Natural Beauty: Rose-Marie Swift


Long before natural-based beauty became the in thing, make-up artist Rose-Marie Swift had already purged her beauty cabinet of unnecessary chemical cosmetics. Canadian-born Swift started her make-up artistry career in Vancouver painting the faces of burlesque dancers; fast forward more than 30 years and photographers Annie Leibovitz, Patrick Demarchelier and Hedi Slimane and celebrities Tilda Swinton, Celine Dion and Demi Moore are just a handful of the names Swift has worked with. It was in New York while Swift was in her late 30s that she found herself unwell: struck down with fatigue, insomnia, and anxiety, and her doctor was left perplexed. The penny dropped after Swift took matters into her own hands undertaking a series of lab tests: her blood contained toxic levels of heavy metals and chemicals.

“It wasn’t too challenging,” Swift says when I ask her about how easy it was to rid her beauty cabinet and kit of anything she deemed nasty. “Because I worked with make-up I knew what was good and what wasn’t – I knew what was irritating me,” she says. With the plethora of information – and misinformation – out there where natural and organic beauty is concerned, Swift admits it’s not necessarily an easy task for beauty enthusiasts to undertake.

As tough as it might be, Swift is undoubtedly passionate about ensuring beauty buffs make educated decisions. “People go to the extremes. When you say something is chemical free, that’s ridiculous. Water is a chemical,” she stresses. “What does saying it’s natural really mean? That word gets thrown around but there are no rules and regulations for what that means. There are chemicals that are 100 per-cent safe, but then there are chemicals that are still used in cosmetics that are really questionable and have been banned in some countries.”

Despite the difficulties involved in giving your beauty cabinet a green makeover, Swift assures me it’s not impossible. “You have to do your research,” she says. “There are good websites you can use, but start by taking your package, turning it around and look at the ingredient deck. If you can see words that are tongue twisters, you know that they’re not necessarily a good thing.” Asking for help is important Swift says. “Go to a store that has stocks green brands, that knows the green make-up world better research.”

As for Swift’s own beauty regimen, she says she was born a purist. “When Mum let me use eyeliner I’d take it off with olive oil in the kitchen and as I got older I started using coconut oil, otherwise it was just water and a face cloth.” Years of working on shoots with some of the biggest names in fashion and things Swift hasn’t been swayed by the rise of multi-step beauty routines. “I’m super simple – I use Coconut oil for everything. Little bit of foundation where I need it. Do a brow. Put a red lip on and that’s about it.” Swift is well aware that her less-is-more  approach isn’t for everyone. “It works for me, not for everyone. But if you’re using multiple steps, make sure you know what’s in those products.”

Beauty bugbear:  “People not taking their make-up off at night. You need to learn to take it off, people go to sleep with mascara on. It’s bad, you’re ruining your eyelashes and the skin around your eyes; taking it off with harsh, chemical wipes isn’t going to do any favours either.”

Product to ditch now: “Make-up remover; you don’t want to wash your skin with more chemicals. It might be the easiest way but you’re destroying your skin. I like to do less. I use the coconut oil and wipe it off and go to bed.”

Winter beauty tip: “Dump the drying powders in winter and get into a more moisturising make-up. Winter dries out your skin. It needs more moisturise. Use more healing natural oils.”

Favourite natural ingredient: “I use coconut oil for everything: it’s antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial. People say ‘coconut oil breaks me out’. Of course it does! It’s cheap coconut oil. The coconut oil in my products is cold centrifuged; it doesn’t destroy the good acids.”

How to find the perfect eye cream


Anyone who has slathered on eye cream religiously is probably well aware that as far as the signs of ageing are concerned, it’s not the easiest area to rewind the clock on. In the name of science and beauty Estée Lauder decided to research how and why the eye area ages faster than the rest of the face. “The eye is surrounded by a round muscle, which helps the eye move. Unique to this area of the face, these muscles are closely bound to the skin surrounding the eye,” explains Dr. Nadine Pernodet, Vice President, Skin Biology & BioActives Research & Development at The Estée Lauder Companies.

Each time these muscles are used, the surrounding skin moves and stretches. And it turns out these muscles are being used a lot more than initially thought. “You blink more than 10,000 times per day,” Pernodet says. “If your eyes feel tired at the end of the day, you can understand why, because based on blink rate alone, if compared to walking, the eye area’s micro- movements would be like the equivalent of the number of steps it takes to walk eight kilometres a day.” Multiply that by seven days, and each week your eyes are moving the equivalent of a marathon every single week.

“Each time we blink, smile, frown, laugh or cry there is repetitive skin movement,” says Pernodet explaining that these movements are known as micro-motions.Couple that with that fact the skin surrounding the eyes is 40 per-cent thinner than other areas of the face and has very few oil glands to keep it hydrated, it’s easier to understand why the eyes are more prone to irritation and the first signs of ageing.

Based Estée Lauder’s research, the team discovered that over time, natural collagen production in the area decreases, and irritation increases. “This stress, from micro-movements, along with the delicate features of periorbital skin, explain why this area ages faster than the surrounding facial skin,” says Pernodet. While both young and older cells were both impacted by micro-movements, Pernodet explains that while younger cells are able to naturally re-orient themselves and minimise the impact of repetitive movement, ageing cells are more susceptible to damage caused by constant movement.


Rewind the clock with these must-haves.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix ($138) features an invisible visco-elastic network that strengthens and support the delicate eye area skin. Milk Thistle works to help fight visible irritation and support natural collagen.

Peptides in Environ Skin EssentiA Antioxidant & Peptide Eye Gel ($67.10) plump the skin surrounding the eye area, while vitamin A, C and E promote collagen and elastin and fend off free radicals.

Dermalogica Stress Positive Eye Lift ($115) wakes up tired eyes by brightening and reducing the signs of stress. A cocktail of potent ingredients – wild indigo seed, arctic algae and hyaluronic acid – reduce unwanted puffiness and dark circles.