Transcript: Paige Padgett on the For Animals For Earth Podcast

Episodes 3, 4 and 5.

Listen or Read the show notes: A Green Beauty Chat with Paige Padgett


Brandy Montague 0:04
Welcome to episode number three of the For Animals For Earth podcast. This is the first part of a three part series that is making up episodes number three, number four, and number five. I am talking to Paige in Los Angeles, California, all about green beauty. In today’s episode, the simple action that I think you can take after listening is to go to and look up your favorite products in the Cosmetics Analyzer. So why should we care about green beauty?

Brandy Montague 0:41
Well not every product is safe, you probably already know this, but it can be difficult to figure out what is safe for our bodies, what’s safe for the earth, and what’s safe for animals. And Skin Charisma really does a great job of pulling in the EWG Scale that Paige talks about in the episode today, as well as some other tools to help you figure out what products work for you personally. And it’s just such a great resource. So to get a full set of today’s show notes go to

Brandy Montague 1:20
Hi there, this is Brandy and you’re listening to the For Animals For Earth podcast. This is a space where we inspire each other to take small steps every day to live a more conscious life, helping the animals, and the planet, while we do it. I’m so glad that you’re here. Let’s all take a deep breath and let’s get started.

Paige Padgett 1:45
Until you have your philosophy down, you cannot really say if it’s a good product or not. You really have to know what you’re looking for and what matters to you and your values, because everyone will have things that work for them and don’t. But ultimately, it’s petroleum.

Brandy Montague 2:03
That was Paige Padgett. Paige wears a lot of hats. She is a Hollywood makeup artist. She’s also a green beauty expert. She’s the author of “The Green Beauty Rules”. That’s a book all about toxic free makeup. And she’s the creator of the soon to be launched Erthling makeup brand. I met Paig a few years ago. We were working together at a co working space and we bonded automatically over our vegetarian diets and our general view of the world. It felt like every time Paige said something, I said yes, I agree. Every time I said something, it seemed like she was agreeing too. I think we just kind of operate on the same wavelength.

Brandy Montague 2:46
At the time, I was just beginning to question my makeup and my skincare and I really couldn’t figure out what was actually safe. It seemed like different products were telling me they were safe, but then I’d look up the ingredients on the back and maybe that wasn’t the case. It just wasn’t an easy thing to navigate. I was always fascinated by how much Paige knew. I would mention one of these brands that I was thinking about to her and she would quickly say yea or nay, and she told me why. She knows way more than the average Joe about everything that has to do with makeup and skincare.

Brandy Montague 3:28
When I bought her book, the changeover of my makeup started going a lot faster. At that point, I started passing her book around to all of my friends and family, and we all were just so thankful to have such a great resource. Paige is one of the first people that I thought about inviting on the show. She’s just so knowledgeable and so down to earth, and so kind, so helpful and just very non judgmental. She’s just a really great person. I knew that she would teach us all a ton, just by talking, as she always does. So I hope you learn something new today.

Brandy Montague 4:13
Let’s start by going back and talking about little Paige for a minute because I I love to ask about stories. When was your first inkling of being interested in… Let’s start with makeup. You work as a Hollywood makeup artist now, but were you into makeup when you were a little girl, or did that come about later?

Paige Padgett 4:41
It probably came about… when I was as a teenager. As a little girl I was way too preoccupied trying to help my mom with my little brothers. Yeah, I wasn’t very interested in anything else other than making sure that my little brothers were cared for and my little sister, and that I was cared for. I had issues of keeping us safe. And so I really didn’t think about, I mean, it’s not that I didn’t think about it, but I… We were so poor woman, my mom had five kids and no husband! So we were really poor, so I didn’t really think about a lot, at least I don’t remember that I did. I was a pretty average kid, in many ways, but I had a lot of adult problems on my mind.

Paige Padgett 5:28
Um, but I do remember a couple moments where I knew I was interested in beauty. My mom was beautiful. I mean, breathtakingly stunningly beautiful like Morgan Fairchild or Farrah Fawcett, beautiful blonde blue eyed. But my moments of realizing that I liked beauty and appreciating beauty was watching my mom put on makeup. She was so pretty. And I was like, you’re so pretty mom, and she did her makeup very beautiful. She coined the smokey eye. If Instagram was around then she would be slaying it.

