A conscious conversation — with Lula Fox
Today we are choosing to share the good news of Lula Fox with you. As women grow in greater awareness around how to take care of themselves from the food on their plate to the products they are using on their skin, so too does the need for real, authentic and transparent brands. Here at Glow we have been actively trying to better understand what goes into our personal care and beauty products and it must be said that at first, it seemed difficult to find the products we needed, however, South Africa is slowly catching fire and Lula Fox is on the front line of those changes. They are in many ways pioneers in the non- toxic beauty world of South Africa and we look forward to sharing their real conversation about why it all began, to what to look out for in your personal products.
Let's start from the beginning, what's behind the name Lula Fox?
We wanted something that inspired old fashioned values, but with a modern twist. We played around with old fashioned names and finally came up with “Lula” as Sinead’s daughter Tallula is often shortened to Lulie or Lula and this just worked for us. Meaningful for us, and inspires classy, solid values. “Fox” gives the modern twist – not only to feel foxy with our makeup, but also smart and wily! Kind of describes who we are – good old fashioned values, but smart, wily and a little fun!
What inspired you to become interested in clean beauty?
Sinead’s husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer 4 years ago and they became very vigilant about what they ate. His cancer was estrogen related and, as subsequent DNA test showed, as a result of him being unable to effectively detoxify estrogens he had picked up from his food, environment and body care products. As Sinead was a make up artist – she knew she couldn’t continue using toxic products and so the desire to educate women and create a clean make up range was started.
What was the process from just being interested in clean beauty to actually developing your own range?
Fiona is a marketing strategist and when Sinead shared her thinking she saw the opportunity to empower women and assist them in easily switching to a cleaner product. The two ladies started investigating bringing an international clean range into the country, but may of the ranges only suited very pale skins and didn’t cater for the full spectrum of South African skin tones, and not to mention that they became very expensive when brought into the country. So – the need to create our own range was born.
What was your first product you made and why, and how did it grow from there?
We absolutely knew that we needed a full range of make up products to be able to support women making a switch. Foundation was our first priority as this is used to cover the majority of the face / largest surface area and thus the biggest place to make an impact with a cleaner version. But we didn’t want to only be a foundation range – we wanted the complete range.
We desperately looked for the manufacturing capability in South Africa, but were unable to find it. We are however in the process of investigating bringing all of our manufacturing into the country in the future. Good for our country’s job creation and good for lowering prices.
Are your products manufactured in South Africa?
We manufacture our body care products here in SA and we have two other manufacturers based in North America for our makeup range.
What is the natural and non toxic process of adding colour(pigment) to make up?
Firstly, it is important to note that it I not just the colour to dye in a product that makes it toxic. Often the caking agents or the basic ingredients can be toxic. In the case of powder for example – it is the base ingredient of Talc, a known carcinogen that is the problem, and less about the colour pigment.
Also, while synthetic dye might be excluded, many manufacturers then use animal products to provide colour – ie: carmine is ground up beetles and even “Natural Red 4” is made from insects. Our products are all vegetarian and mostly vegan and are absolutely not tested on animal.
So – getting colour into our products…. Luckily, technology has advanced sufficiently that natural colours have been intensified and distilled to allow more vibrancy and depth as opposed to in the past when they were pale and dusty.
Shopping online and not being able to try a lip colour or foundation for example can be tricky, how does LF bridge this divide?
We have recently launched our new sample sets. You can order 5 samples and have them delivered to your door for R200. Samples for lipstick, foundation, serums, concealer, lip gloss and primer are available. We also are in the process of working with various stockists to make Lula Fox available in the real world retail space.
What is your advice to a women wanting to transition and clean up their beauty range, where do they begin?
Don’t feel overwhelmed. You don’t have to do it all in one go. As one thing finishes in you make up bag, replace with a clean product. We recommend doing your foundation as soon as you can, as this is the product that covers the most surface area and has the most potential for being absorbed into the skin.
What are the 'big name' ingredients to look out for and avoid when buying beauty products?
Download our “Do not touch” list here.
People often think that if something is labeled organic on a skincare product that it's automatically 'safe', can you help demystify this for us?
For a composite product (ie: containing a mixture of ingredients) to be labelled organic, it needs to be 95% made up of organic plant or animal content and should really have an authenticating endorsement from an independent body. While 95% of the product may be organic, one still needs to be vigilant about what the other 5% is made up of and whether it may be toxic or not.
Women often worry that more natural, non toxic beauty ranges won't give them the same results as commercial makeup brands, what would you say to this?
Being a professional photographer and make up artists, Sinead was adamant about performance of our products. We conducted rigorous testing to ensure that it performs as well as any professional grade makeup range. Luckily, technology has advanced sufficiently to allow natural ranges to perform in longevity and colour intensity as mainstream brands.
What is the biggest 'mistake' people make with their makeup in your opinion?
Apart from using toxic makeup! People tend to get stuck in their ways and don’t experiment or update their makeup looks. Make up has the potential to highlight your best features and minimize those you are not too fond of. Experimenting and learning new makeup techniques will give you confidence and make you feel on trend.
We know that you are in the business of makeup but is wearing makeup good or bad for our skin or is it more about the quality?
Quality is key – especially in terms of toxic ingredients and irritating chemicals – however the key to good / bad skin is not all about the make up. It is also about your diet (impact from the inside) and your skin cleaning regime (impact from the outside). Cleaning your face properly is essential for skin health.
You are not only passionate about clean beauty products but also educating and empowering women through these products, can you tell us more about this?
Helping women take control of their health and wellbeing is essential for us and this requires us to be proactive in educating women about the harmful effects of toxins in our environment, food and beauty products. We have done a number of corporate talks to women in the workplace about toxins and their connection to cancers and poor health.
Who inspires you in the industry and why?
We take a lot inspiration from global brand ecobeauty brands based in North America and Canada namely Ilia, Fit Glow Beauty. They are on trend with their seasonal colours and are often used down the catwalk at high profile Fashion weeks. We also follow Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog Goop very closely to get inspiration from global clean beauty trends. For us it is imperative to remain on trend with global beauty trends and elopements in clean beauty technology but without compromising on clean ingredients to bridge the divide between the perception that clean beauty products fall short on the performance of main stream beauty products.
How do you personally deal with the global growth in clean beauty and trusting your vision and purpose as pioneers, basically how do you deal with comparison?
Growth in the industry means that more people are demanding a healthier product. This is good for us and for the world at large. However, South Africa is slightly behind the growth of the rest of the world when it comes to clean beauty, but as women become more informed, so we will benefit from the growing consciousness of clean beauty. As we are the only range locally that caters for all skin tones and are priced competitively, we believe we will be able to sustain our competitive position.
What do you see Lula fox doing in the future?
We always keep an eye on trends and ensure our range has new and on trend colours and products. We also are investigating bringing our manufacturing processes home to SA which will allow us a much closer involvement in the product development process. 2018 will also see us launch into a number of retail spaces through carefully selected stockists.
Our Conscious Conversations is a way of sharing real stories and honest insights into products, people and places we admire and feel we can all learn from. Sharing is caring — and this is a series where we express our care in sharing.