ILIA Beauty is a cosmetics company based in Los Angeles, California. Founder Sasha Plavsic left a successful career in marketing to launch the line in 2011 when she could not find any make-up that was healthy, effective and aesthetically pleasing.
The ILIA range contains tinted lip conditioners, lipsticks, lip crayons, lip gloss, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow sticks, illuminators, multi-sticks, powder, concealer, foundation and tinted moisturiser, all of which can be purchased through their website or from select retailers, including Net-a-Porter and Content Beauty.
Each product is formulated with up to 85% bioactive organic ingredients and without parabens, petrochemicals, fillers, synthetic preservatives gluten, dairy and carmine, but some – the lip tints/sticks – contain beeswax and are therefore unsuitable for vegans.
ILIA was the first make-up brand that caught my eye when I started searching for cleaner cosmetics. I was instantly seduced by the luxe, minimal aluminium casing and bright lip colours, but over time and use their products – the mascara and lip conditioners in particular – have proven to be infallible, incomparable and indispensable.
I spoke to Sasha about organic ingredients, the importance of using recycled materials and what will come next...
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START ILIA BEAUTY?
It began when I started to look for more organic colour brands several years ago and couldn't find any that resonated with me on a branding level with transparency and aesthetic.
WHY DO YOU FEEL IT'S IMPORTANT TO USE NATURAL INGREDIENTS?
We do our best to use a combination of natural and organic ingredients wherever possible, yet the product still has to work. It's a constant challenge we're up against with science and the advancements of ingredients and formulas in the industry as a whole.
FROM WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR INGREDIENTS?
They come from around the world. Vendors will change depending on how crops do in certain countries year-by-year. The last few years have been especially interesting with weather changes as it does affect everything we source as well as availability.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PRODUCTION AND PACKAGING PROCESSES ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE?
You do what you can but there is a lot more than meets the eye. Our lipstick cases – which make up more than a third of our stock-keeping units – are made of recycled aluminium. Most recycled aluminium comes from scrap metal brokers in the US. It is shipped overseas for processing before being shipped back again. Is this more sustainable than opening a new aluminium mine? Probably. Components are one of the most challenging aspects for sustainability, yet sourcing ingredients from organic farms and paper from green printing vendors does make a huge difference.
YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCT IN THE RANGE:
Our tinted lip conditioner – where it all started.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR ILIA BEAUTY?
We are continuing to expand the line and listen to what people would like to see. There will be lots more in 2016...
THE SECRET TO RADIANT SKIN IS...
Water, sleep and real food. But if that gets compromised, our illuminators will do the trick.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY?
I shop at the farmer's market for most vegetables and anything that is certified organic. Food is not what it was fifteen years ago. Since GMOs hit the market everything has changed. I highly recommend the documentary GMO OMG – it's eye-opening. GMOs will essentially alter our eco system if something is not done soon.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?
Before I had my daughter, I used to think my free-time was compromised by running a business ... but it's nothing compared to looking after a child; now an hour to myself is a beautiful thing. Nothing has been a greater challenge to date, but nothing has given me so much joy, either.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
That first smile from my baby girl when she wakes up in the morning. It really makes anything that might have seemed like a problem just disappear.