Get to know Rose-Marie Swift, the makeup artist turned entrepreneur, and renowned change-maker in the natural cosmetics industry.
This post comes to us from our beauty contributor, Allie White.
As far as beauty tips go, who better to ask for advice than a world-renowned, celebrity makeup artist who pioneered the green cosmetics space? It won’t hurt if she’s also always-inspiring, funny-as-hell, moonlights as an astrologer, can actually explain the scientific benefits of jojoba oil, and just so happened to have created one of the greatest highlighters of all time.
Meet Rose-Marie Swift, the genius behind rms beauty, a raw-coconut-oil-based, organic cosmetics line that you’ll definitely want to make room for in your makeup kit. Not only is the minimalist packaging incredibly chic (and environmentally friendly!), but thanks to Swift’s self-admitted “control freak” personality, the gorgeous products are made with the utmost care and attention to detail.
A short list of ingredients you’ll never find in rms products? Parabens, silicone, cheap oils, to name a few. But for Rose-Marie, it’s about more than non-toxic ingredients — it’s about changing the way women use makeup. Rather than think of makeup as a way to mask a “flaw,” Swift believes cosmetics can heal and nourish the skin as well. Makeup as skincare or, “skincare with mineral color.”
“The less you do to your skin, the better,” she says. “I believe in the skin looking as pure and as nourished as possible.”
When someone answers a question about ingredient quality with, “I’m not married, I have no kids, and I don’t do drugs anymore, so I spend my money on the best ingredients possible,” she’s worth getting to know.
On changing paths:
When I was younger, I never wanted to be a makeup artist. I didn’t know what I wanted. My sister said, “Why don’t you be a makeup artist?” And I said, “Sure. Why not.” But I always had that thing where I thought, “Well, this isn’t really what I want to be doing, there’s gotta be something else.”
On the origins of rms beauty:
I got sick…I was just completely run down. I went in for very advanced blood work and urine tests and hair analysis, and the guy at the lab said, “Do you work in the cosmetic industry?” I said, “How do you know that?” And he said, “I just see a lot of these chemicals in the bodies of people who do hair and makeup.” I’m not blaming my sickness on the beauty industry, but it was definitely a contributor.
So I started a site back in 2004 — BeautyTruth.com — and people kept asking what they should use instead, which is when I started studying all the brands that were out there, and I thought, “OK, I’m going to do this better.”
On letting things happen:
We had no sales reps for years, and we just slowly let [the line] do its thing organically. I’m not a pushy person, I’m not a good sales lady. I am good at inspiring people creatively through my work and the stories I tell when I talk about chemicals in makeup and pure products, and then it started taking off.
On her beauty philosophy:
Less is more. When I say that, a lot of people freak out like, “I don’t want to walk around looking like I’m not wearing makeup!” But that’s not what I mean. I mean “less is more” in the sense of stop packing it all on at once. I believe in the skin looking as pure as possible. Then do the eyes, do the lips if that’s your chosen look. When you have a face full of caked-on, thick makeup, it does not look like you.
The whole “no makeup makeup” look is very in right now, and it’s probably a result of the rise in popularity of natural products that are meant to look natural. People are paying attention, brands like ours aren’t taboo anymore.
On her star products:
The first thing I made was actually eye shadows — our eye polish — but I’d always wanted to do a luminizer. I had a friend who worked for a paint factory as a chemist, so she helped me with the formulas, and that’s how I came up with the living luminzer.
The master mixer is also big. Because of the ingredients, you can put it over powder, you can mix it with powder… it creates a gorgeous luminosity that is refined and elegant.
On the importance of ingredients:
I was a raw foodist for quite a long time, and I realized if food and nature in raw form was better for my body, the same had to be true of cosmetic ingredients in their raw form — all their healing attributes are still alive, they haven’t been cooked to death or sterilized and covered in chemicals, so they’re really clean, full of enzymes, antioxidants, minerals. I wanted a line that embraced that kind of quality.
I’m using the purest ingredients in their natural form — the cosmetic industry uses everything in synthetic — I use oils and butters and creams, but everything is in its purest state with little refining. We use minimal heat to keep it as close to “raw” as possible.
We get our Buriti oil directly from the Amazon jungle, our coconut oil is directly from the farmers in Thailand. We’re like the farm-to-table of natural cosmetics. You’re wearing makeup all day, it should benefit your skin.
On her favorite beauty looks:
I really believe in a beautiful brow. I just love a beautiful brow because it really shapes the face. And a red lip. You can’t go wrong with a red lip. You could have no makeup on and a red lip would transform your face — you’ll look fabulous.
On the mind-body connection:
My mood reacts really intensely to the foods I eat. So when I’m eating healthily, I’m in a really good mood. I feel more uplifted, I feel like my body is functioning better, and therefore my spirit functions better.
On being an inspiration for and example of a new direction in beauty:
People still need a little bit of convincing. A lot of people think organic or green products don’t work. To tell you the honest truth, they didn’t in the past. They were crap before I got pissed off and started working on my stuff. [But] we’re making such an impact on the industry; [green beauty] is not going away. And I think the big brands are a little threatened… We little brands coming along, creating all these great products and trying to be healthy, people are starting to get it. Smart, young consumers are bored with these big, tired, old beauty brands. They want to connect with the brands they use, with like-minded people.