It’s All Fluff: The Vegan, Palm-Oil-Free Australian Cosmetics Label From a Frank Body Co-Founder

Written for Broadsheet

Erika Geraerts co-founded skincare label Frank Body with four other partners in 2013. It started out selling body scrubs made from coffee grounds, and within a couple of years it had developed a full skincare line.

But after three years with the company, Geraerts decided it was time to move on. “I was a little bit disheartened with the industry and felt like, as a brand, we could be a little bit more responsible both with our products and our packaging,” she says. (Frank Body uses single-use recyclable packaging.)

Geraerts travelled to New York for inspiration, returning to Australia in 2017 with the idea to create a vegan, palm-oil-free cosmetics label using more natural ingredients and fewer chemicals, as well as modern, reusable packaging. “Of course, we need to balance this with preservatives and stabilisers – natural where possible – which allow for the extension of a products shelf life as well as achieving a desired consistency, texture and colour,” Geraerts says. “We strongly believe that skincare doesn’t need a formula of 30 ingredients, and that often, single pure and organic oils are best.”

“I don’t think that you have to have that natural [design] aesthetic with a natural product,” she adds. “Why can’t it be high fashion?”

In 2018, she launched Fluff with just one product: a compact bronzer that doubles as an eyeshadow. In November 2019, she added two face oils and two lip balms to the range. Geraerts says the limited choice of products is intentional.

“[Beauty and skincare shopping] is overwhelming – a lot of stuff feels unnecessary,” she says. “We’re trying to have that conversation, to really encourage customers to think, ‘Why do I have 20 cleansers? Do I really need six powders? Do I actually want to wear foundation?’”

Face Oil #1 ($24), made from jojoba oil, can be used or on its own or with moisturiser for dewy, hydrated skin. Face Oil #2 ($26), made from meadowfoam seed oil, is a heavier formulation that’s better for night-time application. Lip Oil #1 ($26) is clear, and Lip Oil #2 ($26) has a light pinky-red tint. Both are made from a blend of sweet almond oil, sunflower seed oil, argan kernel oil, jojoba seed oil, olive oil and aloe vera extract.

Fluff also sells a Kabuki brush, and it just launched a hand sanitiser (which doubles as a brush cleanser) in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

You can refill the bronzer, lip and face oils at Fluff’s studio in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and you can buy lip-oil refills online too. Topping up rather than buying new means you can save up to 55 per cent (the lip-oil refill is $12, the bronzer is $25 and the face oils are $16 or $18). Just hang onto the original, beautiful weighted packaging, which is made from zamak (a zinc-based metal alloy).

“We did a lot of research,” Geraerts says. “Looking back to art deco times where make-up was like jewellery – and looking at even cigarette cases and lipstick cases.”

On Saturdays, the team does $20 “Makeunders” at its studio – half-hour, fuss-free make-up applications that are less about dramatic change and more about finding a natural look.

Visit Fluff’s Melbourne studio at 200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy or shop online.

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