A VHS tutorial for her mom’s Victoria Jackson Cosmetics kit was what inspired a young Kristen Arnett, celebrity makeup artist and founder of the Green Beauty Team, to take the first steps on her career path in the beauty business. By 13 she was “transfixed by transformation” and giving makeovers to her family members and friends. While in college, Arnett sold makeup at a Merle Norman cosmetics store before heading to the company’s headquarters post-graduation.
Although she says stepping out on her own as a freelancer in the makeup industry wasn’t always easy, doing so has allowed her to showcase her talents as an artist, educator and product developer. Her colleague and co-contributor to the Green Beauty Team, May Lindstrom is the person she credits with leading her into the niche of natural beauty expert.
Arnett offered her tips on how you can educate yourself about toxic ingredients and find products that don’t compromise great results to ensure your safety.
On Kristen’s Bookshelf
“Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry” is authored by Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. A decade after their Not Too Pretty report revealed 70 percent of body care products contained chemicals linked to birth defects, the nonprofit group she co-founded continues to champion for change in the cosmetics business, which you can follow on their website.
In “No More Dirty Looks” journalists Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt say making the switch to clean cosmetics is easy. They “leave no bottle unturned” to help you detox your beauty regimen “from mascara to moisturizers, shampoos to sunscreens.” The pair also pens a blog of the same name with organic beauty, lifestyle and wellness tips.
On Kristen’s Browser
Organic Authority, co-created by organic chef Laura Klein, features affordable product suggestions, recipes and tips for living an organic, green lifestyle.
Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit group founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles to spread information about public health and the environment. In addition to health and nutrition news, they maintain the Skin Deep Database, with reports on the safety level of beauty products and their ingredients.
Women’s Voices for the Earth is a national organization that was founded “to eliminate toxic chemicals that impact women’s health by changing consumer behaviors, corporate practices and government policies.”
Inner Beauty Tip: Alterations with Affirmations
“Treat yourself better. Most people really are so hard on themselves, myself included at times,” Arnett says. She says just five-minutes invested in a conscious exercise in positive reinforcement once a week will guarantee a powerful shift in your life. Look directly into your own eyes in a mirror and repeat loving statements like, "I am beautiful. I am loving. I am worthy. I am lovable. I am peaceful. I am powerful."
On the Outside: Beyond Beauty Products
Arnett says a great source for comfy, sustainable style is Threads 4 Thought. The brand’s t-shirts are staples in her closet, along with a few dresses. “I get a lot of compliments when I wear them, and in NYC that's quite a feat!”
Natural Beauty InspirationsHer beauty guru in the makeup biz: Rose-Marie Swift, editorial makeup artist and creator of RMS beauty – a natural brand that has received critical acclaim and has a celebrity following that includes supermodel Gisele. “She really walks her talk,” Arnett says.
Who she’d hope to meet someday: Horst Rechelbacher, the original founder of Aveda and Intelligent Nutrients. “I consider him to be a pioneer for using plants in personal care products and bringing it to the masses,” she says.
In Kristen’s Beauty Bag
For one-stop shopping: Nature of Beauty
Budget-priced line: Physician’s Formula Organic wear
A brand of makeup you may not have heard of: Couleur Caramel
For quick clean-ups: Clean Well