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Diana Saltoun Goltsman of nūdus

The lipstick lover on crafting the best version of her favourite makeup essential, the three steps to caring for our lips and the six ingredients to avoid when buying lip products.

With a love for lipsticks that began as a child, Diana Saltoun Goltsman would bring her makeup must-have with her everywhere she went. “Put on some lipstick. It will make you feel better,” her mother would say.

Today, as the founder of nūdus, a natural and organic lipstick brand, one could say that Diana is living out her childhood dream. As the first company in Australia to have earned the Cosmos Organic certification by the Australian Certified Organic (ACO) body, Diana has also managed to bring together the best and most beautiful, healthful Ayurvedic ingredients like moringa oil and turmeric into the mix. Long-lasting, richly pigmented, handcrafted, unbreakable and matte finished, we’d love to know if you thought there was more you could want from these bullets.

Inadvertently to test her knowledge of organic ingredients, we asked Diana which nasties to avoid in the beauty staple and received a breakdown so thorough, we immediately went through our makeup bag to check if any of our products featured these toxic components. Talk about a reality check.

Here, our exclusive interview with Diana.

Nudus lip colours for Apres Avant

How did you decide on your lipsticks’ formulation?

When putting the ingredients together for Lip Euphoria, my first lipstick line, I did a lot of research and discovery into the makeup of organic cosmetics. I realised then that it would be possible to make a fully certified organic lipstick by substituting the various chemical ingredients for organic and natural ones. This wasn’t good enough for me and the end results would not have satisfied. Lip Euphoria needed to be more than just an organic lipstick; it needed to be a complete lip treatment that contained the most beautiful and beneficial oils, fruits, flowers, plants and herbs. It needed to bring excitement and joy to the lips, mind, body and soul. I wanted it to be the best it could be because we all deserve it.

How do you source for your ingredients and ensure their quality?

Sourcing the products is the easy part. Sourcing ingredients that are certified organic and are of quality is where things get tricky. It really is a process of contacting suppliers and networking with people in the industry to find the right items. Having ingredients that are certified helps with quality but doesn’t always mean they are the best out there, so getting lots of samples and doing our own testing ensures we find the best and most beautiful ingredients available.

When shopping for consciously made lip products, what are some key things you look out for in the ingredients list?

There are lots of products on the market that use smart advertising to fool customers into thinking the products are healthy and safe. Even though some products may claim to be looking after the planet and people, they do still sometimes sneak in some nasty ingredients. Here are the major ones to look out for:

Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. These are used in a variety of cosmetics. These slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.

Petrolatum: This is used as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturisers. This petroleum product can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.

Coal tar dyes and FD&C colours: Coal tar dyes and natural and inorganic pigments are used in all kinds of cosmetics. They are also assigned colour index numbers starting with 75 and 77, followed by three digits. Look for p-phenylenediamine dyes and in other product colours listed as “CI”, followed by five digits. The colour name may also be listed as FD&C Blue No. 1 or Blue 1. This has the potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals, which are toxic to the body and brain.

BHA and BHT: This is sometimes used in makeup as a preservative. They are suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). This is also harmful to fish and wildlife.

nūdus lipstick Après Avant

“In order to get certified organic, every single ingredient must be traced and audited back to its origin; every process used for extraction carefully assessed to ensure its safety, cleanliness and integrity.”

Tell us about the Australian Certified Organic (ACO) body and what it means for a beauty brand to earn the certification.

In order to get certified (which was my goal from day one), every single ingredient must be traced and audited back to its origin; every process used for extraction carefully assessed to ensure its safety, cleanliness and integrity. Everything from start to finish must be approved in such a way that most companies don’t or can’t gain this accomplishment.

After almost 10 months, we’re very proud to say that we are the very first company in Australia to have the COSMOS Organic certification on our lipsticks, certified by ACO. The ACO is the most recognised certification body in the whole of Australia, and throughout the world.

We also get audited once a year to make sure we adhere to their strict standards of the certification. We always have full traceability of all ingredients and we know where they come from and, most importantly, how they are processed. This is true peace of mind for us and for everyone else.

What is the best way to apply lipstick and lip gloss?

I have to tell you about a strange story that changed my way of thinking when it comes to applying makeup!

When I got my first car, it sadly had rust on it which really bothered me. I asked my father if he would paint over the rust to hide it. My wise father then informed me that we can’t just paint over the rust as it will still show up from underneath and we need to take it to a professional to remove the rust and prepare the surface for paint.

For me, this changed the way I think about applying cosmetics. Makeup has always been a great way to hide skin conditions or the quality of our skin, but unless we prepare our skin and make it ready for our beautiful organic makeup, we are just hiding the rust. This means that we end up using more makeup than we probably need, and too much makeup can sometimes take away from seeing the real beauty: ourselves.

nūdus Après Avant

So, in general, look after your body and your skin, which will help your application of lipstick and lip gloss stand out more with less.

How does an organic lipstick differ from non-organic ones in terms of their benefits to us and to the environment?

Many of the chemicals used in beauty items are not made for the body. The more you ingest and use these products, the harder your system must fight to remove them; and the more difficult it becomes to keep it balanced. The harder your system must work, the quicker it breaks down, ages and dissolves the feeling of good health. Interference from chemicals and toxins only confuses your body and messes with the handling of the millions of processes that are required for you to look and feel at an optimal level, every day, for the rest of your life.

What’s amazing is how sometimes we can treat everything else with more respect than our own bodies! You wouldn’t use the wrong fuel for your car or paint your walls with soft drinks, would you? Next time you eat something or put anything on your skin, take a moment to think if your body will love you for it. Choosing certified organic products where possible, is a great start not only for your body but also the environment.

For those who don’t normally apply lipstick, what are some ways to ease into the habit?

As above, I really recommend doing some maintenance on the body and skin to improve your overall sense of wellbeing and improve the look of your skin and lips. My suggestion would be to try some lighter shades and more neutral colours. Start with colours that complement your look and don’t take away from your natural beauty. From the nūdus Lip Euphoria range, naked and halo would be our go-to colours to ease into wearing lipsticks.

What does conscious beauty mean to you?

It means possibilities. It means that we are no longer bound to the idea that the best cosmetics must come from a lab using concoctions of dangerous and synthesised ingredients that threaten our health and planet. It means that we can combine old and new ways to form healthier and safer products that actually work. It also means that we are constantly reinventing ourselves but holding true to our values and morals that makes nūdus what it is and what it stands for. Our team goes above and beyond to ensure that every item, every ingredient and every process connected with nūdus has the best interests for people with the least impact on the environment so that we can sleep well at night.

halo nūdus Après Avant
halo nūdus Après Avant

From L-R: The halo and naked shades which Diana recommends starting with if you’re new to lipsticks

Images courtesy of nūdus