Organic Make-up Masterclass with The Soil Association..

Last week was the Soil Association’s Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week celebrating all things organic, while promoting the importance of organic certification. On Friday evening Imelda Burke of Content Beauty and I gave a masterclass in organic and natural make-up at their pop-up shop in Shoreditch. We took part in a panel discussion to start with, hosted by the lovely Nicola Nolan for the Soil Association. Rebecca Pearson, our beautiful model, also shared her views on organic beauty as she too is an advocate of natural and organics.

Organic make-up is quite a tricky topic to talk about as opposed to organic skincare, as make-up is a lot harder to be organic. There are a lot fewer certified organic make-up brands, in fact the Soil Association only certifies two brands that have make-up lines. So even trickier if you are doing a class on organic make-up for the Soil Association! We thought it would be good to include something on make-up though as it makes sense, make-up is an integral part of the beauty industry.

The first question was why is it harder to certify make-up as organic. Make-up is a lot more complicated than skincare, make-up needs to perform in a lot more ways. It needs to sit on the skin and stay there, it also needs different formulations for different parts of the face, for example lips, eyelids and lashes. Conventional make-up will contain things like plasticisers, silicones and fillers to give it a certain feel and enable it to last a long time on the face. Certified organic make-up is not allowed to contain ingredients like these so therefore becomes harder to formulate. Colour is also a major factor; certified organic make-up can not contain any synthetic colour, thereby limiting formulations. Carmine is also not allowed under the Soil Association, meaning that all colour has to be purely mineral. However minerals pose a different issue in that they cannot be classed as organic as they do not grow. Complicated!! So you see why make-up is a lot harder to be completely organic.

Organic make-up is so much better than when I first started to switch my kit years ago – there really wasn’t much available then – colours were dull and shimmery and textures were just not right. Thank goodness it has changed. In my kit I have a real mixture of products. I have Odylique and Neal’s Yard Remedies who are both certified by the Soil Association and both UK brands. I have a lot of US based brands who are organic but are not certified for various reasons. This is fine for me because I have researched them and I know them to be true to what they say. This unfortunately is not the case for all brands, hence the Soil Association’s campaign Look For The Logo. There is still so much greenwashing going on, that a certified logo is sometimes the only way that someone who perhaps is new to organic beauty, or simply doesn’t have the time to research, can really trust a brand. There are of course different certifying bodies to the Soil Association. For example I love Kjaer Weis who are certified by the Italian body CCPB and Green People who are certified by Ecocert. Sometimes a product might actually be 99.8% organic but 0.2% is synthetic colour, so it can’t be certified.

I also have natural make-up brands in my kit. These are not as strict as organic in terms of ingredients, however they can allow more scope as a make-up artist. I need to be able to offer different textures and colours to my clients. Some natural brands will allow silicones in which may give make-up more longevity or a certain feel, if I need that for a certain job then I will use it.

When switching over your beauty routine over to a natural and organic one, just do it bit by bit. If you chuck everything you have already away, it is a waste in terms of your money but also of resources. You can also confuse your skin if you start to use lots of new products at the same time – you won’t know what works for you and what doesn’t. Think about what you use the most of and switch that first. Your foundation covers a larger area than other products so maybe think about that to begin with. Imelda suggested lips because if you wear a lot of lipstick, a lot of that could be ingested.. Make-up is ultimately fun and shouldn’t stress you out. Looking for the logo will massively help take the stress out of things, and if you want to go completely organic this will guide you. The Soil Association do certify products natural as well so you can look for that logo too.

After chatting I then showed some of my favourite products. I prepped Rebecca’s skin using purely organic skincare, all certified by the Soil Association. I cleansed with Nourish’s Skin Renew Cleanser and used Therapi Honey Skincare’s Rose Otto Facial Toner to refresh, followed by Nourish’s Argan Skin Renew Moisturiser and their Kale Eye Cream. On Rebecca’s lips I used Therapi’s lip balm. Good skincare is essential when it comes to make-up; your make-up will look better and last a lot longer if you look after your skin, and use products appropriate to your skin type and condition.

For Rebecca’s base I applied Kjaer Weis’ cream foundation mixed with Vapour Organic Beauty’s Instant Skin Perfector and a little of RMS Beauty’s ‘Un’ Cover Up under the eyes. I used one of Vapour’s multi-colour sticks as a blush and RMS Living Luminizer to highlight. I used Odylique’s black eye pencil to demo a quick smokey eye, which I then went over with a Kjaer Weis powder shadow. On Rebecca’s lashes I demonstrated a mascara from Neal’s Yard Remedies which is certified organic. To finish the look we did a red lip using a cheek and lip tint from Ere Perez. Hope you like it!


When choosing the red I showed four different red lipsticks, each with a different ingredient that made it red. I thought this might be an interesting way to help explain ingredients a little more.

From the bottom up –

Odylique’s Cherry Tart is Soil Association certified and its red comes purely from minerals.

Ere Perez is a natural brand and the colour of this Cheek and Lip Tint is a vegetable dye from beetroots – this is the one that we used on Rebecca.

Kjaer Weis’ Adore is certifed organic by Italian body CCPB, its colour comes from minerals and carmine.

Absolution’s Organic Lipstick in Rouge Theatre contains certified organic and natural ingredients but it contains a very low percentage of synthetic colour

All of these are obviously going to have different results and each will work better for different people according to their values and to their skin types. There really is no one size fits all in any type of beauty; you have to try things for yourself and decide what works for you.

Which red do you prefer? Do you wear organic make-up?