October 23, 2018 01:10 PM | by The Fustany Team
Mariam El Khosht Tells Us What We Never Knew about Makeup in a Heartfelt Interview
She put a mask on, coffee in hand and we couldn't stop talking about beauty and makeup. Mariam El Khosht has a close cause to her heart, cruelty-free products. She taught us a lot about makeup and beauty products during a chat we had as she was getting ready at a cozy room at The Westin Cairo Golf Resort & Spa.
What Inspired you to make the change to cruelty-free?
Long Story... I wasn’t very interested in makeup to begin with. When I decided to start learning more about makeup, it was around the time I was getting married and I felt quite guilty spending a lot of money on the whole wedding. When it came to my engagement, I decided to try and learn how to do my own makeup. I had pets all my life and they’re like family, when you see any form of cruelty happening, it strikes a chord.
I came across something that mentioned that it was not animal tested and I was like, "Oh, what does that mean?" I started reading about it and realized that animal testing is a very cruel and unnecessary process, a million lines under unnecessary! It's not as simple as a brand saying it's cruelty-free, it's a lot of studying, and it took over my life.
What knowledge about the industry do you have that you can share with our readers? We’ve noticed that people are not aware of the process of testing cosmetics on animals, can you clarify that to our readers and why they should make the switch?
Animal testing literally goes into almost everything, somethings are necessary products, like medicine, you can die without medicine, but you’re not gonna die without beauty products, shampoo and if you change your toothpaste.
Testing goes into everything to see if it can give you a rash, irritate you, hurt your eyes. There’s a very touching ad of a small puppy with a bowl in front of it and it read "Would you force feed your best friend shampoo?" You wouldn't do that and you keep saying your dog is your best friend. I know that people relate to the animals they have at home but even if you wouldn’t have a mouse as a pet, you should still have compassion for it.
How would you encourage someone to switch to cruelty-free products, bearing in mind they don’t want to throw away all their previously bought products?
For me, I recently discovered that leather is not a by-product. A lot of people think that leather is fine because the animal is dead anyway and we take the skin after. However, some animals are slaughtered for the purpose of leather, some animals are skinned alive for fur, because the leather is softer and better quality.
I don't buy leather anymore but I have leather products. It's one of two things, you either don't feel comfortable using them knowing how they reached you and so you give them away, so you’re not encouraging people to buy leather. That way you're decreasing the demand which affects the entire market. You can also finish them and tell yourself I’m not gonna buy anymore of this. And take that time to look at other products so you know what to buy after they're done.
How much beauty is involved in your daily life?
Skincare is one side of the spectrum and makeup is on the other. When I first got interested in makeup, I was fascinated by all these different alternatives and I was excited about learning how to do it, like, "Oh yay! Now I know how to contour." I was also very excited about advertising the products so people would want to buy them and then they can listen to the knowledge behind them. I don't wear makeup at all, in my daily life. I wear makeup if I have an event and I’m pretty light handed. But I can’t do without my eyebrow gel, sometimes mascara.
Skincare is different, I have a lot of issues with skin. I’m very prone to acne, which is one of the reasons I cut back on using makeup a lot because my skin doesn’t react very well to it. I know it sounds a little weird, but I always feel like my skin has been through so much with me because the entire time I was trying to learn and figure out things about cruelty-free makeup, my skin really stuck out for me. I just wanted to be nicer to it afterwards and take more care of it, so I try my best -as long as I have the energy- to stick to the same routine everyday, it comes through and clears up. My commitment is mainly skincare.
Jacket: Camicie - Rings: Djewelled - Necklace: LALA - Earrings: LALA
We notice you always like to go natural and you’re very confident about that? What advice would you give a woman who feels reluctant or shies away from embracing the natural look or leaving the house without any foundation?