Brandy Montague 6:10
That’s awesome!

Paige Padgett 6:11
Yeah, and so super smoky eye, pale lip. And so, that’s when I realized like, wow, beauty is is great, like beauty can be very useful. Just for the sake of being beautiful. So, so there was that moment. And she was a very good dancer. And she would go disco dancing. She doesn’t remember, but I do. She had beautiful dresses. These flowy floral dresses and these macrame beautiful high heels that wrapped around the ankle. I mean, with like a cork heel or, you know, she was just beautiful. So that’s when I really recognized beauty, was with my mom. But I think that’s common. Because I think little kids recognize beauty in their mom first, I think.

Paige Padgett 7:04
Um, but yeah, so with my mom. Later as a teenager I poured over W. I had really high end tastes. And it was like Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country, and Vogue. And so, I recognize beauty, not only in people, but architecture and landscape, art. You know I got interested in beauty there.

Paige Padgett 7:51
And then as a teenager, I went to stay like early teens, maybe even 12, I would spend summers with my aunt who was a hairstylist, a very well known hairstylist Central California Fresno. She did like the owner of 7UP, was a successful platform artist for Sebastian, at the time that was the number one product line. And when I’d go there, they had monitors around, so progressive. And the owner was very progressive. She would have monitors of fashion shows playing all the time, and it was really cool. Yeah. And so I would just watch these fashion shows and look at the avant garde makeup. And then there was a makeup artist there that did makeup for clients. And she would sometimes do very avant garde stuff on herself, and then me. And then that’s how I kind of got into makeup. I was equally into hair, like they were dyeing my hair purple or whatever, like I would have colors done. But I would sweep hair for the girls to make extra change. So, I had money over the summer. They’d give me a couple bucks a day. And they were all making a ton of money as a high end shop. And it was really fun. It was fun spending summers like that. So that’s how I became interested in makeup really.

Brandy Montague 9:21
Okay. Wow, that’s actually really cool. Just being young and being immersed in that environment, I think, is probably pretty unique. And it’s beautiful to hear you talk about your mom, you know, and just hearing you describing how beautiful she was. It’s really special to hear I guess.

Paige Padgett 9:47
Yeah, yeah I do feel nice, thinking about how young I was and how much I admired her beauty. And a lot of things,she had a great personality and was a wonderful mom. And it’s interesting, she had a California style of beauty, which I loved and still do. But, like, Sophia Loren and like, Isabella Rossellini I looked up to, like, they’re so beautiful. But it’s a different style of beauty and a different look. I mean which thank God, you know, Foxy Brown was beautiful, like her character like I love that Afro and you know, there’s all kinds of beauty, I’ve always found every woman beautiful. And every type of beauty, beautiful. But I really admired my mom’s ease, even though she did do this look, she just looked easy breezy even with that heavy eye makeup. It was sort of like she didn’t have anything else on her skin, so she just, there was something about her. She had an easy, and she wore her hair very feathery… I don’t know there was just an ease of beauty about her, which I liked. It’s very California to me.

Brandy Montague 10:48
You know there’s something to be said for that because I do think, like you said, every woman is beautiful. And a lot of times what we think can be beauty, which is the makeup or the hair… A lot of times beauty is actually the confidence and, you know, like you said, the ease of just being yourself and showing up in the world as yourself is really beautiful.

Paige Padgett 11:14
You know, it is. Yeah I wrote about confidence in my book and People panned that section. It’s such a bummer. But I just wanted something, you know, it was a section on being… It’s like tips, or beauty tips and part of it was really heavily focused on being confident, which is so hard sometimes. Confidence comes and goes, depending on what’s going on in your life. But I agree with you wholeheartedly, which is why I wrote it, and I wish people would think about that more. But they were like, “You’re a makeup artist. Come on we want to talk about that.”

Brandy Montague 11:45
Yeah, right, right. And it does… there is definitely something to putting on makeup and feeling beautiful.

Paige Padgett 11:51
Yes, absolutely. I mean I put a little on for you today, Brandy. Had to class it up a little for Brandy.

