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In Conversation With Vegan and Cruelty-Free Makeup Brand ‘Disguise Cosmetics’

by | May 28, 2019

In case you didn’t get a chance to read my review of the cruelty-free makeup brand, Disguise Cosmetics, here it is: Reviewing Disguise Cosmetics Products: Find Out Which One Aced Our List. As promised, I interviewed Disguise Cosmetic’s founder, Desiree Pereira, wherein she spoke from her heart on the brand’s journey from conception to popularity. Disguise has emerged as an Indian brand embodying vegan and cruelty-free ethos, trying to create a shift in beauty repertoire- one step at a time.


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In Conversation With Vegan and Cruelty-Free Makeup Brand ‘Disguise Cosmetics

From a Biotech engineer to entrepreneur, Desiree Pereira’s journey is inspirational for animal lovers who wish to make a difference in the world. She is the founder of Disguise Cosmetics, which prides itself as being India’s first 100% vegan makeup brand. Here are excerpts from the interview.

cruelty-free makeup brand
Credits: Desiree/ Disguise Cosmetics

Since the first time I heard the brand name, I always wanted to know the story behind it. What made you choose ‘Disguise’ in particular? 

We often get asked about why we named our brand Disguise. Is there something we want to hide? As a kid, I always loved fancy dress competitions and Halloween. It was an opportunity to be absolutely anything or anyone. The fun, excitement, and endless possibilities are something we closely associate with makeup. But beyond that, it’s the ability to dream and dare which is what Disguise is all about.

Disguise Cosmetics prides itself in being India’s first 100% vegan and cruelty-free makeup brand. How did this idea come to you? Was there any personal experience or inspiration behind the decision?

As a kid growing up with a Catholic school background, social issues always hit close to home. Harrowing images of rabbits with inflamed eyes were deeply ingrained in my memory. Since cruelty-free products were hard to come by then, I always hoped it would get easier one day. When the three of us were discussing what Disguise should be, the cruelty-free part was an obvious decision. But that’s when we decided to take it a step further and make it truly cruelty-free by not using any animal ingredients as well.

Credits: Desiree/ Disguise Cosmetics

What response did you receive initially to the idea of a vegan makeup brand? Do you envision a growth of vegan cosmetics, beauty & body brands in India, in the near future?

While our brand has been well appreciated for both our products and the formulation process of being vegan and cruelty-free, we have seen some confusion and lack of education on the vegan tag. Many people aren’t familiar, or sometimes even able, to comprehend the real extent of animal ingredients typically used in cosmetics. When we do discuss how ingredients like Carmine – from beetle wings, emollients from slaughterhouse waste, etc., we see that a lot of people want to learn more and be informed. 

If you were asked, what would be that one product from your vegan cosmetics line that everybody must have in their makeup bag? 

Many of our customers never leave home without their Nude Poet Ultra-Comfortable Satin Matte Lipstick and their Rainbow Glow Oil.

Credits: Mayuri/ Raise Vegan

I personally love the Blush Actress lipstick for its muted natural look. It’s been a long time since I have developed a fondness like this for a lipstick. Which one is your go-to shade? 

I absolutely love our Burgundy Chef shade while Shivangi, my partner, is very fond of our Red Model shade.

Disguise Cosmetics is turning one this year. While the company has successfully incorporated vegan ethos into the Indian beauty industry, I am sure the journey wasn’t easy. What were the biggest challenges you faced? 

For the most part, luck seems to be on our side and we’ve had a pretty good run so far. Off the top, Disguise was started by three scientists. So while products come easy to us we’re not much for marketing. It’s amazing how many people have been talking about us and getting the word out while we ourselves have had a bit of a hard time getting PR we can afford.

Besides the ethical viewpoint, why do you think people should opt towards vegan products?

One of the biggest research articles of 2018 details animal farming as one of the largest contributors to global warming. A lot of animal-derived cosmetics are byproducts of this industry and help to make it profitable. Thus, opting for vegan products also helps to reduce your carbon footprint. (In terms of benefits for skin, a lot of synthetic substitutes prove to be safer than traditional animal-derived ingredients while natural substitutes in some cases may lead to irritation.)


What motivates you? What are your future plans for Disguise cosmetics? 

We see a lot of potential to democratize makeup in India. We hope to make a lot of products more accessible and easier to use especially for consumers who are relatively new to makeup and find it intimidating. 

Have you tried any of their products? Did you like them? What is your favorite cruelty-free makeup brand? Comment below.

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