It’s no secret we live in a toxic world. We’re exposed to a multitude of chemicals every day in everything from our food to our personal care. Right now we’re in the middle of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and some folk believe this is partly due to our being less than effective custodians of Planet Earth.
Reports are coming in thick and fast of how pollution is reducing, the air is clearing, stars are visible and wildlife is populating waters in areas where this has been unknown in the recent past.
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Many toxins are found in our environment. Our personal care and cleaning products are also laden with them. Known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals they play havoc with our hormones. This is the last thing we want as we go through the massive natural fluctuations of perimenopause and, just as importantly, as we transition through into post-menopause.
A lot of beauty and personal care products contain a sub-category of these endocrine disruptors known as xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens mimic the actions of the hormone estrogen and bind to our estrogen receptors contributing to estrogen dominance and exacerbating menopausal symptoms. Some common xenoestrogens include BPA which is found in plastic containers and canned foods, and phthalates, which are widely used in skincare and fragrances.
There are many more and we’ll talk about them in more depth at a later date but for now, we would love to introduce you to Emma Peters, founder of Aleph Beauty.
Aleph is a conscious makeup brand that does double duty as a skin nourisher and beautifier. It’s also free of endocrine-disrupting chemicals and xenoestrogens.
Emma is a makeup artist and changemaker. She recognised several years ago that we live in a time when there’s no need to use masses of chemicals or harm animals and the planet in the pursuit of self care.
That said, she found it difficult to find a brand that ticked all of her boxes so she dove in and created her own. Aleph Beauty honours our wellbeing, the wellness of the animals we share this planet with and the earth itself with clean ingredients, sustainable packaging, and no controversial practices.
WIN WIN WIN
We got together with Emma to talk all things Aleph and to offer you the opportunity to win an Aleph Beauty pack featuring 1 x Concealer/Foundation and 1 x Cheek/Lip tint (in the colours of your choice) plus 1 x Serum/Primer and 1 x vegan Diffuser Brush. This gorgeous gift is valued at $243 NZD and will let you experience how fantastic and effective clean beauty is. Isn’t that exciting?
This competition is now closed, but please read on to find out all about Aleph Beauty.
Tip: If you can’t wait four weeks to find out if you’re a winner you can take a selfie and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for a colour consultation and get your hands on some right now.
Watch the video interview:
(Please excuse the sound in the first couple of seconds, it’s a computer issue.)
If you prefer to read here is the transcript:
(Product images below too.)
Hi, it’s Jennifer here from Team MenoMe and I want to welcome the beautiful Emma Peters, founder of the conscious makeup brand Aleph Beauty, to our video interview today. We’re going to go over some of the ins and outs of Aleph, and why it’s great for us and helpful for our hormones. Hi Emma.
Hi Jenna. Thanks so much for having me. It’s always amazing to catch up with you. I love our chats so this is going to be fun.
Thanks for joining us. I’m so excited to tell people about Aleph because what you’ve created is amazing particularly for our audience because we’re 40+ women, with a sprinkling – I like that analogy – of women in their late 30s who are experiencing hormone change. A lot of the ingredients in mainstream cosmetics, as you no doubt know, can play havoc with your hormones, which is exactly what we don’t need.
Exactly. It’s frustrating seeing so many of these hormone-disrupting chemicals in our beauty products and so many different age groups at risk of disruption for different reasons. Perimenopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal are a huge group of women who can be affected. It’s essential that people know this to be able to weed out these ingredients wherever possible. Makeup is a good place to be able to do it because we can now get some good stuff [ingredients] that function really well without all the nasty chemicals.
Which is exciting! You’re a makeup artist, aren’t you?
