Every month, we're spotlighting a Badass Beauty Expert (B.A.B.E.) and picking their brain on all things beauty, wellness, and channeling your inner baddie. We hope these interviews will serve as a platform for raw and vulnerable discussion—and inspire you to step out of your makeup and skincare comfort zones.

Courtney is the author of Hooded Eyes Makeup Manual and a blogger focusing on gothic, cruelty-free makeup.


Define yourself in three words. Compassionate Kind Creator. I just recently listened to the Power of TED audio book and loved it. They discuss being in the Creator mindset in the Empowerment Dynamic to control how you respond to Challenges and how you Coach others, versus the Drama Triangle. It helps to flip yourself out of the victim mindset that people can fall into. 

What are three things you can't live without? (Beauty products can be included, but they don't have to be!) First on my list is my dogs! I have two standard poodles, Nyx and Amaya. We rescued Amaya in October and she has been such a blessing. Our first poodle Phaedra passed away suddenly at the beginning of October and Nyx got very depressed and developed an OCD licking habit. My friend told me of Amaya and how she was in need of a home, so we drove 2,100 miles round trip to adopt her. She has been a great friend to Nyx and helped eliminate the OCD licking. Nyx is my emotional support dog and she is excellent at helping me when I've had panic attacks.

Second on my list is an e-reader. I read on my iPad. I love to read horror/sci-fi/fantasy/urban fantasy books and having thousands available in just a few taps on the screen makes me so happy. I read authors such as Patricia Briggs, Faith Hunter, Yasmine Galenorn, Seanan McGuire, Trina M Lee, Hailey Edwards, Kevin Hearne, Chloe Neill, Anne Bishop, and Helen Harper.

Third on my list is a magical highlighter. I prefer white based highlighters with iridescent shifts of ethereal teal blue, purple, or occasionally green. Black Moon Cosmetics' Catshark, Jellyfish, Glow Worm & Squid are at the top of my list.

What prompted you to make the switch to safe makeup brands? I found making the switch to clean beauty products fairly seamless because most clean beauty brands are also cruelty-free. I went cruelty-free on my blog Phyrra.net and my YouTube PhyrraNyx in 2012 because I became aware at that time just how many brands were still testing on animals. I wanted to use my platform and voice to raise awareness that you can find fun makeup to wear in all colors of the rainbow that were made without animal cruelty. It's been easy for me to include and highlight clean beauty alongside cruelty-free.

CLOVE AND HALLOW Lip Velvet in Jetsetter

What are your safe makeup and skincare favorites? CLOVE + HALLOW Lip Velvet in Jetsetter, a deep navy, is one of my favorite clean beauty staples. Also in love with Sangria, a deep wine, and Darling, a soft pink. Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer is another. Coola SPF Body Spray is something I use daily on my body and it's also reef-safe. Supergoop SPF 40 Unseen Sunscreen is my daily-use face SPF. Most of my skincare routine is clean beauty and by Milk.

What advice would you give for finding safe cosmetics? Just like with someone going cruelty-free, I tell people whenever they're switching to something new, don't throw out everything! Instead, break up your list of current products into 'clean beauty' and 'non-clean beauty.' Whenever you finish up an item from the non-clean beauty list, search for a clean beauty replacement. 99 percent of the time you'll be able to find one. For that one percent that you can't find something, don't beat yourself up over it, just accept that you're doing the best you can do.

What do you think makes someone a badass? Being kind makes someone a badass. Kindness makes life better. If you have the ability and choose to be kind in this cruel world, that makes you a badass. Respect others, treat them the way you want to be treated, and be kind. You never know what sort of struggle the person next to you may be experiencing.

How did you find your inner badass? Lots of therapy! My therapist Patsy Evans of HarmonyUS Inc. is a bad ass. She's helped me break my codependency, manage my anxiety and PTSD, and kept me moving forward, always improving. I am competing with myself to be the best version of me that I can be.

What's the last song you listened to? Celebrity Skin by Hole. I love doing karaoke to that song and I often play it and sing along in my morning shower.


Quick! You have five minutes to get ready to go out. What do you do with your makeup? Only five minutes?! I'd mix Danessa Myrick Prism FX Hydrating Lotion into the CLOVE + HALLOW Liquid Skin Tint to give me a nice ethereal glow, hide my redness from rosacea, and blur my imperfections. Then I'd put on a statement lipstick like CLOVE + HALLOW Jetsetter or Black Moon Sorrow, and finish off with a coat of Eyeko Black Magic mascara.