WORDS: SOPHIE HENDERSON
FEATURE IMAGE: Styleby Magazine (Makeup by Lucy Joan Pearson)
Six months ago, Lucy Joan Pearson made the decision to go cruelty-free. Her 10-year career as an Editorial Makeup Artist has brought in clients such as British Vogue, CHANEL and i-D Magazine, and her newly-formed choice can only leave a positive impact on the fashion industry.
Lucy is still using up and giving away makeup that isn’t CF certified, however she is only crediting, working with or buying makeup that is strictly cruelty-free. This includes phasing out brands that sell to China due to their involvement with funding animal testing for the Chinese market.
With her existing makeup kit taking up a whole room, Lucy is focusing all of her energy on this ethical change. We sat down with the London-based Makeup Artist to learn all about this new learning curve.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself? When did you first take an interest in make up?
As a child I had a family friend who was a makeup artist in the the late 1990’s. She once told me that she did the band Fives makeup, and I remember becoming obsessed from that moment (at 10 or so) with the idea of doing it as a career. My interest in makeup developed into my teens, as I became an angsty grunge, and while everyone applied to study at uni, I knew that I only wanted to be a makeup artist.
I eventually got into LCF to Study Editorial hair and makeup. I left after two years and started assisting; after about two more years this led me to assisting Sharon Dowsett, who I was with for three years. While assisting Sharon I was also testing and building relationships in Fashion, which very slowly blossomed into clients and editorials, and here I am! Its now a full 10 year since I started at LCF.
What prompted your decision to go ‘cruelty-free,’ and what does the transition mean to you?
I have been a vegetarian (well, pescatarian) since birth and my connection to animals has been a strong theme through out all my life. Two years ago I transitioned to Vegan, which had a profound effect on me. I educated myself on the environmental, moral and health issues around animal agriculture, and Veganism soon began to transfer into every aspect of my life (including more recently my wardrobe etc).
While investigating animal rights issues, I came across information on the horror of animal testing, which I had been really quite oblivious to up until then! It made total sense to me to turn my kit over to a cruelty free one. Animal Liberation is now the focus point of my life and my work is a huge part of who I am.
I am also becoming much more inquisitive in the production of the products that I am using and promotion, and just a general mindfulness towards my kit.
From a personal perspective, has it had a positive effect on your career? Do clients specifically request your work for ethical reasons?
In terms of my day to day shooting it hasn’t changed that much as I’m still working with the same photographers and clients as I was prior to being cruelty free driven (its only been 6 months). However, I have had amazing responses and meet ups from cruelty free PR’s who have been so kind and helpful!
Do you have an important career highlight so far?
Shooting for British Vogue recently was a huge tick off my bucket list! I have had so many fascinating conversation with hundreds of women (and men) in my chair over the years. These intimate moments are the why I love what I do.
And finally, what advice would you give to another make up artist wanting to go cruelty-free?
Don’t be overwhelmed! You might be pleasantly surprised by how many brands are under the cruelty free umbrella. The site ‘Cruelty Free Kitty’ is great source for fact checking.
I would also say its great to just adopt a more mindful approach to your kit – are your cotton buds biodegradable? Do you need to be using as many baby wipes as you are? How toxic are the ingredients in your makeup? This doesn’t mean that you have to suddenly be working from an 100% eco kit. Its a journey, and one that I am very much just starting, but it is good to be on the road to getting your kit as compassionate as possible.