I am. I’ve been a makeup artist for a long time now – over two decades. I’ve stopped counting! I’ve been in the industry in lots of different realms from film to fashion to TV to advertising and I have lots of personal clients as well. Throughout the years I studied – unofficially because it’s what lights me up – health, nutrition, and wellbeing. At a certain point I came to the realisation that – after talking to my clients and anybody else who I had in my makeup chair about healthy living and healthy eating – that, oh my goodness, the products I was using could actually be detrimental to health. So, there was a point between 10/15 years ago, that I started to shift from using conventional products to more natural products.
You were ahead of your time really because it wasn’t a big, big thing then.
It was difficult because the natural products that were available were very few and far between. There were only a handful of products around the world and they fell short for me as a makeup artist in terms of their function and in terms of their overall branding. You want makeup to make you look and feel good, but you also want to feel good buying the product and using it. There were a lot of things missing way back and it took a long time for better brands to appear on the scene. It was tricky to start with that’s for sure.
You didn’t go straight into developing your own products, did you?
No. Initially I started out with an online makeup course where I chose to use bits and pieces of natural makeup I had discovered, but that would be a product from one brand that fit my criteria and another product from a different brand and they were supplemented with all of the conventional stuff because there wasn’t enough around. As time went on, I started to gather various products and pulled together an online natural beauty store. We launched it in about 2011 so it was a long time ago. It was a very small curated store. Then as more and more brands came onto the scene, I managed to populate the store with more and more but it was still very limited in terms of what would function beautifully and have the right ingredients with none of the wrong ingredients.
Over time that developed into Belle and Sage, which was an online natural beauty platform offering information on a Blog and the natural beauty shop. I had always believed I had my own brand within me and I’d thought that would just slide into Belle & Sage somehow. But there came a time where I had to make a decision because starting a brand is quite a lot of work and I needed to put 110% focus into it. So I let Belle & Sage go and walked away to start on the journey with Aleph.
How did you begin the process and what was your criteria?
Aleph had to tick all of the boxes. Firstly, clean ingredients that are good for you. Not only do we want to remove toxins when we’re putting our makeup over the large surface area of the face every day but we also want to be doing the skin some good. So, I wanted toxin-free clean beauty. The packaging had to be sustainable as well because I found a lot of brands would be organic and they’d function okay – tick, tick – but they used a ton of plastic packaging which let them down.
“One of our taglines is ‘People, Planet, and Animal Friendly’.”
I wanted to look after everything as a whole because one cannot exist without the other. Making sure we made the best decisions with every step we took in order to consider all of those aspects and get everything in alignment was key.
“Packaging is an important consideration for Aleph.”
It needs to be recyclable, reusable, and compostable wherever possible.
“Cruelty-free is a big thing for us as well.”
Of course, everybody’s going cruelty-free so it’s a no brainer but I wanted to take it a step further and make it a vegan brand because I don’t think it’s necessary to use animal products in cosmetics. I can’t see a ‘for sure’ way for animal products to be produced without cruelty in some way.
So, we removed that out of the picture and made sure the entire brand is cruelty-free – no animal testing and no animal products.
The people, planet, and no animal product were important aspects to the brand development, but it also had to function amazingly because, you know, it couldn’t not.
Waste Not, Want Not
The other amazing point to Aleph – and this is something that comes from my experience as a makeup artist – is that it reduces waste.
It used to get me down opening my drawers or kit and seeing piles of products that all do much the same thing but I’d never actually get to the bottom and end up having to clear half of it out because it was past its use-by date, yet it was still two thirds full. All of that wastage goes to the landfill. If you think about it, really break it right down and think about it, there’s product in a foundation bottle that might’ve gone off and is now in the landfill because there’s no [easy] way to open it, scoop it out, clean the bottle and recycle it. So the entire thing’s in the landfill.
A lot of it’s water. Can you imagine how much trapped water is in cosmetics, in the landfill and not back into the atmosphere? It’s mind-blowing.
“It was important [to me] that we kept the range concise because all you need are a few key products to be able to create a beautiful look.”
