We here at ATPB live for organic skincare, and it’s no secret that love transcends into the makeup world. A brand we have always loved – not just for its perfect products, but also for its ability to hang with the big boys in the cutthroat makeup industry – is Kjaer Weis. Kristen Kjaer Weis, a veteran makeup artist, has built a luxurious and organic brand free from parabens, silicone and synthetic fragrances. After years of noticing that models’ skin would become irritated by conventional makeup, she made it her mission to create a cleaner, safer way option. We have definitely become Kjaer Weis’ groupies, and if you have not yet, just get to know the brand a bit better and I am sure you will also fall in love.
Roki: How would you explain the Kjaer Weis woman?
Kristen Kjaer: The Kjaer Weis woman is someone who is conscious of her choices. From her daily purchases, clothing, and especially what she puts on her skin and in her body, she is puts thought into her decisions. She is someone who appreciates beauty in all aspects of life, such as the beauty in nature and in kindness, as well as the beauty of a gorgeous compact on your vanity.
R: Where do you get your inspiration and creativity for the products?
K: So much is based on my background as a Makeup Artist, having worked in the fashion industry for over 20 years. That product knowledge and experience is really the foundation for the vision of the brand. Color inspiration comes from anything from nature and walking through the flower market to art galleries and magazines.
R: Is it true you produce your makeup in Italy? Why did you choose Italy for production?
K: Yes, it’s true! I was able to team up with an incredible manufacturer in Italy from the very beginning. When I first started looking for the right partner, I found that Italy is known for their expertise in quality and also in being at the forefront of everything natural. They’ve proven to be invaluable.
R: I was extremely impressed with your transparency of all the ingredients that you list on your website for your products. What kind of standards do you hold for your ingredients? How do you go about choosing them?
K: We have the Italian organic certification, which certifies that 95% of our ingredients must come from supervised organic farming. In terms of choosing ingredients, I work very closely with our manufacturer in finding the right ingredients whenever we create a new product. Overall, the ingredients are the same that you would find in organic skincare, which is an important part of our brand and how our products feel on the skin. While you wear the makeup, you’re getting all of the nourishing benefits as if you were wearing skincare.
R: Sustainability is such an interesting topic to me. In fashion, it seems to only be slightly catching on at the moment, in beauty do you feel like it is an easier to barrier to break down and communicate?
K: The line launched in 2010 and it was definitely a pioneer in the industry with the Intelligent Refill System. It has certainly taken a lot of education, both on a retail level and through our own communication, to be able to tell the message of the refill system over and over again. The focus on sustainability has shifted so much in the last few years so it’s becoming an easier thing to explain to retailers, such as high-end department stores, that might not have been as receptive to the idea of sustainable beauty.
R: Your packaging is so recognizable and impactful. How did it come about working with Marc Atlan? How did you come up with the concept?
K: I had always been a huge fan of Marc Atlan’s work, and when I was first creating the line I was running into a wall in terms of sourcing materials and creating packaging that was both luxurious and sustainable at the same time. I cold emailed Marc and it turned out that he thought the idea of creating color cosmetics packaging based on the concept of luxury was an interesting proposition. Marc came up with the idea for the silver compacts that our products are housed in. Since that wasn’t a recyclable material, he suggested we turn it into a refill system, which would allow us to have both luxury and sustainability. Working with Marc has been one of the great highlights of the entire process for me.
R: I feel that your brand is breaking down the stigma of natural, organic makeup not being able to perform as well when compared to conventional products. How do you feel that you are reversing those misconceptions?
K: By making it a key component from the very beginning that the performance had to be on par, or better than, conventional makeup. I think you’re right about the stigma in regard to natural/organic cosmetics. When I first started, the performance could not compare to conventional and in my opinion, you will never have a true conventional makeup user switch over unless it comes without any compromises. When you produce in naturals it’s like being in the wine industry where every harvest is different. We put a huge amount of effort into making sure that performance, colors, and textures always stay the same from batch to batch. It’s time-consuming but it can be done.
R: For all those no–makeup wearers, like myself, what are the must haves in order to give it a test run?
K: I’m big on creating flawless skin that is covered; yet it doesn’t look like you’re wearing foundation. I would start with The Beautiful Oil, which functions perfectly as a primer for our Cream Foundation. Then, you would fall in love with our Cream Blush, it has a lovely texture and can be applied to the lips as well. Lastly, our Mascara is a great pick as it truly stays put throughout the day and looks super natural.
R: What is next on the agenda for Kjaer Weis?
K: In 2019 we’re stepping more into the skincare category. We currently have The Beautiful Oil and Body Oil and we are adding a Cleanser and Toner to the collection. Product development is my sweet spot so there is a lot in the pipeline that I’m excited about.