Expert lighting: in conversation with Hourglass cosmetics' Carisa Janes
Creator of cult beauty products
"My mother was a beauty junkie," says Carisa Janes. "She wore a lot of make-up and we always had pink light bulbs and lamps in the house. My friends would come over and be like, 'Why does your mum have all these weird pink lights?' So I asked her and she said, 'Everyone always looks better in pink light - especially me'."
It's a funny story, but Janes should be thanking her mum - because it's made her a very successful woman. Those pink lights were the very inspiration Janes drew upon when creating her genius line of make-up products - Hourglass. One of the brand's best-selling products, Ambient Lighting Powders, is based around the concept of "recreating different types of flattering light with a technology called photoluminescence," says Janes. "Powder can look very flat, but [these powders] reflect and refract light so that your skin looks young and gorgeous."
Janes is the perfect poster child for her products, with a glowing and radiant complexion, and an obvious passion for beauty. Known for being a visionary in the industry, she's also one who listens very closely to her customers, constantly evolving and expanding the Hourglass offering. With innovation a key driver of the business, Janes is constantly looking for new ideas.
Often inspired by what she sees as gaps in the market, it was Janes' love of beautiful packaging coupled with her own problematic skin that spurned her to start Hourglass cosmetics when she was just 24. Having worked in development for brands like Urban Decay, Janes had a fairly good understanding of the beauty world, but the drive came from a personal place. "I had sensitive skin, so I was always looking for something that wasn't going to break me out," she says. "But I also wanted beautiful packaging. I thought there was an opportunity to do something very modern and chic, and that's kind of how we started."
Eleven years later and the brand is going from strength to strength. Despite cornering the market with her ever-expanding range of Ambient Lighting blushes and bronzers, (a new blush shade launches in June), Janes has recently turned her entrepreneurial eye to a new challenge - skincare. "I wasn't planning on launching skincare so soon," says Janes. "But I was working with a chemist and he was talking to me about a new technology and a very innovative ingredient, so we decided to give it a go."
The product, Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum, is an all-in-one night treatment designed for every skin type. "You damage your skin over time," she explains. "Some people have thick skin, thin skin, acne, red mist or premature ageing - this balances the cell function to create very healthy and beautiful skin." A true multi-purpose product, it banishes the need for eye cream and the layers of different products we've become used to slathering on. "We're trying to re-train people that more isn't always better, just one [product] is enough," says Janes.
While Janes could probably sit back and enjoy the success of her brand's cult following, she's not one to rest on her laurels. "We let innovation drive the business and we're always researching and developing something new and ambitious," she says. Personally, we can't wait to see what she does next.
Hourglass is available exclusively at Mecca Cosmetica and Mecca Maixma stores or online at mecca.com.au.
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