From growing up on a farm in Denmark to attending the prestigious Christian Chauveau School of Artistic Makeup, Kirsten Kjaer Weis worked around the world for some of the most renowned fashion magazines like Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire. As an in-demand makeup artist, Kirsten found that people were sacrificing the health of their skin by using irritating, synthetic makeup. The natural products, however, were not up to par in performance, and the luxury of the beauty experience was lost. Kirsten used her experience growing up in a natural environment and her knowledge of beauty to pursue uncharted territory in the industry, creating Kjaer Weis – a pioneer in organic, luxury beauty.

What lead you to start Kjaer Weis?

I had worked for many years as a make-up artist in Europe and the US and saw firsthand the issues the models I was working on had with their skin from the conventional brands I had in my kit and applied on them daily. Breakouts, dry skin, red eyes. I tried to find natural counterparts to replace the conventional products but they didn’t really exist at that point (early 2000), which became my aha moment, seeing the gap in the market. Combining the performance of conventional with the ingredients profile of all-natural and tie it in with luxury packaging.

If you could explain Kjaer Weis…

Enlightened Beauty. Certified Organic, High Performing. Sustainable Luxury.

Do you strive to inspire others through Kjaer Weis?

I hope to inspire other female entrepreneurs to go for their passion.

What is your favorite part of working in the beauty industry? What is your least favorite?

I love to create, having an idea for a beauty product and seeing it come to life is very satisfying and a lot of fun. I also love assisting women in feeling beautiful and good about themselves without the potential of compromising their health. My least favorite? I don’t really have anything specific, yet I am happy to be part of a new area that steps away from the narrow perception of beauty that has been the norm for so many years. It’s changing and I love seeing it becoming a lot more inclusive.

What is the best piece of advice that anyone has ever given you?

Joseph Campbell is one of my favorite writers. He has a well known and wise quote from one of his books; Follow your bliss. That had an impact on me.

What is your goal through Kjaer Weis?

My goal is to grow KW to a Global Brand, allowing women around the world to have access to high performing, non-toxic make-up. Growing it in size while staying true to the DNA. My goal is also to change the norm of what’s acceptable to put in beauty products, having non-toxic make-up be a natural expectation for the next generations. Similar to how we take it for granted and fully accept that smoking is not allowed inside anymore.

What is your favorite indulgence?

Time. Finding time to have a massage, facial, read, be with my family, spend time in nature.

When it comes to your beauty routine, what is one item you can not live without?

Our Beautiful Oil. I love it, my skin loves it, it truly is beautiful.

Beyond Kjaer Weis, are there any mantras or rituals that help ground you when things get overwhelming?

Yes absolutely. Stay calm. Meditate and find that place where our wisdom sit’s, our authentic power where knee jerk reactions can’t exist. It’s essential to make (big) decisions from that place.

How do you like to wind down and make sure you’re taking care of yourself?

I live between NY and CT in the woods. Spending time in nature and be quiet does that for me.

Jamie Greenberg is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist. Her expertise ranges from iconic red carpet looks, to natural makeup and real beauty. Jamie always has an incredible list of celebrities on rotation and we love her videos (make sure to check out her YouTube channel ) as she is beyond talented, so real and offers so much insight into the beauty world – beyond just products – that she is literally our go-to for learning about the best tips and tricks out there. We had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with her to learn more about her career, inspiration and her self care routine.

What lead you to start a career as a MUA? 

I always loved art, makeup and creative people. I would watch my mom do her makeup when I was little and it looked like so much fun, but it ended up just being something I did for friends on the side as I got older. I studied film and photography in college, then did some improv and stand-up comedy, but it just felt like something was missing! I wanted to be around people more, so one of my many odd jobs was working at Ulta. Even though I made no money, I realized that I loved being surrounded by makeup and, most importantly, helping people with their makeup and skin. I honed my skills there and through working at department stores, and finally I became a freelance makeup artist! 

Do you strive to inspire others through your craft?

Absolutely. What I’ve learned as a makeup artist is that beauty is an amazing and interesting gateway to wellness and happiness. I try to inspire people to use this form of expression to find what makes them feel their best. Makeup and beauty isn’t about being something else, it’s all about being exactly who you are, whatever that means to you. I try to share my process on social media so that everyone can see how much fun my clients and I have while expressing ourselves. That’s how I hope people look at makeup and skincare – do what makes you feel great, confident, and unabashedly yourself. 

Why does skincare play such an important role in your work as a makeup artist?

Great skincare isn’t even an option…it’s like drinking water. EVERYONE NEEDS IT! Half of a good makeup look comes from prepping the skin beforehand. Cleansing, hydrating, using SPF…all of that contributes so much to the looks you see on red carpets or Instagram. On top of that, the better your skincare routine, the less makeup you need to achieve that gorgeous glow we all strive for. It’s a no brainer…take care of your skin! 

