I had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of the natural makeup and skincare line Hush & Dotti, Dina Altieri. If you don’t know Dina, she’s a wonderful artist who’s been in the beauty industry for over 20 years, and worked with top brands like Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, and Chanel. But no more spoilers! Read her interview below and enjoy all her wonderful insight. I know you’ll love her!
Meet Hush & Dotti
Hush & Dotti offers a complete skincare line, which I’ve enjoyed trying out. I’ve particularly loved their Balm Cleanser (top picture), which has a strong clove and eucalyptus scent. If you love earthy, aromatic products, you’ll absolutely die for this one! It removes all makeup and leaves skin feeling super smooth.
Also noteworthy is their Dream Drops hydrating serum, which is packed with all the best oils and antioxidants.
You can purchase their products — which BTW are 100% vegan — from HushDotti.com. Don’t forget to check out their makeup collection too!
Hi Dina! Tell us a little bit about yourself! What’s your story?
Hi Suzi! I am an artist, I have a degree in fine art and love anything that makes the world a little prettier. I love the outdoors, love laughing and was raised to be kind and compassionate. I am originally from a small town near Manhattan, so I have had the good fortune of being exposed to all of the wonderful and creative things that the city has to offer which has greatly influenced who I am.
What prompted you to start your own makeup and skincare company?
I have always been obsessed with makeup and makeup artistry. When I was a kid, there was a popular toy at the time – it was a big Barbie head on a stand. I played with that Barbie head day in and day out for years. I would apply her makeup and take it off hour after hour, day after day. I should have known then that makeup artistry would be my lifelong passion! It is that passion that drove me to eventually entrench myself in the beauty industry.
I began my career back in the 90’s with a then little known brand named Bobbi Brown. It was an experience that I am eternally grateful for. At the time no one had heard of yellow based foundations or brown based colors, which were Bobbi’s trademark. Educating the client and demonstrating the wonders of natural colors were a part of us building our daily business. I spent the better part of 20 years with Bobbi and watched her develop the brand into the international powerhouse that it is today. From her, I learned the power of trail blazing and how to show the world to see the art of makeup through new eyes.
I then went on to work for Laura Mercier, who is a painter as well as a makeup artist. There I learned how to perfect the skin by layering products for a soft, finished look. I then went on to work for Chanel and learned the power of glamour. There is no other brand like Chanel for entrenching the client in the feeling of luxury.
After these experiences and 20+ years in the beauty industry, the lightbulb moment happened a few years ago. I noticed a trend. Women were asking lots and lots of questions about ingredients. Gone were the days of women buying makeup with wild abandon. Now they were asking questions about parabens, toxins, preservatives and chemicals. I started reading lots & lots of labels to better educate myself and my clients.
Ultimately, I was shocked at what I found. Before I knew it, I was fully immersed in research. I soon began to write my own recipes and spent years honing them to what they are now. Our products are true originals. I believe in the power of vitamin packed carrier oils and the right blends of essential oils to calm, clean and heal the skin. The best part of all is that they are safe, gentle and chemical free.
My dream is to show the world that natural, non-toxic choices for your makeup and skincare can be just as luxurious, sexy and effective as any other brand on the market, if not more so. I think that people have the pre-conceived notion about natural products and that they are hokey and lack the ability to actually work. I mix that trailblazing spirit with powerful artistry and sprinkle in a sense of luxury. I infuse fun and humor in my brand to really reflect who I am as a person. If it’s not fun – I’m not doing it! To me, life is fun and humorous and connecting people through laughter creates a wonderful sense of inclusion.
As a makeup artist, do you have any personal makeup secrets or tricks to share with our readers?
For me, my number one step in executing a gorgeous makeup application is starting with beautiful, glowing, hydrated skin. I say it all of the time to my students – makeup only looks as good as the skin it’s on. Think about it, prepping and priming the skin to look fabulous before makeup only makes it look more radiant and polished when the makeup application is complete. You only get one face, be good to it. Once your skin is looking great, you can use as much or as little makeup as you’re in the mood for. Your makeup is going to look amazing because you gave it a great “foundation” by caring for your skin first and foremost.
Other than doing makeup artistry, you paint and you’re an interior designer. Do you think being an artist has helped you in your business, and if so, how?
Great question Suzi – to me being creative is a like breathing. Where I apply my creativity on any given day doesn’t necessarily matter because it’s all a part of the wheel that keeps adding fuel to my creative fire. I love painting and drawing, it’s such a freeing & fulfilling experience. I have painted many murals in my life which is where I got my love of decorating from.
Whether I am beautifying a face or a home it’s all part of the co-creative joy of educating someone and helping them to see themselves and their world with a fresh eye. It takes love and patience, but that’s the secret ingredient that builds trust and makes any situation come together. Yes, I would say that has helped build my business. The skills I learned from doing makeup successfully have given me the confidence to expand my creativity into interiors and beyond. I now teach makeup artistry and find that to be one of the most gratifying experiences I have ever had.
Your entire line uses vegan ingredients. Why is this is so important to you?
Designing a line that is completely vegan and plant based is important because it ensures that everyone from every walk of life can use it with confidence. If there is a dietary or religious restriction, one can feel included in the Hush & Dotti family. If I had a rabbi handy, our products could also be kosher.
Our products are also gluten free, which has been life changing for a lot of people with a wheat intolerance. In general, wheat is a huge ingredient in many cosmetics and now people with that allergy can use our products freely without fear of making themselves ill for the want of beautifying oneself.
We are major animal lovers, so we are quite proud of being cruelty free. I think it’s important to say that people are really striving for the peace of mind in knowing that their beauty products are cruelty free. I’m sure I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know as you have a fabulous blog that speak to that subject on an ongoing basis.
When you’re not running your business, what are your favourite ways to stay busy?
I think anyone who runs their own business knows that it keeps you busy around the clock! Infusing your life’s passion into a business is something that is so satisfying & joyful that I recommend it to everyone. When I take a break from working I love doing yoga, walking or hiking outside, going to the gym, paddle-boarding, knitting and hanging out with my handsome husband and beautiful dog. Thankfully he is the chef in the family, so I don’t have to worry about also being a good cook lol.
What’s in the future for Hush & Dotti?
My mind is always thinking of the future! We are growing quickly and will ultimately expand our line of makeup and skincare. Very soon, we will launch our amazing new body oil called Halo. It is a luscious formula (if I do say so myself lol). Use after the shower when the skin is still wet to lock in moisture. It is lightly fragranced with Tahitian Gardenia which is a clean and happy fragrance so it will not compete with your daily fragrance of choice.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading Dina’s answers as much as I did! Don’t forget to Visit Hush & Dotti to check them out. I myself will be looking out for their Tahitian Gardenia body oil — sounds heavenly!
Suzana Rose is the founder and editor-in-chief of Cruelty-Free Kitty. She loves using her creative energy to run her ethical businesses, and when she’s not working, you can find her thrifting cute clothes, listening to podcasts, or rewatching her favorite episodes of The Office.