Redefining Beauty With Lou Dartford


If you’re a fan of clean beauty, you’ll be a fan of Lou Dartford. A top make-up artist and an advocate of natural and organic products, Lou has become a green beauty expert and her expertise is well sought after.

Tell us more about your day job.

I work as a make-up artist but my days vary so much. One day I’ll be on a shoot for a skincare brand, the next I might be making up an actress or a singer for a red carpet event or video. I teach at a make-up academy a few times a month working with trainee make-up artists, this is great fun as I learn from them too. I also work with private clients helping them to make their beauty routines greener, offering skincare advice and make-up lessons as well.

What sparked your passion for all things natural and organic. 

I’ve always been interested in natural health – give me a good health shop over a shoe shop any day 😉 I remember trying an organic body moisturiser years ago, it wasn’t actually that great but it made me think; I was paying so much attention to what was going into my body, but what about what was going on it? I then went on a mission to learn as much as I could about natural beauty. I put so many products on other people’s faces that I felt it was my duty to spread the word on natural and organics!

Describe what Clean Beauty means to you. 

To me clean beauty means products that are full of plant based skin friendly ingredients. Those ingredients need to come from a sustainable, transparent source, they need to be grown using the best methods available – organic where possible. It also means no suspect ingredients, no harsh foaming agents and synthetic fragrances etc. The products should also be housed in sustainable packaging that can be recycled. No animal testing obviously. Products need to be kind to our skin, but also kind to everything the whole way along the production line. Respecting the planet is key.

What do you think the biggest misconception about clean beauty is? 

I think the problem with clean beauty is that everyone has their own definition of what it means. With no regulations, there is no clear-cut answer to what it does mean, which can make it confusing and open to so many different misconceptions. It also allows anyone to make a ‘clean’ beauty claim whatever they have in their product.

Clean Beauty must-haves.

Body moisturiser for sure – this is a great place to start when switching your routine. It is such a big surface area to be applying a product that is makes sense for it be a ‘clean’ one. Deodorant definitely. I think whatever you use the most on a daily basis should be a clean beauty must-have.

Top tip for upgrading your beauty routine. 

Going into winter I would add a nourishing plant oil into your routine as well a hydrating serum – look for products with hyaluronic acid to help boost dehydrated skin. Also a gentle scrub or fruit acid exfoliator if you don’t already use it, would be great for helping to add radiance.

Do you follow any specific rules when buying beauty? 

Products must fit into my personal definition of clean beauty – good ingredients, no synthetic nasties, respecting the environment. I’m thinking even more so about wastage now – so refillable products and minimal packaging are important.

Which beauty ingredients are a definite no no? 

I avoid mineral oil as it does a big fat nothing for skin, it is a cheap filler and from a non-renewable source. I avoid SLS and SLES as they irritate and dry my skin, they also give my daughter mouth ulcers. I avoid parabens, phthalates, synthetic sunscreens, triclosan…

The list could go on.. however by choosing well trusted brands that share my ethics, I don’t have to worry about the not-so nice ingredients as much 🙂

Other than clean beauty, what other elements of healthy living are most important to you? 

We’re vegetarians so eating lots of fresh fruit, veg and good quality food. Eating organically as much as possible. Exercising and fresh air.

Your top piece of beauty advice? 

Really look at your skin when applying foundation – I see so many women just applying far too much product and they don’t need it. It can often make issues look worse and skin look older. Also pay more attention to your skin – what does it actually need – get your skincare right and your make-up will become easier.