in ,

The (Green Beauty) Gospel According to Christy Coleman

One year ago, after watching her father lose his battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease and her 35-year-old friend receive a diagnosis of breast cancer for the third time, Christy decided it was time to make a change. Since early on in her career, she suspected the chemicals in the high-end makeup she used on her clients were potentially harmful; she had stopped wearing the stuff years ago. So she emptied her makeup kit and started over, this time filling it with nothing but natural cosmetics. If she was going to remain in the only career she had ever known or wanted, she could no longer use products containing the chemicals she suspected may have killed her father, or possibly contributed to the cancer haunting her friend.

Now, Coleman is a woman on a mission. “I’m thumping my makeup bag,” she said with a laugh, when I suggested she was a natural beauty evangelist. Whatever you want to call her, she is in a unique position to transform the beauty industry, and for the past year that is exactly what she has been doing. I have had the privilege of getting to know Coleman throughout this process, and have been nothing short of inspired by her commitment to using only the safest of beauty products, even at the risk of her career, even when she is the only one in the room who cares what chemicals are in the makeup.

Recently, Coleman launched her own website, and since then has caught the attention of the media, holding interviews with some of the top beauty magazines websites in the country. But I wanted to go a bit deeper, getting Coleman’s take on where the industry is now and what she hopes to see in the future. Here are some highlights from our interview. To read it in full, click here.

TB: What, in your opinion, is in the future for the natural beauty industry?

CC:  Unfortunately, I think people in [the mainstream] beauty industry, in general, are trying harder to make their products look more natural by taking out a paraben or something like that, without actually caring about ingredients and their health effects. However, I also think the natural makeup companies are getting much better with their products.  The color choices are getting better,  and they are doing more with packaging. I think they are making great changes, but it’s not enough, they’re too subtle.

TB: Enough to what?

CC: Enough to make a difference. There aren’t enough options out there yet. You can get everything on websites like yours, but there isn’t enough for women to buy in-person, with someone behind the counter explaining why you don’t need certain ingredients. Unless you’re on a path seeking it out, it’s not very accessible.

TB: What about the quality of natural beauty products?

CC: I definitely think with skin care, the choices are fantastic. There are many options that deliver with skin care. I don’t think that’s a problem. Color-wise, there’s always room for improvement. I think eye shadows, cheek colors and – now with Couleur Caramel – the mascara, are great. Improvement can come still with foundation and lipsticks. The consistency of shadows and cheek color is there. The shades are all there.

TB: What impact do you hope you might have on this industry?

CC: I want to educate the consumer, and to be responsible and feel good about myself when I go to work every day. I love beauty, I love makeup, I love packaging, I love gorgeous things, I love fragrances. Beauty has been my whole life. I didn’t want to walk away with it, but given experiences in my life, I felt that it was possible through my job to become more educated about beauty products and share that with people. That’s what I’m trying to do with my blog, to share my experiences with people to help them find, for example, the mascaras they like.

TB: When you decide to tell certain clients of yours that you used all natural makeup on them, how do they often respond?

CC: People are open to it, they want to learn more, especially after, when they love how they look. Listen, if more people start buying these products, we all have the opportunity to shift this industry, which is crazy exciting. Even if everyone just changed one thing, it would make such an impact on the wellbeing on our children, on our planet…

TB: On ourselves?

CC: Yeah!  I feel good, responsible, when I go to work and someone’s daughter wants to play with my makeup, that what I’m using is safe. I have the knowledge and information to bring and share, and being in this business, I have the opportunity to be that person [who can] give these companies that are trying hard to make a difference some attention. The word has to get out in order for it to be bought. They’re not going to exist if no one is spreading the word.

The bottom line is that if I can use [natural makeup] on a daily basis, then you absolutely can, and it works. I’m peddling the word.

Written by Terri Bly

Terri Bly is the founder of The Nature of Beauty, LTD, an all-eco website, shop, and spa. She is a freelance writer, currently residing in Minneapolis.

BagTrends & EcoStiletto Present: The Green Arm Candy Party

Bamboo Fabric Lovers Glad or Sad?