Ere Perez has recently celebrated 20 years since she established her eponymous natural beauty brand.
Her first product, a natural, waterless mascara made with almond oil, was created when the Mexico-born entrepreneur emigrated to Sydney and decided to extend her love of healthy food into making cosmetics.
Since then she’s stayed true to that approach, her now-extensive makeup and skincare collections available in 40 countries, with products that make the most of nutrient-rich fruit and plant ingredients like oat milk, açaí, quinoa, papaya, beetroot and more.
Each product is developed to be simple to use, with a fresh, healthy and luminous finish that also nourishes skin. The line is available online, selected natural beauty retailers and at MECCA.
How did you start your brand?
I grew up in Mexico in a family devoted to a natural lifestyle, so I came to Australia with a passion for healing and wellness. It is challenging starting over in a new country; I didn’t even speak English! But with $2,000, I started selling a single healthy mascara and that was it.
Ere Perez Coco Crayons for lips.
What made you decide to start?
I decided to create a product that I needed myself. Back in 2002, ‘clean’ and ‘natural’ formulas were not common. Mainstream makeup and mascara was full of ingredients that irritated skin and eyes. Due to my natural health background I wanted to create a natural alternative, a beauty solution that didn’t compromise health.
Looking back, it’s interesting the moments that change our lives. I was working in a restaurant as a waitress and the head chef had a bad day and was very rude to me and I thought: ‘Today is the day! I had a university degree, I can do this, all I need is to start.’ I am still grateful for that chef.
What have been the biggest challenges?
The world was so different 20 years ago. A lot of how we do business today did not exist then. I also faced a challenge creating natural makeup to sell in health food stores that were used to selling organic milk and produce, but they weren’t used to natural cosmetics. I did a lot of on-the ground work, introducing myself and my mascara to shop owners in Bondi and all over Sydney, and convincing them to take a chance on me. Now, the biggest challenge is to look after our earth while succeeding as a business. I think when you really care, you feel that you can’t change your integrity for extra profit. This makes it so challenging, as our competitors can use a lot of greenwashing and create products that aren’t truly natural, clean or sustainable – but they sound like they are.
How do your Mexican heritage and Aussie lifestyle both influence what you do?
It’s about the freshness of the Bondi life and the colourful flair of Mexican culture. This awesome Aussie-Mex personality is reflected all over the brand, the vibe, our aesthetic, warmth and way we welcome everyone. I love how these cultures blend to inspire people to feel good.
Why are recognisable natural ingredients so important in your line?
I love food! My background is a Bachelor in Nutrition: food is nutritive, colourful and is good for the skin and best on sensitive skin, better than aromatherapy oils. I like simple pantry ingredients that nourish and support skin health. We say our oat milk foundation is like oatmeal for your face, and quandong green booster serum is like a green smoothie for your skin.
Ingredients are so important and nature has all we need.
L-R: Ere Perez rice powder blush & bronzer; Lychee Creme Corrector; Carrot Colour Pot; Quandong Green Booster Serum; Avocado Waterproof Mascara
What’s your most surprising makeup product?
Our avocado waterproof mascara launched in 2005 and it was the first vegan cruelty-free waterproof mascara on the market: that was really a game changer. And our carrot colour pots are so multitasking for cheeks and lips, people are surprised you can get such vibrant, fun, wearable colour naturally.
Where do you source those ingredients?
I try to use plant-based ingredients that are simple like carrots or rice in our rice powders. Often trending ingredients put a lot of pressure on supply and I don’t support that. There are amazing ingredients that aren’t rare that can be just as good for the skin … ones that exist in abundance is part of our philosophy of ingredient dignity. We source from all over the world, wherever we can
find great quality.
What do you use for a quick and easy look or something more glam?
Avocado waterproof mascara, a carrot colour pot and vanilla highlighter – one, two, three, ready for anything!
For more glam, I love my spectacular eyelash curler and jojoba eye pencils – they come in amazing colours and I like to mix it up.
What are your favourite skincare products?
I love anything hydrating. Our quandong green booster serum is amazing, and the Australian blue cypress face nectar really makes my skin dewy and glowing. Both feature unique Australian Zowerhouse botanicals, too.
Are there any products that you’ve not yet been able to create?
Yes! A liquid eyeliner. It’s so hard to make it clean and natural.