My Path to Clean Beauty Makeup Artistry


As a lifelong beauty and skincare fanatic, my makeup obsession began early in my life. As a middle-schooler, I remember the first time I was allowed to buy eye shadow with my allowance money. I had been eyeing it at the grocery store for weeks! It was purple, and it was beautiful! I was amazed by the way you could play with your looks, trying to transform myself even in those gawky years. As a teen, I poured over Seventeen magazine, and every other magazine and book I could find on the topic of skincare and makeup, and soaked it all up. One of my favorite routines that I picked up was to steam my face at home, using herbs from the kitchen. That memory is so clear to me, and I loved the feeling of the steam and the smell of the thyme. Did anyone else do this? As an adult, I was ecstatic to discover professional facials and get this done as a spa treatment! Who knew?!

In the 90s, I was in my twenties and anxiously awaited the first book releases from Kevyn Aucoin and Bobbi Brown (and how did we know about them back then without the internet?! Did Seventeen magazine tell me the books were coming out?!) I read them cover to cover and practiced everything that I felt I could do. (Let’s just say I did NOT attempt the amazing transformations that Kevyn Aucoin was capable of creating and showed in “Making Faces”! If you have not ever looked at this book, you have to check it out!). But I did learn about the concepts of face shapes and contouring way back then. And Bobbi Brown’s tips and tricks for a natural look spoke to me and what I wanted to accomplish with makeup. They are fundamental steps to what I still do today. My library of makeup books continued to grow as these two makeup artists released additional books.

I have a funny but proud college memory of what I deemed to be a makeup accomplishment. One of the guys that we hung out with on a regular basis made some passing comment about not thinking that I wore much makeup. One of my best friends and roommates at the time literally laughed out loud in shock and quickly corrected him. As she said, I may have looked like it was “all-natural,” but it involved a LOT of products. That was a win in my book.

In my late 20s and 30s, my interest in fitness and nutrition really took off. I fell in love with Vinyasa flow yoga, and mixed in some running which I tried to love. The yoga experience opened up the doors to so many other aspects of healthy living. Several times along the way, I heard about potentially harmful ingredients in personal care products, which made me raise my eyebrows, but I didn’t care enough at the time to research or learn more.

However, that all changed with becoming pregnant and having a baby. It was interesting to me that there were so many new things to worry about and limit when pregnant, including some things that you could put on your skin. The back of my mind was thinking, “If it isn’t safe to use when you are pregnant, is it really safe to use the rest of the time?” But I didn’t have much time to do anything with this thought when there was a new baby on the way.

Of course, once I had a baby, I wanted to make sure that what I was using on him was the safest option. We all want what is best for our little ones. But I was surprised to learn at the time of so many questionable ingredients even in baby products, and that started my regular visits in the Whole Foods personal care section. We were using California Baby at the time. This was a great find, as they seemed both safe and everything that you would want in your baby products: sweet scents, gentle, great bubble bath. We stuck with that line much longer than the “baby” years. However, I never fell in love with any of the lines for me at the time, so I stayed with my tried and true favorites.

The next defining moment of connecting my overall lifestyle to my health was when I came across The Beauty Detox by Kimberly Snyder, right after it’s release around 2011. This book was a huge eye opener to me! The name was attractive to me because I thought it would be about beauty products. Instead, the book is about nutrition and the need to add LOTS more veggies to our lives. It was the beginning of the green smoothie craze for me, and her basic recipe is still one of my favorites to this day. I highly recommend adding this book to your shelf, just to motivate you to make a green smoothie and/or eat those veggies!

Simultaneously, I had read articles about the need to avoid parabens and sulfates and other buzzwords from your personal care products, but at the time, I wasn’t sure what that meant or why. Nor did I have the time when I am trying to parent and get the laundry done and drive carpool… who is researching and reading all of these labels? No one has time to do that alone. It was too much to process.

Happily, a few years ago, I discovered Beautycounter: a clean beauty company based on the premise that high-performance and safety do not have to be mutually-exclusive. This concept absolutely resonated with me! And it was their Never List that really sold me. It’s a list of 1500+ potentially-harmful ingredients which they never use in formulating their products. So a company is doing the research for me? Banning the bad stuff and promising high-performance? That was a no-brainer to me. It was really a relief. Luckily, I was even more relieved to discover that the products are amazing and really do live up to the hype.

My Beautycounter business brought me full circle back to my lifelong love of makeup and skincare. My decision to become professionally trained in makeup artistry unfolded after I reignited my obsession for all things beauty. Becoming a makeup artist that offers her clients clean beauty options is what is true to my heart and upholds the combination of my passions.  I’m so excited to share the joy that makeup can bring when it enhances your beauty, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to educate on safer choices simultaneously.

What is my message? Let’s lighten our load, both physically and mentally. Eat healthy and organic when we can. Exercise in various ways. Make safer product choices for yourself and your home. And have some fun along the way! Balance is the key to happiness. It’s always about progress, not perfection.

My journey as a healthy lifestyle explorer continues, as my world has expanded to so many other little changes we can make in our lifestyle that have a big impact on our health. I’ll share those discoveries in this blog.

So thank you for being here, and thank you for reading! Hopefully, you’ll feel empowered to make some small changes, and you will have some fun with new products along the way!

Now tell me about you! Seriously! Do you think makeup is fun? Do you think products can be beautiful and high performing if they are also safer? Or do you have some hesitations there? Have you already made the swap to healthier lifestyle choices? What are your favorites?

Cheers to enhancing your beauty with a little Sass & a lot of Grace!