Name: Kristen Arnett
Occupation: Makeup Artist and Editor-in-chief of GreenBeautyTeam.com
Location: New York and Milan
Who is your beauty inspiration? It’s a combination of women who have inspired me over the years, whether I know them well or just for a fleeting moment on the street. Something captures me about everyone whether it is wild confidence, kind eyes, glowing skin, high cheekbones, freckles, or wavy red hair. All of it gets filed away into my “beautiful” bank.
If I had to pick one person, it’s my 91-year-old grandma, who despite enduring many hardships like starvation during war is unceasingly generous and loving. She always took pride in looking her best with whatever she had. Her resiliently beautiful spirit warms my heart when she flashes her light blue eyes and playfully asks if I brought her a face cream to get rid of her “crinkles”.
What product/treatment/beauty indulgence do you spend the most on? Without a doubt I spend the most on massage. It’s great for helping flush out toxins, easing tension, helping the muscles support the body better, and restores a peaceful disposition. For me, happy and relaxed definitely translates into beauty.
The key is finding a great therapist who is highly trained and has great energy. Not just someone who does a “fluff and buff” as my regular massage therapist would say.
What do you spend the least on? Soap. I just buy simple, natural, and inexpensive soap for my body and hands since it gets rinsed off right away.
I adore the 32oz bottle of unscented Everyday Shea Moisturizing Body Wash for the shower and my hand soap. I’ll often add a few drops of an essential oil, like grapefruit, to make it a more exciting sensory experience.
What does age mean to you? Wisdom and self-assurance. To me, age has nothing to do with being old. Particularly with women, I love how it seems each moment of our experience deepens and strengthens our constitution. We earn every gray hair and fine line, and they tell an important story. Hopefully age brings us freedom from “should’s”, a confidence to carve our own path and stand grounded in our unique definitions of self-worth and beauty.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about skin/hair/nails/beauty this year? I completely reevaluated how I expose and protect myself from the sun, as the subject has become a controversial minefield of information. Many standard sun blocks and even natural ones have come under fire with reports linking certain ingredients and nano-sized particles to skin damage, accelerated aging and even cancer. While sun defense is crucial for keeping our faces looking young and our skin cancer free, there is a widespread vitamin D deficiency among the US population, proving that our bodies need some safe sun exposure.
I try not to react in fear every time a new piece of research comes out, but it made sense to me to finally try out more natural ways of sun protection. During a 17-day work trip to the Caribbean, where I had to be outdoors making up models from sun up to sun down, I put these old-school methods to the test. Rather than slathering on sunblock covering every part of my body, I ate lots of anti-oxidant rich foods, coated myself with an anti-oxidant face oil from Dr. Alkaitis (Nourishing Treatment Oil), stood in the shade as often as possible and put zinc oxide-based Badger Balm SPF 30 on just my face, neck and shoulders. It all worked like a charm! No burns, no skin damage, not even the hint of a tan, yet I got a healthy dose of vitamin D.
What’s the one thing you do (not product-based) that you think affects your appearance more than anything else? Eating. Knowing what not to eat is just as important as knowing what to eat. Since following an Ayurvedic diet, which Dr. Pratima put me on, my skin improved significantly from pore size to hormonal/stress related acne. I avoid inflammation causing foods, such as sugar, which contribute to acne, wrinkles and other imbalances in the body. I also place a tremendous amount of importance on eating nutrient-rich whole foods that are organically and locally grown.
Why naturals? I don’t think it’s any big secret that chemicals in cosmetics are highly under-regulated for safety. Reports keep surfacing about common synthetic ingredients, like parabens and phthalates, which are accumulating in our bodies in unhealthy ways. When I began to understand that skin could absorb chemicals into the blood stream, I looked at my usage of makeup as a woman and as an artist constantly touching it, and began to reconsider the products I was working with.
Watching models break out into hives for allergies they’ve developed to specific brands of makeup, seeing large eczema outbreaks on the hands of makeup artists, and reading statistics like the average woman uses 12 personal care products per day with 168 different ingredients and in her lifetime she will ingest 4 to 6 pounds of lipstick, really drove it home.
Luckily in the past few years there is a huge array of natural, safe makeup that has appeared on the marketplace which performs as well, if not better in some cases, without the toxic side-effects of its traditional counterparts. That makes me one happy, natural makeup artist!
Not only do naturals reduce our exposure to potentially harmful ingredients but it also helps decrease the demand for the production of chemicals, which pollute our environment.
Modern science has done some amazing things with synthetics but sometimes our man-made solutions cause disruptions in the natural order of things including the health of our bodies and environment that aren’t desirable. So, I prefer to turn to holistic solutions that support the body’s natural functions before turning to a synthetic.