We met the founder of Hourglass Cosmetics, the luxe makeup brand favoured by the stars that’s just announced it will be totally vegan by 2020.
Since its launch in 2004, Hourglass Cosmetics has become a cult favourite for celebrities, and a staple for many high-profile makeup artists. Angelina Jolie used the Veil Fluid Makeup on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and later – Madonna’s make-up artist Gina Brooke discovered the brand's Veil Mineral Primer.
Gina became such a fan of the Hourglass line, she went on to become Artistic Director from 2010-2012 where she collaborated with CEO and founder, Carisa Janes on product development.
We met Carisa when she was in Sydney last month to launch a special Christmas edit of the brand’s covetable Ambient Lighting Palette.
Carisa got started in the beauty industry at Urban Decay – a cult brand for a younger generation seeking punchy colours and products that really worked. Fresh out of college, it was here she got a taste for beauty innovation – and as a member of Urban Decay’s original creative team, she worked on perfecting the brand’s crimson coloured ‘Gash’ lip shade.
From there, Carisa worked as a consultant and created inventive and user-friendly cosmetic lines for “celebrities, fashion brands, and wealthy people,” she says. Then, she launched Hourglass.
“It came about because I found myself really frustrated - a lot of the brands that I worked on I felt like I had to compromise on something for the price,” Carisa explains. She felt luxury beauty brands in the late 90s had beautiful, weighted, luxury packaging – but weren’t quite right for a younger person.
“I wanted to create something that was luxe but modern: modern luxury. I want something that feels amazing and looks gorgeous when I pull it out of my bag, but then I want high-performance formulas, I want oil-free, I want fragrance free – I want really good quality. So that was my inspiration for Hourglass.”
Aside from the celebrity following, it is Carisa’s thoughtful, innovative approach to beauty that has always been key to Hourglass. The brand is luxury – but Carisa’s strived to ensure her products have not been created at the expense of the environment, or through any other exploitation the beauty industry is so well known for.
Hourglass is already predominantly vegan and is 100% cruelty-free – so the decision to go entirely vegan seemed pretty natural for Carisa. By 2020, the brand will replace frequently used animal derived cosmetic ingredients such as beeswax and carmine – and is already researching quality alternatives.
“We believe that luxury is a combination of innovation and integrity. It is not a simple solution, but we are dedicated to putting in the time and effort it will take to find vegan alternatives for our product formulas.”
And as for a beauty trend prediction from one of the world’s greatest beauty innovators and influencers – Carisa says glitter is about to have a big moment.
“I mean, I’m in my 40s and there is a time and a place for glitter on someone in their 40s,” she laughs. “However, I think that glitter is evolving and I think that glitter is going to be a very fun, almost accessory-like product, that every woman - if it’s the right product - can wear. And it’s fun.”
Ambient Lighting holiday edit
Carisa’s secret tips for applying Hourglass’s best-selling Ambient Lighting Palette:
- The standard palette has three shades – Dim Light, Incandescent Light, and Radiant Bronze Light. My favourite tip is to take a brush, swipe it over all three and then you brush it on. It just seems to look good on everyone!
- My other tip would be to roll the brush over your face – to put the product on your skin with a kind of a rolling motion for an all over shimmering effect.
- You can wet the strobe powder for a more intense look by dipping your brush in water.
- Final tip – you can use the Radiant Bronze Light as an eyeshadow for a great suit-all tone. You really can get a lot out of that product!
Hourglass is available in Australia at MECCA. The Ambient Light holiday edit will be available as of November 9.