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Zanna Roberts Rassi on the challenge of creating Milk Makeup’s best-selling product, Kush mascara

by Holly O'Neill
24th Jun 2019

What does it take to create a mascara? What about when you want to put weed in it? Zanna Roberts Rassi, ex-fashion and beauty editor turned E! News Style Correspondent and co-founder of cult beauty brand Milk Makeup talks about the difficulties in creating Milk Makeup’s best-selling product, Kush High Volume Mascara. 

Kush High Volume Mascara, €12, took us forever.

We knew from the get-go we wanted to infuse hemp-derived cannabis in some of our products. Dianna Ruth, another co-founder, is the zeitgeist in ingredients stories, from Kush to matcha, to the marshmallow in our Flex Concealer, she’s always thinking outside the box.

Kush High Volume Mascara, €12

We are a vegan brand so we didn’t want to put beeswax in the mascara, so this was the perfect opportunity to use hemp-derived cannabis, but to get that into a mascara, to get the fibers the right consistency, to get the packaging built to the perfect weight and to develop and the mascara brush is not an easy task. There were so many iterations but we ended up with the perfect combo in the end, with a tree brush.

Related: Zanna Roberts Rassi’s guide to summer beauty with Milk Makeup

We wanted a weighty package so you can find it in the bottom of your bag, so we had it made in Italy, with the manufacturers of a very fast luxury Italian car. This was an extraordinarily considered mascara. It took us years to create it, there was a new issue every day, every day a new problem to solve. We solved them all. 

The more we used it, we noticed that hemp-derived cannabis really conditions your lashes. You know sometimes you have to tug when taking mascara off? This is tug-free, so you can pull it off without pulling other lashes out. It also builds lashes so you get that really high impact effect. We were noticing our eyelashes were in better condition after a week’s use and we did clinical around it and it’s been proven that it does really nourish lashes.

My husband studied architecture but watching him labour over the packaging of Kush was like he was having gestation for a child. It took nine months. Every day he would have a new iteration. Every letter on this was so precise, he would look at buildings and line the mascara up like a skyline. Virgil Abloh is a friend of his, and he was really inspired by Off White and he’d have crazy stuff from Apple on his reference board, but hats off to him because the packaging is iconic.

It was Sephora’s number two bestseller when it launched and it’s still our number one best-seller today.

Milk Makeup is available at

Photography by Milk Makeup. 

Read about Zanna’s life in beauty in the July/August issue of IMAGE Magazine, out now. 

Read more: Emma Dabiri on how her hair has shaped her life

Read more: Editor’s Welcome: the July/August issue of IMAGE Magazine

Read more: Check out Chiara Ferragni’s first make-up collaboration