Brandy Montague 11:59
You know, you talk about this California look, but you always do have a very natural look that just always looks very beautiful. So I think there’s, there’s something to be said to that, for sure.

Paige Padgett 12:12
Thank you.

Brandy Montague 12:13
So you then moved on. How did you end up in in Hollywood doing makeup?

Paige Padgett 12:19
Well. So the story continues. And then when I became 18, I graduated from high school, and I moved to Palm Springs. I just wanted to get out of Central Valley. Palm Springs is so glamorous. And at the time was a really fun spring break, like, really fun spring break (until Sonny Bono came and ruined it for us all). And I ended up working for him and Mary! But, so I was 18, average age in Palm Springs was at the time, 63 and still maybe is. Seems it’s bit younger now, but it’s still quite a bit of an older crowd. And I had a cousin who lived in San Francisco and was a concert pianist. And, and an aunt that lived there. And I was like, I’ll go hang out with them. They’re really cool. And he died of AIDS unfortunately. A lot of people in the 80s went there to die of AIDS because it’s like paradise. And a large population of gay men and so, and gay women too actually. And Dinah Shore is a big lesbian event. And so, I moved there and one of my second or third jobs was working for Palm Springs Life magazine. I always wanted to be a journalist. And so that’s kind of how I started my journalistic career. But while I was at this magazine, I did some of their makeup for some of the photoshoots. I did some hair and makeup, cuz it’s like one day their person was gone. I think I even did the fashion, I styled it and everything. But I was really good. I was probably more interested probably at the time, in styling but the makeup was super natural and easy. Because as a stylist, you have to have connections and I didn’t have those connections. But the makeup was a shoo-in and I started getting hired to do more makeup. But in the 80s, this was like the late 80s, I was like this is not a career, no one makes a job like this. It’s not a real job, it’s makeup. You know, like, I want to do something really deeply meaningful. I wanted to tell stories and help people or, you know, so I gave it up, And of course I went back to it because I ended up in Hollywood.

Brandy Montague 14:39
Yeah, I feel like I notice that about news.

Paige Padgett 14:39
I came to LA to go to UCLA. And to be a journalist. But then I graduated from my…I had a journalism career even before I went to college. My last job was at KCAL 9 news. I was working in the newsroom. I was writing some news, doing some PA work, production assistant work, a little bit of everything, getting a reel together. I put a great reel together there, and it was getting really good feedback, but all of a sudden I hated it. I hated spot news. I hated to put a microphone in someone’s face. It felt invasive. And I was like wow I should have stayed in print journalism. I loved it. And I liked writing. Liked reporting in the written form more than the broadcast form. You could use a larger vocabulary. They actually told me to dumb down my vocabulary. They’re like you have to write for a fourth grade audience for TV. And for newspaper, you can write for a seventh grade audience. And then it was just so much more sensational. In general.

Paige Padgett 14:54
I was doing more environmental pieces. Actually I did entertainment, which I thought was so frivolous, but at least it’s entertainment, and it’s called entertainment. You know what you’re getting with entertainment. So it felt more legit, as to taking something that I wanted to have be more of a news piece and it was super salacious or slant, you know. So for me I just wasn’t enjoying it. And when I graduated from college, I was like, definitely more interested in holistic things and self development. I was like, I think I’ll do skincare as more of a practitioner. I had something called Hands On Hollywood for a while. It was more like a concierge service. People could hire an acupuncturist or skincare person or a chiropractor or a massage therapist to come to set. So when I finally found green beauty I was like, I love that, I love that I can really make a difference. Because as a makeup artist I found, again, myself becoming bored, and not feeling like I’m making a big enough of a difference. So my passion for the environment transitioned my career to be a green makeup artist. And that gave it new life, and gave me sustainability because I wouldn’t have lasted.

Brandy Montague 17:15
Yeah, for sure!

Paige Padgett 17:16
I mean it was fun, but it wasn’t going to feed my soul.

