“I don’t have kids, I don’t have a husband, I don’t have anybody to give my money to, I don’t do drugs…anymore,” says Rose-Marie Swift, laughing. “I’m a mouthpiece.” And when Swift talks, people listen. That’s what’s propelled her to the forefront of the green beauty movement. But rewind back to the beginning, and the celebrity makeup pro’s story started with some serious health problems. She went for advanced testing and was surprised when the lab technician had a question for her: “Do you work in the cosmetics industry?” he asked. “Yes, how did you know?” she responded. “There are a lot of chemicals in you from cosmetics, and we see them in a lot of people who do hair and makeup,” he said. It was a moment of shock for Swift, and one that’s become a catalyst for change within the industry.
Swift began digging deep into research, and cleansing her body of all the impurities at the same time. She launched a site, beautytruth.com, where she began publishing facts and myths about popular beauty products. “The beauty industry is not regulated, which everybody thinks it is,” she says. Swift began getting tons of press—and just as many warnings. “Everybody in the industry said, ‘Rose-Marie, if you put that out, you’ll never work again.’ ” Luckily, they were wrong, and very much so.
Soon, fans of the site turned to Swift to recommend beauty products that were safe for use, and so Swift continued her research. “When I looked at the so-called green brands, I looked at the ingredients going, ‘Well, this is bullshit,’ ” she says. By then, there was really only one thing left to do. “I came up with my own brand,” says Swift. The product development phase for RMS Beauty wasn’t easy. Finding the right labs to develop expensive small-batch natural products proved difficult for Swift, who was up for the challenge. From day one, she’s never compromised on standards. “I go into these big labs, and I say ‘Guys, I don’t hand you a Tom Ford or a MAC lipstick to copy the colour. I’m mixing it, and if you can’t colour match, to be honest, I’m going to rip you a new one,’ ” says Swift, who took a painstaking eight years to develop her lipsticks.
It didn’t take long for Swift’s products to become cult favourites. “My Living Luminizer put me on the map,” says Swift. “Vogue wrote this up as one of the ten must-have products in the beauty industry,” she says of her illuminator. “They’re snobby as hell. Believe me, they do not give compliments easy.” In addition to the famed luminizer, all of Swift’s products are focused on skin first and designed to be effortless. “My stuff is very simple, it’s very elegant, it’s user-friendly, and it’s modern looking,” she says.
In the end, it all comes back to ingredients. “I don’t use water in my products—no emulsifiers and no preservatives,” she says. There’s also synergy between natural ingredients and skin that doesn’t exist with synthetic varieties, according to Swift. With organic ingredients in their natural state, “It’s like two people making love,” she says. “Fabulous, right?”
All Images courtesy of RMS.