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Ericka Rodriguez of Axiology Beauty

The lipstick devotee on why she excluded palm oil from her ingredients list, how she arrived at her exacting formulation after 200 tries and the most important lip care practice.

Lipstick is a legendary beauty staple and finding the perfect formula is akin to finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But tracking down a consciously made one that boasts a texture we like and wields staying power? That took us awhile… and ultimately led us to Axiology Beauty.

Founded by California-born beauty Ericka Rodriguez, Axiology’s lippies are 100 per cent vegan, organic, non-GMO, cruelty-free and palm oil-free(!). In other words, the brand is all-around ethical.

To be sure, the inception of the foundation of Axiology started when Ericka was in her tweens and a vegan. Obsessed with lipstick, she was stunned into action when she discovered that her favourite brands and products practiced animal testing and listed animal by-products on their labels. Vowing to create cruelty-free and vegan versions of her number one cosmetic commodity, Ericka blended 200 formulations in her tiny kitchen before mixing the perfect one.

Named after the philosophical study of Beauty and Ethics, Axiology is conscious from concoction to container. Featuring ingredients like candelilla wax and castor seed oil, the packaging is further sourced from Bali, where Ericka spent time in when launching the company. Working hand-in-hand with a female-owned paper recycling manufacturer, trash paper is collected from around the island, then boiled, soaked, dried, hand folded and stamped.

As a final act (kiss) of kindness, Axiology donates a portion of its profits to the Orangutan Foundation International, an organisation that is dedicated to protecting natural habitats and orangutan conservation.

In other words, Axiology proves that beauty can be chic, conscious and credible — without compromising on any one for the other.


“Palm oil is just another oil. It can be replaced by virtually any other oil and the quality of the final product would remain the same. Therefore, palm oil is virtually unnecessary, but because it is a cheap ingredient, companies use it.”

Tell us about your background, how your love for beauty — and lipsticks — came about, and why creating a natural, organic and ethical brand was the only option for you.

I moved to NYC in my mid-twenties. It was during this time in my life when I started exploring colour in makeup. I wanted purple and deep red lipsticks. I was purchasing conventional makeup when one day, I read the back of the ingredient deck and realised I couldn’t pronounce one thing. I also realised that animal testing still existed and I was horrified that I had been supporting such cruelty. I vowed to only purchase natural and vegan cosmetics.

At the time, my search results fell short. I couldn’t find vegan makeup that was cool or hip. I also felt that performance was lacking in the vegan products that were marketed at the time. It was then that I started making my own lipsticks in my tiny Brooklyn kitchen. It took me 200 formulations to come up with the Axiology formulation that is on the market today.

Axiology products are palm oil-free. Why is this important, and what purpose does this ingredient traditionally serve in our skincare and makeup?   

Axiology is committed to animal welfare. Our products are completely vegan, meaning we don’t use any animal-derived ingredients and we also don’t test on animals. Another factor that we take into account is that some ingredients harm animals indirectly. Palm oil causes massive deforestation in Malaysia and Borneo. Because forests have to burned in order to create palm oil plantations, many animals lose their homes. Orangutans, tigers, rhinos and many other animal species are being forced into extinction because of this ingredient.

Palm oil is just another oil. It can be replaced by virtually any other oil and the quality of the final product would remain the same. Therefore, palm oil is virtually unnecessary, but because it is a cheap ingredient, companies use it.

Axiology Beauty’s formula contains 10 natural ingredients. How does this combination deliver high-performance colour that’s long-lasting and feels good to apply?  

When I was formulating Axiology, I was committed to using the highest quality ingredients so that lips felt more moisturised and hydrated when lipstick was applied. Our lipsticks are the creamiest on the market. We like to say that our lipsticks feel like a lip balm with the look of a lipstick.

What is the most vital lip care practice? 

I think there’s just one and that’s giving your lips the good stuff!

Axiology Après Avant

Tell us about the Balinese artisans you work with. 

We love these women! I lived in Bali while starting Axiology. While I was there, I met a women’s collective who have made it their mission to reduce the amount of trash on the island of Bali. They have been collecting used paper and hand recycling it for 25 years. Our boxes go through the same process and use recycled paper from Bali. The final steps include hand folding and hand stamping our boxes.

What is your favourite way to apply lipstick?

I am very low maintenance so I apply only a few times a day. Thankfully, Axiology has great staying power.

How should one care for their lipsticks?  

Don’t apply directly after eating or drinking as this will cause your lipsticks to quickly turn bad. Make sure your lips are clean before applying.

Ericka Rodriguez of Axiology for Apres Avant

Tell us about your beauty routine, and some conscious beauty brands that you love.

I wash my face with Youth To The People (love this company), apply some sunscreen and face oil, and then apply my makeup. Some makeup brands I love are RMS and Bite Beauty.

What would you say to women who rarely apply lipstick because they find the textures too ‘heavy’ on their lips and rather go lipstick-free?  

Try Axiology! I promise you’ll feel like you are wearing a moisturising lip balm!

“Don’t apply directly after eating or drinking as this will cause your lipsticks to quickly turn bad. Make sure your lips are clean before applying.”

What does conscious living mean to you?

It means living a life full of joy and being present to each and every moment.

Images courtesy of Axiology Beauty