Luka Mineral Cosmetics - an interview with founder Katherine MacDonald
When you set out to formulate your products, what were your goals?
I've always had troubled skin and makeup only aggravated the situation. I needed to cover my imperfections but only ended up with more pimples and oily skin, so I decided to start researching ingredients. I began to discover that the products I was putting on my face were overwhelmingly toxic. I couldn't believe that things that are supposed to be fun and harmless were actually drying, aging, and irritating my skin and body.
I've always known that nature has everything we need to be completely balanced, healthy people without the use of chemicals. Unfortunately, our world is so dependent on chemicals and drugs that it is sometimes hard to avoid them. My dream was to create a line that is beautiful and fashionable but natural. Luka Mineral Cosmetics isn't just regular makeup. All of the formulas are packed with natural anti-aging and nourishing ingredients that promote healthier-looking skin.
What ingredients and manufacturing processes did you seek to avoid?
Finding manufacturers that can create effective and natural formulations is really difficult. My first goal was to avoid animal testing. I made sure to select products and dyes that didn’t contain lead and harmful ingredients. It was also important to work with a manufacturer that had the same ethical standards and respected my vision.
What anti-aging ingredients did you choose to incorporate in your formulas?
Some of the anti-aging ingredients I tried to include in each product were: Shea Butter, Vitamin A and E, Manganese, Copper, and Palmitoyl Tripeptide, along with others. I used the anti-inflammatory Aloe Barbadensis in many of my formulas because it accelerates wound healing, soothes burns, stimulates collagen and elastin synthesis, and aids in lightening age spots. I tried to incorporate the anti-ager Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, known to stimulate collagen synthesis and actively remove any type of wrinkle, in addition to its skin-firming and moisturizing properties. I also included dl-Panthenol, which accelerates wound healing, increases skin hydration, and improves skin elasticity.
Are there any drawbacks to mineral-based cosmetics?
Not all minerals are created equal and there are many low quality minerals out there that can cause breakouts, dryness, and irritation. Consumers should educate themselves on the ingredients in their products and learn more about the companies that they are purchasing from. You may never find out where their pigments are coming from, how sanitary their manufacturing practices are, or how good the quality of the products are, but if you have more knowledge about the ingredients in a brand and learn more about the company that represents it, you can make better purchasing decisions.
How long did it take to complete the process of creating your own cosmetics line?
It took about 3 years to launch my whole product line. At first it was just an idea and just the thought alone would overwhelm me, so for a while I would contemplate it and go “Oh My God, I don't even know where to begin!" Then I started researching, going to trade shows, and learning about ingredients. When I felt more comfortable, I just went for it.
Do you have any advice for others hoping to launch their own line?
I would suggest doing a lot of research and trying not to overspend on projects that you may not fulfill. Make sure you have a well-thought plan, since this will prevent you from wasting precious time and money. Take it from me - I've done that many times.
What makeup line did you use prior to developing your own collection?
I worked for several different makeup lines and tested a range of products. I freelanced for Urban Decay and was a Counter Manager for Paula Dorf at Bloomingdales. I worked with both Nars and Glo Minerals at spa locations. I also used some MAC when I was freelancing. Among these, my favorite brand was Glo Minerals because of its more natural formula and the way it made my skin look.
When it comes to moisturizer, sunscreen, and makeup, what should be the order of application?
Serums and chemical sunscreens should always be applied first because they need to be absorbed into the skin in order to be effective. A sunscreen that has a physical block such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide can be applied after your moisturizer. Makeup should always be applied on top of your sunscreens. Many Luka products contain Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide so they provide an extra layer of protection.
If you could use only one makeup product every day, what would it be?
That's a tough one but I think I would definitely have to choose my Velvet Perfector Mineral Cream-to-Powder Foundation because having smooth, flawless skin is most important to me.
What are your favorites tricks for creating an everyday glow?
I recommend using a bright peachy pink shadow such as my Chablis shade all over the lid to brighten the eyes and a thick coat of mascara to open the eyes. A light bronzer applied over the forehead, cheeks, and eyelids provides a natural, youthful glow.
What about heightening drama for nighttime? Accentuating a particular part of the face?
You can rim the inner rims of the eyes to make them look sultry. This also brightens the whites of your eyes. Another great trick is to take a solid dark shadow such as a dark brown or black and smudge it on the outer corners of the lower part of the eyelids to make the eyes more dramatic.
How does airbrush makeup work? Are there any risks, and is it available for at-home use?
Airbrush makeup looks very natural because it lays on the surface of the skin and dries instantly. It covers most imperfections with no blending required. It is water resistant, sweat-proof, and quick to apply. As long as the makeup is water-based then there is very little chance of clogging your pores. But because it is water resistant you should remove it very well after use. These days anyone can purchase their own airbrush system, but it is important to get good quality makeup. If you are going to be using it often, I recommend taking a class on how to use the machine and how to clean it properly.
What are the most common complexion and anti-aging concerns you see?
The number one complaint women come to me with is dark under-eye circles. Women worry so much about the look of their face but they forget two very important things:
1. Aging occurs from the inside out!!! So, we should incorporate anti-aging foods, spirituality, exercise, and relaxation techniques into our daily lives.
2. The skin on our hands, chest, and legs is also important and reveals age just as much as the face. So take care of all of your skin.
What inspired you to develop the latest addition to your line - Luka Rx Treatment Cosmetics?
The Luka Rx Treatment Cosmetics Kit is designed to heal, camouflage, and protect delicate post-operative skin. Fillers and facial plastic surgery almost always leads to bruising. I developed Luka Rx Treatment Cosmetics to cover and help heal the bruising. These products contain soothing ingredients and are highly pigmented to hide redness, Rosacea, Vitiligo, and other skin imperfections.
What are your top tips for speeding up the healing process of skin?
Definitely a clean diet prior to surgery. Following surgery, my advice is to combine the benefits of arnica and pineapple. Arnica should be applied topically or can be taken orally. Pineapple can be eaten for it's anti-inflammatory benefits; however, it is the key ingredient Bromelain which reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain. Like Arnica, Bromelain can be taken in capsules as well.
What treatments do you recommend to keep skin looking youthful and healthy?
I use a lot of natural oils to moisturize and massage my skin. Almond oil, olive oil and sesame seed oil are all great to use all over your face and body and they are non-comedogenic so they won't make you break out. Massage and sauna help stimulate circulation and release impurities. Exfoliation is also important to eliminate dead skin cells, and it stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.
Do you have any plans to expand your line?
I am always working on new formulas for my line but I'm super picky. I only offer products that I would love to put on myself, and - believe me - I have extremely high standards. I love what I do and I make it a priority to offer the best and to always grow and improve.