Ruth Elizabeth Brown grew up with sensitive skin which made it impossible for her to wear makeup. After deciding to take matters into her own hands, Brown began looking at the ingredients listed on makeup packages and researching the ingredients to find out what they actually were. Brown realised that the reason she reacted so badly to makeup was the high levels of chemicals used in most makeup, and was horrified when she found out about the cruelty and prevalence of animal testing. Realising the gap in the market, Brown began developing her own makeup brand, one that was vegan, cruelty-free, and that she could wear without having painful reactions.
The first product Brown set about producing was lipstick. Inspired by youthful rummages through her mother’s makeup bag and her fascination with vibrant lip colours, Brown knew that this would be the perfect place to start. REB Cosmetics now produces 18 shades of lipstick, and they are Brown’s favourite part of her product range. Creating new colours is one of the best parts of her job.
Ethics are a large part of Brown’s business model. “I work with our makers on creating our products. And love to only use certified and mineral ingredients so I oversee everything when our products are being developed,” said Brown. “A lot of our customers are not vegan, and I sometimes will get asked if they need to be vegan to use our cosmetics. I laugh as I say ‘no’ but you will benefit from using our products as they contain no animal ingredients and are all natural.”
Brown is the owner and designer of REB Cosmetics, as well as working on filling and delivering orders for stockists and consumers who purchase via their website. Visual merchandising is important for Brown, as is educating her stockists - so they are better equipped to sell her products. While being a supplier for a variety of stores across Australia and Singapore currently takes up all of Brown’s time, she has set herself the goal of opening a REB Cosmetics store next year and expanding her stockists further abroad.