Interview: Sustainable Makeup Creations with Kirsten Kjaer Weis

Talking about sustainable and organic makeup, one would want to try it for the health of one’s skin, but the prejudice still is that sustainable makeup has poor pigmentation and doesn’t perform too well in use. This is where the Danish makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis steps into the picture. As one of the most sought-after makeup artists, and considered a veteran in the field, Kirsten has gotten a hands-on experience on the irritating effects conventional beauty products have on the skin and made her aware of what today’s consumers need in terms of makeup products. That’s where the idea of creating something that was lacking in the industry: a professional, high-performance product made skin friendly and sustainable. We had a chat with Kirsten about her makeup-line, but first, let’s get you a quick introduction on the makeup line itself.


sustainable makeup interview Kirsten Kjaer Weis


Kjaer Weis products come in red textured cases, reminding of jewelry boxes, that holds classy and timeless, minimalistic designed metallic compacts shaped to mirror the features they will be used to enhance. The products have a luxurious, valuable weight to them and being refillable, the cases are to be conserved rather than recycled, giving you the opportunity to try out new shades as one runs out or stick to your favorites for life.

One of the cornerstones in the K.W. makeup-line is definitely the foundation. This product is amazing, the nourishing formula with almond-, jojoba- and coconut oil makes your skin feel soft and relieved – like you’re not wearing any makeup at all! The foundation is semi-matte with sheer to medium coverage and can be used as a concealer by tapping an additional layer of the product on a problem area, and the finish has a dewy, youthful glow. No wonder it’s a favorite among makeup artists.
When it comes to pigmentation K.W. products will catch you by surprise – to the opposite as one might think when it comes to organic makeup regarding lipstick, eyeshadows, and blushes, the coloration in Kjaer Weis’ products are full and rich, applies smoothly on your skin and feel wonderfully lightweight. The products’ performance is as you would expect from a luxury and professional-quality makeup line – only Kjaer Weis is doing this with being vegan, cruelty-free and holding the finest organic ingredients.
sustainable make up Kirsten Kjaer Weis
Tell me about how the idea about an own makeup line developed? How many steps did it take from start to finish?

When you start from scratch, you have to start somewhere and in my case, it all began with a sampling of the actual product. Then I focused on packaging, labeling, and trademarking. There are many steps to a final product. The line came about after my experience out in the field as a Makeup Artist. I was getting pushback on the conventional brands I had in my kit at the time from models in my chair. Seeing first hand so many skin issues due to the synthetic ingredients that were in the conventional brands that I used really opened up my eyes and I saw a huge gap in the market.

What are the difficulties in making organic makeup? What(which ingredients are used to make organic makeup long-wear?

The difficulties lie specifically in the raw materials that we use is all natural. Just like how no two apples are the same, also no two sets of raw material are the same. They come from different harvests yet we have to maintain the same textures, colors, and quality every time we run a new batch. That can be very time consuming and difficult to maintain. There are no specific ingredients that make it long-wear, it’s more of a fine-tuned formulation that our formulator put in place that allows it to be long wearing.


sustainable make up Kirsten Kjaer Weis


What is your personal favorite product from your makeup line?

It’s very difficult to pick just one! It’s a close tie between Cream Blush and Cream Foundation. I love the Cream Foundation for the second-skin feel it leaves on the skin. It’s pretty much invisible, yet it covers beautifully. I also love our Cream Blushes. They have that perfectly blend-able creamy texture and they’re super long wearing.

What was the most difficult product to develop?

I would say our Mascara and Lipsticks. Mascara because it was essential to have a formulation that would hold up and not smudge which I felt was typically the case with a lot of natural mascaras that I tested. Our Lipstick has also been challenging because we don’t use silicones. To nail that perfect silicone texture with oils, butters, and waxes has been a challenge, but it’s possible. It just takes that extra amount of work to get the nuances right.

Your packaging is absolutely beautiful, tell me about how you chose this style in packaging and the idea developed?

The idea behind the packaging was to have something super luxurious yet still sustainable. I turned to Marc Atlan, an amazing designer, to get his help with nailing that unique combination. The challenge was to find a material that would be able to read both luxury and sustainable and Marc suggested ZAMAC, the metal we currently use. It’s not recyclable, which is why it ended up as a refill system.


sustainable make up Kirsten Kjaer WeisImages courtesy of Mira Luhtala


How do you see the future of the beauty business considering sustainability? What major changes have still to be done?

I think more and more will make conscious choices in terms of having their products being recyclable and potentially refillable. It is a bigger undertaking if you already have packaging in place but I hope more brands will make that extra effort.

What is the easiest sustainable choice a cosmetics purchaser can make? 

Buy something that is recyclable and refillable. I recommend looking into the packaging, make sure it is at least recyclable. I believe that lots of small efforts become large.

If you would give our readers a makeup tip, what would that be?

First, make sure your skin is well prepped and moisturized before makeup. My main tip is to have your foundation be as minimal as possible. Think of the foundation as something to use with the lightest touch where you don’t need a lot of coverage. Then go in and pinpoint conceal where you might need some extra coverage which is typically under the eyes, around the nose, and on any imperfections. Less is more.

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