Organic color makeup still sort of has a crunchy reputation. (Think nondescript packaging and weird-smelling ingredients.) Luckily, more and more companies and beauty entrepreneurs are offering increasingly luxe organic lines. And Kirsten Kjaer, creator of Kjaer Weis cosmetics, just significantly upped the ante.
Kirsten is a Danish-born, New York based makeup artist with almost 20 years of experience in the industry. Kirsten saw a lot of bad skin while doing makeup for models--rashes, break-outs, eye irritation--and she started getting complaints that certain products were causing “allergic” reactions.
After about seven years in development, Kjaer Weis is the fruit of what is obviously a labor of love. Passionately dedicated to creating a green product, Kirsten’s line is made in Italy and is 95% organic, earning her the CCPB organic certification (which is quite a big deal if you’re an organic brand--organic standards are very high in Europe).
Kirsten’s signature look as a makeup artist is natural, and that's very obvious in her line. The colors are neutral and soft: three cream blush colors, three eye shadows, and four lip tint colors. She is launching 4-8 new colors for spring, and is busy formulating new products such as foundation, mascara, and pencils.
Kirsten gave me a make-over with Kjaer Weis products and I looked fresh, awake, and slightly glam. After a night of, er, a few too many adult beverages, this was no small feat.
Also, after some initial skepticism, I’ve fallen in love with cream blush. Despite retailer skepticism as well, Kirsten insists that cream blush is more natural looking and gives you a glow, unlike the matte finish you get with powder blush. Let me tell you--I am a convert. I looked dewy and sun-kissed and not at all like I was wearing blush. Same effect when I tried it in daylight the next day. Both the blush and lip tints are meant to be applied with the fingers, and it just feels effortless.
So the products are great, but the wow factor really comes in the packaging. “I thought there was a niche for green inside with designer packaging on the outside,” Kirsten told me. “I did market research and asked women: how important is packaging? They all said ‘really important,’” Kirsten said.
She’s very interested in art and design, and sought the help of Marc Atlan to design the packaging. Marc has designed perfume bottles for the likes of Comme des Garcons, Helmut Lang, and Yves Saint Laurent. The Kjaer Weis packaging is made from a shiny metal alloy called Zamac. It’s not recyclable, so Kirsten made sure they were refillable; you buy it once and then refill as needed. Compacts are then packed in posh little red boxes with silver lettering and they have a weightiness when you pick them up, unlike plastic.
Kjaer Weis can be found at Space NK in the US, and prices range from $44-$54 for compacts, and about $24 for refills. Definitely luxury beauty pricing, but if you want a high-end organic make-up, this one is worth it.