the Reads: Hair & Make-up

An interview with Justine Jenkins

the Antidote to... animal testing

The Antidote had a quick fire round of questions with cosmetic cruelty-free ambassador and celebrity makeup artist Justine Jenkins about the reality of the relationship between animal testing and cosmetics, and how we should – and can – all strive for a cruelty-free make-up bag.

How did you first break into the beauty industry? And were you aware of the extent to which big beauty companies were exploiting innocent animals?

I’d worked my way up in the City to become a stock market dealer. However, since the age of 17 I had secretly yearned to be a makeup artist. I got to my late 20’s and just said to myself, ‘It’s now or never’. Something took over and I had this laser point focus. Luckily, a chance encounter led me to meet a wonderful film makeup artist who took me under her wing. I was still working in the City at the time, so I used all of my annual holiday leave to work as her trainee on the most wonderful film sets. I went from feeling despondent in a job that I knew wasn’t for me, to feeling elated being on set of a Tim Burton movie.

I then worked morning, noon and night to create my portfolio and, with that, I eventually got into college; I left my City job and re-trained. Before I’d even started college, I managed to get a job at MTV. Back then there were no online tutorials, so I read any makeup book I could find and offered my services for free. I work as an assistant to brilliant makeup artists from whom I learned a great deal about the industry. 

I studied fashion and media makeup at college and then went on to do a degree in film makeup, which included prosthetics. After a few years in film, I decided beauty was for me and I haven’t looked back since. It wasn’t until I attended a lecture by a biochemist from a popular natural skincare company that I discovered many well-known brands are still having their products tested on animals. I thought she was being ridiculous – surely animal testing in the beauty industry ceased decades ago? When I was 18 (I wont tell you how long ago that was!) I went on anti vivisection marches and as an animal lover and a make-up artist, surely I would know if this were happening? Let’s face it, on pretty much every brand website it states, “We don’t test on animals”. She told me to go home and research it and so I did. I then uncovered the ugly truth about the beauty industry. Animals are indeed still being tested on and going through extreme pain and cruelty – all for a new mascara or shampoo! 

Do you have an insight into the key beauty brands that don’t test on animals and is there a website you can look at to check these things?

When faced with hundreds of different products, it can be difficult to tell which ones are cruelty-free. I advise consumers to look out for the Leaping Bunny logo. This proves the brand does not test on animals. Leaping Bunny regularly audit these brands to ensure the list can be used by people who want to buy cruelty free. The Body Shop, Dermalogica and Burt’s Bees all have bunny approval.  

What are a few of your favourite cruelty free products?

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream, £33 – hands down one of my favourite primers. It’s packed with organic nutrients, so you are treating your skin with the best ingredients possible. This product is a game changer. Every one of my clients loves it

Fresh Tinted Sugar Rose Tinted Lip, £20 – I have recently added this product to my kit due to its exclusive blend of moisture-preserving sugar, nourishing precious oils and unique buildable coverage to customise a sheer or rich hue. The product can also be used as a cheek blush protecting the face with SPF 15. 

Delilah’s Farewell Cream Concealer, £24 – this concealer provides undetectable coverage, ensuring that the skin looks visibly smoother and softer but avoiding the dry and cakey look. I love this product so much that I have one in by personal kit as well as in the kit for my clients!

If you had to pick one product to fit in an inconveniently small clutch bag what would it be?

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, £19 – this large lip pencil stamps out the need for a separate lip liner and lipstick and is the perfect size to do both jobs.