Dessa develops a lipstick for charity

Dessa develops a lipstick for charity

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Dessa sells out the O'Shaughnessy, 4/20/12

The Elixery's locally-made vegan lipsticks are fantastic

Admit it, you kind of always wanted a lipstick in the shade of Dessa.

The maven of Minneapolis hip-hop announced yesterday that she has collaborated with the local cosmetic artisan house the Elixery to create a limited edition lip color, and will donate her proceeds from the sale to CARE, an organization which helps to educate women in developing countries.

"The project I'm supporting is called the Power Within, which finances girls' education around the world," notes Dessa on her blog. "Research indicates that girls who are literate and educated marry later, have fewer kids, have them later. Girls' education changes not only the lives of the girls themselves, but can create changes that reverberate throughout whole communities."

The Elixery, which holds all its cosmetic endeavors to a commitment of vegan and cruelty free raw materials, partnered with the crazy-accomplished makeup artist Crist Ballas to engineer the "Dessa" lipstick. The shade is a classic, deep matte red, which Dessa notes she has always had a penchant for, and the hue hovers in the middle ground between orange and blue (for you non-lipstick wearers, that makes it a very elusive and rare neutral red--the kind of thing that girls are constantly after).

As Dessa is currently frolicking around in Europe on tour, she took the time to answer a few questions regarding the lipstick for Gimme Noise via email.

Gimme Noise: Have you always been a fan of the Elixery lipsticks, or is this new for you?

Dessa: This project introduced me to The Elixery. To be honest, I associated cosmetics with big, heartless companies based somewhere on Hollywood Mountain. It was cool to find out that, just like in music, the field isn't completely dominated by conglomerates. Karoline, the chemist and owner of The Elixery, has put herself in a position where she doesn't have to compromise her vision or her standards. That resonated with me.

Gimme Noise: How did this partnership emerge? What made you decide to sign on as a sort of celebrity endorser?

Dessa: To be honest, I had some reservations about getting involved. In general, I think our cultural preoccupation with physical beauty is a drag. That said, I like wearing lipstick sometimes. I like dressing up for shows. So, to arrive at our ultimate agreement, Karoline and I had a no-bullshit conversation about feminism, beauty, consumerism, and self-worth. I found that she and I shared the most important values and I was confident that I could participate in the project without feeling like a phony. Moreover, I got to raise a little bit of money for my favorite charity: CARE. For a long time I've wanted to figure out how to contribute more meaningfully to that organization; I really believe in what they do. In the end, the lipstick is killer shade of red, I got some free lessons in cosmetic science, and I'm proud to be a part of a beauty product with a conscience.

Gimme Noise: Tell me about the color. It's designed by Emmy Award winning makeup artist Crist Ballas and it hardly gets more legit than that. What's the shade? Is it matte or gloss? Why is it perfect for you?

Dessa: Crist is an artist, a technician, and an innovator. If you've got 5 minutes to spare, I'd strongly recommend checking out his website, particularly the aging gallery. (He managed to disguise an artist so well, that he was unrecognized in a conversation with his own father.) He did the makeup for my music videos "Dixon's Girl" and "Alibi." He's a good listener and he's a master of his craft, so he was able to devise the shade of red in my imagination--a classic matt color (I wanted something I could wear with Chucks, not just heels) that doesn't veer purple or orangey when you put it on.

Gimme Noise: You're donating all of the proceeds from this partnership to an education-based nonprofit program called CARE. Tell me how you discovered CARE and decided to make it a part of this promotion.

Dessa: Every December, I make a donation to CARE--but to be honest, on a musician's wage it's not very much. The prospect of being able to make a larger contribution was an attractive aspect of this lipstick project. CARE is a secular and results-driven charity that receives high marks from the rating agencies. Many of their programs aim to provide people the tools and resources they'd need to thrive independently. The particular campaign to which I'll be donating my share (20% of total profits) supports girls education around the world. As it turns out, educating girls can have far-reaching societal consequences; it can affects marital ages, birth rates, and household spending patterns. I studied that stuff in college, and I'm really excited to have the chance to put some money where my mouth is. (Did I take a little bit of delight in the lipstick double-entendre of that last sentence? Be assured that I did.)

Dessa develops a lipstick for charity

In a one-of-a-kind launch party, the "Dessa" lipstick will be official on September 15 at the Icehouse in Uptown. The event will be hosted by 89.3 the Current's Barb Abney. Dessa's live band Dustin Kiel, Sean McPherson, and Joey Van Phillips will be joined by musical guests Aby Wolf and Ashley Gold. The event begins at 8 p.m., with a $5 cover, and there will be prizes and giveaways throughout the evening.

If you're feeling especially charitable, there are limited VIP tickets available for a meet and greet with Dessa from 7-8 p.m. before party gets rolling. VIP ticket includes drinks, hors d'oevres, and, of course, a tube of the "Dessa" lipstick. VIP tickets are $35. Click here for more info and tickets. Preorders for the lipstick will start on August 21st at both the Doomtree website and the Elixery website.

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