A longtime creative force and a hardworking visionary of the beauty industry, Kristen Arnett has taken on a multitude of roles ranging from international makeup artist to brand consultant to being a "Green Leader" and "Top Eco Influencer" as ELLE and Eileen Fisher respectively put it.
Her newest project was the launch of the Best of Beauty Awards by the Green Beauty Team, an online healthy beauty resource that she launched to educate women of the potential dangers that may be lurking in their makeup bag, and to help them make safer, cleaner choices.
Smart, warm and down-to-earth, Kristen is constantly traveling the world, hosting workshops, speaking at events, writing for leading publications, and appearing on TV shows to spread her message of self-care and wellness through the pathway of sustainable beauty.
As we've had the pleasure to collaborate and get to know Kristen during the past years, we've decided to bring you this interview where she shares her beauty journey, the challenges she faces in her work as one of the few green and sustainable makeup artists in the world, and her plans for the future! Here is part 1 of a 2 part series.
1. Where does your love for makeup artistry come from and how did you get started in the industry?
Since I was a little girl, I loved makeup. I recorded every makeover TV show I could. I would cut out just the heads from models in magazines when I liked their makeup and tape them to the wall of my bedroom. Of course, my mom was worried about this collection of just faces I had, but once she understood the fascination was about the art, she saw how my love for makeup could turn into a profession and wholeheartedly supported my journey.
I love makeup because of its power to transform a face and how women feel about themselves. When I watched all these makeovers, it was the reactions the women and their loved ones had when they saw their “new self” that most inspired me… These makeovers didn't change who these women were, but they changed the way the world viewed them and the way they felt about themselves.
2. What was the decisive moment when you decided to dedicate yourself to green makeup artistry and sustainable beauty?
I had been struggling with acne for most of my life and trying everything, from chemicals peels to prescriptions drugs, but nothing seemed to work for me. Then, one day, when I was living and working in Milan, I met this model who suggested I tried going organic with my skincare and only use natural products. She explained to me that the majority of traditional beauty products have toxic and potentially carcinogenic ingredients, such as parabens and artificial fragrances, that could irritate your skin and damage your health.
This was something that I had never considered before, yet it was all starting to make sense. This model was using only natural products and her skin looked amazing. Working backstage at Fashion Week, where models have their makeup done five or six times a week, I saw how their skin became sensitized to makeup to the point they couldn't tolerate it anymore. I started to wonder whether all these ingredients and all the acne treatments I had previously tried were doing me more harm than good.
So, I switched my traditional products for natural alternatives and saw a difference fairly quickly. My skin was less inflamed and was glowing. I started doing more research into the subject and soon became convinced that a lot of the traditional ingredients used in cosmetics are harming both our health and our environment. The next step was to start using the new natural products I had discovered for my clients and start educating them, too.
Above is a look at some of Kristen's super helpful and fun videos, blog posts and even recipes for a beautiful, healthy life which can be found on https://greenbeautyteam.com
At the beginning, we're talking about more than 6 years ago, it was very challenging. At the time, it was almost impossible to find good quality natural makeup that provided the finishes and textures I needed to achieve the effects I wanted.
When I went to shoots, I always brought two makeup kits with me, one full of natural products and one full of traditional products. If the makeup look for the job wasn't that important, I would try to use the natural products first, but very often, I had to wash them off and start again with traditional products. There were some effects that it just wasn't possible to achieve with natural cosmetics at the time.
Thankfully, things have changed dramatically since then. There are now companies like Hynt that are creating luxurious makeup products that deliver the same, if not better, results than traditional cosmetics.
4. What's your life goal with your work?
My goal is to expand my worth through Green Beauty Team, spreading the message of wellness and self-care through the pathway of beauty as far as possible, connecting with millions of people globally. I see my website as a safe place online where anyone can be inspired, educate themselves about what's in their cosmetics and make the best choices to feel and be beautiful and healthy.