After training at the prestigious Paris-based Christian Chauveau School of Artistic Makeup, makeup artist and entrepreneur Kirsten Kjaer Weis has made her mark on the beauty industry thanks to her eponymous line of high-performance green beauty products.
It's been a labor of love: Kjaer Weis invested eight years at a laboratory in Italy developing her eponymous makeup line, which launched in 2010. Many of her formulas are in development for a year before being brought to market, and they're constantly adjusted and perfected to accommodate the ever-changing crop yields from season to season. Now this highly coveted range of meticulously crafted products can be found locally at The Met.
Here, get to know the woman behind the brand, what mistakes she thinks women make when it comes to their makeup, and what goes into creating high-performance, natural cosmetics.
What advantages do you think your training at the Christian Chauveau School of Artistic Makeup gave you?
A major advantage was learning makeup application from the bottom up. Learning key techniques such as era-specific makeup and the difference between makeup through the ages—from the 1920s to the '60s—was so inspiring. It all helped me gain an education that allowed me to confidently get out into the field. It was a wonderful experience, and made a huge impact on the artist I am today.
What mistakes do women make when it comes to skincare?
I wouldn’t call it a mistake, but I think long term use of synthetic products on your skin compared to organic ones has a lifelong impact. Whether it’s your skincare or body care, I believe everyone can benefit from switching to an all-natural routine, since we all know that the skin is your largest organ.
And how about their makeup?
I think it’s all about education, and I love helping women achieve the perfect foundation application. It should be a natural, minimal look with enough coverage to feel confident. It’s also very important to pick the right shade for your skin tone. Another one would be over-plucking or overdoing the eyebrows.
Tell us about your firsthand experience with the harmful effects of petrochemical-based cosmetics.
When I was working as a makeup artist I was seeing skin irritation on models on a daily basis. These girls had to wear a ton of makeup every day, and it was all conventional products, since that's what I had in my kit at the time. They ultimately have an effect on the skin. Seeing this firsthand was eye-opening. From there, and I was able to put two and two together to create my own high-performance, green line.
Please share insight into what went into making Kjaer Weis different from other products.
The main thing was to be adamant about the ingredients list. I started it as all-natural and non-synthetic, then realized along the way that we could actually create 95 percent organic products. That’s a huge difference, because we now speak to it as makeup as skincare. You get all the benefits of all of the natural raw materials while you wear [the products] as makeup. I think our refill system, which has a huge emphasis on sustainability, sets us apart, too, along with the high performance.
How long did it take to perfect the line?
It took seven years, but I don’t necessarily think it has to take that long. Kjaer Weis was something I was developing on the side while working as a full-time makeup artist. There is definitely a lot of ground to cover when you start from scratch, from formulation to packaging to trademarking to organic certifications. It was a lengthy process but it was important for me to not cut any corners.