Occasionally in the world of beauty, along comes a brand that makes everyone sit up and notice. Hourglass is one such brand. Susannah Taylor meets the owner, Carisa Janes
With its hi-tech, super fine formulations, Hourglass is at the cutting edge of cosmetics in terms of colour and quality. Loved by movie stars and make-up artists, women have even been known to lock themselves in the house when their favourite foundation goes out of stock. We take a peek behind the brand...
ST: What sets your brand apart from other make-up brands?
CJ: When I started I wanted to create a modern luxury line. This was a new concept - luxury beauty brands at the time were something my mother wore and weren’t particularly cool. I wanted a brand with new, fresh packaging and the best, most innovative formulations out there.
ST: How important is technology to you?
CJ: SO important, at Hourglass we only want to create products that are the future. Unless we feel like we can do something really innovative we won’t do it, and now our customers expect that of us.
ST: What’s it like being based in Venice Beach?
CJ: We are based at Abbot Kinney, which, if you don’t know it, is a very cool area with an amazing creative vibe and great restaurants and shops. I live about eight minutes walk from my office which was formerly an artists’ loft space – it’s an amazing space made of wood and metal with lots of white and light. Every day I walk to work with my three dogs Ella, Raffa and Goose.
ST: Have you always been into make-up?
CJ: I never ever get bored of make-up. It makes me feel so good, and it’s an affordable luxury we can all have. Even in college I would spend all my money on make-up – but I never dreamt that beauty could be a job!
ST: What is your best seller?
CJ: The number one selling product is the Veil Mineral Primer, £52, which make-up artists beg me for!
ST: I hear that Hourglass fans can be pretty passionate about the products?
CJ: Yes! We have a product called the Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation, £50, which is a weightless, mattifying formulation and is great for oily or blemish-prone skin. We had to tweak the packaging once which meant is wasn’t readily available for a while. Our phone lines became jammed and my inbox was overflowing with emails with people saying they couldn’t leave the house without it!
Hourglass Solar Tan Self-Tanning Primer, £48
ST: I believe that your beauty style is as important if not more so than your fashion style. Do you agree?
CJ: Absolutely. Even the smallest amount of make-up can make a world of difference. My approach to beauty and fashion echo each other. I veer towards edgy yet understated designers, like Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann, and I prefer clean, modern make-up. But it’s a look that requires a variety of different products to create, from primer to finishing powder.
Hourglass Arch Sculpting Brow Pencil, £26
ST Are there any women that inspire you in particular?
CJ: In terms of Hollywood, I find Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton to be intriguing. They are women whose keen intelligence and impeccable style is evident both on and off screen. Fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg is an inspiration to many women, me included. I’m also moved by real women that are effortlessly cool and confident.
ST: Which products do you swear by?
CJ: For skin I love Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads, £54.36, Shiseido The Skincare Day Moisture Protection SPF 15, £46, and Natura Bisse Body Cream, £66.95. I have suffered from bad skin in the past so I use Neutrogena’s Visibly Clear Oil-Free Facial Wash, £2.99.
For hair I like Alterna products and for the bath the naturopathic range Kneipp.
ST: What’s in your make-up bag from the Hourglass range?
CJ: I use the No.28 Primer Serum, £62, Veil Fluid Make-up, £50, Hidden Corrective Concealer, £23, Film Noir Mascara, £25, Illume Crème-to-Powder Bronzer Duo, £40, and I’d never leave the house without a Femme Rouge Velvet Crème Lipstick, £22.
Hourglass No.28 Primer Serum, £62 & Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick, £23
ST: What advice do you have for anyone thinking of starting their own business?
CJ: It’s wise to have experience in the industry you’re entering or, if not, partner with someone who does. You also need a strong point of difference when it comes to your brand and what you’re offering.
ST: Do you have a motto in life that you live by?
CJ: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Mae West
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, £38
Hourglass cosmetics are available at www.liberty.co.uk