The minimalist and ethical beauty kit: here's everything you need to know according to the makeup artist who's worked with Beyoncé, Naomi Campbell and Kim K

International makeup artist Sir John adding colour to Vivienne Joseph's cheeks
International makeup artist Sir John adding colour to Vivienne Joseph's cheeks

Take a quick look inside your makeup bag right now. How many products are you aware of that have been tested on animals? How many of those products would make you severely ill if you ingested them by mistake? Basically, do you know if your makeup bag is killing the turtles? 

These are just some of the questions we've been left to ponder after this week's conversation with global makeup artist Sir John, who touched down in South Africa once again to launch Volume 2 of his exclusive makeup range with WBeauty. 

READ MORE: Your ultimate winter beauty guide for all skin types, every shade, and all budget sizes 

But lustrous and highly pigmented makeup essentials (we can't wait to shop) aside, the bigger conversation that came from this is the importance of making intellectual changes to our approach to makeup both environmentally and aesthetically. 

Sir John and sustainable makeup

This is why Sir John stresses how important it was for him and WBeauty to create products that are inclusive and diverse, while keeping their environmental impact in mind. Sustainability to Sir John is therefore considering how we "dial back while running forward"; introducing consumers to products that won’t do more harm than good.  

And one such consumer is the Generation Z woman (and some millennial women), who is not only outspoken, but always takes a values-based approach to how they shop, what they eat, and even the music they listen to; hence muting various artists is now an option on music streaming apps. 

READ MORE: Even after #MuteRKelly and Surviving R Kelly, reports show people are increasingly streaming his music 

This is also clear from how vegan beauty is gradually evolving from the niche to the mainstream because as consumers become more concerned about sustainable living, they are increasingly conscious of the ingredients and production methods behind their favourite products. As a result, according to a report by Grand View Research, the global market for vegan cosmetics is expected to reach $20.8 billion by 2025.

At the launch of the Volume 2 Sir John x W Beauty range, Vivienne Joseph of Woolworths Beauty, explained why they "decided to focus on the Gen-Z mindset, especially with regards to crossing political and social boundaries and keeping a strong focus on the pursuit of self; acceptance, identity, and expression." 

Speaking of identity and expression, one is immediately reminded of millennial and Gen-Z creatives who are mostly recognised by their social media handles/names such as Nubia Silver, Parasite Hilton, Flip Flop Pantsula, and Frida Cashflow. 

View this post on Instagram

?????? #NubiaSilverHair

A post shared by NSH | Custom Virgin Hair (@nubiasilverhair) on

View this post on Instagram

i cried over how thankful i am for this moment ??

A post shared by parasite hilton (@queenlohaanda) on

View this post on Instagram

say things with your chest! say it like you mean it baby

A post shared by GABRIELLE (@fridacashflow) on

What's even more striking about these individuals is how they colour outside of the lines of the 'beauty rulebook' - something which Vivienne aptly worded in the following way;

"Their mantra is self-expression and collaboration, rule-breaking, experimentation and self-loving, no matter who you are." 

Sir John adds to this sentiment by noting how it was only a "few years ago when beauty was all about the flawless look; skinny was in and imperfections were out," but the rise in soft glam makeup and the dewy skin and brightly punctuated lips/lids look are just part of the evidence that people who wear makeup are less concerned with covering flaws than they were before.

"They do not feel the need to look like the latest ‘hot’ celebrity, instead they are saying ‘it’s ok to be you’, and this backlash against perfection is forcing many brands to re-think how they communicate beauty today," the charismatic MUA adds. 

READ MORE: Your skin can be healthy even with blemishes, blackheads, acne and pimples 

So what does this mean for the makeup bag we asked you to examine at the beginning of this article?

Firstly, switching up your product placement is one way to be more economical about your makeup. What is meant by switching up product placement is simply that you can use one product for more than one purpose or not necessarily using it for its intended purpose - wearing lipstick as eyeshadow or as blush, for example.

Sir John x W Beauty

Secondly, support brands that ethically produce their products. The packaging should tell you. "Cruelty-free', "vegan", "eco-friendly" are just some of the tags you should be looking for. If it ain't ethical, then maybe you should chuck it out... in a recycling bin, though. 

Thirdly, understanding that "less is more" is more than just a phrase can really change the way you consume beauty, starting from treating foundation as an occasional option rather than a necessity. Sir John even notes that "full makeup is no longer modern", so doing less means buying less, which in turn decreases our harmful impact on the environment, and so the turtles get to live longer.

Sign up to W24’s newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our stories and giveaways.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24