Khandiz Joni has been working as a hair and makeup artist since 2000. She began her career in Cape Town, South Africa working on films and television commercials, including Hollywood features like Blood Diamond and Lord of War. In 2013, the short film ASAD, which she did the hair and makeup design for, was nominated for an Oscar. Since 2008 she has been working predominately on stills. Her commercial and advertising clients include Clarks, Levi’s, Tubourg, Debenhams, Free People, Coca Cola and Virgin.
Khandiz moved to London in September of 2012, where she is now based. Her passion for sustainable fashion and beauty has grown significantly over the years, and stems from her interest in environmental sustainability. In 2014 Khandiz co-founded an agency called Novel Beings, a platform where like-minded artists could be represented to the industry in a way that wouldn’t compromise their ethics. SLiNK had the great pleasure in interviewing Khandiz for the Passionate About Natural Feature…
SLiNK: When in your career did you switch to a natural approach, was it the same time you started Novel Beings or did that follow later?
KJ: I have been investigating, and have even dabbled in making, mineral makeup for years… since about 2006 to be exact. However, I have only become acutely aware of green makeup over the last
3 years. I actually started Novel Beings because I couldn’t find an agency that I felt could represent me and stay true to my authentic message. Don’t get me wrong; it’s been a journey getting my kit to where it is today!
SLiNK: What prompted you to make the switch to natural?
KJ: My journey to the natural makeup route actually came because of my (now
I realise how very naive it was) environmental passion. I have always been into the being less impactful towards the environment but it took some time before I really put two and two together and acknowledge that the work I do had a huge impact on the environment. I started choosing brands that had less packing, started switching out my wet wipes, cotton buds and so on, and do biodegradable versions. It was only through investigation how I could be less impactful that I truly discovered my reason for using natural cosmetics, because, of course, these brands are by their ethos, much kinder to the environment… let alone all the other benefits that I discovered along the way!
SLiNK: Natural cosmetics appear to be more mainstream now than ever before. How do you think that natural make up has changed in the time you have been using it?
KJ: It has definitely changed. The industry itself has just ballooned! Natural makeup no longer means natural colours and hemp clothing. The makeup has become high- end, high performing and new formulas are coming out all the time. Of course there is still a way to go – but I kind of find that exciting because it means there is lots to look forward to.
SLiNK: There is a pre-conception that natural make up doesn’t perform as well as conventional, what has been your experience using natural options as a pro make up artist?
KJ: In fairness, for many years it didn’t, not to the standards required by professionals so that the makeup sits well on camera. But it is certainly not that case now, as it is all I use now! I think the biggest thing was to “unlearn” all my expectations of makeup. Even when a conventional line brings out a new product with a different consistency or formulation, its application is often different too and we have to learn how best to work with the product. It is essentially the same when switching to natural cosmetics. One thing I would say is that because it isn’t filled with synthetic chemicals to make a product adhere to your skin for 24 hours, you may have to touch up a couple of times during the day and perhaps use an eyelid primer underneath an eyeshadow to really make it pop.
KJ: We need to consider natural cosmetics as a whole new kind of product and therefore not expect it to work in the same way as a conventional product would. I have become a better makeup artist since switching to a green kit because I really have to become inventive with how to achieve certain looks if the products don’t yet exist!
*disclaimer – if there is a particular product that I really need to achieve a client brief and a fully natural brand does not yet exist for it, I will seek out vegan brands and weigh up the ingredients lists to ensure that what I am using is the best product I can.
interview by Jenny Morrell