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Chock full of charm

A new Canadian line of colour cosmetics is aiming to make a charmingbeauty impression with cheerfully feminine eco-responsible packaging, awear­able palette of hues and high-pigment formulas.

A new Canadian line of colour cosmetics is aiming to make a charming beauty impression with cheerfully feminine eco-responsible packaging, a wear­able palette of hues and high-pigment formulas.

"I wanted it to be a happy line," says Pandora’s Makeup Box creator Susan Kirsch, a successful makeup artist for 25 years and owner of Kirsch Cosmetic Studio in Toronto. "Why does makeup packaging have to be black?"

As well as pretty packaging, reducing potential waste was a key concern for Kirsch. Recyclable lipstick and gloss boxes have a plastic-free cutout window through which to see product shades.

Durable magnetized cardboard palettes are designed to outlast the pans of powder so they can be refilled and reused. The cardboard itself is composed of recycled materials and printed with soy ink, which is less environmentally stressful than regular ink and facilitates easier recycling.

And rather than enclose the compacts in boxes or shrinkwrap for shipping, Kirsch went for snug-fit removeable and recyclable cardboard bands.

Kirsch also considers waste at a manufacturing level. "I chose to work with a small lab so I could produce smaller batches of makeup," she says. "I wanted to reduce the chances of product sitting around on shelves until they expire."

When it came to creating her makeup shades, Kirsch took her diverse clientele into account. A blush pink lipstick called Sweet is appropriate for her young Bat Mitzvah clients; bolder shades such as Beautiful, Flushed and So Real are designed for more mature women. XOXO, a peachy-pink gloss, is for women who usually can’t wear pink because the natural undertone in their lips is too blue.

Great is her only sheer gloss, a transparent red for women too shy for bold red lips. And a gloss called Ciao, which Kirsch admits looks strange in the tube, actually looks great on Asian faces because it works with the acidity in their skin.

"I have acidity issues myself — some colours turn really pink on my lips," says Kirsch. "I wear a peach-gold lipstick called Sexy with a gloss called Soft, a flattering nude shade I can also wear by itself."

Value was another important concern. Each disk of powder eye shadow or blush contains 4 grams, a generous amount for $18 each, or $14 each when composing an eye-and-cheek palette. "I used the same pan size for shadow and blush to make it easy to mix and match in the same compact," says Kirsch. And the highly pigmented formulas means the makeup wears well, and overall lasts the client a long time: she needs only a little to achieve a compliments-please finish.

Pandora’s Makeup Box is available at Murale, murale.ca, and via PandorasMakeupBox.com.