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The Zero-Waste, Small-Batch Local Beauty Brand We Can’t Wait to Try

The Zero-Waste, Small-Batch Local Beauty Brand We Can’t Wait to Try

Local artist and social entrepreneur Jenny Murphy’s all-natural line called Not Makeup is gaining traction with a loyal client base. The small-batch cheek and lip tints, glosses, balms and scents are giving consumers the power to treat their skin and selves in a sustainable fashion.

“It’s in the name,” Murphy says. “It’s ‘not makeup.’ It shifts the idea that makeup is permanent and alters your face. It’s a different way to use it, a different mindset of how to take care of and adorn your skin.”

Murphy began the product line during the COVID-19 pandemic, though she had been making and using her own beauty products for years. The founder and former executive director of Perennial, a local nonprofit that teaches people how to live sustainable and self-sufficient lives, also works as an artist and a teacher. Launching Not Makeup allowed her to combine her passions as a maker and advocate for the environment by creating zero-waste products.


“All of the products I use are natural waxes that moisturize and improve the quality of your skin,” Murphy describes. “I add color from plants. I use all compostable packaging. Even the tubes [the products] come in are paper-based.”

She also sources materials from a limited number of suppliers that pride themselves on using organic, ethically and sustainably harvested ingredients.

“That is something magical to me about the brand,” Murphy says. “When you buy stuff, it’s [often] always stuff in your life. When you use this balm or gloss, it disappears, like it never existed. To think of this product as going away as you’re using it – that it has no impact in that way – is cool.”

The artist and producer prefers keeping her new business hyperlocal, in an effort to not become motivated from a capitalistic perspective to grow larger. “I like the idea of having deeper connections with the work that I do and the people who have my products,” she says.

Not Makeup draws inspiration not only from the world around it but also from its customers, who often share on social media the common and unique ways of using the beauty products. Murphy was impressed when a customer applied the all-purpose balm, with healing properties from a medicinal flower, to her eyebrows after microblading.

“It’s exciting to see where others take the products,” Murphy shares. “[As] the producer, I’m looking at the ingredients and the chain of where those are coming from, and also thinking about the full circle, what the end-of-life is like for the product.”

That thought process has led to partnerships with like-minded businesses, including Webster Groves’ Dharma + Dwell, where Not Makeup features a line of body oils. Murphy has her eye out for additional opportunities to collaborate with sustainable brands and boutiques.

Murphy confirms she is currently crafting eyeliners, brow fillers and waxes to extend Not Makeup’s lineup. 

Not Makeup,

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Staff writer Amanda Dahl has a love for all things beautiful, from people trying to change the world for the better to fashion and beauty to picturesque places found around the globe.

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