And we wanted to make them multifunctional as well so that you could mix and match your products to be able to create even more versatility and looks from your makeup. That way you’re most likely going to use it the entire way through before replacing it and moving onto the next one. So there’s no wastage. Also, you’ve got the ability to create infinite possibilities with those few key bits and pieces.
That’s Aleph in a nutshell really.
That’s wonderful because we all want multitaskers, don’t we?
Exactly. It takes up much less space and you don’t get that feeling of…ooh…excess.
I’m pronouncing it Aleph. Is that right?
It’s actually a Hebrew word. It’s the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and in Hebrew it’s pronounced Ah-Lef. I toyed around with different pronunciations in the beginning because of the way I saw the word and the way it rolled off my tongue. We came back to the fact that it’s a Hebrew word so we’re going to pronounce it the way it is traditionally pronounced.
What does it mean?
Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and it means a lot more than just the letter A or the number one. It encompasses oneness. I was looking for something that would mean oneness and bringing everything together. I loved the definitions I found when I was researching Aleph and its meanings. It’s a lot deeper and broader than just A or one. It has a beautiful vibration to it.
It’s difficult to come up with names. I know that. And I know you spent a lot of time in ‘nameland’ and put a lot of thought into it.
Yes. Not only do you have to come up with a name that’s going to mean something, but there’s the trademarking process and finding something that’s going to fit within the key markets we’re intending to go into. We got lucky with Aleph. We came up with a few other words and a couple of times I was like, that’s it! That’s it! It’s perfect! Then we’d Google it and we’d find it was in the process of being trademarked or had just been registered. It’s funny how a particular brand name wants to get out there. It doesn’t care who it’s going with, it’s going to get out there. It’s also interesting how two people can come to the same conclusion at pretty much the same time – it happened a couple of times.
That is interesting. So. Without stealing your formulas [smiles], what are a couple of the ingredients you use? Because xenoestrogens – the term for some of those hormone disruptors that we were talking about very broadly in the beginning – are ingredients that can muck with our hormones. This can happen in both men and women actually, but we focus on women, so what would be a few of your ingredients that are pure and gorgeous?
We’ve got so many. Everything I choose is chosen through a process. We try to go with organic ingredients to start with wherever possible. In the colour cosmetics realm, it’s not possible for everything to be certified as organic because it’s two separate things. We also go for Ecocert or COSMOS certification. These are certifications that ensure the ingredients are produced in a certain way and that they’re not harmful to people. We also make sure everything is natural. In terms of specific ingredients, we’ve got so many that it’s very hard to list. Jojoba oil is one of our favourites because it’s very close to the skin’s natural sebum.
It’s great for oily skin too because it will help to balance out the skin but it’s also nourishing to dry skin. The combination of all of the ingredients we have are there to pack a punch in terms of nourishment, so they’re highly nourishing to the skin, very balancing and they’re also able to be adjusted to any skin type. And because we have components we can mix and match, a woman can come to her own special formula or routine that will suit her skin type. From dry skin through to oily skin, it’s all in how you use the product and what you pair it with as to how it’s going to work with your skin. We do a lot of customer consultations so it’s quite easy for people to figure out what they need by sending us a message and asking.
We use a lot of – I’m going to say anti-aging for lack of a better word – ingredients, but we’re actually all about proactive aging. When I’m in scientific talks and presentations I love it when they start talking about the metabolism of the skin and working to enhance the mitochondrial function and energy production of the (skin) cells. That’s when my little ‘woop woop’ alarm goes, ‘yep, I need to look into that ingredient’. For example, we use an algae extract that’s all through our Concealer/Foundations, which helps with collagen production and the energy of the cells, and in our Serum/Primer, we have some hibiscus plant cells. They are the plant version of STEM cells that help to get in there and enhance the skin from the inside out.
