Yanél Cosmétique Solide: remodelling skincare through sustainability

Hochelaga-based company crafts vegan makeup to prevent food waste

Anaju Enciso’s cosmetic brand is made up of fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be thrown away. Photo Ashley Gauthier

Anaju Enciso’s concerns for Mexico’s food inequality and social conditions grew on a daily basis when she was living in the country. A year ago, Enciso began selling products she believed would enact change. Her company, Yanél Cosmétique Solide, is what Enciso claims to be a company that aims to reduce food waste.

According to a 2020 World Bank report, 41.9 per cent of Mexico’s population was considered impoverished in 2018.

“[In Mexico] there are many rich people, there’s the middle class, but there are also people who live in painful conditions and don’t have anything to eat,” Enciso said.

In Mexico, Enciso started learning about circular economy—a concept of waste reduction that consists of constant reusing and recycling—and an idea was born. She would create makeup using fruits and vegetables. In 2018, she moved to Canada to put her knowledge to work.

Yanél Cosmétique Solide is an online store which sells vegan makeup made with edible ingredients that, according to Enciso, nourish the skin. Cacao, spinach, corn, carrots, beetroots, wheat, sunflower wax, jojoba oil and tapioca are all types of ingredients you can find in her products.

“I already had in mind to make products that are healthy for the body and products that are healthy for the environment. But at the same time, I thought to myself, ‘Maybe I can engage in circular economy and use vegetables to extract pigments,’” she said. 

Enciso has a diploma in pigment extraction—the act of reducing either plant, mineral, or animal cells to powder and mixing it with a solvent to keep the colour— that she got in Colombia’s International School of Nutricosmética.

“We save fruits and vegetables to prevent food waste, to revalorize the ingredients and to use them to do makeup,” Enciso said.

The fruits and vegetables used to create the products come from suppliers who cannot sell them. In cases where products don’t fit the aesthetic criteria for consumption, if it’s fresh and cannot be sold, Enciso will use it. The company also has a partnership with SecondLife Market, a durable supermarket that sells imperfect products and offers anti-waste plans for people to save money.

“For me, veganism is very important. It's a movement that provides balance and respect. Not just for animals, but for us, our health, and for the environment,” Enciso said.
Enciso claims the types of ingredients she uses are good for the skin as they are natural and organic. Plant-based pigments differ from mineral pigments—which are often used in regular makeup—because they bring hydration to the skin and do not damage the face’s natural skin barrier, which protects it from allergens, chemicals, germs and polluted air. Beta-carotene, flavonoids, chlorophyll and betalain bring out colour and benefits.

Each ingredient has a unique benefit: beta-carotene, which comes from carrots, protects the skin from the sun and enhances collagen. Flavonoids from cacao boost elastin. Chlorophyll will help with acne, while jojoba oil will equilibrate the skin’s pH and sebum production, according to Enciso.

“Mineral pigments are neither good nor bad for the skin. They are just pigments that put colour in the product. When we use plant-based pigments, we give nutrition and skin protection,” said Enciso. She added that the use of plant-based pigments is what makes her vegan makeup different from others.

According to Enciso, her business is still small because she has yet to break into a larger market, but she is currently focusing on promoting her brand. Yanél Cosmétique Solide still doesn’t have a physical store, however, Enciso plans on opening one in 2025. 

Her goal is simple. She wants to “make women aged 20 to 45 feel good in their skin,” while also saving food from being thrown out. “We are interested in promoting an idea of true beauty,” Enciso said. 

She makes cosmetics for all skin types: mature, young, prone to acne and reactive skin types. The products’ purpose is to be used by everyone.

Lisa Michelle Vörding has been a client of Yanel Cosmétique Solide since Summer 2023. She met Enciso at a park as both of their sons were friends. 

Vörding has sensitive skin, so she chooses her makeup carefully. “Big brands were expensive and didn’t work for me. I preferred to just not wear makeup,” she said. 

Vörding’s first impression of the company was strong. She was interested, as veganism goes hand in hand with her values. Although Vörding isn’t vegan herself, she refuses to use products tested on animals.

Vörding’s favourite Yanél Cosmétique Solide product is the makeup remover.

Enciso doesn’t like the established beauty standards in society. Even though she is working within the makeup industry, she doesn’t agree with unreachable 'ideal' beauty. Deconstructing beauty standards is a must for Enciso. According to her, makeup should be fun.

Enciso has a seven-year-old daughter. As a mom, she would hate for her own daughter to not feel comfortable in her own body. 

All of Yanél Cosmétique Solide products are encased in eco-friendly packaging in order to minimize the environmental impact on the planet. 

Enciso promotes recycling and reusing by putting her products in glass containers with a metal lid. This way, the container itself can be reused. Yanél Cosmétique Solide encourages their clients to refill their containers when they’ve used all of their products.

Yanél Cosmétique Solide has a partnership with SunLife Market, which is a durable supermarket that sells “imperfect” products and offers anti-waste plans for people to save money. The fruits and vegetables used to create Enciso's products come from suppliers who cannot sell them because they don’t fit the criteria for consumption.

Marketing communications strategist Ania Ursulet met Enciso at the 2023 Vegan Festival. She’s since then had the opportunity to work alongside her on her company brand. 

“Anaju is very competent in what she does. She’s committed to sustainable development. She is very respectful of every living being,” Ursulet said.

Ursulet views Enciso as “aligned with sustainability” and admires her work. She’s glad that Yanél Cosmétique Solide offers a vegan alternative for makeup, as she finds the cosmetic market isn’t yet fully developed in that aspect. 

In the future, Enciso plans on expanding her market to the entirety of Canada, and then offer her products worldwide. For now, the merchandise is available to Quebec residents only.