Empowering Every Woman to be Beautiful

Priia Cosmetics Give Away

In my workshops and for my personal use, I’ve slowly switched my makeup allegiance to indie/natural beauty lines versus the big brands. I don’t want to use or promote harmful chemicals, irritating fillers and all of the other things that are common practice with the department store brands.

But I’m careful not to jump on every “natural” marketing bandwagon. When it comes to buying healthy cosmetics, discernment is key. Not everything that labels itself as natural or organic can be trusted because right now there aren’t any FDA regulations in place to deem what is actually “natural.”

With that in mind, I’m cautious about promoting a particular brand based on their company literature. When Kelley Maddison, A Licensed Esthetician and a personal friend, told me she was going to “create” a truly healthy mineral makeup and skin care line, I thought she meant she was going to purchase an existing private label line and slap her new company’s logo on it.

Nothing could have been further from Kelley’s mind.

Priia Cosmetics launched this past Sunday after more than a year of research and experimentation. Here’s Kelley’s story.

Todra: When I met you, you had finished your esthetics license and your medical esthetics certification and you were opening your skin care practice. You contacted me because you bought the book I co-authored on becoming a makeup artist.

Kelley: God, that seems like a long time ago.

Todra: It was. I remember you were intrigued by makeup and good at doing it, but your passion wasn’t just about making people beautiful. You were really focused on teaching your day spa clients healthy skin care. You were doing a lot of really high tech treatments I’d never heard of for acne and other skin conditions. How did that translate into you creating a makeup line?

Kelley: I didn’t start out with the idea of formulating a makeup line, although I’ve always loved makeup. My business was specializing in treating problematic skin types. After the treatments, my female clients would inquire about makeup.

At the time I was, like many other salons/spas, carrying a private label mineral line. I chose mineral makeup because of the knowledge I have about skin treatment. Most traditional makeup lines have a lot of chemicals and stuff that I’m not comfortable putting on my clients.

Todra: So you actually started out with someone else’s line in your business?

Kelley: Oh, Yeah.

Todra: Well, that seems a lot easier than going into a lab and making your own! I mean, there are so many mineral lines out there today. Why did you want to add another one to the market?

Kelley: I found that the makeup I was carrying just wasn’t working well. It was either too heavy, too cakey or too dry. Or if a client had oily skin, the makeup would just slide off – there’d be makeup meltdown within an hour of putting the foundation on.

Todra: Well, that’s not working. I know my clients would be upset if something I applied didn’t last throughout the day.

Kelley: Exactly. And as a small business, it wasn’t cost effective for me to try every private label out there to find one that was really amazing. And some of the things I wanted to include as skin treatments in the products just weren’t available. I couldn’t find foundations with the natural ingredients I wanted on the market.

Todra: Really? I see all sorts of healthy sounding stuff listed on makeup today. A big one is Vitamin C – everyone’s bragging about how their product has Vitamin C in it. Let’s see, what else? I don’t know. I can’t think of others, but you know what I mean. They’re like, “We have snail slime in our makeup – it’s anti-aging.”

Kelley: (laughing) I don’t add Vitamin C or Vitamin A or certain anti-oxidants to my makeup. Here’s why: Those ingredients need a delivery system to work with the skin. When it’s in a powdered makeup form, it can’t penetrate. It just sits on the skin and oxydizes. It actually creates more problems for your skin.

Todra: So you’re saying that companies that are touting stuff like green tea in makeup – it’s marketing fluff?

Kelley: You got it. Makeup isn’t meant to penetrate the skin, so if you’re adding ingredients that need to penetrate the skin to work…

Todra: Okay, I get it. I’ve been suckered. So what about the healthy sounding stuff you have in your line – orchid oil, goji berries, acai…

Kelley: Remember – as an esthetician first, my focus is skin treatment. The things that I’ve added, they work topically without needing a delivery system. They work on the surface of the skin. I added beneficial things like jojoba oil. And yes, orchid oil, goji berries. I have pro-vitamin B5 (a moisturizer that helps to repair skin) and allantoin (which helps regenerate new healthy skin cells). When you put the two together they are like a super team for your skin. I add Bisabolol which is the active ingredient from the chamomile plant.

Todra: What does it do?

Kelley: It’s an extreme anti inflammatory. It’s wonderful. And it’s not a chemical.

