I caught up with celebrity makeup article Suzy Gerstein to find out what is in her green makeup kit.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you’re based?
I am a NYC-based makeup artist.
How long have you been a makeup artist and what made you make the jump from fine art to makeup?
I have been a makeup artist since 2002 so that makes 15 years- wow! People whom I grew up with are not one bit surprised that I became a makeup artist- the girls on my junior high school soccer team remember my taking them aside in the locker room to do their eyebrows. I’ve always been fascinated with faces and enhancing them. When my mom bought me the late, great Kevyn Aucoin’s The Art of Makeup I realized that being makeup artist could be a job. My mom always encouraged my passion as well (I did her makeup for my brother’s Bar Mitzvah when I was 11. Bless her heart for believing in me and letting me go for it. In retrospect it did look a little “Dynasty” but her dress and hair were big and poofy so over the top was in the air.
You describe yourself as a virtuoso artist. With your background in fine arts how do you translate those skills into creating faces with makeup?
That word (virtuoso) makes me blush because I didn’t actually write that description- my agency did. I will say that my training in fine art does help me to really look at people’s faces and customize makeup to them rather than go into a paint-by-numbers technique (more like the one I employed during the bar mitzvah / dynasty years;)
What made you make the change to green beauty?
I’ve always been interested in wellness. When I was pregnant with my son I became more careful even vigilant about what I was putting in and on my body. And a series of health issues I had in the year or so following my son’s birth caused me to become even more conscious of the potential risks posed by long lists of chemicals and endocrine disrupters lurking in mainstream cosmetics.
Do you still get the same results you need as a makeup artist using natural products?
I do with things like cream blush and lipstick. It’s taken me more research and trial and error to find certain products that match up to the longevity I can achieve in a mainstream eyeliner or the color match I can find in a foundation or concealer. The learning curve is steep and the market is constantly improving in the eco-beauty world so it’s an exciting time to be a makeup artist focused on clean beauty.
Can you tell us your favourite products?
Coola Matte Skin Tint with Mineral Sunscreen
Kjaer Weis cream foundation and and RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-up
RMS Lip2CheekCheek and Kjaer Weis Cream Blush
RMS beauty Eye Polishes, highlighters and Swift Shadows (can you tell I love this line)
Kjaer Weis Eyeshadow (another line with which I am obsessed- the packaging is like a work of modern art and the formulas are incredibly luxurious).
Jane Iredell Jelly Pot gel eyeliners
Beauty Counter Lip Sheers
Kypris Antioxidant Dew and Elixirs
Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum
Honest Beauty eyeshadows and mascara with primer, loose blurring powder and their new Luminizing Foundation (comes in a great range of shades for a multitude of skin tones)
Ilia Beauty lip colors
Neal’s Yard Remedies Lip gloss
Rituel de Fille Ash and Ember Eye Soot and forbidden Lipstick (Written in Blood is the most gorgeous, saturated blood red).
Tata Harper Volumizing Lip & Cheek Tints
W3LL People Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer
RL Linden Thousand Petal mist and Shop Wildcare Lemon Light mist
Kypris Deep Forest Clay Mask
Mun Argan oil for full body moisture
CV Labs Calming Moisture and Body Repair Lotion
Naturopathica Calendula Cream
Balbec Beauty Yogurt Cleanser with Rose and Matcha
Gressa lid tints
Henné Organics Lip Balm and Rose Diamonds exfoliant
Sw Basics makeup remover and cream
Zoë Organics Baby Oil and Breathe Balm
Sky Organics bulk oils for DIY at-home treatments
Where do you suggest people should start if they’re looking to change their makeup to a more green beauty routine?
Start with skincare – that’s what I did. There are SO many luxurious green skincare lines out there that will actually make you look forward to washing your face at night and give you noticeable results. That’s what got me hooked. Also, check out eboutiques like AILLEA Beauty and Bergamot Beauty and follow them on Instagram for daily swatches, inspiration and one-stop shopping.
Name one natural beauty product you can’t live without.
I am addicted to the tinted balms crafted by Portland, Oregon-based green beauty company, Olio e Osso. Upon application, I instantly smile thanks to the their subtle but uplifting scent of grapefruit (all from natural ingredients). Each shade delivers moisture (thanks to Olive Oil, Shea Oil and Beeswax) and is gorgeous in its own right but the No. 5 Currant shade imparts the most gorgeous and believable flush to every single skin tone. The No. 6 bronze is a great bronzer for fair skin and highlight for richer skin tones. And the No. 4 looks like the rosy color of my 4-year-old son’s lips. I cannot say enough about how much I love this product. I keep one in each of my bags and if they ever discontinue it I don’t know what I would do!
Thanks so much!