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March 16, 2021 4 min read

HIGHR is a luxury, modern lipstick collection that is sustainable, vegan and clean. The brand is 100% carbon neutral and has five shades of lipsticks. 

We spoke to Molly Hart, the Founder of HIGHR, to hear about the ethos of clean, plant-based beauty. 

Tell us about HIGHR, and what inspired you to start it?

While working in social media for all the big beauty brands, I heard and answered consumer comments everyday and noticed that no matter how vocal women are on issues like ingredient transparency or animal testing, most big brands are hesitant to change.  

When I had two children while working in the industry, the issue became personal to me. Like a lot of women, I was constantly screening products for safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding. When I started feeling hesitant to wear the products of the brands I was working for, I knew it was time to start a better business that had a higher purpose.

Luxury and sustainability often are mutually exclusive, how do you aspire to change that? 

The industry has got to get over the idea that just because a big name or fashion house is on the packaging, somehow that deems that product luxury. Most of the time those products are made with really cheap synthetic ingredients that do not justify the price tag.

Real modern luxury to HIGHR are products made with clean, premium ingredients, and packaged in low emission materials like metal, glass or innovative biodegradable materials. This is a much more expensive way to make beauty products, but is the responsible way to formulate for women and the world.

How have you made and prioritised conscious, sustainable decisions?

It was the basis for the business. Everything we do, we do sustainably. Whether it's our solar energy for formulating HIGHR Lipstick, our office light bulbs, or our upcycled packaging printed with vegetable ink, we never make a decision as a company without weighting the sustainability of it. We're a company made up of conscious consumers. It's just how we think, shop and act.

How does the beauty industry contribute to environmental issues?

The beauty industry is a very carbon intensive industry. Most big brands formulate products in Asia, and then ship all over the world. That's a lot of carbon pollution!  

We're aiming to reverse this by being the first carbon neutral makeup brand in the world. We formulate, manufacture and sell in the USA, and then offset the carbon emissions generated to send stock to the UK. We also track all employee car, train, air travel, freight, warehousing, manufacturing, facilities, accommodations and conferences to make sure no CO2 emission is unaccounted for as a company.

What does ‘clean beauty’ mean to you?

Clean beauty to us means luxury beauty. Formulating clean is so much more expensive than formulating with synthetic ingredients. Our customers are conscious shoppers. They are actively shopping for organic food, and they look for clean laundry detergent, cleaning products, children’s products, etc. It is what our customers want and the way the world is going. People are becoming more aware of the toxic load of everyday consumer products and are looking to lessen their exposure to avoid the build up of compromised chemicals that contribute to illness. 

Vegan lipstick! Why did you choose this route for product formulation?

We know that a lot of our customers are experimenting with living a more plant-based life so we gave ourselves the challenge of developing HIGHR Lipstick without the ever-present beeswax or carmine. This led to a surprisingly long lasting lipstick formula that feels like a balm, and a red color payoff not seen without carmine before (hello Chiltern!).

Let's talk design - how have you innovated to make lipstick more functional for the modern woman?

We built a mirror into the cap of our lipstick. It makes no sense that women have been carting around compacts or running off to the bathroom to simply apply their lipstick.  We wanted our product to be more functional but still chic. We worked with some of the best designers in London to make that dream a reality.

Best tips for makeup?

I started as a makeup artist at the MAC counter when I was 18 years old and fell in love with the transformative power of this industry. Helping women find their perfect shade of foundation, or a life changing shade of lipstick, or teaching them how to add more definition to their eye... it's intoxicating. Here are two tips:

  • Wear what makes you feel good.
  • Simple products can have monumental effects on self-esteem and I don't think beauty gets enough credit for that fact.

How do you apply 'fewer but better' to your everyday lifestyle? 

As I've gotten older, I've stopped shopping fast fashion and fast beauty and invested in products that make every time I wear them an experience. That's also why we made HIGHR Lipstick in 5 universal shades rather than 20. Not only is a more sustainable way to manufacture, but it's a simpler way to shop.

What are your fave skincare self care practices?

I switch my skincare up by quarters of the year. 

  • I do my heavy duty active ingredients in Q3 only, when my skin is not reactive and can handle it without flaking. 
  • Q4 and Q1 I'm only using anti-inflammatories and calming products like CBD, hyaluronic and adaptogens. 
  • Q2 I start adding in subtle actives, like Bakuchiol and vitamin C. I also bring my acids back into my regimen and my skin starts to glow again.

To find out more about HIGHR, check out their website (https://www.highrcollective.com), or follow them on IG (@highrcollective). 

 


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