Even in 2018, natural makeup gets a bad rap for being…well, not so great. Utter the words “clean and organic”, and visions of under-performing products with raw, inelegant textures and ugly brown packaging spring to mind. Despite numerous scientific advancements in the natural beauty industry, the stigma surrounding organic makeup remains—and Kjaer Weis is here to smash it.
Created by veteran makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis, K.W. crafts high-performance, professional-quality makeup from clean ingredients. With its impossibly chic packaging, plush textures, and rich color payoff, the brand represents the intersection of two oft-opposed worlds: luxury and sustainability. In short, it’s a never-before-seen approach to natural that proves you don’t have to sacrifice safety for performance. Below, get to know the artist behind this amazing brand, what her advice for young entrepreneurs is, and her take on the future of natural makeup.
How did you become passionate about clean makeup and beauty? Was it part of your upbringing, or did life events help shape your worldview?
I’ve realized later in life that it was partly my upbringing. Growing up on a farm in Denmark has actually given me a real affinity for that high quality, all natural environment. That combined with my background as a makeup artist which really opened my eyes. I was able to see first-hand the effects that these synthetics ingredients had on the models that I worked on over time. Both of these things created a passion for wanting change in the beauty industry.
Sadly, clean, organic, and natural makeup still has a stigma attached to it. To a lot of people, “high-performing natural makeup” sounds like an oxymoron. What are some of the biggest misconceptions about natural makeup, and what is Kjaer Weis doing to change them?
The misconceptions are that it’s impossible to have the same performance with organic as you can with conventional products. I beg to differ and I really feel that we are proving that misconception wrong. It’s always been the most essential piece for me when creating the line that the performance had to be on par, if not better, with no compromises attached to it. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes in terms of making sure that things like performance, colors, and textures are consistent and always of the highest quality.
Kjaer Weis products have such a gorgeous aesthetic—one that isn’t typically associated with natural makeup products. Where do you draw your inspiration from, and how did design become such an integral part of your brand?
First of all, thank you! In Denmark, design is an integral part of daily life so it’s always been an interest of mine. Besides that, I have a huge love affair with anything artistic. Whether it’s architecture, design, or art, it all feeds my soul. To me, design has purpose, it’s not this superficial thing. I think it moves you whether you are conscious of it or not. There is nothing wrong with feeling good about what you pull out of your bag. I felt in the past that it was unfair that natural beauty always came with a stigma of being too crunchy and I wanted to make a change.
Kjaer Weis is famous for its quality, luxury, and efficacy, but you’re also passionate about making environmentally-friendly products. What steps do you take to create sustainable products that don’t harm the environment?
We try and be very minimal waste through our Intelligent Refill System. The primary packaging of our silver compact is meant to be a one-time purchase that you keep refilling when needed. Also, we source our ingredients from supervised organic farms all over the world and these farmers are not spraying the crops and not adding unnecessary chemicals to the soil. It’s the little things that add up over time and we’re doing what we can to always be environmentally-friendly.
Let’s talk the future of natural makeup. Do you think consumers will ever get to a place where they believe ALL beauty products should be clean, and start rejecting traditional formulations?
I really think we’re going to see the industry change dramatically where natural will become the new norm. It’s kind of similar to smoking where the younger generation now couldn’t even imagine smoking in restaurants today. At the same time, I do think there will be always room for both natural and conventional but I still think there will be a groundbreaking shift coming soon.
Does your all-natural approach to beauty translate into your food and fashion choices well?
It definitely translates with food. I’m 95% vegan which is already a conscious decision and I try to buy organic whenever possible. In terms of fashion, it’s tougher to find things that I like as much that are ethically produced. I’ll always go for natural materials but I certainly can’t claim that I know the exact history behind every garment. I do my best but I’ve still got a long way to go.
What is your #1 mentoring tip for female entrepreneurs, young girls in school, or women graduating from high school?
Don’t be overwhelmed by everything you don’t know. You will continue to learn as you go.
What's the most valuable lesson you’ve learned about yourself while pursuing your dream?
I’ve learned to not cut corners in the pursuit of getting your dream materialized. You will have well-meaning people along the way that will make suggestions but it might compromise your vision of quality and design. You can feel it in your gut when you are starting to compromise. I realized that I have the stamina to keep going until it is perfected to the point where I know I can’t make it any better.
What are your interests apart from cosmetics? Do you practice any rituals to keep you happy, healthy and grounded?
Meditation is a daily practice that I highly value. I see it being very useful and beneficial when running a business. Besides that, I absolutely love being in nature. I love going to museums, galleries, and anything art or design related to constantly remain inspired. I also have a passion for interior design and I could decorate my home over and over again.
How do you define beauty? Can you tell us a little about your “beauty philosophy?”
It really is as simple as it sounds, it’s an inner trait. Beauty to me is a kind and beautiful heart more than anything physical. Of course, the physical is there when you come across someone so stunningly beautiful but if it doesn’t match what’s happening on the inside then the outer beauty definitely fades. Beauty is kindness and it all starts on the inside.
What’s the future of Kjaer Weis? What products are you going to wow us with next, and what should we keep our eyes out for?
The future is definitely in expanding the line further. There’s still a lot of makeup products in the pipeline such as Cream Eye Shadow launching this Fall. We are also continuing to expand our skincare category and will have a Body Oil out this Fall which we are so excited about. An overall vision is to have Kjaer Weis become more of a lifestyle brand.