It is no secret that cruelty-free and vegan beauty is on the rise. With consumers educating themselves on the industry, they are championing brands whose focus is on this. Partnered with products that are effective and eye-catching, niche labels like Milk Makeup which has just arrived to the region, are creating demand like never before. Co-Founder Zanna Roberts Rassi shares the key to its success.
What drew you to the world of beauty?
Like most people in magazines, I interned my sneakers off before my big break! This came at Marie Claire in the UK where I started as a beauty assistant at age 22. From there I worked my way up the masthead (so to speak) to beauty and style editor over the course of 4 years, under the amazing guidance of Susanna Cohen and Nicola Moulton. Good mentors are the key!
Why did you decide to launch Milk Makeup?
Milk Makeup is inspired by the community of tastemakers and early adopters that inhabit the walls of Milk Studios — which is the crossroad of creative industries: fashion, beauty, photography, music, and art. The best in class and the next generation; whether they be in the studios shooting major campaigns, the gallery at an exhibition, or in the Jam Room partying late night!
I met my now-husband, Rassi, when I was still a beauty editor at Marie Claire UK. He’s a co-founder and the creative director of Milk Studios. He and I would talk a lot about what a line would look like for Milk Makeup. With all this living inspiration constantly around us, it was inevitable that a consumer spinoff would be born. However, it was only when Rassi brought myself and our brilliant partners Georgie Greville (creative director and film director) and Dianna Ruth (COO and product wizard) together, that it became a reality.
What is the ethos behind the brand?
At Milk Makeup, our community and culture have always been our inspiration. We see personal style and experimentation as the ultimate form of self-expression. It’s not just about how you create your look; it’s what you do in it that matters.
These days, what we do means more than ever. “Live Your Look” captures the essence of our ethos as a community and as a brand. We create our products to be tools to help our community to express themselves and to live their look every day. Our products are easy to use on the go, offer multiple benefits, have clean ingredients, and epic payoff. And, they are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Why was being a 100% vegan brand so important to you?
Being vegan was a no-brainer for us. It’s something we did for our community – we believed that they should have a choice in the makeup they wear, the same way they have a choice in the foods they eat. If you live a vegan lifestyle, you should have vegan products. My biggest skin care tip is to be aware of the ingredients you’re putting on your face. We were sure to make ours completely free of any “nasties.” No parabens, harsh dyes, 100% vegan, and cruelty-free. We believe in good ingredients, epic payoff.
Do you feel that the beauty community is embracing diversity faster than other industries?
The beauty community is very vocal, innovative, and digitally-savvy. The rise of online social platforms (Instagram, YouTube, and now TikTok) allows voices from all different backgrounds and all different ages to share beauty advice (not just the lady behind the counter in your department store)!
What is your most popular formula?
What product are you most proud of?
Kush Mascara was the most challenging but is the most rewarding product that we’re extremely proud of. We are a vegan brand so we didn’t want to put beeswax in the mascara. To get that into a mascara, to get the fibers, the right consistency, to get the packaging built to the perfect weight and to develop and develop the mascara brush is not an easy task. There were so many iterations but we ended up with the perfect combo in the end, with a tree brush.
We wanted a weighty package so you can find it at the bottom of your bag, so we had it made in Italy, with the manufacturers of a very fast luxury Italian car. This was an extraordinarily considered mascara. It took us years to create it, and there was a new issue every day, every day a new problem to solve. We solved them all.
What formulas do you think women in the Middle East will love the most?
I’ll say Lip & Cheek. It’s a buildable, blendable color that livens up your entire face in flash. Dab, dab, done!
What is your personal beauty routine?
AM – Flash Mask — Shower — Brightening Serum — VMM
PM – VM Cleanser — Sunshine Oil — Melatonin Serum and Melatonin overnight lip mask.
And go to beauty look?
Highlighter – Accentuates the parts that need accentuating! Cupids bow, cheekbones decollate etc.
Matte Bronzer – I fake cheekbones, muscle tone on arms, and tan on legs!
Lip & Cheek – It’s a buildable color that melts on contact with body heat (thanks to Milk Melt Technology) so it glides on and livens up your entire face in flash.
What’s next for Milk Makeup?
Our priority has always been and remains to be a platform for creativity and self-expression for our community. With our community increasingly online and global, we are more focused than ever on new social platforms and content that will engage and connect. We are also more focused than ever on giving back to our community and working to improve our sustainability.
Milk Makeup is available at Sephora.ae
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