Under the Skin with Juni Cosmetics – Luxury Organic & Vegan Lipsticks

We are delighted to welcome new cosmetics brand Juni Cosmetics to our natural & sustainable beauty collection at Immaculate. To celebrate their launch with us, we interviewed Juni’s founder, model and make-up artist Madeleine White.

She shares with us what drove her to create the brand; why it’s so important that her lipsticks are all organic, vegan and 100% plastic free; and what Juni does differently from other make-up brands.

How have you managing these last few crazy months – and do you have any tips to staying physically and mentally healthy and happy?

Like most people, I was really worried about how lockdown would affect my mental health in the longer term. When running a business it's all too easy to work excessive hours so I try not to fall into that trap. I found the best thing to do was to change my mindset; so instead of focussing on how awful everything is I'm trying to embrace slowing down and spending more time relaxing at home. Cooking delicious and nutritious meals, taking long baths, reading, and making my way through a long list of movies all help to pass the time. For physical wellbeing I make sure to eat as healthily as possible. Daily exercise, on the other hand, is something I need to work on!

What led you to create a new lipsticks line, and what’s the key idea behind Juni Cosmetics?

I was working as a make-up artist and as a model so I was always trying out new products and, honestly, was usually a bit disappointed. I have super sensitive skin and found that lip products in particular were drying and irritating. I couldn't find anything that ticked all the boxes; hydrating, comfortable to wear, had great colours and used safe ingredients. Juni is my response to the hyper-consumerism culture of the beauty industry. I wanted to create a capsule collection of products that was good for you, beautifully-made, and didn't cost the earth.

How did you choose the name?

Juni is named after my lovely grandmother, June, who never left the house without putting on her lipstick. I have distinct childhood memories of her applying a Revlon colour called 'Pink in the Afternoon', which I thought looked so glamorous and sophisticated.

Madeleine White, Juni Cosmetics - Natural, Vegan, Organic Lipsticks

You worked as a make-up artist – what do you think the issue is with most other lipsticks out there, and what does Juni do differently?

I think a lot of conventional lipstick manufacturers focus mainly on appearance, and neglect what impact the ingredients and packaging may be having on us and the planet.

Most beauty products are housed in non-recyclable plastic and may even contain microplastics within the formula, along with other questionable ingredients. At Juni, we look at every aspect of a product, from the ingredients to the packaging to how our suppliers work, to ensure everything is as sustainable and as safe as possible.

You describe your product line as cosmetics meets skincare – can you tell us what you mean by that?

When we apply make-up it's likely to sit on the skin for many hours. Spending time and effort on a thorough skincare regime is great, but it's not a good idea to then layer on potentially irritating and poor quality make-up products. Our lipsticks are made from organic plant oils and waxes, such as argan oil and shea butter, with added sophisticated active ingredients such as vitamin e and botanical hyaluronic acid (HA).

HA is a humectant, which means it draws water to the skin and helps to prevent moisture loss – one molecule alone can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water. So, Juni lipsticks are actually skincare for the lips. The special formula is brimming with omega 6 and 9 fatty acids, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. The ingredients provide moisture, hydration and stimulates collagen production.

Why was it important to you for Juni to be organic and vegan?

I'm vegan myself, so it makes complete sense that anything I create is vegan too. There are so many wonderful plant based ingredients out there so there really is no need to rely on animal products! The reason I wanted to focus on organic ingredients – our lipsticks use over 92% certified organic ingredients – was because of the positive environmental impact they have. By using certified organically farmed and sustainably sourced ingredients in our formula, we are able to trace every ingredient all the way back to where and how it was grown, processed and manufactured. This helps to protect wildlife and biodiversity.

Being organic also ensures that our ingredients are grown without genetically modified organisms (GM), herbicides, synthetic fertilisers, parabens, phthalates, synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances, nanoparticles, or any other controversial chemicals. Overall, organic is far better for the earth and our health.

Madeleine White, Juni Cosmetics - Natural, Vegan, Organic Lipsticks

Your packaging is 100% plastic free and recyclable. Why did you make that decision?

I've always been conscious of the amount of plastic I use and I try to make environmentally-conscious decisions as a consumer. When I first started investigating packaging on a mass scale for Juni, I was shocked to find that even the so called 'eco-friendly' options available still contained plastic, and worse still, were glued together, making them extremely difficult and costly to recycle. Since the 1950s, only 9% of the world's plastic waste has ever actually been recycled!

Along with my co-director, Suzanne, we decided to innovate our own packaging. We wanted something beautiful and striking, but also 100% plastic free and easily recyclable. It was a tough journey with many obstacles but eventually, thanks to our wonderful product designers, we developed the iconic Juni bullet. Instead of plastic, we opted to use 100% aluminium as it is infinitely recyclable and looks amazing. It's actually often referred to as the "green metal".

We love all five colours (although Maple is our favourite!). Do you have a favourite colour?

Maple is my favourite, too. I think brightly coloured lipsticks can be quite easy to wear because they're supposed to be loud and bold, whereas soft, neutral tones have to be just right or they can be really unflattering. I designed Maple to have the perfect balance of both pink and brown undertones so that it looks great on all skin tones and suits all ages. It works equally as well on no-make-up-days as it does with a full-on smokey eye!

What skincare and self-care routines do you try to stick to yourself?

I love skincare – it's my vice. The most important thing for me is having a solid routine. You have to be diligent if you want to see results – no sleeping in your make-up or forgetting sunscreen! I incorporate facial massage into my skincare routine to wake everything up and to bring colour back to my complexion. I also have facials with light therapy and it's the only beauty treatment I treat myself to on a regular basis. As for self-care, I think dry body brushing is great. I drink lots of tea, especially green, ginger, nettle and liquorice. I enjoy eating healthily too, with Japanese food being a favourite.

uni Cosmetics - Natural, Vegan, Organic Lipsticks

What do you think of the ethical and sustainable options that exist for consumers right now in cosmetics, beauty and fashion?

And what would you like to change in the future? There are so many indie brands popping up with some brilliant ethical and sustainable options, which is great, but I think we'll truly start to see changes when the big corporate companies start to prioritise sustainability. Creating truly sustainable products is really difficult, so I think transparency and education is vitally important. It's acceptable to say that something's not quite perfect yet but that it's being researched and developed, so I'd change the honesty levels so customers know what they are buying and can make informed choices.

What are your favourite brands – fashion, beauty or lifestyle – and what is it about them that you love?

My favourite skincare brands are Pai, Josh Rosebrook and Twelve Beauty. They all focus on organic and plant based ingredients, yet are very high performance and can really transform your skin.

For fashion, I'm very minimal – my uniform is jeans and a t-shirt of some sort. It's not always easy but I try to purchase clothes made from organic and sustainable materials and make sure to really look after them so they last a long time. My favourite handbags are by Angela Roi, they're very minimal and sleek, and all vegan of course. Overall I try to support as many small and indie brands as possible. Instagram is a great way to discover new companies and find out about the story behind them.

And lastly – if you weren’t running Juni, what do you think you’d like to be doing instead?

It's hard to imagine as I've always worked in beauty in some way, from my first job on the beauty floor of my local department store to being a make-up artist on films and photoshoots. I'm obsessed with nutrition and love herbalism, which does overlap closely with beauty, so I'd probably enjoy working in those sectors. I also enjoy writing, so maybe a journalist in those areas.

Shop the full range of Juni Cosmetics at Immaculate.

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