Carisa JanesHourglass

After studying at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, Carisa Janes began her beauty career as a product developer at ’90s sensation Urban Decay. In 2004, she realized a long-held dream of launching her own luxe brand, Hourglass, now a complete line of beauty and skincare beloved for hits such as its light-diffusing Ambient Lighting powder collection.

What drove you to start your own brand? I always wanted to. The idea grew as I gained experience in the beauty industry, working as a developer and consultant for a number of smaller, independent ventures. Then, in 2004, I saw an opportunity in the market for luxury, high-performance makeup that’s great for your skin and effortless to apply. As an animal lover, I wanted to combine that with a cruelty-free purpose. The concept was modern luxury with innovation and integrity at its core; I wanted to create products that made people look and feel good.
“The most important piece of advice I can offer is to trust your instincts. Do your research, test your idea and get feedback from other people in the industry—but always take it with a grain of salt.”

What’s your favorite product in the line? That’s always a difficult question because, of course, I love them all. But I’m super excited about our latest launch—Curator Refillable Eyeshadow—for a few reasons: It’s a customizable, vegan eyeshadow collection that utilizes refillable packaging innovation, like our Confession Refillable Lipsticks, but in an even bigger way. We’re moving towards more sustainable packaging, so this is an important milestone to kick off that journey. We’ve had a lot of success with Confession, and I wanted to expand on the refillable packaging aspect, which helps reduce waste over time. Instead of traditional virgin plastic, the palettes are made from tin and post-consumer recycled plastic, and they’re meant to be used indefinitely. This is huge because it results in a waste reduction of up to five plastic bottles per five-pan palette. Also, each individual eyeshadow pan is made from recyclable aluminum. Since it’s refillable, you can snap different shades into your palette—a one-pan, three-pan or five-pan—anytime. There’s really a limitless range of looks you can achieve. And the customizable aspect is such a game-changer in terms of waste reduction because you don’t end up with a palette full of shades you’ll never use. You can choose from a breadth of 40 stunning shades across four finishes to curate your own custom palettes. The shadows themselves are amazing—highly pigmented, talc-free and easily blend-able—and so is the packaging! I wanted it to feel like a timeless keepsake that you could reuse again and again, so we decided to go with a super sleek, gold-finished metal.

What are your morning and evening routines? The first thing I do when I wake up is drink a big glass of water to hydrate. I follow that up with coffee while I check the news. Then, I’ll work out and walk my dogs before getting ready for the day. I’m very big on my skincare routine, and I rely on our Equilibrium collection morning and night. It uses a groundbreaking, proprietary ingredient—our Cell Balancing Complex—which works to strengthen the skin barrier and support cell turnover, leaving your skin hydrated, protected and glowing. The unique ingredient is a powerful blend of youth lipids that helps rebalance, restore and renew your skin’s natural protective barrier.

Every morning, I use the Equilibrium Rebalancing Cleanser, Restoring Essence and Day Fluid SPF 30. I’m a huge believer in wearing sunscreen daily, no matter the season. And I wear a full face of makeup every day, even during quarantine! First, I start with Veil Mineral Primer to tone down any natural redness and prep for foundation. This is essential because it creates a smooth canvas and makes any makeup that follows perform that much better. It’s honestly my go-to product.

Then, I use Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick all over and Vanish Airbrush Concealer to brighten under my eyes and blur any blemishes. Both are full-coverage formulas that are weightless but highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way. Sometimes I’ll just use the concealer in place of foundation—the coverage is that foolproof. Once my base is done, I set everything with our Veil Translucent Setting Powder to make it last all day.

I add definition to my brows with our Arch Brow Collection and use 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eyeliner in Bronze and Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara on both my top and bottom lashes to make my eyes really pop. I love bold lashes, and this formula is truly unique and high impact. Just one coat lifts, separates and fans lashes, to give you the look of extensions in an instant.

I’ll add some warmth to my cheeks with one of our Ambient Lighting Blushes and create a subtle, allover glow with our Ambient Lighting Palette. To top it all off, I love a light, neutral lip. I wear No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil in Cameo almost every day. It gives my lips a flush of healthy color, while hydrating with essential oils and vitamins. It feels great to apply.

At night, I repeat the Equilibrium skincare ritual: cleanser and essence, followed with Biomimetic Skin Active Serum and Intensive Hydrating Eye Balm. The eye balm has quickly become a cult favorite, and for good reason—it's this rich, hydrating formula that reduces the look of dark circles in just three days. It’s a shortcut to looking like you had a full night’s rest, no matter how exhausted you are.
What would people be surprised to learn about you? Growing up, I was an equestrian. I love horses and have always felt a strong connection to animals, which is why creating a cruelty-free brand was so important to me. I’m also a recent pickleball fanatic! What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business? The most important piece of advice I can offer is to trust your instincts. Do your research, test your idea and get feedback from other people in the industry—but always take it with a grain of salt. Years ago, some people told me I was wasting my time trying to start a new luxury beauty brand. They doubted that I could compete against some of the biggest brands in the world. Today, we proudly share space with many of those brands in department stores. I appreciate the advice I’ve received along the way, but I wouldn’t be here today if I’d followed all of it.
Carisa Janes of Hourglass
The Founders Series
Learn how some of the beauty industry’s most dynamic entrepreneurs find inspiration and develop must-have products as they share their advice for aspiring business moguls and much more