy Coleman, I immediately want to hang with her. She’s friendly, funny (and NOT in a forced, ‘I’m-only-here-to-do-PR kind of way) and she’s wearing one of my favourite uniforms: White button-up shirt, rolled up jeans, and the best sneakers, ever (*apologies: I accidentally deleted the photo of her trainers), which she tells me are from Burberry and, not as comfortable as they look. But what’s most impressive is that she’s the Head of Innovation for Beautycounter, a new and safe cosmetic line launching in Canada this month.
Here’s why Beautycounter is hitting it right on so many levels:
- They are as natural and safe a beauty product can get thanks to their ‘Never’ list which restricts over 1,500 harmful ingredients linked to cancer, hormone disruption and reproductive toxicity from being used in their products.
- All of the products are made in the U.S. (with the exception of the powders—only an Italian lab could create that perfect, pressed, texture they wanted).
- The only fragrance in the products are from essential oils.
- The simple design of the packaging is so beautiful that you’ll want to show it off.
- I’ve pretty much loved every single product I’ve tried so far: the lip sheers and glosses are pure heaven (lips feel ah-mazing!), the foundation goes on smooth and sheer yet offers just enough coverage, and the face oil leaves my skin ûber-smooth and hydrated (sigh).
While we talk, Christy sums up the brand’s philosophy best: “Beautycounter is not just dedicated to eliminating potentially dangerous ingredients from skincare and makeup, but it’s a movement—it’s about getting safe products into the hands of people.” And they take this mantra seriously. For example, this May the company will be heading back to Washington D.C. to urge congress to increase the protective laws for personal care products in the United States. Last year, Beautycounter’s founder, Gregg Renfrew, worked with partners in Oregon to restrict more than 66 toxic chemicals in children’s products. They want the same protective measures to be adopted for personal care laws. FYI: the U.S. currently bans only 11 chemicals, and hasn’t seen new regulations since 1938. In contrast, the EU bans or restricts 1,400 chemicals while Canada bans around 600-700. (*U.S. residents, click here to see how you can make a difference).
Lofty goals for a new skincare brand, but Gregg firmly believes in her message, at times taking a financial hit. Christy explains that the cosmetic range was supposed to launch before its skincare line (which launched this March), but then they found out that some of the products used heavy metals to produce specific colours and textures, and they had to go back to the drawing board.
Here is where Christy comes in. A licensed esthetician at age 17, she eventually made her way to NYC where she lucked out and assisted legendary makeup artist, Kevyn Aucoin (he primed the faces of the supes: Christy, Cindy, Linda and Naomi). Her first runway show was helping Aucoin create the infamous grunge look at Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis. Soon she was contributing to Allure, W and Vogue, and seemed to be having the time of her life. But, the dream was short-lived. She moved back to her hometown in Texas to care for her father who was suffering from ALS. This time away from the glam squads allowed her to reflect on her life. She also happened to read Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry by Stacy Malkan, which she says was her ‘aha’ moment. “I felt that it was time to be a part of something more meaningful,” she says. This led her to pack up her dog and move to Venice Beach, CA. where she started studying about what we put on our face, and exploring new makeup textures and products. She shopped around looking for like-minded companies, and eventually found Gregg Renfrew and Beautycounter. The rest is history.
Although she’s in charge of product development, Christy is still a makeup artist at heart. Today she continues to search for that safe ingredient that can produce a vibrant lip shade (she tells me she’s SO close!), and shares a few of her top blush tips.
- Allow your products to do double duty. For example, pat their cream blush on lips for a matte lip look
- When applying blush (it has loads of pigment!), use a of a brush instead of your fingers for better control
- Push—don’t dust—powders of any kind onto the skin. The back-and-forth motion just kicks the powder off the brush. Instead, press the brush into the product and gently push it onto the skin.