Many makeup artists have chosen a cruelty-free life and refuse to even work with brands that still test on animals. Shania O’Brien speaks to makeup artist Rae Morris about her recent decision to ban the usage of fur in her best-selling brushes and go 100% vegan.
This beauty mogul is an influential makeup artist, best-selling author, and four-time winner of Australian Makeup Artist of the Year. Morris is also the longest serving Makeup Director for L’Oreal Paris (2003-2013); and has been inducted into multiple Halls of Fame.
Morris recently announced that she would stop using fur for her best-selling brush collection after NGO PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) released a video exposé of China’s badger brush industry. The video details how even ‘protected’ badgers are illegally hunted in the wild using cruel methods like snares. Most of the badgers are shown to be confined in small cages and raised in captivity before being brutally killed for paint, makeup, and shaving brushes.
While Morris previously used badger fur for her Magnetic Brush Range, she has now committed to going completely vegan. “Rae Morris is a leader in the beauty industry,” says PETA’s Emily Rice. “Now, the award-winning author is leading the way again committing to 100% vegan brushes, preventing gentle badgers – and all other animals – from being beaten with crude instruments before their throats are cut.”
Can you tell us why you’ve decided to ban fur?
“I chose to do this many years ago, and it’s the right thing to do for all brands. We took extensive steps to ensure we sourced ethically and cruelty free, but it still never felt right. The only way to be 100% sure is to ban fur completely … and it’s the best thing I ever did! I would really love for all brands to align and do the same thing.”
Do we really need fur in brushes?
“We don’t need natural hair in brushes anymore. The technology is out there, hence why I now use patented fibres that are vegan. They are softer than natural hair yet strong enough to use on all cream and powder base products. The most important aspects of a brush are the design of the head and the fibre combination used to fit a specific application and there is no compromise in using vegan fibres.”
What material will you use for your best-selling collection of brushes going forward?
“I’m so happy to say, we’ll be sticking with the material we changed to two years ago, because the technology is still so advanced.”
Do you think the change will affect the smooth application of makeup?
“The patented fibre works better as I’ve been able to duplicate the porosity of my favourite existing hair fibres but make them better. The fibres we use replicate the structure of natural hairs but are stronger and more consistent (because they are not dependent on how an animal is treated) so as a designer I have much more flexibility and predictability – I’ve been able to create my best brushes yet!”
How do you feel about skin-testing on animals?
“I simply won’t do it, and I won’t sell in any market that requires testing on animals.
I hope I feel like the rest of the world does, when it comes to makeup, it should be banned. I’m developing innovative products right now. The great news is it is harder to find manufacturers who do animal testing.”
Do you think vegan products are better quality than animal products? Do they generally last longer?
“Absolutely! I think the cosmetic world has had a shake up, thanks to social media, and many brands have been called out. Hence, laboratories had to implicate changes to not only make brands more vegan but to also have the technology and formulations to stabilise them.”
Why should more brands and makeup artists commit to going vegan?
“Because at no point is it ok to have an animal suffer for vanity. NEVER.”
What are other ways you think the beauty industry can commit to protecting animals?
“Contribute back, for example donate a small percentage to charities like PETA, because they do the work that not many people want to do. Also, we need to call out brands that are not conforming.”
Why do you think the industry should try to use more sustainable products?
“I can’t wait until the day the words ‘vegan’ and ‘environmental ingredients’ are just in the fine print of all beauty products (I was going to say ‘clean’ but until that’s regulated and rules are put in place, such as a checklist, that word is very misleading).”
Do you think vegan products can be rebranded to appear as a luxury good?
“Luxury is luxury, and yes you can have mass market and luxury vegan products, it does take more than being vegan to be luxury, there are some amazing luxury brands in the market, RMS, Rare Beauty, and of course ‘Rae Morris’ to name a few.”
This article first appeared in the July/August issue of Professional Beauty magazine.
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