“I wasn’t eating food with chemicals, but here I was putting them all over the faces of women. I decided I didn’t want anything to do with that,” says Jessa Blades, one of a small new crop of green makeup artists working the editorial and wedding scene in New York City.
Although she went to North America’s top makeup school and worked for glamorous MAC cosmetics, Blades now carries in her kit green giants like Jane Iredale and Dr. Hauschka. And she’s a divining rod for emerging eco-friendly boutique brands, like RMS Beauty, MOD Skin, and Couleur Caramel, a collective category that there’s still no aisle for at Sephora. (Although she lists a dozen or so on her website.)
So how does makeup without the dirty dozen ingredients measure up? “One thing I hear from women is green makeup doesn’t last,” says Blades. “Well, nothing lasts. Breakfast doesn’t last all day. We just eat again. Likewise, lipstick needs to be reapplied. Should we load it with chemicals that dry out lips instead of doing a touch up?” The color selection nearly matches traditional makeup now, and many eco-friendly formulations include ingredients that are nourishing for skin, adds Blades.
What’s refreshing about Blades is that she’s a thinking woman’s green makeup artist, not an absolutist. Especially when it comes to special events. “It’s really okay to use waterproof mascara at a wedding,” she says. Particularly yours.
The takeaway? “The goal is to watch our exposure to toxins to avoid a build-up over time. Not to be all or nothing.”