All of these things layered together help people’s skin improve. We’ve had a lot of customers come to us saying their skin looks different over time, which is amazing. This is exactly what we were aiming for, to create a makeup that the more you wear it the less and less you need because your skin gets better and better. People are wearing it for the feeling of it as opposed to cover, cover, cover. That’s not what it’s about. We want to help people enhance their features and help them look like the best possible version of themselves, not like they’ve painted somebody else’s face on top of their own. That’s been my philosophy throughout my whole career. Helping people to look like themselves, but the best possible version.
Which is what I think most people aim for. As you grow more mature you want something that’s subtle and nourishing. You’re ticking all of the boxes the 40+ woman searches for, and it’s good for her insides as well which has got to be good for mental health. Look good, feel better.
That’s right. It’s funny because the more we age, the more help our skin might need but the less makeup we want to wear. It’s tricky. You need to find what works well for you so you can use the products to enhance without having to put more and more on. Finding tricks that allow you to use a minimal amount for maximum effect. You can do that with Aleph because everything is densely pigmented so you don’t need much. The techniques we teach help you to apply everything seamlessly and naturally so you’re looking like the best version of yourself as well. We have amazing comments from people saying things like: “My husband came home and said, ‘wow, you look amazing, what did you do?'” instead of ‘I like your makeup’. People don’t get comments on their makeup, they get them on their overall look. ‘What are you doing? Have you had a holiday? Have you had a rest?’ It’s really nice to hear.
I love that, that’s gorgeous. Let’s talk about product. What exactly are your products? I think you started with a foundation, and you’ve got a serum/primer which I’d love to ask you about because a lot of serums are too oily for good makeup longevity, and I know you’ve got a great brush. If you could explain what products you’ve got and how they work we’d love that.
Definitely. We started off with the Concealer/Foundation.
It’s a multi-use product combining concealer and foundation that comes in a very small, intense pot that goes for miles. It’s designed to be worn as full coverage when applying with your fingertips, as a medium coverage when buffed in with our Diffuser Brush, and as a light sheer coverage with Serum/Primer. You can achieve this beautifully by adding a couple of drops of the Serum/Primer to the Concealer/Foundation to create a beautiful, silky, velvety coverage. You get all of those different textures and coverages from the one product.
Then we launched a Cheek/Lip Tint for cheeks and lips. The Cheek/Lip Tint shades have all been used on the eyes as well. They’re great as they’re densely pigmented and you can sheer then out into a light colour wash or you can layer them into a stronger colour.
The third product we have is Radiance, which I call our makeup alchemy. Radiance is designed as…well…it would look like your traditional cream highlighter, but it’s actually quite different. It’s a lot firmer than the sticky/creamy highlighter you put on and the wind catches it giving you hair stuck across your face. Radiance warms to the skin so that when applied on the eyelid or the cheek, it stays put and it’s not sticky and slidy. You can also wear it over your lipstick to change the texture and give it a little bit more of a glove, or you can mix it in with your Concealer/Foundation prior to application which gives a beautiful three-dimensional glow to your makeup. So that’s another version of your foundation you can wear as well.
So that’s another version of foundation that you can go for as well. It allows you to change things up.
We have Radiance Moon, which is a more of a champagne coloured highlight and Radiant Sun, which is a golden bronze colour. Depending on what look you want, if you mix the Moon with your foundation, you’re creating a glowy, ethereal face, and if you mix a little bit of Radiant Sun with your foundation, you’re creating more of a bronzy summery beachy look, which is really great.
You can have those different looks all with just a few products.
Then as I mentioned, we have the Diffuser Brush. It’s completely vegan, so no animals are harmed in the process of making these brushes. And then we launched our Serum/Primer late last year.
Again, it’s a multifunctional serum in the way that it’s highly nourishing to the skin. You can use it in place of a moisturiser if your skin’s in the normal spectrum and you can use it on top of your moisturiser because it’s also a primer so you can apply it just before your foundation to help prep your skin for your Concealer/Foundation.
So it’s not oily, can I ask?
