Wow. 2013 was quite a year (more on that soon) and I am beyond excited for 2014. Back in November I was talking to Nicole at Brooklyn Based for an interview. She asked about my inspiration to create my shop and product line, and what inspired my work as a makeup artist and natural beauty expert. After that interview my mind was racing, all of the years of working with women, thinking back to how it all started... so many feelings came up and I felt it was a good time to put it down on paper (or computer screen). I sat down and wrote this... and wanted to share it all with you... so here we go...
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? … “ by Marianne Williamson
This quote sums up how I feel about all of you. I am inspired every day by the power and the beauty that women possess. We are so busy, so loving, so tired, so creative, so sensitive. It can be hard to be all of these things AND feel good all the time. I have always been inspired by the connection between feeling good and looking good. And we ALL want to look good. I remember the exact moment I realized the power of makeup and the intrinsic connection it has to the way we feel about ourselves. I remember the first time I witnessed the power that I possessed to transform the way a person feels for the better, and have been mesmerized with it ever since.
It was around that time that I also realized that being a makeup artist was a job, it seemed fun and combined all of my interests: people, psychology and making art. I’ve always seen the face as a half painted canvas, and it is my job to use the best features that a person has to highlight them and “finish” creating a beautiful piece of “art.” Through all of my studies, observations in makeup school and behind makeup counters as well as conversations with women, I noticed that the beauty industry seemed stale, driven only by money, and marketing that made women feel terrible about themselves. The industry sold women beauty products they had no idea how to use. And while I wanted to be a part of it, as a makeup artist, I also wanted to change it for the better.
I think it is interesting that most women feel as if they have “missed the class” on how to do makeup. My favorite part about doing makeup is helping women to look like the best version of themselves, mimicking the way they look on vacation, in August, after eating lots of raspberries and laughing all day. We live really stressful lives, in polluted cities with indoor heat, and are not always able to take the best care of ourselves. Supporting women to take better care of themselves is a mission of mine and something that I am now able to share in workshops and lessons, and a daily reminder that I need to do the same for myself.
After working in the beauty industry for years, I still really wanted to help women and at the same time needed to figure out how to help myself and my own skin. At that point I had almost given up on my skin, I had the most sensitive, dry, irritated skin, and it would burn. The wind would blow, and I'd get a rash. I thought that there had to be something going on, because I couldn’t find any products that worked, and the dermatologists and allergists I saw were no help. So, I pared down my face-washing and moisturizing process to really basic ingredients, like coconut and olive oil, and decided I would do the healing. I left my skin alone and let it get back into balance. That was when I realized that my skin wasn't sensitive — it was communicating, and it was saying, “Hey Jessa, there's something here that isn't right.”
After extensive research, what I learned was that a lot of the products I had been using weren't as "beautiful" as I had thought, and that they wouldn't inspire me to help women feel good. The facts are that we live in a country that doesn’t have any regulations when it comes to personal care (toothpaste, shampoo, lipstick, mascara, baby wipes), the 60 billion dollar industry is allowed to use whatever ingredients they want, without testing for safety.
How is there lead in lipstick and mercury in mascara?
I knew it was time to make a change. Luckily what changed for me at that moment was getting back, literally, in touch with our roots and nature. While flipping over ingredient labels and seeing the nasty ingredients, I also saw GOOD ones like: calendula, coconut oil, rosemary essential oil, beeswax.
I started my herbal studies up in Vermont with rockstar herbalist Rosemary Gladstar and have been studying herbal healing and plant medicine for the past four years. I’m passionate about helping people get back in touch with the simple healing and folk traditions that our ancestors used and understood as powerful medicine.
Most other cultures use herbs for their first line of defense against disease, and I think it's time we remember how to do that once again. New Yorkers (and most everyone) are so stressed, and our nervous systems are totally fatigued. This is what inspired me to create my line of tea and skincare, to help get ourselves back into a balanced state, letting our bodies take care of themselves.