Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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A Fresh Look At Makeup Spotlights Ethics, Inclusivity


A collaborative photography project shines a light on the shifts happening in the makeup industry as ethics and inclusivity drive purchases.

Tackling both gender stereotypes about wearing makeup, and myths about vegan makeup performance, makeup artist Pablo Rodriguez and LGBTQIA+ photographer Jordan Rossi have teamed up on a vegan makeup project for HungerTV and its Vero Channel. The shoot celebrates vegan beauty trends for SS22.

“It’s always the right time to question where our beauty products come from,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “But now vegan-based beauty materials are definitely easier to find, there is a lot more available.”

The models wear a range of products from leading makeup brands including  Glossier, Perricone MD, Illamasqua, Illamasqua, WBCo, Eyeco, Hourglass, Urban Decay, Vieve, Jones Road, Haus, Milk Makeup, and Scientia among others.

A shifting beauty industry

Cruelty-free, vegan, and clean makeup and skincare products are seeing mainstream attention as consumers seek out more sustainable and ethical products. Last year, Milk Makeup joined the first-ever clean beauty SPAC, aimed at pivoting the industry toward better ingredients and practices.

Earlier this month, more than two dozen clean beauty brands that all have achieved certified B Corp status joined forces to form a coalition aimed at bringing more transparency, climate action, and social responsibility to the industry.

For the shoot, Rossi and Rodriguez worked with an inclusive cast across all genders.

Everyone is wearing makeup now. It’s not restricted to gender, so it was important to craft a series of images that reflects our reality with a cast of different genders and skin tones,” Rossi said.

The shoot comes after Rossi shot Munroe Bergdorf—the first trans cover star for Cosmopolitan.

“I’ve always said that I want to make the work I wish I’d have seen when I was younger,” Rossi told Ethos. “It’s the reason I loved collaborating with Munroe Bergdorf. And our recent Cosmopolitan UK cover was such an important moment not only for ourselves but the whole community as she became the first transgender woman on the cover and for their 50th anniversary no less,” he said.

Makeup and skincare are no longer just for women. Last November, pop star Harry Styles launched Pleasing, a gender-fluid beauty care range that started with nail polish, something he wears frequently.

“Me seeing a colour on a flower or a wallpaper or something and thinking, ‘Oh, I wanna put that on my nails’. It was a fun little project, but during the pandemic, and when we eventually named it Pleasing, it felt like it was so much more than nail polish,” he told Dazed. “I’ve always found that the moments in my life which have brought me the most joy are the small ones, whether it be, you know, the end of the night under the stars or a bite of food, or sitting with your friends thinking, ‘Oh, I’m never gonna forget this’. It’s always those moments that I find have the longest-lasting effect on me, in terms of sparking something wonderful in me. I really think that the essence of Pleasing is finding those little moments of joy and showing them to people.”

Vegan makeup

Rossi and Rodriguez say the shoot sends a message to beauty brands about their target consumer, what their skin looks like and whether or not it aligns with their values.

“Vegan makeup looks and feels exactly the same as non-vegan makeup, both for makeup artists and consumers,” Rodriguez told Ethos via email.

“I always get the product I want, there hasn’t been one colour yet that was not possible to make vegan at the end, even the ones with metallic finishes,” he says.

Rodriguez says the industry is moving in a more ethical direction, and it’s just a matter of time before cruelty-free and vegan products are the norm. He says now consumers are questioning more and more about ingredients’ provenance and packaging sustainability.

“That’s why vegan makeup is in such demand, the best part is that people are more educated about it now, so that trend is not going to go away.”

“And it’s important for beauty brands to understand and recognise that,” Rossi says. “Their audiences are changing but so are the values of the audience. Even five years ago vegan products weren’t a priority for most people but it’s now at the forefront of our cultural consciousness.”

Vegan beauty products are being adopted industry-wide with celebrity-led brands including Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty, and the in-transition KKW brand from Kim Kardashian.

“It’s important to show that you can create everyday beauty looks using cruelty-free and vegan products,” Rossi says.

“Visibility is everything.”


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