I first met Justine Jenkins many years ago when we were both working on a TV show in Manchester. Justine was Fearne Cotton's makeup artist and I was Louise Redknapp's. Makeup artists rarely meet on set and it was so lovely to meet a like minded one!
On our journey home that evening it was non stop chatter as we realised we had so much in common and thought the same way about Sustainable, Cruelty Free and Clean Beauty – novel concepts way back then!
Justine and I also try our best to live a holistic life both individually and within our family life, we realised instantly we were kindred spirits.
Since that meeting Justine and I have become true friends so it was a joy to ask her to answer a few questions for the Kili blog and she discusses her life as a makeup artist and talks to me about her book Sustainable Beauty.
- WHAT MADE YOU GET INTO THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY, I KNOW YOU WERE A BANKER SO ITS MILES APPART?
I’d always wanted to be a make up artist from the age of 17, but I didn’t know anyone in the industry and I had no idea where to start. After deciding to go travelling for a year, I came back to London and got a job in the investment department of a large commercial bank. It was a temporary measure to earn some money, however one year led to two and a few years later I was the dealer for the private client department. My biggest fear had always been that if I tried to become a make up artist and failed, there would be nowhere to go as it was my ultimate dream. So I never tried. Then one day that all changed. I realised that my job was making me deeply miserable, even though everyone told me what a great job it was and how lucky I was. However, I knew I could no longer continue if I wanted to remain healthy and happy. In that moment, the fear of never trying became worse than the fear of failing, and I decided to pursue my dream. I was 28 years old.
- WHO DO YOU NORMALLY WORK FOR, PROJECTS IF YOU’RE ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT THEM, THIS GIVES US A BIT OF INSIGHT TO YOUR DAILY LIFE AS A MAKE UP ARTIST?
Unless I am working with a new client, I am privileged to work consistently with repeat clients, mainly actresses and a few presenters. So for example, when an actress has a film or television series about to launch, I will get booked not only for the red carpet premiere, but the press junket and any other associated press such as editorial shoots. That is my main body of work, and alongside that I advocate for animal welfare in the beauty industry and encourage the use of more ethical and sustainable products. Hence why I wrote my book, Sustainable Beauty.
3 . WHY SUSTAINABILTY IS THIS SUBJECT CLOSE TO YOUR HEART?
I’ve always been passionate about natural, organic and sustainable beauty. I consider myself an industry voice when it comes to animal testing in the cosmetics industry, therefore it was a natural progression to also educate on and encourage the use of sustainable beauty. Consumers don’t have a lot of knowledge to make an informed choice, because a lot of the marketing messages behind a brand conceal what’s really going on. Therefore, I felt a responsibility to show that if I can make someone look good on a red carpet or the cover of a magazine using cruelty free, vegan and/or sustainable beauty products, then anyone can use them.
- HAVE YOUR SKILLS AS A MAKEUP ARTIST ENABLED YOU TO DEVELOP YOUR BOOK?
Yes, a large part of the book is sharing the techniques I’ve learnt as a make up artist over the last 23 years. I figured that once I had written about what products to look out for, or swap to, then it would be useful to lay out the techniques I use in order to apply them.
4 TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOOK AND HOW IT CAME ABOUT?
I’d thought about sharing my knowledge via a book a few years ago. I had already written large chunks, and even had a book agent agree to work with me. However, imposter syndrome set in and I didn’t have the courage at the time to even send over the synopsis. Then, at the beginning of lockdown, I was telling a dear friend and client about this lost book opportunity a few years back, and she gave me three days to finalise and send her the synopsis. She was encouraging me to finish it, so that I could send it off. Literally, a few days later, a publisher contacted me and asked if I would be interested in writing my book. I knew I couldn’t say no this time. I’d wondered if my friend had anything to do with it, but she hadn’t, so it was one of those moments where universal magic is at play. Almost like something has been waiting for you, and it’s only when you say yes to it internally, that the opportunity presents itself. Writing the book was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but at the same time incredibly rewarding. You cannot include everything you want to write in one book, but I consider it a good guide for people wanting to be more sustainable in their beauty choices. I have a passion for making my own products, so there’s several of my recipes in there too.
5 I KNOW YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR CRULTY FREE/SUSTAINABLE/VEGAN PRODUCTS WAS THIS INTENTIONAL OR DID SOMETHING LEAD TO THIS AREA OF THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY?
Having always been an animal lover, I was shocked to discover that I was unaware that animal testing was still happening in the beauty industry. Roughly a decade ago, I was on a course about how to make your own natural cosmetics. The brilliant bio chemist who taught that course, went through the symbols you find on product packaging. She showed us the Leaping Bunny symbol from Cruelty Free International, and explained that symbol represents a cruelty free product. I didn’t think that animal testing still existed, I thought it was something from the dark ages. Especially as brand marketing language would encourage you to think animal testing was over. She told me to go home and research. I did. Shocked that it did indeed still exist and shocked that I didn’t know, I asked my industry colleagues and friends if they knew. Not one of them was aware that animal testing still existed in our industry. In that moment I decided to become a cruelty free make up artist and to help raise awareness in order to bring about change. Awareness is like an onion, layers of understanding are peeled away revealing a more authentic you. After a few years I came to the conclusion that you cannot have a truly cruelty free product if it’s not also vegan. So I now only use vegan products too. From that came the realisation that in order to protect our environment, brands should also be as sustainable as possible. That does not just mean packaging, it has many components which I write about in my book.
- DO YOU THINK ITS IMPORTANT WE ALL MOVE TOWARD THIS WAY OF THINKING, WE KNOW AT KILI IT COSTS MORE TO MAKE PRODUCTS THAT ARE SUSTAINABLE AND CLEAN, DO YOU SEE THIS MOVEMENT IN THE BIGGER BRANDS OR IS IT STILL INDI BRANDS THAT MOSTLY DO THIS?
It’s mainly indie brands, but the larger brands are making efforts too. Chanel have recently launched a refillable range for example. They are not yet cruelty free, but my hope in the future is that the larger brands will pull out of territories that don’t allow them to be sold there unless they are tested on animals. What an impact that would make! Large corporations are designed around profits, whereas many indie brands like Seeds Of Colour, are now focused on being more sustainable or vegan or organic or all of the above. Profits then come because they find their tribe of customers who are loyal, because their values are aligned. It’s a much more sustainable business model.
Sustainable Beauty available to purchase at the below link.
IG justinejenkins & justainablebeauty