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Annie Lawless is on a mission to make clean makeup as luxurious as its classic counterparts.
“As a makeup girl who loves full coverage and wears a full face of makeup every day, I just couldn’t find clean products on the market that performed the way a lot of the conventional makeup I was used to using did,” Lawless said on this week’s episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
Though clean skin care had trickled down to consumers, thanks to brands like Drunk Elephant, clean makeup was largely still unchartered territory.
“It seemed so crazy to me that I was spending more on clean skin care and then putting those ingredients right back on my face five minutes later with my makeup,” she said. “We’ve all put on lipstick, and an hour later, it’s off. Where did it go? I mean, we ate it, essentially,” Lawless said.
In the latest Glossy Beauty podcast, Lawless talked about her brand founder story, what she thinks of acquisition and how why she’s eager to get back to basics.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
An opening in the market
“It seemed so crazy to me that I was spending more on clean skin care and then putting those ingredients right back on my face five minutes later with my makeup. That really was the lightbulb moment for me that I wanted to do something in beauty. When I was looking at a lot of the clean makeup out there, and [I] bought a ton of it to try to transition over to clean, as a makeup girl who loves full coverage and wears a full face of makeup every day, I just couldn’t find clean products on the market that performed the way a lot of the conventional makeup I was used to using did. That was when I knew there was this white space in the market for a high-performance, full-coverage clean [beauty brand] for the true makeup girl, not the five-minute natural look.”
Clean makeup (especially with color) is a technical challenge
“There’s a reason clean color hasn’t been as efficacious as normal, conventional makeup. To get the pigmentation without using really harsh chemical colorants, or the silicone and isododecanes — things that have that adherence to them — is really difficult.”
Being deliberate in her approach to product
“My makeup idol is Bobbi Brown. When I was in high school, I was so happy when my mom would splurge and get me something Bobbi. But my mom wore Bobbi Brown and my grandma wore Bobbi Brown. I really felt like she transcended generations and just launched great products. Even when she played with trends or color or launched a crazier palette, it was always done in a Bobbi way where there was a reason for it. There were neutrals in the palette to make the pops of color work. There was a very clear way to make the everyday woman understand the makeup and how to use it. And so that’s always been my goal when launching a product: There’s so much going on and so much noise around me. What’s true to me?”