Todra: Now, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. Aren’t all mineral lines in their very nature “healthy”? I mean, it seems nice to have these extra treatments in the makeup, but aren’t all mineral lines healthy to begin with?

Kelley: Yes, But… many of them are coated with silicone or they add cheap fillers such as bismuth and oxychloride that add volume to their makeup. But it also adds that extreme shininess that most mineral makeup has.

Todra: I hate that. When I initially tried a very big, popular mineral line (hint: they have television commercials) I was annoyed at the high gleam in the foundations. It made the skin look radioactive or something. And I couldn’t use it on television shoots at all. The shimmer made every wrinkle noticeable.

Kelley: It does. It looks very unnatural and for some people, it irritates their skin.
Talc is another filler that settles into fine lines and creases. I don’t put talc in my products.

Todra: Wow. I need to go home and read the backs of some of my bottles. I’ve been slowly changing everything over to mineral lines. The last item to go is my Nars Orgasm blush. I try to throw it away and I just can’t. But I’m ranting. Never mind.

Let’s talk about your colors. I had the pleasure of testing your foundation shades for women of color before you launched. I was sticking foundation colors all over my body and on friends and my husband because I wanted to see if you got this right. So many brands can’t do tan, caramel and brown colors well. But you got it right on.

Kelley: Thank you. I have 28 foundation colors in all. 14 of them are for women of color.

Todra: I have to tell you, most lines don’t carry that many “ethnic” shades. I think M.A.C. and Becca are probably the only ones I can think of off the top of my head. It’s expensive to launch with that many colors. And I know it’s more difficult to create the darker shades.

Kelley: It was expensive for me to launch with so many foundation colors, but I couldn’t just launch with ten shades. I wanted as many women as possible to be able to use my brand. I wanted to make the transition from summer foundation to winter foundation easy for women. I have Golden Ivory 1 for winter, Golden Ivory 2 for summer. Your winter color, Copper Bronze would become Bronze Fire in the summer.

Todra: I love Copper Bronze. I’ve not tried Bronze Fire yet. But I’m sure I’ll be ordering some. I have to say I'm surprised that it’s not ashy.

Kelley: I use very low levels of titanium dioxide in the brown colors. They will never turn ashy.

Todra: Great. So tired of seeing brands turning out gray foundations for black women. And just to quickly touch on the other stuff – you have a full line of gorgeous color products – lip glosses, blushes, bronzers, skin highlighters, concealers. Everything a girl could want in vibrant, beautiful colors without the nasty junk. I love it.

Okay, this interview is getting too long. I wanted to talk about your skin care because I’ve used that and fallen in love with the powdered masks that let me add my own water or honey or milk. It’s so cool.

Kelley: We can talk about them. I have time.

Todra: Yeah, I bet. Your site has lots of info about your skin care, so I'm going to direct them there so we can save some time here. www.priia.com You really did a great job on your site, by the way. Really pretty.

I want to touch on your PETA approval and your Truth in Labeling Pledge because I love that you did that.

Kelley: We were certified by PETA’s Caring Consumer Program. There’s a website sponsored by PETA where consumers can go to find companies whose products are certified cruelty free. No animal testing. No purchasing raw materials from companies who test on animals.

We’ve also signed the Truth in Labeling Pledge. Even though the FDA does not require us to divulge any ingredients in our formulas that are less than 1%, we tell everything! That’s what the Truth in Labeling Pledge is.

Todra: Cool. And you’ve promised a discount for my blog readers, no?

Kelley: Yes. From now through March 31, anyone who logs onto my site, Priia and places an order on anything other than samples will get a 10% discount with the code TODRA10.

Todra: Fantastic. Thank you. And I’m doing my own lip gloss giveaway. Readers who respond to this post by March 22, will be entered into a drawing to win a free Priia lip gloss of their choice.

Priia Cosmetics are:

# Paraben-Free
# Sulphate-Free
# Petrochemical-Free
# Phthalate-Free
# Synthetic Fragrance-Free
# Propylene Glycol-Free
# Alcohol-Free
# Formaldehyde-Free
# Mineral Oil & Lanolin-Free
# Diethanolamine (DEA) & Triethanolamine (TEA)-Free
# Tetrasodium EDTA-Free
# Stearate- Free
# Cruelty-Free

Here's a shot of me in Priia's Copper Bronze Foundation