I am not a recent convert to green beauty, but following top London makeup artist Lauren Kay on Instagram solidified my belief in the power of natural cosmetics. Lauren is revolutionizing the world of green beauty one jaw-dropping image at a time by creating seriously bold, iconic looks using all-natural and cruelty-free beauty. Her range as an artist swings effortlessly from pristine innocence to untamed goddess. In short, a brief scroll down her Instagram proves that the days of under-performing natural skin care and cosmetics are long gone. In our interview, Lauren gives us an inside look at her journey to green beauty, professional skin care tips, her upcoming Alice In Wonderland wedding (complete with a vintage carousel) and her mission to help teenage girls navigate the “smoke and mirrors” behind the beauty industry’s unquenchable thirst for perfection.
BLOOM: Thank you so much for being our first ever BLOOM Beauty Star! We are so honored. Let’s hear your green beauty story – what was your “aha” moment when you realized the importance of incorporating natural beauty products into your life?
LK: I used to be the quintessential product junkie, spending a fortune on “the next big thing.” As my career in makeup grew, other avenues opened up for me, like beauty writing. I was given products to try and learned that many didn't deliver on the grand promises and hype. I also saw how self-governed the beauty industry is - many "premium" beauty brands with hefty price tags are laden with chemical fillers. I realized that consumers are paying for marketing and not the quality of ingredients. Ultimately, I found that the “greener” the products were, the more harmonious they were in terms of results and meeting my ethical standards.
BLOOM: Transparency in marketing is more important now than ever, especially since more women are waking up to the health implications of chemical-laden personal care products. What has been your most exciting discovery in natural skin care and cosmetics?
LK: I’ve loved learning how multifunctional green beauty products can be. Many natural oils that work amazingly on the skin also add shine and manageability to the hair. I love how many amazing green beauty brands are out there now!
BLOOM: Isn’t it amazing?? It's such an exciting industry to be involved in. You’re work is so stunning – what are you most proud to say you used natural products in?
LK: All of my beauty work, for a long time now, has been done using natural, cruelty-free skin care and cosmetics. I hope my beauty work reflects that "green" products can be just as innovative, unapologetic and sexy as mainstream brands - if not more.
BLOOM: I’d say your work does that in spades, my friend. In your industry, you’ve probably seen firsthand how lifestyle plays out on the skin. What are your top lifestyle tips for maintaining good quality skin?
LK: I work with men and women of all different ages, lifestyles and ethnicities. The most universal beauty truth I can share is to have a nutrient-rich, balanced diet and don’t overexpose your skin to harsh weather. Quality natural beauty products will make you truly glow, but only if you maintain a nutritious diet and watch out for sun damage. The skin - like every other part of the body - will be its healthiest when taken care of holistically.
BLOOM: The nutrition therapist in me couldn’t agree with you more! I’m so glad to hear you’ve also had that experience firsthand. I’m guessing you’re somewhat of a guru for the models you work with – what’s the most frequent question you get asked?
LK: People often ask me what “the best” this or that is for their skin. In reality, “the best” is so subjective and individual. I tell them to tailor their skin care regimen around their unique needs and to see through the heavy marketing. I also tell them to look at the quality of ingredients in their skincare. I’ve gotten so many friends and colleagues into natural skin care!
BLOOM: That’s why you’re our BLOOM Beauty Star – you’re in a position to change so many people’s perceptions of green beauty, and you’re doing an amazing job at it. As an in-demand makeup artist who’s constantly on the go, what necessities are always in your handbag?
LK: I always have a tinted lip balm, a good mascara and a multi-purpose skin care item, like a skin balm. In the summer, I carry a hydrating skin spritz to stay fresh and cool. A scarf is always handy and can hide a bad hair day quickly!
BLOOM: Agreed! I keep our HYDRATE Botanical Mist and Restore Eye Balm with me at all times for quick hydration on the go. What is the most memorable job you’ve worked on and why?
