These two founders of toxin-free, cruelty-free cosmetic companies are changing the makeup game

Most of us have so many makeup and skincare products in our bathroom that we can barely count them all, let alone know which ingredients were used to make them. Between all the different mascaras, eye shadow palettes, and moisturizers living in our medicine cabinet, it’s hard to keep up with what we’ve got and where it comes from.

But it’s becoming more and more difficult to ignore the fact that a lot of the makeup we buy is made with toxic ingredients and tested on innocent animals. Thankfully, the toxin-free, cruelty-free beauty trend is starting to pick up momentum, and we’re learning a great deal about what we’re actually putting on our skin.

In 2016, the cosmetic industry in the U.S. raked in 62.46 billion dollars in revenue. That number has been steadily on the rise since 2003, when it brought in 30 billion dollars.

Clearly our love for makeup is only growing, and considering the fact that while Europe has banned 1,400 harmful cosmetic ingredients and the U.S. has only banned 11, it’s the perfect time to start asking some questions about where our favorite products come from, and maybe consider going the all-natural beauty route.

HelloGiggles spoke with Melodie Reynolds, the founder of Elate Cosmetics, a makeup and skincare company that’s committed to bringing you vegan, toxin-free products that are as high-performance as they are healthy. She chatted with us about what sets Elate Cosmetics apart from other brands, what their mission is, and why it’s more important than ever to consider an all-natural makeup collection.

"I’m a big supporter of social change and the idea that if we all band together we can actually make a difference," Melodie tells HG. "But the general public is still uninformed."

Most of the time, we’re uninformed only because we don’t have all the information at our fingertips. For example, Melodie blew our minds when she ran us through the truth about animal testing.

“There are certain countries in the world where animal testing is mandatory,” she says. That means some of the multi-national beauty conglomerates that don’t animal test in America are still performing animal testing on their products at their international locations — all the while putting forth cruelty-free marketing campaigns in North America to lure in customers who are looking for vegan makeup.

That’s why Melodie was dead set on transparency when it comes to Elate. Customers know the full truth about every Elate product — the ingredient list, how it was made, and what kind of packaging it comes in.

Krysia Boinis, co-founder of Vapour Organic Beauty, also talked to HelloGiggles about her company’s philosophy behind toxin-free, vegan, and cruelty-free makeup. It was just as important for Krysia as it was for Melodie to create products that hadn’t been tested on animals.

"I’m an animal lover," Krysia tells HG. "Animals are not the end users of makeup anyhow, so why would you test on animals?"

“Being cruelty free from a consumer perspective is the number one thing people are looking for,” Krysia continues. Which is why so many big wig companies use the cruelty-free marketing ploy in North America even though they’re testing on animals around the world. Yet to unnecessarily treat animals with cruelty is “such a different way to think about beings on our planet,” Krysia says. We couldn’t agree more.

Not only is Vapour refusing to test on animals, but they’re using nourishing ingredients that will benefit your skin rather than irritate it. The FDA has little to no jurisdiction over what ends up in your makeup, so it’s up to us to hold makeup companies accountable.

For example, parabens are some of the most common preservatives used in makeup and it’s associated with increased risk for breast cancer. Additionally, you’ll also see the vague description of “fragrance” on the ingredient list for most cosmetics, which poses a high hazard due to the skin allergies and organ toxicity it causes, according to the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database. That barely scratches at the tip of the iceberg.

Neither Elate nor Vapour use those kinds of toxic ingredients. Instead you’ll find a rich mixture of organic and natural ingredients that do your skin a lot of good, like goji berries, acai, coconut oil, argan oil, and green tea. After all, five pounds of beauty products get absorbed into our bloodstream every year and we inadvertently consume 7 pounds of lipstick in our lifetime, so you want to be sure your makeup is good enough to eat. Speaking of eating, Krysia tells HG that Vapour actually made a smoothie once with all the ingredients they use in their lip gloss. That’s how safe their products are.

"I personally am a two-time cancer survivor," Krysia says. "I’m very vigilant about what I put in my body but also what I put on my skin."

30 percent of Vapour products are pigment, which is why everything has a deep, luxurious color that’s also long-lasting. Kristine Keheley, the other co-founder of Vapour, is a painter, and her experience mixing colors has helped produce the kind of high-fashion cosmetics that makeup junkies go nuts for. The other 70 percent is certified organic ingredients. So you can check off high performance and healthy in one fell swoop.

In fact, Vapour’s high pigmentation has been red carpet approved. A makeup artist proudly used Vapour products on Emma Watson for the Beauty and the Beast premiere in Shanghai. Glamour and cruelty-free do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Although it seems like a no-brainer to make the transition from standard cosmetics to toxin-free makeup, it’s easier said than done when we’ve become accustomed to using certain brands. Melodie acknowledges that it’s hard to keep up with the rapidly growing cosmetics industry, but there are some great resources out there that will help you stay on track.

She recommends staying up to date with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit research organization that gives you all the information you need about what ingredients are harmful and which products are safe for use. Melodie also loves an app called Think Dirty, which allows you to take photos of the items in your bathroom so that you can receive a score on how healthy your makeup stash is. Learning what you already have is the first step to making changes.

“At the end of the day, you vote with your dollar,” Melodie reminds us. Eventually companies will stop making products with junk in them if we stop buying them.

Melodie’s greatest hope is that Elate products will empower people and build confidence through kindness — that is, kindness to all living beings as well as kindness to ourselves.

"With Elate my mission has always been to educate, empower, and inspire," Melodie tells HG.

The best part about companies like Elate and Vapour is that they care what their customers have to say. If you ever have any questions about their products or want to know why they made any specific choices, reach out and ask. Trust us, these are the kind of women you want in your makeup corner.

Living a life of wellness isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, but there are some choices that we can collectively make that will help us improve our health and make the world a better place. It might be time to consider joining women like Melodie and Krysia in working toward a world where our mascara hasn’t hurt any animals, and our foundation won’t harm our bodies.

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