Cassandra McClure is a professional makeup artist and clean beauty expert. We interviewed Cassandra about why clean beauty is so important to her.
Cassandra McClure, a celebrity makeup artist who only uses clean beauty products in her profession, is proof that anyone can switch to clean beauty.
The Good Face Project decided to sit down with Cassandra to learn more about what it’s like as a makeup artist to eliminate unhealthy beauty products.
We’re super inspired by the latest member of the Good Faces Club because of her advocacy for clean beauty, her success as a clean beauty makeup artist, and her entrepreneurial spirit. We know you’ll really like this exclusive with Cassandra McClure.
If you’re tuned in to the beauty world, you’ve probably come across Cassandra McClure. You may have seen her stunning work as a makeup artist, or you’ve crossed her path if you listen to her Clean Beauty Podcast.
Not only is Cassandra McClure an expert on clean beauty and advocate for safer cosmetics, she’s also an entrepreneur. She created the Lash Binder, an easy and safe tool to apply lashes.
Here’s what Cassandra has to say about being a clean beauty makeup artist. She also gives advice to people who want to switch to clean beauty.
“Clean beauty” doesn’t have a universal definition, but being a clean beauty makeup artist, I have to set some kind of parameter. For me, the keyword here is “clean.” Think of clean eating—we inherently know whether or not we’re eating clean. Clean beauty is second nature to me now, but making cleaner beauty choices requires initial research.
To give you an idea, I consider clean beauty products to have a transparent ingredients list with mostly clean ingredients.
I also subscribe to the green beauty movement. Green beauty products are made sustainably from the responsible sourcing of ingredients to the eco-friendliness of the packaging.
In short, clean beauty is everything to me. It’s my life. Clean beauty is the name of my podcast and the title of most of my lectures around the country!
I made the switch because of serious health issues—trouble breathing, psoriasis flare-ups, blurred vision, and so on. Once I found out that fragrance ingredients were a key contributor to my sensitivities, I had to make a change. It started in the home. I cleaned up my household products and my personal stash of cosmetics.
But then it hit me. Knowing what I do, how can I continue to use unclean products on other women’s faces? As a makeup artist, I have a responsibility to my clients. Not just to make them feel their best, but to also use products with the best possible ingredients.
Now, most of my makeup bag consists of the highest performing beauty products from Beautycounter and Jane Iredale.
It started in 2018. This was during the height of my sickness, and I was in and out of hospitals for various health problems. The hardest part was that I didn’t know what was the cause of my suffering.
That year I co-founded a non-profit called the SustainableProject.org. I became the organization’s Beauty Director, so my job was to source sustainable cosmetic brands to highlight at our events. That’s when I found Beautycounter and learned that there weren’t any regulations on beauty products since 1938.
I decided to conduct my own “detox” from questionable cosmetics and within three days I could smell and see better. In one week, my skin cleared up, the itching stopped, and the rest is history.
It’s obviously shocking that some ingredients are linked to cancer, yet they’re still used in cosmetics today. The lack of regulation in the beauty industry is also extremely shocking and, in many ways, unethical.
What shocks me the most, though, is finding “fragrance” and “parfum” on product labels. When a company doesn’t want to disclose what’s actually in their product, they can do so by hiding behind these words. The truth is that “fragrance” and “parfum” are not ingredients.
Consumers are getting smarter and they’re starting to realize that fragrance is a red flag.
I discovered clean beauty at the perfect time in my life. When I was sick, it was hard for me to get excited and inspired with makeup. Things weren’t as they seemed. I had just won an award, been featured on TV, and had my beauty team booked solid. But at the same time, I barely had time for my personal life and health.
When I discovered clean beauty, it was like falling in love all over again. I was excited about makeup again, and I could feel myself growing healthier the longer I detoxed from unclean products.
Building a business around clean beauty was an added bonus. This is when I went all-in on the Clean Beauty Podcast and having celebrities dying for me to do their makeup with clean beauty products. It definitely gave me an edge.
It’s really been a dream come true for my personal and professional life because through clean beauty brands like Beautycounter I’ve grown a wonderful team of clean beauty advocates that are passionate about spreading this important message.
At first, I was nervous because I didn’t know if using clean beauty products would be as effective as mainstream makeup. Keep in mind that my clients are either celebrities who will be under hot studio lights all day or brides with a 12-hour wedding and reception to attend.
I felt pressure to set a good example for clean beauty because professional makeup should be beautiful, high-quality, and long-lasting. I’ve never had a problem accomplishing this with clean beauty products.
I didn’t know how my shift would be received, but it’s been one of the most positive things I’ve ever done. I think it’s not just the products themselves, but also the education I spread about clean beauty. I advocate for clean beauty every single day, so the people around me get excited about what they’re learning.
An interesting trend I noticed is that health-conscious women who are smart and fit are the most eager about clean beauty. It makes total sense because they care about what they put on their bodies just as much as what they put into them. I also started booking pregnant women and brides that were serious about starting a family and wanted to essentially “go clean” from the start.
So, everyone has been supportive. My clients are inspired to say the least. When they find out I use only clean beauty products, it makes them want to make healthier choices.
I first thought about starting a podcast in 2016, but the timing wasn’t right. As a makeup artist, I knew I wanted a beauty-related podcast. At the time, there were so many beauty podcasts already that I didn’t feel like mine would stand out. It needed to have a resounding message that was different from the rest.
Once I learned about clean and green beauty, everything clicked. I started to look for podcasts to listen to that could help me navigate the transition. I couldn’t find anything on the topic, which is when the idea for the Clean Beauty Podcast was officially born.
In 2018, I became the first clean beauty podcaster in the world, and it took off. I launched the podcast in November and by January I had thousands of downloads. Not only that, but I had a laundry list of brands that wanted to be on the podcast. This came with a ton of responsibility.
I take my job as a host very seriously, so from the beginning I set high standards and expectations. I don’t want listeners to feel like they’re tuning in to a talk show. They’re coming for actionable information, and I want every second to be valuable. On the Clean Beauty Podcast, we don’t waste time with small talk. We get straight to the hard questions.
Also, If I don’t love the brand inside and out, then you won’t hear about them on my show. The authenticity has shown through and now we’re in the top 1% of podcasts!
Good for you! Just be careful and remember the cosmetic industry is still not yet regulated. Even if a product seems “clean,” there is no law that requires a company to list all ingredients and there is no company double-checking those ingredients. Because of this, there’s a lot of “greenwashing” that goes on in the beauty industry. It’s on you to do your research or find resources like the Good Face Index that will do the research for you.
There’s so much marketing out there that will entice, confuse, and frustrate you because companies want to profit off the clean beauty movement. My advice is to stick to the local, honest, and ethical brands. If the company is a Certified B Corp, you’re off to a good start. My favorite go-to brand is Beautycounter. My celebrity clients love it, and so do I!
Beautycounter is my go-to clean beauty brand, of course. But I’m in love with so many clean beauty brands!
My favorite clean beauty products are:
...I have so many! Go check out the Clean Beauty Podcast for more recommendations. There’s a new episode each week featuring brands I have fallen in love with!
I also have a unique opportunity for readers to work with me! As some of you may know, I'm a Senior Manager and Mentor at Beautycounter. I'm consistently growing my team and would love to have you by my side as a fellow consultant or shopper.