Needing more flexibility after the birth of her third child 10 years ago, Sinead Brook quit her corporate career in the asset management industry, took a giant leap of faith and followed her passion in becoming a professional photographer and make-up artist. Having dual photography and make-up artistry skills, and a love of making a connection with people, has enabled Sinead to build a flourishing lifestyle business and expert portfolio.
Eighteen months into this journey, her husband, Henry, was diagnosed with testicular cancer (he is now fully recovered). Sinead became acutely aware of the toxins present in everyday products – from the food she fed her family to the cosmetics available in the market. Frustrated that she wasn’t able to find luxury cosmetics that were not only stylish and fashionable, but also healthy and ethical, she decided to create her own, and so Lula Fox was born.
I asked Sinead to share more about her journey in founding Lula Fox.
What is the ethos behind your brand?
Lula Fox is a proudly South African pioneering, clean, conscious, professional, strictly natural make-up brand. Lula Fox is what we call ecolux: eco because it is not tested on animals and is made from natural, organic and non-toxic ingredients; lux because it is on a par with professional and mainstream make-up ranges. High performance, professional cosmetics do not need any of the toxic chemicals and preservatives that mainstream products contain. So why do manufacturers use them? Because they make the production process both easier to manufacture and less expensive.
What distinguishes Lula Fox from its competitors?
More and more research has linked human environmental toxin exposure to disease through the foods we eat, water we drink, pollutants in the air and what we expose our skin to. We have curated our make-up range to be free of xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen), endocrine disruptors, DNA mutators and carcinogens. Not everyone is able to detoxify their body efficiently based on their unique DNA profile. If you are unable to detoxify efficiently, these endocrine disruptors or chemical hormones can circulate within your system, causing harm.
A simple way we can reduce our toxin burden is to switch to natural make-up and body products that perform to the same standard as mainstream products. The eco beauty industry is a growing trend in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia; however, the market is relatively new in South Africa. When we launched in November 2016, we never anticipated the scale of appetite for professional, clean make-up products – our market has quadrupled over the past three years. As my profession at the time of launch was make-up artistry and photography, I wanted to create a product that had the same colour pay-off as mainstream cosmetics – and that could be as durable for photoshoots and special events with none of the toxicity. That was the critical underpin in the research testing I underwent prior to launching.
Tell us about the woman who uses Lula Fox cosmetics. Who is she? What does she like?
The woman who uses Lula Fox products is conscious about what she puts on her skin and how it affects her body. She enjoys luxurious cosmetics that don’t compromise on health, style, current trends, quality and the environment.
Where do you see the brand going?
I would like to grow our audience within the South African market as more and more women are looking for cleaner beauty solutions and have not been able to find a clean make-up range that meets professional make-up artistry standards. One of our primary goals in growing our brand, is to continue to educate women on understanding the impact of specific ingredients in their products.
Our longer-term plans are to take the brand offshore. We are finding that more women are buying products online with the growing trend of enjoying watching make-up tutorials. I want our brand to embrace the inclusive beauty of women so no matter who you are, you can enjoy our products without feeling like you are falling short of a prescribed “beauty ideal”.
Who or what inspires you most?
Adventure in nature inspires me – the more remote or rustic the destination, the better – that is where I get most of my ideas and fill my tank.
If you can have any three people over for dinner – alive or no longer here – who would they be and what would you serve?
Currently I would invite my parents (as I haven’t seen them during lockdown) and my sisters that live overseas. I would serve homemade soups, sourdough and platters of beautiful cheeses.
What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?
I have a passion for triathlon – the scarier the race, the better!