What does your daily beauty ritual look like?

This may be unexpected, but the most important step in my beauty ritual is water!! I start my day with water and keep a water bottle with me at all times. 

As far as my skincare goes, I always do a deep face cleanse before some sort of hydrating or exfoliating mask, depending on the day. I’ve been using NuFACE micro current skincare for 10-20 minutes lately because it totally wakes up my skin. Next I apply a serum or oils (I love trying different products, so these tend to change). Finally it’s time for moisturizing, and I apply an eye cream (oh my GOODNESS, I can’t get enough Goldfaden Bright Eyes) and a hydrating cream, usually with SPF. Then I use a primer before going in on my makeup! 

Throughout the day I freshen up with facial mists like the Goldfaden Mist RX.

Who are some of your beauty idols/icons?

Kevyn Aucoin was a huge influence for me. His book ‘Making Faces’ was one of my entry points into makeup! I also started working for Jillian Dempsey early on, and she’s a mega-artist who totally inspired me. 

What is one makeup step you don’t leave home without (i.e. lipstick, mascara, blush, etc.)?

Hard to pick just one!! I love any multi-task product…is that cheating? Lip/cheek tints or a tinted moisturizer with SPF is amazing. I also love to take a moisturizing facial mist with me to wake up my skin if it needs it. 

Can you reveal your favorite artist tip to reveal glowing skin?

Prepping your skin with a hydrating face mask makes a huge difference. I also find that people don’t take enough time with eye creams or moisturizers – it helps so much to use your ring finger (the lightest touch of all your fingers) or a jade roller to rub the cream around your eyes. This decreases puffiness and promotes blood flow to your skin. Give yourself that little face massage! You deserve it!

How does clean beauty impact your career?

I love that we’re moving toward more clean beauty all throughout the industry. I have a monthly Swag Bag subscription where I send out my favorite products once a month (check it out on jamiemakeup.com!). So many of those subscribers care deeply about clean beauty, so we always try to include those products. In my own life, I love brands I can trust. I may be developing some makeup of my own soon 🙂 and keeping my products clean will definitely be a priority. 

How do you like to wind down and make sure you’re taking care of yourself?

Meditation is a big part of my routine. Especially since my schedule as both a makeup artist and a mom can be incredibly sporadic, mindfulness helps me stabilize and hold on to a grounded perspective. Skincare also plays a big part in my wind down routine, of course!! I love face masks (big love for the Goldfaden Facial Detox!!!) and I use LED light therapy at night – it’s great for your skin and helps you fall asleep. 

The Beginner’s Guide to Clean Living 

It’s clear that we’re in the midst of a beauty and lifestyle renaissance, and it’s all centered around this idea of “cleanliness”—that is, the cleanliness of our diets, our beauty routines, and our home and lifestyle products. This renaissance is due, at least in part, to research that has been steadily mounting over the past decade, which shows that the human body absorbs chemicals that go in and on it. Scientific studies have shown that the human skin is capable of absorbing a worrying percentage of chemicals on contact (in fact, research suggests the skin absorbs up 60% of the products we apply). Research conducted by a UK-based personal care brand famously made headlines when it concluded that the average women comes into contact with 515 chemicals per day through her beauty and grooming products alone. One Swedish study found that there are even potentially harmful chemicals found in our clothing. It’s all very scary (and overwhelming) stuff, and it’s only made worse by the amount of contradictory information, fear-mongering, and op-eds that are available in a sinlge Google search. So, what are we supposed to do?

First, take a deep breath, because no one lives a completely “clean” lifestyle. Even those clean beauty bloggers you follow on Instagram, who wear organic cotton and shop at local pesticide-free farmer’s markets aren’t 100% clean. Do you want to know why? Because the word “clean,” doesn’t even have a set definition. A clean diet can mean one thing to one person and something entirely different to another. Clean beauty is the same way. It generally refers to products made from only non-toxic ingredients. However, seeing as the FDA has only banned 11 chemicals in cosmetics, it’s up to brands (and consumers) to define the word for themselves.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is become conscious of our daily routines and the products that we make part of them. The worst thing we can do is stress out about how we can live a completely clean lifestyle (that won’t help anyone). Keep scrolling to see all of the easy swaps you can make on the journey to a cleaner life.

