The beauty industry is a funny old business. On the one hand, makeup can be seen an empowering tool, helping those who wear it feel more confident about their appearance. On the other, it can be seen to set ridiculous and unachievable standards that both men and women can’t adhere to, providing fixed and unrealistic expectations of beauty. You can be torn between buying the best products on the market that come with unethical consequences; are the cosmetics safe? Does that company test on animals? But the idea of beauty is changing, and for the better. As well as opening up to new ideals of what it is to be attractive, the business of beauty is changing thanks to a number of companies that know the true meaning of beauty.
One such company is the newly launched Kohl Kreatives. Run by makeup artist Trishna Daswaney, Kohl Kreatives is a multifaceted enterprise that alongside selling a range of animal-friendly and cruelty-free brushes whose proceeds go to charity, it also offers free makeup consultations to transitioning transgender people and cancer patients that want to learn how to use makeup in a transformative way.
Having just launched its Shapes Collection, a new collection of specially designed freestanding brushes, we met with the company’s founder to discover more about the ethos behind the brand.
Hi Trishna, tell us a little about how you first started Kohl Kreatives.
As a teenager I was bullied for my appearance, it always made me feel inferior. But something about putting makeup on my face gave me a brand new identity and confidence.
Throughout high school, I desperately wanted work in cosmetics. I loved doing makeup for charity fashion shows – showcasing my skills and refining them. Alongside my degree in Management at the University of Nottingham, I decided I would take on building a portfolio and professionally training as a makeup artist.
I spent two years building a portfolio, getting commercial work and building my credibility so I could build a brand that empowers people through the power of makeup – helping them to be able to use makeup as armour. Today Kohl Kreatives is based on this vision.
Where did the idea of the brushes’ shapes and materials come from?
As a makeup artist and a huge fan of make-up, brushes were the first tools I learned to use, and with that came the understanding of what brushes I like to use, how I use them and of course, how could I make them better. The shapes of the brushes are inspired by the contours of the face, every area in our face has a different shape and a different need. The circles are dense enough for blending – following the base of the face in a flawless manner. The rectangles are great for sculpting and structuring as seen in contouring. But our small rectangle is perfect for eyeliner, lipliner and brows. To be honest, the square brush is my baby. It fits the point of your cupids bow effortlessly, and it helps get in under eye corners and blends beautifully on the eyes.
The synthetic polymer on the brushes is designed for sensitivity – being vegan and non-animal derived means that they’re great for sensitive skin. A lot of the people I see are going through skin sensitivity – whether it’s from their hormone replacement and changes, chemotherapy, acne, allergies. It is important to touch on that. The other benefit of synthetics is that you can use them in any medium – cream, liquid or powder. All, of course, tying in with the multi-purpose aspect, my face is different to your face and what you may use for a blusher I may use for a foundation. I like to encourage experimentation and understanding your face and what works for you.
And let’s not forget – they stand! The fact that they stand means they are so hassle free.
What sets Kohl Kreatives aside from other cosmetics companies?
It’s makeup for everybody – and I really mean that. Yes, we tick all the boxes – it’s vegan, cruelty-free but our message means so much more than that. We encourage you to be who you are and create the creations that boost your confidence. And how nice is it, that if you purchase something from us, it’s going to then go back into helping someone who needs it – someone that doesn’t have the confidence to walk into a store and try on foundation. Someone that can’t go in and ask I’ve lost an eyebrow, please help me fix it. Someone that just doesn’t know where to start. We’re here to help, and we understand that everybody has an individual beauty need, it’s more than just skin deep it’s tailored to each and every individual.
Being an ethical company is obviously super important to you, and all your products are vegan and cruelty-free too. In your opinion should more beauty brands try to be more ethical minded?
Kohl Kreatives is ethical because as a company we believe in the equal treatment of all creatures, humans and animals. I believe that in today’s society the beauty industry should try and make a shift to become more ethically minded. Having said that it is up to individual brands to make these decisions for themselves.
Can you explain more about the makeup consultancy you run?
We run free skincare and makeup workshops on a weekly basis. I see a variety of people with different questions from “What is the best way to manage my acne prone skin” to “How can I do a smokey eye?” We offer them a safe place to experiment and understand their skin and features better. We work on either reconstructing features so loss of brows and lashes, or on facial feminisation or masculinisation. We also endeavour to cover any basics or looks they hope to achieve.
When did you decide to start the free makeup consultancy?
As soon as I started training in makeup and hair, I realised I wanted to be able to share the feeling I get when I use makeup – the confidence boost and the power it gives me. I was actually watching My Sister’s Keeper on a flight from Hong Kong to London. The scene where Kate goes to the prom and is all made up and wigged out, I thought ‘wow you wouldn’t even know she’s battling some intense form of cancer’. Followed by the thought of ‘I can do this, I can use this skill and make people rebuild and discover a part of their lives’.
How does the consultancy change the lives of the people that attend the makeup sessions?
Imagine feeling trapped in your body, but not knowing where to start. Imagine wanting to learn how to use eyeliner, but nobody taught you when you were growing up or you were too embarrassed to go to the shops. I love that we teach them skills, and then they can practice, refine and do forever. My favourite part is just the smiles and the stories. Every one of the clients I’ve seen are so strong, “strong” by asking for the help, “strong” by pushing through what they’re going through. It really puts life into perspective.
Where can people attend the classes?
I do workshops everywhere! I contact a variety of support groups and do an intro session via the support group, then we arrange for one-on-one sessions. Even when travelling to places like Hong Kong we run workshops there too. It is definitely something I intend to carry out everywhere I can and expand on this service.
If people would like to arrange a workshop or enquire about them, the information is on our website www.kohlkreatives.com