Conscious Beauty And Beautiful Minds: Interview w/ Jill Turnbull
Jill Turnbull began her beauty career immediately after high school — starting out as a part-time assistant, which then evolved into a four year apprenticeship. For the next four decades, she worked hard and got to live out her dream as a professional hairstylist and makeup artist, working with leading publications and professional athletes such as The Washington Ballet, all while still working independently as a hairstylist.
It wasn’t until 2019 when Jill decided to develop her own line of beauty products. The idea came to her after working on a Vogue Italia editorial shoot with David Attenborough and Prince William. The issue focused on sustainability and environmental issues, so her task as the lead stylist was to find beauty products that were 100% sustainable, and after extensive research and countless calls with leading brands, she wasn’t able to get a guarantee of 100% sustainability in writing — and that shocked her.
Realizing that we really had not gotten far with sustainability in the beauty and hair care industry was a game changer for Jill’s career, and it motivated and inspired her to create her own line of fully sustainable, ocean safe, 100% plant based hair care, makeup and skincare — an opportunity for which she is profoundly grateful.
What was the first beauty routine you adopted as a child or teenager? Which emotions do you connect with this memory?
My first beauty routine was actually embracing ocean water on my face. My Mum was never into beauty, she would go to the salon for her weekly shampoo and set, and used Ponds Cold Cream for her skincare, so it was never really a thing for me growing up, but I loved the way the ocean felt on my skin.
Living so close to the ocean, the waves, sand, and ocean breeze were my beauty therapy and routine. I would bottle up a jar of ocean water and use it throughout the week on my face and hair. I always joke and say as a teenager my skin and hair was always the best when I was on my ocean beauty routine!
CONSCIOUS BEAUTY — What meaning do you give this term?
The term conscious beauty describes a brand’s values, placing a focus on health and the environment. It’s about full ingredient transparency, using only the most natural, sustainable, ocean safe ingredients, as well as using sustainable packaging to help reduce any negative impact on our planet.
Consumers have the right to know what they are putting on their body and should feel comfortable and confident knowing they are protected. It is our responsibility to provide consumers with products that are good for them and the environment, yet still highly effective.
Which aspects of sustainability in beauty are especially important to you?
Growing up in eco-conscious Australia, where we were issued egg timers for showers to reduce water waste, I’ve always been very conscious of the water crisis and environmental issues. Because of this experience, the blue beauty movement has always been especially important to me. As a beauty professional, it’s alarming how much the beauty industry has had a negative impact on our environment, marine life in particular. At least 350 million gallons of shampoo and its unregulated ingredients flow down US drains annually, damaging waterways and killing marine life. Most of the plastic in the 552 million shampoo bottles that wind up in landfills yearly are not recyclable, and much will wind up in the ocean.
It’s our responsibility to work towards a bluer future, and that starts with cleaning up our oceans by using reef and ocean safe ingredients, avoiding any chemicals that are harmful to our ocean life and the environment, adopting a zero-waste packaging policy and or/avoiding the use of plastic in packaging entirely, and offering refillable and reusable options.
When do you consciously feel beautiful?
For me, consciously feeling beautiful has been and is very subjective. It’s tied to the things that are inside us as much as it is our physical appearance. As an older woman, I believe we become more beautiful as we get older. You constantly hear things like, “You’ll start to lose…”, but I actually think as we get older we gain a whole lot. When I see an older woman with smile lines, reflecting joy and laughter in her life, I think to myself, “What isn’t beautiful about that?”
Did your approach to beauty change within the last 1–2 years?
My personal approach to beauty changed due to COVID. I used to wake up everyday and felt like I needed to put on a full face of makeup, that used to bring me confidence. The pandemic has forced me to slow down and appreciate all the little moments. I still love to wear makeup, but I no longer feel the need to HAVE to wear it. We are all so beautiful inside and out, we should look to beauty as a way to enhance what we have instead of covering it up.
I also embraced the shutdown to laser focus on my beauty brand, taking the time to really work on my blue beauty beliefs by surrounding myself with the right people, farmers, etc. to create effective formulations that are clean, vegan, and ocean safe.
How would you like to see the image of beauty change within the next 5 years?
There is this narrative that older women are not beautiful, that we “lose our beauty” as we age, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. First off, beauty is from within, and how our body changes should never be used against us. We must control this narrative with less superficial standards of beauty by embracing all the beautiful things our bodies have experienced over the years and recognizing that the depth of beauty goes far beyond the surface. Society continues to put an immeasurable amount of pressure on women, especially as we get older, to “stay beautiful” or “stay youthful”, and this conversation we continuously hear in the media negatively reflects on women’s self esteem. Many women fear growing older because of this, when in fact we should be celebrating it.
What or who inspires your beauty routine?
I’m a believer in ”you are what you eat”, that food controls your health, and I put a lot of effort into that lifestyle — eating clean, drinking tons of water, etc. A real raw ingredient beauty inspiration for me has been Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist nun who lives in the Chunjinam hermitage in the mountains of South Korea. She is one of the best chefs in the world, and she refers to her garden as “my playground” and her plants are her “children”. Beauty to me comes from within and it starts with the things you put in and on your body.
What is your best beauty advice to others?
Over the years, I’ve picked up so many tips and tricks that are invaluable to my beauty arsenal. My favourite way to feel beautiful inside and out, confident, and strong is to put on a little lipstick and sprinkle a little dry shampoo powder into my hair. These quick and small efforts really help to make me feel better about myself when I’m feeling no-to-great. I instantly feel refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Is there anything you would like to share that we have not asked you here?
As I always say, you should never have to compromise your health for beauty. If you are starting your journey into clean beauty, here are a couple of easy swaps you can make.
Cleansers: traditional facial cleansers and body washes can contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which makes them foamy. The foaminess doesn’t do anything for your skin and SLS can in fact cause irritation. Since we use cleansers all over our body, this is an important switch to make.
Moisturizers: these often include cheap filler ingredients (like petroleum), and synthetic emulsifiers and preservatives. Since hydration is so important for our skin, I recommend using an alternative packed with nourishing ingredients from the earth that is just as effective.
Follow Jill Turnbull Official — Blue Beauty Essentials — on Instagram.
Demee Koch about the MEDIUM interview series on CONSCIOUS BEAUTY:
Hello! I am a serial entrepreneur with more than 2 decades of experience in the health & beauty industry. This interview series is intended to create awareness about the movement of Conscious Beauty.
We are in a beautiful time of Conscious Beauty — you may have heard of this term, but what does Conscious Beauty mean, and why does it matter?
For us, beauty is a way to love — it is about self-care, art, nutrition, exercise, life, self-love. I invite you to become part of a movement that re-defines beauty. Let’s empower beautiful minds.
Thank you for being the change. I’m looking forward to learn from you. Reach out to me via LinkedIn.