LK: I was working for the BBC in Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day. It was a huge event - hundreds of war veterans attended - as well as world leaders and global press. I was doing makeup and hair for a presenter who was interviewing 80-and-90-year-old veterans who were young boys when they were made to fight. It was a humbling experience. Their stories really touched me. We were submerged in history, with aircrafts and tanks from WW2 that were fully operational and armed military were everywhere. To be entirely honest, it was overwhelming. I think films and media really desensitize and disconnect us from the true impact of war. It was an eye opening experience and it has made me see the true sacrifice of that generation and the suffering in war. I never expected a job to have such a profound effect on me.
BLOOM: Wow. What a moving experience. Let’s segway to something lighter for a moment: if you could do hair and makeup on anyone, who would it be?
LK: That’s a tough question! Angelina Jolie is an amazing woman and a stunning beauty. Marilyn Monroe was such an icon. Amy Winehouse was so unique and refreshingly honest - I would love to have worked on her giant beehive and winged liner!
BLOOM: Because you live in London, you have an access to Europe and the rest of the world that we (unfortunately) don’t have so easily in the States. What is your top place to go for a quick holiday?
LK: I love Barcelona, it has everything - art, culture, amazing architecture, beautiful beaches, a buzzing city vibe and great food.
BLOOM: Tell us what your mornings are like. Do you caffeinate, and if so, the quintessential question: coffee or tea?
LK: It really varies with work. If I’m doing filmed work, I can be up at crazy-O'clock. If I am doing photographic work, it's more of a lie-in. When I’m not on a shoot, I email for hours from the comfort of my bed. I love technology for that! I am from England, so I suppose it’s fitting that I'm obsessed with herbal tea - I had about fifty varieties flooding out of my cupboard once.
BLOOM: How do you unwind after a long day?
LK: I love to cook for my family when I have time. I no longer eat meat and like to eat as organically as possible, which has its challenges - we are all fussy, so it can be hard! My most favorite thing to do in the evenings is to lay on the sofa with my fella, put on a movie and inevitably fall asleep on him.
BLOOM: What’s the last thing you do before going to bed?
LK: The last thing I do before going to bed is cleanse away the day and moisturize. I am forever dehydrated, so most nights I layer on a serum or hydrating spritz and a facial oil and give my face and neck a massage.
BLOOM: Let’s talk self care. What’s your favorite way to spoil yourself?
LK: I take really long baths. The best bath is an indulgent one, so I throw in a bath bomb or some salts and maybe put a treatment on my hair or a face mask on and just soak until my toes go wrinkly. When I have the time, I paint or draw - it’s like meditation for me.
BLOOM: Your baths sound so luxurious! I don’t often indulge in baths, but you’ve got me needing one now. So, you’re engaged - congratulations! What kind of wedding will you have? Will you go on a honeymoon?
LK: We’re planning a very eccentric wedding - an Alice in Wonderland themed, vintage-style wedding in a barn. We have found an amazing location that has a vintage carousel and steam trains. I can’t wait! We would love to travel to India, so that’s a possibility for our honeymoon.
BLOOM: That sounds like the coolest wedding ever! I hope it’s as wild, beautiful and fun as you imagine. Do you have any other exciting projects coming up?
LK: Yes! I’m working on a personal project focused on beauty lessons for teens. Those years are a crucial age for girls and can be such a time of insecurity. Teenagers now see more images of "perfect beauty'" in one day than my mother saw in her entire adolescence. I want to teach them about the smoke and mirrors in the worlds of fashion and advertising so they can see through unrealistic beauty standards. I want to help them empower each other…to see the beauty in others without questioning their own.
BLOOM: Please keep us updated on that! As a mother of a precocious 9-year old girl, I’d be thrilled to have a resource from someone who’s seen it all in the beauty industry. Where can our readers go to follow your work (and, I hope, see snaps of your amazing wedding) and get in touch with you for potential projects?
LK: My website, which profiles my work is www.laurenkay.co.uk. I’m also on Instagram @laurenkay.co.uk and I’m on facebook at LaurenKayMakeup.
BLOOM: I’m thrilled to have shared your passion and insane talent with our bloomies. Thanks so much, Lauren. You are truly the definition of a beauty star.
Written by Misty Litt. All images courtesy of Lauren Kay, www.laurenkay.co.uk.