Vogue beauty editors are raving about this new vegan lipstick from Norwich
- Credit: Juni Cosmetics
Madeleine White has always had sensitive skin, which means that she’s prone to suffering reactions to cosmetic products and food.
When she became a model and trained as a make-up artist, going on to work in the fashion, film and advertising industries, she was always surrounded by pots and tubes of products and started educating herself about their ingredients and how her skin, and that of clients, reacted to them.
“I started looking at what I could do to calm these reactions and taught myself about ingredients and skincare,” she says.
And that set her on the path to creating her own beauty brand, Juni Cosmetics. Her first capsule collection of luxury lipsticks, which are 100 per cent plastic free, vegan and organic, launched in the spring and have already won plaudits from fashion industry insiders, including the beauty team at Vogue.
The brand – which is named after her grandmother, June and her birthday month - has been a labour of love for Madeleine and her mum, Suzanne, who run the company together in Norwich. She admits that she went into it quite naively.
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“I laugh with my mum that I thought I could get a business up and running in three months for £10,000,” she says. “But it was a genuine way of creating something.”
Madeleine wanted her products, which are made in the UK, to be sustainable without compromising on luxury and sophistication. Determined to be 100 per cent plastic free meant being innovative with their packaging – from the bullet the lipstick comes in, to the packaging it’s mailed out in.
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Although the wider beauty industry is making great strides in cutting back on waste – some brands now offer refill and recycling schemes, she says that the development process was eye opening.
For example, many lipsticks still have plastic components to twist the lipstick out of the case.
Juni lipsticks come in an aluminium ‘bullet’ with a slide mechanism. Madeleine collects vintage make-up and the octagonal, architectural design is inspired by a silver lipstick case from the 1930s.
“It wasn’t until we were looking at packaging I realised the scale of the problem,” says Madeleine. “So many products are being manufactured every year and most products will get used once and never again.
“As well as making it beautiful, it was really important to me that we made it clean and sustainable – I've always been interested in doing my bit for the environment. Aluminium is infinitely recyclable and actually does get recycled. I’m really proud of it. If you hold one of the lipsticks they’re really tactile and heavy.”
Their packaging has been certified by A Plastic Planet and they won a Silver award in the luxury category of the 2020 Pentawards, a leading competition for packaging design.
The lipstick itself was developed by Madeleine and a UK-based chemist. Wanting them to be flattering for any age and skin colour, they have created a capsule collection of five colours.
As well as looking good, Madeleine wanted the product to do good as well and it contains botanical hyaluronic acid, which conditions, plumps and hydrates the lips a little more every time you wear it.
Juni Cosmetics launched at the end of April, in the middle of the first lockdown and has already been featured by style bibles including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, much to Madeleine’s delight.
“It’s great to be recognised by people who are working with products all the time,” she says. “For the beauty editors at Vogue to like our product is very exciting.”
It takes a long time to get a beauty product from concept to launch and Juni Cosmetics will continue to focus on lipsticks and lip care products which are plastic free, vegan and organic.
Madeleine says that it’s been “amazing” to come full circle and launch a cosmetics brand in Norwich as she started her career working at the beauty hall in Jarrold. She is particularly grateful to city-based Quickfire Digital which worked with them the launch.
“It’s such a supportive community. Quickfire Digital have been invaluable. There are so many great models, photographers and product designers based here and that’s really special,” she says.
Find out more here junicosmetics.com