No. The texture is oil-based in that it’s free of water. That’s another thing too. So far, to date, our products don’t use any water so we’re minimising the wastage and use of water. Going forward, I can’t say that nothing will contain water, but at this stage, they’re all water-free.
The Serum/Primer is an oil, but it’s a very light oil. It’s made of components of oils. Esters, which means they soak into the skin very fast and don’t leave a slippery oily residue. It gives your skin instant nourishment and also gives a nice velvety texture for your Concealer/Foundation application. It contains some beautiful ingredients like a milk thistle ester, tsubaki which is what the Japanese geishas used to use to prep their skin, and a lot of the ingredients help to hold the pigments to the skin and your makeup to last longer. It’s nice and light and non-greasy.
The Serum/Primer can be also used at night on its own. It doesn’t have to only be used as a primer, it can be used morning and night to get all of the nourishing benefits. It’s got a little bit of Kakadu plum in there as well for a touch of vitamin C – they’re beautiful ingredients.
It’s all so beautiful. When you say that people can have a consultation. Can that be done online?
Definitely. People just need to contact us at email@example.com and we have an amazing skin consultant on the other end who will assist you to find the best colours. She’ll also help you with any concerns about application and advise the best products for your skin.
Wow, that’s amazing. It’s not just you then Emma?
No, we have a team now, which was necessary because we’re growing and it’s very exciting. I do get on to the other end of the colour consults on the weekends. It’s a team effort.
In terms of ordering online, we send out two samples of the Concealer/Foundation that people choose through the colour consult. That way people can try the colour they’ve chosen plus another of their choice to make sure they’ve definitely got the right shade before opening the pot. I know it’s difficult to commit to something online without going into a store and trying it. We try and make it as easy as possible. On top of that – we try and avoid plastic wherever possible – but it just wasn’t possible for the little sample containers so we accept those back. People post them back, we then sterilise them for reuse and credit the customer with a small voucher for their return.
Is Aleph only available online?
Yes. We do have a few retailers dotted around the place and we’re rolling out a few more this year, but at this stage, it’s quite small.
And you’re just a New Zealand?
Just in New Zealand so far.
It’s unfortunate that a global pandemic has reached us, but I know you’re looking at going into Australia, aren’t you?
Yes. We’ll be moving to Australia, not moving to Australia, but we will be moving into Australia next and we have sites elsewhere in the world as well.
But you’ll post to Australia?
Definitely. We’re looking for faster and more efficient ways of getting products to Australia at this stage, even before we have retailers over there. So yes, it’s definitely possible for Australians to order from us. As we come out of this pandemic, or out of lockdown anyway, we will be looking at faster ways to get the products to our customers over there.
That’s wonderful. I really commend you for what you’ve created because I think it’s something we all need. I mean, as women we…most women…love their makeup, love their skin care and want to beautify. It’s kind of in our DNA, but when you can have something that’s…well…first do no harm. But it’s first do no harm to yourself, first do no harm to animals and to the planet. That’s a win-win-win, isn’t it?
Yes. You really can’t viably say you’re doing no harm to yourself if you’re polluting the planet because it comes back in circles and it’s all one big system.
Absolutely. Thank you for coming and joining us and for the gift you’ve given our MenoMe community.
Thank you for having me. It’s been great chatting.
And just in case you missed it…
WIN WIN WIN
Emma’s giving one lucky winner a beautiful Aleph Beauty pack including 1 x Concealer/Foundation and 1 x Cheek/Lip Tint (in your colour choices) plus 1 x Serum/Primer and 1 x Diffuser Brush.
This competition is now closed, but please don’t hesitate to visit Aleph Beauty here.
Kathryn Wells from Auckland is our Aleph Beauty Pack winner.
Kathryn has won this gorgeous gift valued at $243 NZD and will experience how fantastic and effective clean beauty is;
- 1 x Concealer/Foundation
- 1 x Cheek/Lip tint (in the colours of your choice)
- 1 x Serum/Primer
- 1 x vegan Diffuser Brush