Beauty Interviews Makeup Skin Care

Makeup Artist and Beauty Guru Rose-Marie Swift on the Secret to Glowing Skin and Organic Makeup

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Recently, we had the delightfully direct and vivacious Rose-Marie Swift at a beauty photo shoot working her magic. And when you have a world-class makeup artist on set, you don’t miss the opportunity to grab a few minutes to chat with her about anything and everything—from her unexpected beauty regimen to her secrets to beautiful, glowing skin. Plus, we couldn’t resist asking her about her innovative line, RMS Beauty—a new-to-us collection of all-natural, organic and cruelty-free cosmetics formulated to hydrate and illuminate, with health-driven skin care as its guiding principle. Read on to learn a thing or two about Rose-Marie’s down-to-earth and refreshing approach to beauty. Spoiler alert: less is more.

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How did you get to where you are now? Have you always wanted to be a makeup artist and launch your own line?

Oh, it was a complete fluke! I never set out to be a makeup artist, actually. I tried to model back in the day, but it was at the time when Margaux Hemingway and all the blonds with the big bushy eyebrows were in style. I would have done well probably in the ’40s or something, you know, because that’s my look. But I didn’t do well.

Anyway, I used to always do my own makeup on set. My sister was an aesthetician, and she knew a gentleman who had a whole bunch of hotels, and he wanted her to teach the women who worked there how to take better care of their skin. And my sister’s just, like, “Why don’t you teach them how to do makeup and do this with me?”

And so I did, and I just started doing my own makeup look on everybody. Before I knew it, I got asked by Vancouver magazine to do the makeup for a big model back in the day who came to visit her grandmother. And then, all of a sudden, I was getting calls, and I was a makeup artist! Absolute fluke. It was the universe that brought me to it, I guess. I didn’t pick myself to do it, that’s for sure.

What’s your beauty philosophy?

Less is more.

I’m also a firm believer that your health is so important, too. There are all these anti-aging creams and the like promising hope in a jar, but it doesn’t work that way. It comes from the inside: from the kind of food you eat (never processed), your intake of water, your attitude in life, and the sleep you get. A healthy body equates to healthy skin.

What defines your brand? What do all of your products have in common?

They’re a reality check.

What do you mean by that?

They’re clean. They’re not full of chemicals or questionable ingredients. They’re very youth-enhancing for the skin and anti-aging long term. Naturally anti-aging, not chemically anti-aging. They make the skin look beautiful. And women who try them for the first time say that even their husbands comment on how good they look, but the husbands don’t know why. With my products, you won’t get a look that’s screaming makeup. It’ll be a look that’s healthy, vital and sexy.

Tell us more about your organic ingredients.

Almost all the ingredients I use are USDA-certified organic. That means the United States Department of Agriculture has approved those ingredients for having been grown ethically and without chemicals. Also, I’m a real purist. I go for the cleanest ingredients, and I source them myself, too. Like, the Amazon jungle is where I get my buriti oil (from the natives, believe it or not). My coconut oil comes from Thailand, and my bee propolis comes from the Alps. I don’t trust labs as far as you can throw them. I just want to have the purest, healthiest line that I possibly can.

Coconut oil is at the base of all your products. Why coconut oil?

Coconut oil has the highest levels of lauric and caprylic acid, and that’s what’s in human breast milk. Lauric and caprylic acid are antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral—so talk about putting something good on your skin! But people don’t realize that coconut oil can also be processed cheaply, and it can be grown cheaply, so you’re losing the high levels of the lauric and caprylic acid, which can be destroyed in some of the processing techniques. Our coconut oil is 100 percent raw. Sometimes when you see coconut oil and it claims to be raw, that doesn’t mean anything. There’s nobody regulating the industry, so you can say whatever you want. Not in my case. I mean it.

For someone who hasn’t tried your products before, what three would you recommend they start with?

Living Luminizer, for sure, because that’s my star product. That put me on the map, because there’s nothing that compares to it. It’s all organic ingredients, healthy for the skin, and doesn’t dry up or look cakey.

Another one would obviously be my Raw Coconut Cream, as a makeup remover and a moisturizer—or even a little bit in your bathwater!—because your skin is the largest organ, so you want to take care of it.

The other one would be my Beauty Oil. It’s got Brazilian buriti oil in it. That’s very high in natural vitamin A and beta carotene, which is what they put in anti-aging creams, but in synthetic form. Mine’s in natural form, so it actually does wonders for the skin—especially for people with rosacea, eczema or psoriasis.

Why did Living Luminizer put you on the map? 

