L.A.’s Houglass Cosmetics On How to Go Nude

Carisa Janes

Carisa Janes

On a midsummer’s night in a Venice loft, an intimate group of beauty editors and bloggers gathered to celebrate the launch of the Femme Nude Lip Stylo collection by Hourglass Cosmetics. Amid a gorgeous California sunset, beauty mavens clucked and clinked champagne with delight over the newest release from one of beauty’s most influential innovators, Hourglass founder Carisa Janes.

Their delight was as much with Janes — who counts Jessica Alba, Madonna and many other bold-faced names among her fans — as it was with the line. Janes, who based her luxury cosmetics line out of Venice, Calif. maintains an effortless, and accessible, California chic presence while still catering perfectly to her devoted clientele in New York (where the line initially launched a decade at Barneys New York) and around the globe.

Hourglass, known for its high-performance products that fuse skincare innovations with makeup has won over both casual and devout beauty fans by paying, forgive the pun, more than lip service to the science behind its products. Exhaustive scientific research and a slow-and-steady philosophy have proved a successful formula for the company.  We chatted with Janes and asked her to lift the veil on nudes, the neutral that nobody knows how to wear.

Michelle Tyree/Fashion Trends Daily: We love seeing nudes offered as a collection. What was the thought behind that?

Carisa Janes: The idea behind the Femme Nude Lip Stylo collection is that there is a nude for every mood — natural, dramatic, artistic and so on — which women can use to create various looks, depending on the rest of their makeup and their state of mind.

Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo

Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo

FTD: So why nudes now that there has been such an emphasis on color?

CJ: Color trends come and go, but the nude lip is perennially fashionable. Finding the perfect nude lip crayon can be a lifelong quest, and we feel like we’re tapping into this desire with our flattering shade selection, full-coverage formula and eye-catching packaging.

FTD: How long has this collection been in the works?

CJ: Hourglass products are typically between two and four years in the making. We review numerous iterations until we’re happy with the final result.

FTD: Why is choosing a nude so difficult?

CJ: Locating the right nude is not unlike choosing a foundation shade. You need to consider your skin color, hair color, even your eyes. That said, we made certain that women can wear more than one shade in our collection.

FTD: What are your tips for choosing the right nude?

CJ: Try swiping the pads of your fingers with all six shades in our collection. Hold your swatched fingers alongside your face as you check your reflection in a mirror. The best selections will emerge as the shades that brighten your entire complexion. Then build a makeup look around the selected shades.

Hourglass beauty

Hourglass beauty

FTD: Which nude do you wear?

CJ: I wear Femme Nude in Nude No. 4, 5 and 6.

FTD: Hourglass has made a huge beauty impact on both coasts. Does the LA lifestyle figure into your thoughts on beauty and the products you create and is being headquartered in Venice a deliberate choice?

CJ: We launched at Barneys New York in 2004. Living in L.A. does impact the brand, if only because it’s less frenetic than New York. I do love being based in Venice. There is such an infectious energy that stems from the eclectic mix of people, as well as the arts scene, modern architecture, wonderful retail stores and exceptional restaurants. It’s my favorite part of L.A., where I live and also where Hourglass is based.

FTD: Even though you are based here, do you think beauty brands out West need that strategic East Coast positioning first to make their mark?

CJ: Not necessarily. You could launch a brand in L.A. or anywhere. If you have a great concept, a great product and a point of difference, that’s what matters. Partnering with the right retail partners early on is also important.

FTD: Also, people love to talk about East Coast vs. West Coast style. Do you see the same differentiation with beauty? If so, what is the difference in how New Yorkers approach makeup and the Hourglass line vs. Angelenos?

CJ: As far as I can tell, there really isn’t a difference. No matter where she lives, the Hourglass client wants to look like herself, only better. Our clients are discerning women who crave luxurious, high-performance makeup products that work.

Images courtesy Hourglass, Elle

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Author:Michelle Dalton Tyree

Fashion Trends Daily is the brainchild of Michelle Dalton Tyree. She is the former West Coast Retail Editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Editor for The Japan Times, and founder of former L.A. luxury boutique Iconology. Michelle is frequently quoted about fashion retail trends in major media outlets such as NPR, KPCC, The Inside Source and the New York Times. She has developed content for many luxury brands and retailers and has written for Allure, Worth Global Style Network, Footwear News and other media outlets.