Brandy Montague 17:22
Yeah, well, and I think there’s a lot to be said for that, you know, because I’ve heard you say that a lot. Yeah, makeup is fun, and it is fun, but I know that you’re extremely passionate about the environment and, clean beauty, green beauty. Both of those things have become very popular recently, much, much more well known. But you were doing this a long time ago. And you were really one of the very first people, at least in Hollywood and I think probably around the world, to kind of notice, “Oh, you know what, this isn’t the cleanest thing – makeup and skincare – and this really isn’t great for our bodies and it’s also not great for the environment.” And so you really did find a place that I feel like took off for you, in this space of saying, “Yeah, we need to clean up skincare and beauty.” And you were able to do it in Hollywood, for celebrities, and for people on set, and really influence, I think, the change of that happening in the world.

Paige Padgett 18:35
Yeah definitely helped influence, for sure. And it wasn’t easy, and still people are attached, especially older people. I mean, not older, but like a little bit more mature, like 40s and over, like Gen X and over, probably millennials, and even more Gen Z, are more interested in embracing it. There was a study out recently of whether women thought that traditional makeup lasted as long, or was as effective, performed as high, and like 80% or something really high (it could have been 60 or 70%) of Gen Z was like performs just as good or better. As people got older, millennials were like, 50% maybe and then it was like Gen X is like 40%, boomers were like 20%. As the generations got older, they thought it was less effective or not as high performing if it were natural. So it’s a mindset, and people are starting to change, so that’s good.

Paige Padgett 19:41
But I yeah, I identified it early on. But I didn’t come to it through health reasons. Thank God, because a lot of people do come with health reasons and become clean in their beauty routines, but there’s a macro and a micro, and I always talk about that.

Paige Padgett 19:57
I applied to be a board member for Green Spa Network. I used to work at Burke Williams Spa and I loved it. It was really fun. I did massage, wet room treatments, body scrubs, dry wraps, everything, as well as skincare, like oxygen facials, waxing, I did it all as a skincare professional. And I was a massage therapist, did a lot of different modalities, so I was very holistic. So they focus more on the environmental, in Green Spa Network. And I was like, you know, that’s how I came to green beauty. But most people who come, especially because it’s beauty, come from the other way around. Because micro is really focused on themselves, and how it’s affecting them, cosmetics, traditional cosmetics, or how green beauty can help them. And I came the other way around, like looking at it from an environmental perspective, which is how they do.

Paige Padgett 20:51
So there is both. And someone like yourself, who runs a brand for, and then there’s the animal aspect which is to me an environmental aspect but also there’s animal rights issues. Green beauty. You know there’s clean beauty, green beauty, natural beauty, there’s always organic. I tend to say green or sustainable. I purposely use the word green, even though it’s terrible for SEO. I have to use clean too. But I still continue to use green because green encompasses the planet and clean doesn’t. At least that’s what most people think. I think it should be one term but there’s no one term. And nothing’s regulated really. I don’t think it’s clean if it does not encompass the planet. Mm hmm. Yeah, something can be clean, like palm oil can be clean, but it’s not sustainable. So I still use the term green or sustainable. To me it’s inherently implied that it’s also clean, but a lot of people don’t know that. I have to use both. That’s frustrating, but I think if you know me, that it’s implied, but if you don’t know me I have to use both.

Brandy Montague 22:07
Yeah, and you know, I think that those words are flying around everywhere right now, because they have become so popular and people are really starting to demand. I would say more so because of their own health, people are starting to demand cleaner products, but I also think more people, you know like you and I are starting to want to do better for the environment too. And what would you say is a good product? So like a clean, green product. I don’t mean brands, but I just mean like, what, what would you say is in a product that you would recommend, or something you would not recommend?

Paige Padgett 22:50
Well, it’s easy to remember, but it’s really hard to, it’s actually not. There’s one, okay… I always tell everyone. It’s petroleum. If you can eliminate petroleum, or petroleum by product or anything processed with petroleum. But that sounds so simple, it’s really so hard. But it’s only hard in the beginning and it’s only hard when you don’t have your own philosophy hashed out. Because we’ve talked before about how everyone’s different. So you might have a sensitivity to oxy bismuth chloride. But I may not. And so, you know, it’s just that you can’t say like, oh this one thing is not going to be bad for everyone because you know if you’re allergic to tea tree oil then, you know, you’ve really got to sort of get down what you value most because not one thing applies to everyone.

Paige Padgett 23:56
So, I’m a little stuck on that word oxy bismuth, it’s, it’s not chloride.

