Our Seriously FAB Q & A series continues with a very special guest today, Courtney Nawara of Phyrra.net! We've been using this savvy gal as a resource for years and she's definitely one of the top go-to bloggers for cruelty-free beauty. Whether you're just dabbling in the cruelty-free makeup scene or a full-blown pro, if you aren't following Phyrra, you're seriously missing out. Read on and you'll completely understand what we mean. She's such a doll (a real-life Monster High doll) and we are so inspired by her down-to-earth nature and compassion!
Youtube: Phyrra Nyx
SF: Besides the obvious, tell us something we might not know about you.
Courtney: Well, I work in tech by day and I'm a beauty fanatic by night. I'm also the author of the Hooded Eyes Makeup Manual. I started blogging in 2008 and went cruelty-free in 2012. Now, with over a decade in the beauty industry, I share bright and gothic wearable makeup looks to inspire you to explore your unique style and expression ethically.
SF: What advice would you give others that want to transition to cruelty-free or vegan products?
Courtney: I actually have a video on this topic called the Practical Guide to Going Cruelty-Free.
First up, don’t throw away everything you own that’s not cruelty-free. Instead, make a note which brands you own are cruelty-free and which are not. Then, whenever you finish up a product, if it is not cruelty-free, look for a cruelty-free alternative. Do it in steps if you need to, not all at once.
The reason I say don’t throw things out is that you’ve already spent that money, it’s not going to do anything but hurt you to toss it.
SF: Why is supporting cruelty-free or vegan beauty brands important to you?
Courtney: I was one of those people who thought animal testing ended in the 90s and was dismayed to find out it was still going on.
In 2012, my favorite makeup brand at the time MAC started selling in China and testing on animals. That was the catalyst for me to stop buying MAC and go cruelty-free. In my research, I learned that EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT, including water, was tested on animals at one point in time. However, that doesn’t mean we need to testing on animals today.
There are more effective tests available today than the cruel ones testing on animals to make sure our products are safe. Episkin and other testing on human cells are much more effective.
Additionally, I recently learned that 92% of the drugs that were tested on animals and deemed safe for humans failed in human trials.
SF: Do you feel the beauty industry is embracing the cruelty-free movement? Do you think it will continue to grow?
Courtney: Some people in the beauty community are embracing the cruelty-free movement and I do think it will continue to grow. You have makeup artists like Danessa Myricks who made her entire makeup line cruelty-free and vegan. I love this so much! You have brands like Saucebox who started out cruelty-free, saw that people were asking for vegan products, and are relaunching with everything vegan. Again, this makes me so happy!
I do still see some people who mock the movement, as well as people who keep trying to turn it into something else, but I’ll continue to ignore those people and focus on the ones who are trying to embrace the movement.
SF: Favorite Celebrity Makeup Line?
Courtney: I’m not sure I have one right now. It used to be Kat Von D Beauty, but because of the anti-Semitism (and me being Jewish) and other problematic behavior, I wrote the brand off.
That said, I did order some things from Lady Gaga’s Haus Brand release. Maybe they’ll be awesome!
SF: What is your favorite drugstore makeup brand? High-end brand?
Courtney: Right now it’s a tie between Nyx and CoverGirl for my favorite drugstore makeup brand. CoverGirl has my heart because they became Leaping Bunny Certified. Leaping Bunny is the gold standard for cruelty-free and I love them. I wish every brand would get their certification! It’s free to become Leaping Bunny Certified and they have a sliding scale fee to use their logo. Additionally, they advertise brands to their 10 million + audiences.
I’m also quite happy with Nyx because they keep making such great products and they actually make TWO foundations that match me at the drugstore! Born to Glow in Pale and Bare With Me in Pale Light are excellent matches for my skin tone and great to wear. Their Glitter Goals Lipsticks, lip pencils, and other lipsticks are products I use on the regular. and I adore their new Sweet Cheeks Glow blush formula in So Taupe.
Urban Decay became my favorite department store makeup brand after I quit MAC. I usually turn to UD for everything. They make a ton of my favorite staple products like eyeliners, Vice lipsticks, blushes, lip pencils, setting sprays and eyeshadows.
However, Milk Makeup is now tied with UD for me because so many of the Milk Makeup products work amazingly well with my dry skin. The Blur Liquid Matte Foundation, Blur Stick, Holographic Stick, Flex Concealer, Hydro Grip Primer, Kush Lip Glaze, Kush Lash Growth Serum, and Kush Mascara are all my favorite go-to products right now.
SF: How important do you feel SPF is in a daily beauty routine?
Courtney: SPF should be worn by everyone daily. It’s the #1 thing you can do for anti-aging for your skin. Whenever someone asks me, but how do you reapply SPF when you’re out? I either don’t wear makeup and just reapply SPF on my face and body, or I use a setting spray, like ZINC IT OVER, with SPF on top of my makeup to refresh it!
Click here to visit Courtney at Phyrra.net!
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