“…beauty should be fun!”
A few weeks ago, we had the chance to catch up with makeup artist and green beauty lover Lou Dartford at the Sustainable Lifestyle Awards. This sparked the idea to get her involved in our new ‘Beauty Kitchen Meets’ feature! Read on for some tips and tricks on 'green' festive looks, her views on sustainability in the industry, and what beauty means to her:
Beauty Kitchen: Was there a specific moment in time when you decided to move to green beauty or is this something you’ve always been interested in?
Lou Dartford: I’ve always been interested in natural health and looking after myself, and green beauty was the natural progression. I came across some organic skincare about ten years ago which sewed a seed that just grew and grew. I was thinking about what I was eating, but as a make-up artist I was using lots of products that I didn’t even know what was in them. I started to question these products, and everything changed for me. I started to switch my personal beauty routine to a greener one, but then made the decision that my professional kit needed to be green too. My job is to put make-up on people therefore I should be putting the very best products that I can on them – ones that respect their skin but also the planet.
BK: What does beauty mean to you?
Lou: To me beauty is lots of things. We’re surrounded by it with nature, it’s about being kind, warm and respectful, to others but also to ourselves. I use the term green beauty a lot, of course I’m talking about products a lot of the time, however we could buy all the beauty products in the world, but I don’t think beauty is face value, there are so many layers to it. It is of course what’s going on in the inside too.
BK: This year our founder Jo was listed on the Who’s Who of Natural Beauty again, as were you! Congratulations on being named as ‘The Industry Trendsetter’, do you feel like the beauty industry is finally ready to embrace the idea of sustainability?
Lou: Aah thank you very much and congratulations to Jo too! I think we’ve got a long way to go in terms of sustainability in the beauty industry. The UK beauty industry is bigger than the motor industry and is set to only get bigger. That’s a lot of products that will be released over the coming years, and the beauty industry is responsible for so much landfill waste.
Conversations are happening though, which is wonderful, and change is starting to take place. Consumers want to know more, and brands are reacting to that. There are some amazing schemes happening in terms of recycling, and of course people like yourself taking it that one step further with re-using and cradle to cradle – thank you for leading the way! I do worry that some brands are perhaps doing it as a box ticking exercise though, rather than really fully throwing themselves into it. However, I do understand it can take a long time for brands to change their ways, especially those with well-established production lines and manufacturing processes for example. That said there has definitely been a big huge shift, but we need to keep the momentum going. As consumers we can make a difference and encourage more action too.
BK: We always live by the mantra that “small change makes big impact” and we totally appreciate that moving to a more sustainable lifestyle can be tricky. Do you have any tips or advice on how to make more conscious choices when it comes to beauty or lifestyle choices?
Lou: It can be totally tricky when trying to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle. I think it’s really important to decide what your personal ethos is, as this will really help you to make the right choices for you. There will always be conflicting advice or brands offering different things; if you know what is important to you, then more conscious decisions can be made. I find there can be a lot of confusion and guilt, when trying to do the right thing, I know I have certainly felt it, but as long as we are trying then we’re in the right place and also constantly learning and moving forward.
And yes, I completely agree with small change makes big impact; a small personal change can seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but if we all do one thing it adds up to a lot. Also, each small thing is a change in mindset and habit, and before you know it, you’ve changed loads of things. When it comes to beauty, I always say to switch to ‘greener’ products as others run out. This is way better for your bank balance but also no wastage of product and, you’ll know what is working for you. Don’t stress about it either, beauty should be fun!
BK: We bet you’ve had some amazing opportunities to work in various places and meet influential people, right? Do you have any special career highlights?
Lou: I do have a fun job and I feel very lucky to have had some wonderful experiences. I travelled to India and Bangladesh with People Tree which was amazing, and I’ll always remember it. The days were long and hot, but it was such an eye opener to see the power of buying Fairtrade. Defining Samuel L Jackson’s brows was also a highlight :) My job is so varied; each day is different and has its own special highlight – corny I know, but it’s true.
BK: So, it’s nearly Christmas! You included our zero plastic Eco Glitter Balm in a sparkly look not so long ago, which looked amazing by the way. Is this one of your favourite times of year to create more dramatic make up looks?
Lou: Aah yes ‘tis the season to be sparkly. This is definitely a lovely time of year to be playful with make-up. I think people are more open to ideas this time of year, there is something about a Christmas party that encourages them to be a bit more adventurous. A smokey eye or playing with glitter is always fun. *You can see Lou’s incredible festive look featuring our Beauty Kitchen Eco Glitter Balm - and Eco Star Dust’s glitter on the lower lash line!*
BK: You’ve been a friend of ours for a while now, do you have any favourite Beauty Kitchen products that have made their way into your own skincare routine?
Lou: The konjac sponge is one of my favourite ever, I feel like it really boosts my skin regime by deep cleansing and a gentle exfoliation. I also love that the whole thing including packaging can be put into your compost waste. The Prime Time Cream Cleanser is also a favourite of mine, the face oils are lovely too *see below for Lou & our Natruline!*
BK: We recently highlighted the importance of self-care and how important is to take some time out for yourself every now and then. What’s your favourite way of winding down and relaxing, especially during the festive season?
Lou: In an ideal world I’d have a monthly facial and daily yoga although that doesn’t happen that often! I try to do a weekly yoga class, usually on a Monday morning which helps start the week of well! I also swim and find the water really calming.
BK: Finally, do you have any plans for 2020 that you’re excited about?
Lou: I can’t believe that the new year is almost here, and a new decade at that! I’m excited to develop my blog a little more and I’m hoping to offer some more events.
I’m part of a lovely collective called Conscious Beauty Union and I’m excited to see how we can all work together in 2020. Also got a few other little projects that I’ve been working on that can hopefully be revealed soon :)