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Valerie Giraud of Antonym Cosmetics

The makeup artist on blending sustainability and luxury in luminous makeup offerings, and debunking organic beauty myths.

Contrary to what you might think, conscious makeup brands aren’t a dime a dozen. That’s what makes celebrity-favourite Antonym Cosmetics special. Founded by Valerie Giraud, a professional makeup artist, Antonym is a certified organic, cruelty-free line that’s ECOCERT and Leaping Bunny certified. Its brushes are vegan, and all of its packaging uses FSC certified paper.

We could just stop there. But it’s worth noting that the collection doesn’t compromise on performance or quality for all of its sustainability efforts and ingredient-conscious formulations. Dubbing it “gentle face fashion,” Antonym Cosmetics embraces “a philosophy of kind ingredients with strong performance.”

Its signature products include powders and blushes which transform creams into fine textures after being baked in terracotta pans, as well as luminous eyeshadows featuring velvety finishes. The result is fierce makeup looks that debunk the fallacy that natural makeup only produces natural effects.

Antonym Cosmetics also advocates for eco- and animal-friendly causes and organisations, which set it apart even more so from its competitors. “In a world of synonyms, we are Antonym”, is the brand’s motto. Here’s why.

“Natural and organic is here to stay as more consumers wish to switch to quality cleaner alternatives.”

The Highlighting Blush Cheek Crush

The Baked Blush Rose

Antonym Cosmetics is known for its long-lasting and highly pigmented makeup offerings. How is this achieved when formulating with ingredients of predominantly natural origins?

As a makeup artist, the key is testing. Regardless of what we do in the lab, I test every product personally on a variety of different skin types, and tweak the formula until I am satisfied with the performance. Performance (with natural and organic ingredients) is what we at Antonym Cosmetics is all about.

As a makeup artist, do you apply organic makeup products differently than you do non-organic ones?

Not at all. The beauty of high quality organic and natural makeup is that it can be simply swapped out.

How would you recommend one switch to a more conscious makeup routine, and which three products should one start off first?

It’s about creating a new, clean routine. The easiest way is to start with a single product, say mascara. And then move on from there to eye pencils and shadows.

What are the roles of benzyl alcohol and dehydroacetic acid in your pressed powder formulations?

Both are used as preservatives. Benzyl alcohol is used for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is produced naturally by various plants and is found in teas and fruits. Dehydroacetic acid is an organic compound with anti-microbial properties.

The Eye Pencil Noir is made with ingredients of 100 per cent natural origin

What does it mean for a brand to be awarded the Leaping Bunny certification, and what processes does a brand have to undergo to attain it?

The Leaping Bunny is a great organisation that fosters cruelty-free product awareness. For Antonym, it means recognition by a third party — which for an emerging brand is important.

Do you have any tips for shopping for cruelty-free, certified vegan makeup brushes?

Any synthetic brush is technically vegan because they don’t use animal hair. But besides being vegan, the key is choosing quality, design and performance.

Besides Antonym Cosmetics, what are three other organic makeup brands and their products that you love, and why?

Meow Meow Tweet deodorant is great and I love their branding. I use various Josh Rosebrook products for hair care and Coola sunscreen.

What is one myth about organic beauty that you wish to debunk once and for all?

That it is a fringe category with limited choices. Natural and organic is here to stay as more consumers wish to switch to quality cleaner alternatives.

As a pioneering organic makeup brand, how do you see the beauty industry evolving in the next five years?

I am super excited about the growth of awareness in the natural and organic makeup category. This trend will continue due to higher awareness and consumer demand.

What does conscious beauty mean to you?

Clean beauty starts with a cleaner lifestyle. Natural and organic makeup and skincare is only part of the equation. If you don’t eat healthy, don’t hydrate enough or don’t get enough sleep, it will show on your skin.

One of the brand’s bestsellers is this Quattro Eyeshadow Noisette palette

Images courtesy of Antonym Cosmetics