The Elixery's locally-made vegan lipsticks are fantastic (Win some now!)
|Treat your pout to a local lipstick|
Well, when it comes to lipstick, a local company has your pretty pout covered, literally. The Elixery, based in Minneapolis, is a newer company focusing on lipsticks that are 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free, meaning none of the products were tested on animals or come from animal byproducts. And the products are handmade.
"One of my missions is to educate women about science, because we're told things every day and it's really hard to sort out the truth from fiction," says Karoline Wells, founder of The Elixery. Wells is inspired every day to empower women through her makeup line, and while she doesn't necessarily promote that her lipsticks are less toxic than certain other products, she is more than happy to tout the vegan aspect.
In a new Dressing Room column called "Handmade In Minnesota," Wells talks below about her company and its roots in our city. At the end of this post, register to win The Elixery's entire fall line of lipstick, which I tried, by the way, and it's fantastic. The formula goes on smooth and feels supple on the lips to the point you can skip gloss entirely. As an unapologetic makeup obsessive myself, I can truly say it's one of the best I've tried. "Ingenue" is my favorite color for daily wear -- a sheer coral -- and "Lakshmi" is right on trend in a bold, editorial fuchsia that's matte but still luscious.
|Lipsticks from The Elixery|
Karoline, where did you get the idea to do a lipstick line/makeup business?
As a chemist, I've always been fascinated with formulating, and I decided to start with lipstick mostly because it was a challenge. Lipstick is one of the more difficult cosmetics to formulate--you have to think about color payoff, slip, drag, staying power, stick structure, stability, and a whole lot of other things. Most of these properties are contradictory, so if you get one thing perfect, it can throw everything else off.
The goal is to get an exact balance, and that can be difficult. It might sound like a frustrating job, but to a chemist, it's a really interesting challenge. I spent a solid year with my head buried in science books to understand the physics behind what I was trying to do.
I love the lipsticks -- they're one of the best I've used! How do you make them vegan and still maintain the color and moisture?
The Elixery uses only vegan ingredients, and we don't use any ingredient that is tested on animals. This means that when I formulate, I substitute a lot of natural alternatives in place of some of the standard ingredients. It's a process of taking formulas apart piece by piece, figuring out what each piece does, and then trying to put it all back together with ethically sourced materials.
Initially, I didn't define "moisturizing" as one of the properties--but because I was constantly putting on and wiping off the product while I was developing it, my lips would get very dry. So I kept working to make the lipstick more moisturizing, and I didn't realize how far I'd gone in that direction until people started commenting about how nice it felt.
Naming the colors has got to be a fun time. Which is your favorite color?
Naming colors can be a lot of fun! I'd say "Aviatrix" is my favorite name, and "Lakshmi" is my favorite lipstick color. We sometimes have family and friends help invent color names, and we occasionally have contests to name colors, too. For example, "Scheherazade" was named by a customer. The color "Ball Gown," which is exclusively available at June, was also named in a customer contest.
|Lipsticks get quickly torched to improve clarity|
Will your company expand to do other products in the near future?
We'd love to, but lipstick is keeping us very busy at the moment. We're looking at several options for our next product launch, but we'll probably be sticking with lip products for the time being.
We heard you did the lipstick looks for Voltage! Will you do that again this year? Any events coming up or people you're excited to be working with?
Voltage was a blast. The makeup team came up with the looks, and I spent three solid months in the lab getting unique products formulated for the show. The Twin Cities are fortunate to have some really talented local designers, and The Elixery will certainly be involved in other fashion projects in the future. We're in the process of negotiating a really exciting project right now, but I can't divulge it just yet. Stay tuned!
Finally, what is your favorite thing about makeup in general?
Makeup is fashion that can be worn by anyone, regardless of age, sex, or body type. Makeup can dramatically transform the way you look, and you're only limited by what you can imagine. I love watching people find the perfect color, and the way it makes their face light up and glow. To me, those moments make all of this work worthwhile.
For more about The Elixery or to purchase products, go to their website.
Want to win the entire autumn 2011 line of lipsticks from The Elixery?
Just "Like" us on Facebook, which you can do right here (if you already "Like us," you're halfway there!):
Then, leave a comment below telling us your favorite thing about makeup. (When you register to comment, be sure to use your real email address, as this is how we will contact you if you won. Your information will not be used for any other purpose.)
We're happy to report The Elixery's lipsticks are...