You can't ask your skin to be there for you, if you’re not there for it. You can't keep saying "It doesn't look good so I'm gonna hide it." Your skin is gonna feel that negative energy and it's not gonna be proud of itself, it’s not going to want to look better. There was an experiment done of 2 small boxes with rice in them, one with a sticker that said ‘I love you’ and the other one with ‘I hate you’, and the one that said ‘I hate you’ went bad! I didn't have that confidence, but I wanted to take care of my skin and I got a lot of compliments about being without makeup which gave me more confidence.
Jacket: Camicie - Mules: Elia
Did you ever decide to choose laser or botox to get rid of scars?
No. I have a strange feeling about how acne scars are a natural result of acne, that's something that happens from your body. So it's not possible in nature that there's a problem without the solution, it's not logical. It's a complete cycle, you just have to find what it is that works for you.
Vest Dress: Camicie - Rings: Djewelled - Necklace: LALA - Earrings: LALA
How did you discover which brands are cruelty-free? Name some of your favorites.
Long research, this is why I decided to create a blog to begin with, because I felt like no one's going to have the energy to sit and investigate all this, they're gonna look at the brand, if it says it's cruelty-free then that's that. If you sell in countries that require animal testing, like China, you -as a brand- are required to fund it. As opposed to other brands like The Body Shop, they withdrew their products from China. Lush are also one of my absolute favorite cosmetic brands, if I know anyone traveling abroad, I always ask them for any lush product.
It's very difficult to be comfortable with yourself when you know the thing that’s making you beautiful made another creature suffer greatly. Some people tell me, okay but we have to test on something. Test on humans. You are the species that wants this product, therefore you test it on yourself. How would you feel if I told you that the accuracy of the results of animal testing are only 20% accurate? Because they are completely different creatures, and the proof is that with mice there is a success rate with curing cancer but with humans you don’t have it.
Does this cause extend beyond makeup?
Yeah, I've never been able to wear fur. I try not to buy leather as much as I can. A lot of times in stores I ask the salesperson if it's real leather and a lot of the times they want to say 'yes' because they think that that's what I'm looking for, and when they say 'yes' I thank them and leave. It also seeped through my diet, I don't eat meat anymore, so yeah it's snowballing!
How do you handle products on movie/TV show sets? Do you bring your own makeup?
Sometimes, I bring my own makeup. In 'La Totfe' Al Shams' I did my own makeup because surprisingly my skin reacted very badly to the makeup that was being used. In 'Layali Eugenie' there were options and they knew that I prefer certain brands to others so they used it.
Dress: Deana Shaaban - Slippers: Elia
Is being a makeup artist one of your main passions, or do you have your eyes set on something else?
I started doing makeup to attract people to the product and the cause. I wanted to show brides that I can come do your wedding makeup and you will look great, and everything I used is cruelty-free. They would ask me about the products wanting to buy them.
After I started acting and my reach became higher, it was a bit awkward when I'd go do a bride's makeup and I'd have people ask me for photos, it stole the bride's thunder and it was a little weird so I didn’t want to do that anymore. I also realized that now a lot more people want to listen because there are more followers, so I didn't have to keep doing that same thing anymore. This interview and photoshoot is everything I've wanted for a very long time. When I started gaining a lot of followers I started to panic but my family reminded me that maybe all this is for increasing my reach and having the opportunity to spread the cause.
Shirt & Pants: Deana Shaaban - Slippers: Elia
A makeup or beauty tip you live or swear by?
Never, ever, ever sleep with makeup on. Ever! Really. If your skin breathes from the pores, you're basically asking it to go to sleep with a damp towel on it, it's terrible.
Any final piece of advice you want to share with people?
"Try to relate to who's on your plate."
Dress: Fufa - Necklace: LALA - Rings: Djewelled
Location: The Westin Cairo Golf Resort & Spa - Katameya Dunes
Production & Styling: Fustany
Photographer: Ehab Azzab
Hair Styling: Kriss Salons
Makeup: Mariam El Khosht
Wait there's more amazing pictures you need to see on our Instagram.
Our Living section is a woman's best friend. See for yourself and get a little bit of everything!