Brandy Montague 24:06
It’s a big chemically word.

Paige Padgett 24:09
I’m like is it chloride or is it just oxy bismuth?

Paige Padgett 24:11
But anyway to answer you, until you have your philosophy down you cannot really, you know, I can’t really say this is a good product or not a good product. You really have to know what you’re looking for, and what matters to you and your values, because everyone will have things that worked for them and don’t. Ultimately it is petroleum. If you can eliminate petroleum byproducts, petroleum mineral oil. Anything processed with petroleum, and it’s the eth.

Brandy Montague 24:50
Okay, I was going to say how do we know if something’s… does it say petroleum on there?

Paige Padgett 24:55
Not usually. Mineral oil sometimes. But it will say eth. Ethylene. So ethylene is usually what they take to process, different chemicals or materials to get a certain ingredient to use. So if it’s got the prefix or suffix eth, it’s probably been processed. But that doesn’t mean, you know, that everything that’s been processed is horrible. But it’s definitely, you know, about the petroleum. You can process a coconut. But if it’s processed with petroleum and it’s got petroleum byproducts, it will have if nothing else, trace ingredients, trace minerals from that.

Brandy Montague 25:56
So you’re saying basically like if you see eth as an ingredient in something, then it means that it has been somewhat processed as petroleum. But the reality is that you, as yourself, first need to understand what is your priority list and what’s okay for you and what’s not, because eth may be a deal breaker in something or maybe it would be okay? Is that what you’re saying?

Paige Padgett 26:28
That’s true. Um, yes, sometimes it probably would would be okay. I mean if it was really at the bottom of the list. And depending on what the eth was. But you really have to know your ingredients to know what those are, you know. Sometimes I still look up things. And I remember looking up things that I looked up 10 times, I’m like oh I forgot because I looked up 60, you know, chemicals in the past couple days. And so I’m like, Oh, that’s what that is, again. But if you can avoid… So if you have something called the three P’s and honestly if you can eliminate fragrance, which I call perfume. Hence the P. But it’s fragrance, perfume, parfum. However, the, you know, French say parfum. But fragrance, parabens and petrochemicals.

Paige Padgett 27:19
But if you can hit the first two, and then get some of those petrochemicals lower. There are some green brands that have a few petrochemicals, but they’re the ones that are much more benign. And, you know, or things that have been processed with ethylene they’re probably more, you know less harmful and if it’s the very bottom that might be okay. But really what I do is I look everything up on the EWG. You know, sometimes I can look at something and know, but sometimes I still have to look it up.

Brandy Montague 27:48
Mm hmm. And I wanted to hit on that because you talk about looking it up and so there are some apps and there’s also places online that you can look up ingredients that you see on a product that you’re interested in, and it will tell you, how safe in general, this ingredient is or isn’t. And then overall you know how safe the product is so that you can make a decision for yourself about what’s right. So you’re talking about the EWG, for people who don’t know I think if you just Google Environmental Working Group.

Paige Padgett 28:25
Yeah that’s true. They have a database with ingredients that are clean, excuse me, products that are clean, and you can look up a product and if it’s not in there you can build your own reports, which is in the top right hand corner. So yeah, and they also have a seal EWG VERIFIED, which I would like to get for Erthling eventually.

Brandy Montague 28:46
Oh that’s nice, a seal, so you could actually see that on the product. And if it’s EWG VERIFIED that would mean that it’s what… like good for the environment?

Paige Padgett 28:58
Yes, it’s their stamp of approval, EWG, and it’s usually good for the environment, good for the person. There’s no question, it’s probably one of the strictest. They’re pretty hardcore I think. They’re very clean let’s say that.

Brandy Montague 29:23
So in that moment of our interview life happened, and Paige got a phone call from her babysitter. She had to run and pick up her daughter so we picked up our conversation the next day, talking about seals and how you can tell based on these different seals, if a product is good or not.

Brandy Montague 29:45
Head over to episode number four, and that is part two of the conversation with Paige, and we are going to pick up the conversation there. Thanks.

Brandy Montague 29:58
As usual, if you enjoyed today’s show, please consider hitting subscribe or rating or reviewing us or telling one of your friends, anything that you can do helps tremendously. I will see you in episode number four. Bye.

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