REFLECTING ON ORGANIC MAKE-UP
HOME / FEATURE / REFLECTING ON ORGANIC MAKE-UP
Reflections is an organic cosmetics company that values social and environmental well-being. Founder Nerissa Low shares more about organic makeup and the countries that inspired her to start the brand.
BY LEE YING YING
“At the largest beauty trade show in Asia, I was shocked to find how flippantly the word ‘organic’ was used for marketing purposes.”
Real, organic make-up is hard to find. The beauty industry all over the world is flushed with distributors on the lookout for the hottest new product that rakes in the quickest results and highest margins. As consumers, most of us buy make-up because of the brand or quality; only a few pause to think of organic alternatives.
Because of this, Nerissa, founder of Reflections, started a unique cosmetics company that offers a safe, effective, and organic alternative to chemical-based cosmetics. Created out of natural ingredients like coconut, mango and cocoa, Reflections brings out beauty from the inside out while protecting our health and the Earth’s fragile ecosystems.
“Our skin absorbs chemicals in cosmetics, just like how our body absorbs preservatives in food,” says Nerissa. “Organically-grown plants don’t contain any GMOs (genetically-modified organisms), which are a significant threat to both human and environmental health.”
Despite high production costs, Nerissa stuck with her commitment to creating authentic organic make-up, continuously improving its quality, and doing what really works. Five months after starting out as an online retailer, Reflections now has bricks and mortar presence in four outlets in Singapore.
Doyenne: Tell us more about organic cosmetics.
Nerissa: Authentic organic cosmetics are untainted, fluid and alive. They do not contain any harmful chemicals, synthetic fragrances and preservatives. There is a high composition of active plant-based ingredients in these makeup, which makes them safe for multiple applications.
Pure and natural, the same eyeshadow and highlighters can be used as a lip colour. Anyone, including children, can get creative without worrying about the possible side effects of mixing makeup.
D: Are they very expensive?
N: It is expensive to produce. A Japanese manufacturer once told me that they are best at producing natural cosmetics. But these cost ten times more than chemical ones, which mean less margins for distributors. So manufacturers have low demand for organic products.
Because of high production costs, I opted for simple packaging, which keeps Reflections’ prices affordable.
D: Which countries inspired you to start an organic cosmetics brand?
- South America
I spent a significant amount of time meditating in the ancient lands of Peru and the Amazon forest. Amongst raw nature, I began to build a deeper relationship with the natural world and saw the need to protect our planet.
The universe is interconnected. Everything we do affects the planet, which ultimately affects us too. That is why at Reflections, we go vegan and cruelty-free with environmentally-friendly packaging and safe, food-grade ink for labels.
I was amazed at how large Australia’s organic market is! The Aussies are health-conscious. There is a huge demand for organic products! Because of this, they can supply organic food at prices that were close to non-organic ones. With enough awareness, we can do the same in Asia and get access to safe, organic products at lower prices.
- Hong Kong
At the largest beauty trade show in Asia, I was shocked to find how flippantly the word “organic” was used for marketing purposes. Many only contained a tiny amount of natural ingredients, some even comprised of more than 50% parabens! It was an eye-opening experience for me, as distributors haggled over margins. It was clear that they didn’t care what went into the products, as long as they could make the highest profits.
This formed the foundation and mission of Reflections: to run an ethical business without compromising on our values.
D: What has been your most satisfying experience thus far?
N: Building Reflections from scratch. I never had any guidance in the beauty industry. I was also not prepared for the amount of work involved! Still, I had fun going through the inner journey, digging deep and bringing out the brand’s essence. It is really satisfying when customers leave great reviews and we see women benefiting from Reflections.
D: How does Reflections help to improve women's definition of beauty?
N: We believe that women should express themselves with their outlook. While we encourage women to bring out the best version of themselves, we want to empower them to make better decisions for their personal definitions, body and soul.
Beauty is from the inside out. Yet, women still spend tonnes of money looking beautiful on the outside. In the short run, it will be difficult to shake off society’s definition of beauty, but more women are becoming conscious of themselves. It’s amazing to see the love spreading!
Reflections’ vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free products are made up of up to 90% USDA-certified organic ingredients, with no harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances. You can play your part in maintaining the well-being of our environment by using make-up!