It’s hard to imagine a time when clean beauty wasn’t in the zeitgeist (or in our makeup bags). And that is thanks, in no small part, to Rose-Marie Swift. In 2004, after working as a professional makeup artist for decades, Swift created a website called Beauty Truth, which exposed controversial ingredients found in cosmetics. This experience led her to create the much-loved RMS, a line of gentle, multi-use makeup and skincare that delivers a foolproof, natural-looking glow. Recently, RMS launched their first-ever SPF product, the SuperNatural Radiance Serum, a lightweight luminizing serum with mineral sun protection. On the heels of that launch—and more to come—Swift chatted with W about the importance of gut health, her colorful beginnings, and how guilt can be a motivating factor.
What’s your morning routine?
Do you want the real truth?
Well, the first thing I do is take my retainers out of my mouth. Then I have a cold shower, it makes you feel really good, and it just gets into your system like, boom. Then I go downstairs and take my probiotics. I’m a major advocate for gut health—I think a lot of people have bad skin because their gut health is completely screwed up. Then I take a shot of liquid silica, and I have to admit, I got really addicted to Mud\Wtr, the matcha one. Then I walk my dog, and then I start doing some of my skincare, which isn’t very much. I’m super, super basic.
What do you do?
I’ll put on a little bit of my beauty oil. I love my beauty oil because it’s so pure; there’s literally nothing in it except oils and adaptogenic herbs.
Do you do makeup in the morning?
If I do makeup in the morning, if I go out to the store, all I do is darken my brows, because my brows are basically nonexistent. They look kind of like my hair. So I’ll darken my brow and do my lip, that’s it. If I do an event or I go out somewhere for dinner, then I’ll put on more.
How did you get into makeup?
One day I saw my mom getting dressed up, and she had red lipstick, and it was in a little metal tube with beautiful designs on it. But what really got me was her powder, because she had this beautiful jar with marabou feathers for powdering. She dusted it on her face, and I thought, “Oh, wow.” And then with the red lip, “Oh, wow.” So that’s how I got obsessed. And I started looking at old movie stars. I always thought my mom and dad looked like old movie stars.
I read somewhere that your first job as a make-up artist was in the 1970s, doing makeup for strippers. That sounds so fabulous. How did you land that gig?
My sister was learning to be an esthetician, and she knew a guy who owned a whole bunch of hotels in Vancouver that had beer parlors in the back, and they all had a stage with a pole. And so the guy that owned these hotels said to Monica, “Will you do me a favor? I’ve got all these girls in my strip clubs, will you teach them how to do their skin nicer?” She goes, “Okay.” And then she said to me, “Why don’t you do their makeup?” And I wasn’t a makeup artist then, but I did my own all the time. When I first went, nobody wanted it done by me. They were all like [rolls her eyes], but then the most beautiful girl said, “I’ll let you do my makeup.” Well, I just had to do that one girl’s makeup, and I got everyone. So I went around to club, after club, after club, and just did all their makeup.
What made you want to create your line?
I had a website exposing the chemicals in the [cosmetics] industry in 2004, and I got a lot of press for it. Then I started doing the makeup for Victoria’s Secret. What I noticed, with the move to digital, is you really see what makeup’s doing on the face when you blow it up. And so I’d look, and I’d go, “What the fuck?” Pardon my language, but these girls are beautiful–why are they looking dry? Their skin’s not as beautiful as when they first came in. And I got very, very upset that I was putting this stuff on these girls that are absolutely drop-dead beautiful, like Giselle, Miranda, Adriana, and Alessandra. I felt guilty. Guilt is the biggest motivating factor for everything I do when it comes to my brand or what I put on my face or in my mouth. I can’t even feed my dog bad food, I feel guilty.
What was the first product you created?
It was the eye polishes. I thought, I need to do an eyeshadow that’s a cream but with color. And I didn’t care that they creased; they photographed amazingly. When I started making them, the photographers would say—every single time—“Oh my God, what’s on the eyes?” And I went, “Oh, I’m onto something.”
What’s your nighttime routine?
I have a lot of weird healing machines. And I sit there for a couple hours, or even an hour, and just do one. I have a machine that stimulates mitochondria in the brain. I also have a frequency generator. So I’ll just sit there, and then I’ll take all my makeup off with our raw coconut cream and put castor seed oil on my eyelashes. I’m having trouble with my eyelashes from curling them, they tend to fall out in the middle a bit, so the castor seed oil is helping.
Do you do any masks? Or serums?
I’m a super big advocate for digestive enzymes in masks. Dr. Alkaitis masks are phenomenal. He has one called Organic Enzyme Exfoliating Mask, and the plant enzymes in that eat away at any bacteria and dryness. I also am a fan of Odacité. I have a lot of stuff from her, I like her eye cream and sprays. And I love her skincare for dark spots, like the The Papaya + Geranium Hyperpigmentation Serum Concentrate, now that I’m getting into the older lady category—I don’t care who knows! I also love Kora’s Noni Glow Body Oil and the Active Algae Lightweight Moisturizer. I like that moisturizer because you don’t feel like you have a lot on your skin. I like my face to be covered in oil, but then there are times when I’m like, “No, okay, this is getting a little ridiculous. You don’t need to be that oily.”
Do you have any beauty secrets you’d be willing to share?
I have a few. To make your top lip look bigger, stop accenting the bow and use your lipliner to make a little wave there instead. No blush below the nostrils. When you start putting it down there, it pulls the whole face down. When you’re older, you don’t want to square off your brows; it pulls the eyes together and makes you look harsh and stern. Also, I’m not a big one for tapping products into the skin. I think the face needs to be moved around, it atrophies if you don’t exercise it. Get the blood flowing! Rub in your foundation like you’re rubbing in moisturizer, don’t have it just laying on your skin.