Diet

Let’s start with food, because there’s a lot of emphasis on so-called clean eating. Most experts agree that organic food is best, so if you can, consider incorporating more organic fruits and vegetables into your diet. Avoid processed foods, because they’re just as bad for your skin as they are for the rest of your body (fresh foods, on the other hand, provide vital nutrients and hydration to our skin). That means swapping out bags of crackers and chips for veggies and hummus or a handful of nuts, choosing wild-caught fish or lean meat instead of red meat, and drinking filtered water instead of flavored drinks that contain added sugar and dyes. Making these simple changes each day is an easy way to start on a cleaner, healthier path, without feeling deprived, overwhelmed, or frustrated.

Skincare

The US has banned 11 potentially harmful ingredients from skincare. The EU has banned over 1300, which is why an easy way to feel more confident in the cleanliness of your skincare products is to make sure they follow EU regulations (most brand will tell you in the FAQ section of the website). Keep in mind, though, there are many American skincare brands that are committed to producing healthy, non-toxic products as well, and all it takes to find them is a little research. Before buying, read up on a brand’s ethos and mission statement. Scroll through a product’s ingredient list. Ask for clean skincare recommendations from friends, family, and acquaintances. In short, a little research can go a long way.

On that note, if you’re unsure about whether or not a product is healthy or not even after doing thorough research, plug it in to EWG’s Skin Deep database. This database is operated by the Environmental Working Group, and it acts as a resource for health-conscious consumers. Thanks to a clear numeric rating system, it’s easy to see how your favorite cosmetics rank in terms of cleanliness.

To avoid overhauling your skincare routine all at once, Dr. Goldfaden recommends swapping out your cleanser and your treatment first, since these are the products that generally have the most impact on your skin. When it comes to cleanser, swap out your old one for Dr. G’s Pure Start Gentle Detoxifying Facial Cleanser, which is full of plant-based actives like rose hip oil, grapefruit, and seaweed. Because what’s left out is just as important as what’s left in, it’s important to note that this cleanser is formulated without any silicone, parabens, mineral oil, or alcohol, all of which can be potentially harmful to the skin.

As for treatment options, there are many. If you’re struggling with dullness and discoloration, try Dr. G’s Brightening Elixir Protect + Hydrate Brightening Serum, which uses ferulic acid and vitamin C to firm and brighten the skin and treat discrepancies in tone. If it’s dullness, dryness, and rough texture that you’re looking to fix, try Dr. G’s Fresh A Peel Multi Acid Resurfacing Peel. Lactic acid, sugar cane, and vitamin C will smooth the skin’s texture, unclog pores, and purify the surface of the skin.

We also want to mention that when it comes to skincare, simplicity is key. After all, your skin really only needs a few effective products to stay healthy and glowing. Don’t overdo it with steps and products you don’t need. Be conscious of what you’re using and listen to your skin. It’s really as simple as that.

Makeup

There are a lot of clean makeup brands that we admire. These include such brands as RMS Beauty, Kosas, tenoverten, W3ll People, and Ilia. To us, they’ve struck the perfect balance between clean beauty and effective beauty, because at the end of the day, we need products that work. If you’re shopping RMS, try the iconic Lip2Cheek, which is a creamy lip and cheek tint that comes in an array of flattering colors. When it comes to Kosas, try the brand’s Weightless Lip Color, which really does feel weightless on the lips. We like tenoverten’s non-toxic nail polish, W3ll People’s Expressionist Volumizing Mascara, and Ilia’s Polka Dots & Moonbeams Illuminator. Like we said, there are a lot of clean makeup products out there, but these are just a few of our personal favorites.

Homecare

We can’t talk about clean living without talking about homecare. This could be anything from cleaning supplies to personal care and beyond. Some of the worst chemicals we keep in our homes fall under this category (just think of how many chemicals you could be keeping in the cabinet under the sink…from bleach to bathroom cleaners and beyond). So, in order to avoid using unnecessarily harsh cleaning products, we like ordering from Grove Collaborative. It’s a site that curates a wide-range of non-toxic homecare and lifestyle products, so you can shop (and swap) with confidence.

One more thing. There’s also a consumer database for homecare products. It’s called GoodGuide, and it gives personal care items, homecare products, and even childcare products a simple health rating, which is very useful when you’re shopping for a product or brand that you’re unfamiliar with. We recommend looking up new products on the database to make an educated decision. After all, a swap is only as good as the product you’re incorporating into your routine.

If there’s one thing we want to leave you with, it’s this: don’t beat yourself up about being perfectly clean in all of its definitions. Simply stay cognizant of the products you’re using each day and make simple swaps in favor of healthier products. Your body and your skin will be all the better for it.

Written by, Kaitlyn McLintock

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Kaitlyn McLintock is a beauty and wellness writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in such publications as Popsugar, Byrdie, Hello Giggles, Who What Wear, and more. When she’s not writing, researching, and editing, or testing out the latest skincare and makeup products, she’s drinking coffee and spritzing Goldfaden’s Mist RX all over her skin.