At age 28, there is no stopping award-winning makeup artist Sheri Vegas whose brainchild MakeUp Weapons was recently accepted into PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program, certifying the range as cruelty free and vegan friendly.

The best makeup artists need to have the best supplies and when it comes to makeup brushes, the best ones are usually made with animal hair. When Sheri realised what goes on behind the scenes to make these brushes, she knew something had to change.

Leaving high school, Sheri was unsure of what career to pursue — all she knew was that she loved helping friends with their makeup. “My mum was the one who suggested I go and do a makeup course and I just instantly loved it,” said Sheri.

One of the first things Sheri realised at makeup college was synthetic hair brushes were of poor quality but she did not feel comfortable using brushes made from animal hair. “As a makeup artist, you’ve got to have the best of the best,” she explained. “But for some reason I didn’t feel right using those brushes, I felt so guilty.”

Sheri stumbled across a video online demonstrating how the animal hair was collected for the brushes and she was horrified to find animals are kept in cages, trapped as hair is literally ripped from their bodies. “I just remember thinking I can’t believe I’m using a product that is actually doing that to animals. I couldn’t use this product anymore.”

Brushes that were both cruelty free and good quality seemingly did not exist, so left with no other options, Sheri decided to develop them herself. Founded with the intention to provide makeup artists and lovers with quality makeup brushes that give back and do not negatively impact the environment, MakeUp Weapons was born, a 100 per cent handcrafted makeup brush product range made from quality durable synthetics with a nylon and Taklon blend and are suitable for use with cream, liquid and powder.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, MakeUp Weapons has a philanthropic side, donating 50 cents of each brush sale to local charities. “People loved it straight away. A lot of clients were educating themselves on what goes on behind the scenes of the beauty industry and were now requesting makeup artists use cruelty free kits.”

Sheri has since been named Best Independent Business Thinker of the Year 2018 and MakeUp Weapons was awarded Best Independent Beauty Brand 2018 in the Australian Make Up Industry Awards. Sheri dreams of a day where the entire beauty industry is cruelty free but understands this will not happen overnight. “If we all just became a little more conscious about what we’re purchasing, it would make a massive difference. If big companies see their sales are going down because they are still testing on animals, they will make the change.”

For now, Sheri is playing her part towards creating a cruelty free future. “Of course, I want Makeup Weapons to become a household name and to be sold in department stores all over the world. But more than that, I want Makeup Weapons to create a positive change in the beauty industry.”

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