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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

How the search for the ‘perfect red’ spawned environmentally conscious lipstick

Canberran Karen Green has long been on the hunt for the perfect red lipstick.

The artist, model and owner of local plant-based lipstick brand, Just Lippy, has always been passionate about fashion, cosmetics and colour, and was inspired to create her own lipstick line after looking further into some of the ingredients found in typical lipsticks.

“I started getting really tired of trying to read ingredients, and especially [the lists] that were just getting longer and longer – if you could even read them,” she says.

“I was trying to get my perfect red … So I developed a formula for that.”

After her first range grew to over 20 colours, Karen turned her attention to the amount of plastic involved in a lipstick tube. She’s recently launched her latest collection in reusable and recyclable aluminium pots – the lipstick can be applied with a brush or with fingertips for a ‘smudged’ look.

Karen has long been on the hunt for the perfect shade of red lipstick, starting her lipstick line Just Lippy in 2016. Shop via justlippy.com.au

“There’s at least half a dozen different components in a lipstick tube, and they can’t be recycled,” she says. “You can send them off to special programs but getting customers to bring those back – they just don’t do it.”

The colour range has also undergone an overhaul, with Karen eliminating the bright colour pigment ingredients derived from coal and petroleum. But this has also meant she has had to farewell her beloved ‘Chanel red’.

“My first red was called ‘red number one’, and it was that really bright [red], which I still love,” she says.

“But I thought ‘well, I have to change my behaviour if I want my customers to change theirs’. So that’s where we’re at.”

The new range now uses synthetic oxides for its three colour options and has no excess packaging or plastic labels.

“The oxides are non-toxic, and they are long lasting,” Karen says.

“Generally speaking, packaging is very beautiful to look at, but all we’re doing is taking out the thing that we want and chucking out the rest.

“I don’t want to put any more plastic out there into the world.”

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