Wonderland.

KRISTEN NOEL CRAWLEY

The KNC Beauty founder talks her new venture, overcoming insecurities and better representation in the industry.

Kristen Noel Crawley close up

Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 5 Couleurs Couture Palette and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Rouge Dior Ultra Rouge in shade 889 Ultra Power.

Kristen Noel Crawley close up
Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 5 Couleurs Couture Palette and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Rouge Dior Ultra Rouge in shade 889 Ultra Power.

Taken from the Autumn/Fall Issue of Wonderland. Order your copy now.

When you ask people if they have any advice for their younger selves, most tend to respond with a sentimental cliché — but Kristen Noel Crawley isn’t most people. “You know what? No,” the beauty entrepreneur decides, her confidence radiating through the Zoom screens between us. “We go through life and we make mistakes, and that’s how we end up where we are.”

If you aren’t familiar with Crawley, you’ve surely come across her company, KNC Beauty, on social media. Its instantly recognisable, oversized millennial pink lip masks have been seen on everyone from A-listers to influencers since the brand launched in 2016, all praising Crawley for creating the latest (and cutest) ‘clean beauty’ staple.

Growing up in a small town in Illinois, Crawley’s introduction to the beauty industry began like most of ours: by borrowing her mum’s lipstick and dousing herself in her sister’s Victoria’s Secret Love Spell Body Mist before school. Skincare wasn’t a buzzy subject like it is now, and her love affair with it didn’t truly start until she began travelling in her 20s.

It was on a fateful trip to Tokyo that Crawley discovered what became her brand’s staple product: collagen-infused lip masks. The problem? There wasn’t a cruelty-free, natural alternative in the States. “I was like, ‘Wow, I haven’t really seen this, and I write about beauty, so that’s interesting [and] it’s a problem that needs solving,’” she says frankly. “I just went for it. I can’t really explain it because I have a lot of ideas and a lot of them I don’t move on, but that one, for some reason, particularly stuck out to me.”

Kristen Noel Crawley close up
Kristen Noel Crawley close up

(LEFT) Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 24H Stylo and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Rouge Dior Ultra Care in shade 455 Flower. (RIGHT) Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 5 Couleurs Couture Palette in Plum Tulle, Diorshow On Stage Liner in shade 096 Vinyl Black and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Dior Addict Stellar Gloss in shade 640 J‘Adior. All clothing and accessories by DIOR.

Kristen Noel Crawley close up
Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 24H Stylo and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Rouge Dior Ultra Care in shade 455 Flower. Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 5 Couleurs Couture Palette in Plum Tulle, Diorshow On Stage Liner in shade 096 Vinyl Black and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Dior Addict Stellar Gloss in shade 640 J‘Adior. All clothing and accessories by DIOR.
Kristen Noel Crawley close up

So the idea for KNC Beauty was born — but when an established brand released a range of lip masks three months before her launch date, it almost didn’t come to life. “I was devastated,” Crawley recalls. “When you have an idea it’s out there in the universe, and so it’s anyone’s to grab.” With a push from her friends she went ahead with the launch, but not without nerves and reservations. “I had to just get over my own insecurities… I made the right decision, but it was difficult, and there were hurdles.”

Crawley has overcome countless hurdles since then, and this year she’s starting a new venture to pass on what she’s learned. “Being an entrepreneur, I just wanted to share what I could because I men- tor quite a few young women and I get messages every day [from] women wanting advice and needing help,” she says. “I found that, especially during these times we’re all at home, the Black Lives Matter movement had me really thinking a lot about what I can do in my community to help Black women and people of colour. So that’s where I came up with the School of Beauty.” A virtual programme designed to uplift Black female beauty entrepreneurs, Crawley’s new initiative will provide free resources and advice, as well as a $10,000 grant to help launch or support an emerging business. “It just happens to go hand in hand with KNC Beauty because we are just all about supporting our community,” she adds, explaining that ultimately she wants her brand to stand for “just having fun, taking care of yourself, and supporting each other.”

Kristen Noel Crawley wearing black leather dress

(LEFT) Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 24H Stylo in shade 091 Matte Black and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Dior Addict Stellar Gloss in shade 640 J‘Adior. (RIGHT) Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 24H Stylo in shade 091 Matte Black and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Dior Addict Stellar Gloss in shade 640 J‘Adior. All clothing and accessories by DIOR.

Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 24H Stylo in shade 091 Matte Black and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Dior Addict Stellar Gloss in shade 640 J‘Adior. Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 24H Stylo in shade 091 Matte Black and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Dior Addict Stellar Gloss in shade 640 J‘Adior. All clothing and accessories by DIOR.
Kristen Noel Crawley wearing black leather dress

In an industry that often profits from women’s insecurities, Crawley’s ethos and values are refreshing, necessary and long overdue. As she grows KNC Beauty further (when I ask what’s next she proudly shows me her new babies — a trio of adorable face masks with 70s-inspired packaging), its expansion will be guided by a commitment to providing a natural, ethical, inclusive range of products. Using her platform to empower her community in the process, Crawley’s vision cuts through the industry’s elitist struc- tures and damaging beauty ideals, calling for long-term change. “Hopefully by the next generation, or the one after that, it’ll be in- grained into our children that different is good and it’s normal,” she tells me, her two children clearly in mind. “You don’t have to go and get Botox or you don’t have to have a face full of makeup to be beautiful, to feel beautiful, because everyone is beautiful. I think once people start seeing that representation, it’ll change the narrative.” Cheers to that.

Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 5 Couleurs Couture Palette in Mitzah, Diorshow On Stage Liner in shade 091 Matte Black and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Rouge Dior Ultra Rouge in shade 999 Dior and Dior Addict Stellar Gloss in shade 874 Dior Rise.

Skin Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation, Eyes Diorshow 5 Couleurs Couture Palette in Mitzah, Diorshow On Stage Liner in shade 091 Matte Black and Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in shade 090 Black, Lips Rouge Dior Ultra Rouge in shade 999 Dior and Dior Addict Stellar Gloss in shade 874 Dior Rise.

Drawing inspiration from flagship fashion pieces, Diorshow is levelling up our beauty looks.

We’re all tired of empty promises. Ineffective formulas leave us frustrated and the next thing we know, we’re moving on from one mascara to the next like cosmetic nomads. Disappointment is not a good look on anyone — no exceptions. There’s no need to fear though, the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl is here to feed our need for that elusive perfect mascara. Returning with a new and improved couture design, the Dior classic not only enhances the natural curl of lashes but boasts an impressive 24 hours of wear. The formula itself is enriched with cotton nectar, to ensure our lashes stay soft and supple after a long day of looking fierce.

Who said you couldn’t fit couture into your makeup pouch? Using iconic runway looks as inspiration for equally iconic eyeshadow shades, Dior’s new 5 Couleurs Couture palettes reflect the past and present of the House. Fancy upgrading your double denim look to a triple? Opt for the 279 Denim, a set of shadows celebrating the new Dior trademark. When sporting a statement leopard piece, adorn your lids with the 689 Mitzah, a tribute to one of Christian Dior’s original muses, Mitzah Bricard.

On days you want to be the center of attention reach for the 879 Rouge Trafalgar — a set of fiery shades paying homage to Christian Dior’s iconic red runway looks — or the 079 Black Bow, sleek like Dior’s beloved bow tie, and the perfect palette to create that quintessential smoky eye. Sitting with a no-makeup feel, the light, long-lasting creamy powders contain active skincare ingredients too, including aloe vera for a smoothing effect and pine oil for soft skin.

Nothing is worse than waking up late and not having enough time to finish your daily makeup routine… Speed and precision are key these mornings, not to mention for taxi top-ups and evening makeup transitions. Luckily for us, the Diorshow 24H1 Stylo offers all of this and more in a single product. Akin to the Swiss Army Knife, the eyeliner contains a built-in sharpener as well as a foam smudger for blending and softening. The formula itself is enough to turn heads, generating a smooth gliding texture and highly pigmented, waterproof finish. The collection of 12 shades, including both matte and pearly finishes, mix and match seamlessly with Dior’s new Couleurs Couture eyeshadow shades.

Photography
Vijat Mohindra
Words
Caroline Edwards
Fashion
Yael Quint
Beauty
Raoul Alejandre
KRISTEN NOEL CRAWLEY