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For over three decades, Rose-Marie Swift was one of the most sought-after editorial makeup artists in the world. But then, her health started to change.
“I was getting rashes on my hands, and my lips were burning from lipsticks, and I started to look at what was really being put in cosmetics,” she said.
Once she started to dig into the industry and the harmful ingredients in the products she was using every day, Swift decided she needed to make a change. Thus, RMS Beauty was born.
Since it’s launch in 2009, RMS Beauty has released lines of color cosmetics and skin care, which can be found in roughly 1,600 retail doors. As the company continues to grow and create new products, Swift has remained interested in doing her own thing, rather than following the paths of other growing brands.
“There is no next phase for RMS Beauty; the only phase I see is me getting a year older next year!” she said. “What is a phase? The trendy thing I’m going to copy? No. I’m just doing my thing, and I don’t really look at what other people are doing. We have so many new things coming out — that’s my next phase, just putting out more products.”
On this week’s episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, RMS Beauty’s founder and CEO, Rose-Marie Swift, sits down with Priya Rao to discuss greenwashing, the myth of fast beauty and the importance on physical retail. Edited highlights below.
Looking past the label of ‘organic’ brands
“Nothing surprises me anymore with what is in beauty products and food. It’s really sad. It’s all about money. What did surprise me when I started digging was the brands pretending to be green. I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me. You have one oil in here that’s certified organic, and the rest is all garbage.’ There was blatantly false greenwashing being done back then, over 10 years ago. I knew what the big industry players were doing — they’ve been doing it for years, and they’ve got everyone brainwashed to the degree that they want them to be — but I was looking further into the future.”
The trends of clean beauty and private-label brands
“It’s really great that there’s a lot of acknowledgement being given to this area, but the problem is that there’s a bunch of people jumping on the bandwagon or putting out what the industry calls ‘private-label’ cosmetics. They’re taking a simple product and mentally manipulating it to make it seem like it’s some brand-new invention. I think people need to get a little smarter and realize it’s still a normal beauty product. They can make it all, ‘Ooh! Aah! Ooh!’ but basically glorified advertising is taking over and making it more entertainment than it is an actual beauty product.”
Why RMS Beauty doesn’t need its own store
“I will be very surprised if I open a store. For one thing, it’s too much work. There’s too much out there already, where do you even start? Besides, I don’t even know if I could find a store small enough to stock — I’m just not big enough. I tend to create all my products step-by-step. I don’t go and find some private-label company and slap a picture of my famous face on there, and call it an RMS Beauty product so I can fill a store. People who do that don’t care; it’s about money. They get all of these investors in, pocket the money and sell it off after two years. Ka-ching, ka-ching, boom, done.”