Green Makeup: At Work with Kjaer Weis

By Rima Suqi / September 7, 2011

kjaer_makeupkit_inline1Almost every product category now has gorgeous pieces that are also “green.” One of the few exceptions is makeup. Green makeup choices abound but the prices are (understandably) high and the packaging doesn’t seduce. Which, for the prices charged, it should. Kirsten Kjaer Weis realized this, did something about it, and launched her eponymous line just in time for the holidays. “I have a huge interest in a holistic approach to life—what you feed the inside you’ll see on the outside,” she explained. “With that in mind, I felt there was a niche for a brand that was green on the inside but with luxurious design and packaging on the outside.”

Born in Denmark, Kjaer Weis was raised on a farm—her version of the “big city” was a nearby town that boasted a population of 1,500. After college, she satisfied her wanderlust by working as a nanny in both Paris and California, before returning to Europe with the intent of studying architecture. That wasn’t to be. “I was told it would take six years to finish. Then I heard about Christian Chaveau, a make-up school in Paris, and I thought that might be fun. I always loved color, and I wanted to go back to Paris.”

Freelancing as a makeup artist was perfect for her, as she’d always wanted to be her own boss, and after years of working in the field, creating a make-up line seemed a natural progression. But not a fast one. “I worked on it for six or seven years. It took a long time to get the formulas down because I like creamy textures that are easier to control,” she said. “Within the organic world there’s a margin of what’s considered ‘acceptable’– and to me it was too wide. This is now the closest you’ll get to a live material in make-up. It’s like an apple off the tree compared to a processed cookie.”

Albeit a golden apple. The packaging, made of a zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and copper alloy called Zamac, is heavy, weighty, golden, and gorgeous. Its sophisticated, architectural packaging (designed by Marc Atlan, who also created packaging for Comme des Garcons, Tom Ford, and Prada) will no doubt appeal to a wider audience than those specifically shopping for organic make-up. For now there are three categories: cream blush in 3 shades; lipstick in four colors; and a choice of four eye shadows. The prices range from $44 to $54 (refills range from $20 to $24). Available at Space NK stores.

Rima Suqi
Rima Suqi

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