Living Luminizer gives you the ultimate, lit-from-within glow. It’s that just-made-love glow [laughs]. Dab it on the elevated parts of your face, like your cheekbones, a little in the center of your eyelid, above your iris area, down the center of your nose, corner of your eye, on your lips. It just gives this light-reflective glow that makes the skin look youthful. Unlike a lot of other products claiming to do the same, it’s not a powder. I think when you’re all powdered up, it looks dry, and you look old. There’s nothing beautiful to look at when you see powder on the face. When you look at oils on the face, it looks beautiful. It looks like it’s synergistically working with the skin. There’s glow, there’s an aura of health to it. And it makes you look younger—it really does make you look younger.

You used the term “chemically anti-aging” earlier and said that some products actually make you age in the long term. Can you talk a little more about that?

When you look at ingredients and see a whole long list of chemicals, you’re just getting a quick fix with those. They might make your skin look amazing, but it’ll just go right back to where it was before after a little while. Instead, I use the oils and herbs that those chemicals are derived from—or artificially mimic—and I use those natural ingredients in their pure form.

Also, some anti-aging products out there are playing with the cells of your skin. They’re full of penetration enhancers that let things get into the skin, including a lot of nanoparticles nowadays. Nanoparticles are able to go into the skin, penetrate the bloodstream and the blood-brain barrier, which is dangerous. That’s why there’s such a controversy about nanoparticles. The industry’s full of them, but nobody knows what those will do to the brain over the long term. So I don’t use nanoparticles at all—only organic ingredients you’d find in nature.

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As an expert, what do people always ask you, and what do you tell them?

They always ask me, “What do you do to your skin? It’s amazing!” And I go, “I do nothing.” I’ve used nothing my whole life. Ever. I’ve never used soap. People freak out over that. In Japan, they went nuts when I said that because they have like, five regimens that you do before bedtime. I have never done anything to my skin. When I was a kid, I used water and a face cloth. And then when I got older and my mom let me wear eyeliner, I would take it off with olive oil. Then I eventually changed to coconut oil, and that’s it. That’s all I’ve ever used for everything.

Well, I was going to ask you about your skin care regimen, but …

No, I have none.

Wow.

Yeah, and now I use my Raw Coconut Cream to take my makeup off, and I smoosh it around, take it off with a little cloth, go to bed. I don’t even wash it half the time. Look at all the chemicals that are in our water, man.

This stuff is stripping your skin. I think it’s Shiseido who just did a study on skin. They realized that the skin produces its own bacteria to protect it, and we’re washing it off. We’re stripping our skin. We’re killing the natural oils in it with all these alcohols and drying out the skin, and using chemicals that the skin is not happy with. Leave your skin alone.

What’s a common myth that you’re always trying to dispel?

Powders. Why do people think powders are the end all and be all? Powder just makes you look dry. It dries you up. I can understand on women who have really oily skin, but the powder sucks your natural oils out, so you’re actually dehydrating your skin over the long term. As you get older, the worst thing you can have on your skin is powder. Unless it’s the right powder. I have the right powder. My silicone powder—what I call my Un Powder. It’s fantastic, because it absorbs the oil but doesn’t deposit that powdery, dried-up look on your face. Also, that’s what I call my foundation, Un Cover-Up, because it’s like it covers, but you can’t see it. And it’s all natural.

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Frankie (who Rose-Marie coparents with close friend and model Miranda Kerr) on set

What do you never leave home without?

Frankie. I never leave home without Frankie.

I also never leave home without my red lipstick and my eyebrows. My eyebrows make me look better when I do them because my natural ones are kind of fading. As you get older, you know, your brows, your lashes, the color in your lips, it all starts to fade. Again, Shiseido (I think it was) did research basically on why young people look so good, and they found it’s because of the contrast. They’ve got beautiful skin, and they’ve got these lips that are full of color and brightness. They’ve got brows that are strong and full of their natural color. As you get older, all those things start to fade—your face looks more monochromatic. So when I take off my brows and they’re just normal, there’s not as much drama in my face. As soon as I draw that eyebrow in, it just picks the face up. Same thing with a red lip: when I put it on, it just perks my whole face up. I look like a different person with my brows and my red lips on. So those are always in my bag.

How can anyone get beautiful, glowing skin?

One of the big things I always tell people is that I’m a super-huge advocate of probiotics for the gut. Once you balance that intestinal flora, it helps to balance the skin. And I also believe in enzymes, taking digestive enzymes. It’s anti-aging to take digestive enzymes.

One last question for you. What are your tips for living a happy and healthy life?

You know what? Get away from negative people, and spend time alone and in nature. There’s such healing force and energy coming from nature: going in the ocean, going on a walk in the woods. Get away from cement; get out of the crazy workforce. Let your mind just relax and calm itself, you know? Also, get laid.

SHOP: RMS Beauty

— Jeff Powell