Danish-born, New York-based makeup artist Kirsten Kjær Weis, is the founder of Kjær Weis, a visionary and forward thinking cream based cosmetics line. It’s a brand that recognizes health and beauty equally, proving that by using organic, all-natural makeup, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice beauty or luxury. The line’s sleek, silver packaging is refillable and comes in a red Hermès-esque chic little box, which then opens up to a sliding compact, which I have already obsessed over before here!
I spoke with Kirsten about why she started the brand, the meaning of organic, when it comes to beauty, the love of cream based products and her very own, how-to on the brand’s newest launch (and my full obsession), the Radiance Highlighter!
Annie: What led you to create Kjaer Weis? How did it all start?
Kirsten: In working as a professional make-up artist for over 20 years, I saw first-hand how petrochemical-based products affected a woman’s skin – especially those with sensitive skin. It became clear to me that there was a gap in the market, a need for a true natural, preferably organic, brand that would perform at the same level as conventional makeup. I also believed that natural and organic products could also look beautiful – which was not necessarily the case at the time. In the early days of natural cosmetics, and even now, packaging appeared to be an afterthought, or simply unattractive. I saw an opportunity to create a beauty brand without compromise. My mission was to create a line with equal emphasis on beautiful, high end, organic ingredients, performance and luxe design. Prior to Kjaer Weis, nothing like that existed. I’ve taken a new approach to green and I believe it is the future. We deserve to have it all.
Annie: What does certified organic really mean? Why gluten-free and non-vegan?
Kirsten: Unfortunately at this point in time there is no single, globally recognized standard for organic cosmetics. It can be a bit confusing. In order to achieve organic certification in Italy, (Kjaer Weis products are certified in Italy, since that is where they are produced), 95% of all plant-based ingredients must come from supervised organic farming. In addition, the products cannot be formulated with any synthetic ingredients.
I didn’t set out to create a gluten-free line, however we formulate without any ingredients containing gluten, so I thought it would be helpful to call that out to those who are living a gluten-free lifestyle. I know some people are particularly pleased our lip tints are gluten free since, at the end of the day, you ingest most of the product you apply to your lips.
Some of our products are also vegan. I personally am not opposed to using bees wax; it has wonderful moisturizing properties. If a high-performance alternative to bees wax becomes available we would definitely consider it. The bottom line is, the product still needs to perform at the highest level.
Kirsten: I very much like a natural look. Proper skincare always comes first. I like for the skin to be seen, with minimal coverage. I’m from the “less is more” school of thought. I focus on creating the appearance of radiant, natural looking skin, not a pasty finish.
Cream based products have a modern, glowy finish to them, which is impossible to attain with powder based products. The ability of cream products to melt into the skin and become part of the skin makes all the difference. Powders tend to sit on top of the skin. They can settle in fine lines and creases and even make the skin look dull. On the contrary, creams are easy to apply with the warmth of the fingers and look far more natural.
I believe cream-based products provide the most natural results. They allow skin to have a youthful glow and the illusion of radiance from within. I know that “non make-up, make-up” can be an over-used term but that’s really what it is. It’s a look that just makes people look at you and say “you look great” without being able to pin point a particular product. It’s the woman walking in her beauty, not her make-up.
I highly recommend applying a cream blush, like Blossoming, on the apple of the cheeks in a circular tapping motion. Blush is the product that creates the biggest “aha moment” for a woman unfamiliar with make-up. She sees herself with a healthy glow – with just a minimal amount of cream blush. I love it; it takes so little to make a huge difference!
Annie: My favorite product might be your newly released Radiance Highlighter, shown below! Can you give me your how-to on how to apply and the various ways it can be used?
Kirsten: I wanted to create a highlighter that looks so fine in texture and pretty in color that it feels like a radiant glow coming from the inside.
I recommend applying it to the top of the cheekbone with the fingers. Apply above cream blush, gently patting the highlighter into the skin along the cheekbone. Make sure to blend!
It also looks really nice along the nose, along the hairline on the forehead as well as on the moving part of the eyelid, both on its own or to finish off after applying eye shadow—It will make the eyes pop!