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Category : Perfect Eye & Brow

Beauty Expert Profile: Interview With Jessica Johnson of Jessica Johnson Classic Beauty

Interview with Jessica Johnson founder of Jessica Johnson Classic Beauty

Even if we are lucky enough to have lush eyebrows and thick, long eyelashes in our youth, as we age, they tend to thin. Many of us don’t realize how pivotal our brows and lashes are to our overall look until they begin to wane, or worse, become non-existent.

What to do?

There are prescription eyelash serums available like Latisse. Though they work for some, many are hesitant to go this route due to numerous side effects that can present including eye infections, allergic reactions or even the changing of one’s eye color. Forget it! For brows, semi permanent tattooing is available. This is a great solution if you can find an experienced practitioner, but they are difficult to come by and can be prohibitively expensive. Lash extensions are also an option but can be a struggle to maintain and care for.

Having turned 40 this past summer, I’ve noticed that my eyelashes are becoming a bit sparse. To that end, I have been on the hunt for a product that would not only spur hair growth but condition my lashes. Lash extensions are not practical for me. They seem like way too much work. I tried a reputable, over the counter lash serum only to have an allergic reaction. I have extremely sensitive skin to begin with, let alone the skin around my eye area. I was almost ready to give up when I came across Jessica Johnson’s Brow and Lash Serum.

Jessica Johnson is the founder of – you guessed it – Jessica Johnson Classic Beauty and is known on the east and west coasts as the woman to see for sensational brows. With over 25 years experience in brow shaping, makeup and aesthetics, she is a recognized industry expert and innovator boasting a celebrity clientele. She has her own studio in Portland Maine and is the guest Brow Expert at the Yves Durif Salon at The Carlyle Hotel in New York City. Her Brow & Lash Serum launched in Spring of 2016 and has quickly gained recognition and endorsements by top physicians and prestigious salons and spas countrywide.

I sat down with Jessica to learn more about her philosophy.

What inspired you to create Jessica Johnson Classic Beauty? Tell us the story behind the brand.

JJ: Many years ago I came across a small book on personal style called “Simple Isn’t Easy” by Amy Fine Collins, a woman I admire greatly in the world of fashion. Interestingly, Amy is now one of my clients and a friend.

The book’s message was women don’t need more clothing, just the right clothing. There are staples every woman should own, and from this she can build a style that is unique and timeless. The same is true for beauty.

Women are buying more services and products than ever, but are frustrated with the results. Why? Because they’ve lost sight of the key staples every woman needs to celebrate her unique, individual beauty. In 25 years of practice working with thousands of women, I realized that the two critical elements to looking great are beautiful brows and healthy skin. You can have perfect skin and gorgeous makeup, but if your eyebrows don’t look good, everything is thrown off. I decided to open a special salon devoted to these two services and launch a simplified product line for lasting results at home.

I did much of my advanced studies in skin care in Germany and Vienna and noticed women received facials on a monthly basis as part of a healthy lifestyle, not a luxury. The specialized brow and skin services I offer at my studio are modeled after these classic treatment protocols, and are quick and affordable. Like a manicure or a blow dry, these services offer instant, high-impact results. Our clients are now making brows and facials a part of their lifestyle and love that they need a lot less time to get ready.

What differentiates your Brow and Lash Serum from Latisse and other treatments?

Jessica Johnson Conditioning SerumJJ: Along with our active ingredients, the serum:

  • Has additional treatment ingredients to keep lashes intensely hydrated and strong
  • Is a two-in-one product – it may be used on brows and lashes
  • The active ingredient is natural marine extract
  • Is clinically proven to be safe and to work. Clients do not have the reactions that typically accompany other lash treatments
  • Has been endorsed by one of the top Ophthalmologists on the Upper East Side of Manhattan

There are lots of wonderful products out there. Latisse is a great product but you can only get it through doctor’s offices or with a prescription and for some patients there are side effect issues.

What lead you to focus on eyebrows and eyelashes?

JJ: I’ve been into beauty since I was 5 years old and I’ve always been drawn to the eyes. My mother was Greek. If you sat around a table with my Greek relatives, you’d want to go into the brow shaping business as well. But seriously, I’ve always been drawn to the impact that eyebrows have on the face. At my first studio in San Francisco, I shaped clients’ brows as a complimentary service. I knew once they left my spa this would be the first thing people would notice. Their face was a walking billboard for my business and I wanted it to be beautiful. It worked…I ended up with the largest brow clientele in San Francisco.

What do you love most about your work?

JJ: Making people feel good. Helping people feel and look beautiful.

What has been the most defining moment in your career?

Being named Guest Brow Expert at the Yves Durif Salon at The Carlyle Hotel and launching my product there. It’s always been my dream to work or live in New York City. They say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere. If you can make it at The Carlyle, then you’re really making it. After all, everything’s better at The Carlyle. It’s an honor to work alongside a great artist like Yves Durif and all his highly skilled stylists. When I stop learning or improving in this business is when I’ll get out. This group keeps me inspired to grow and always do my best.

What is the most important piece of advice you can give with regard to lash & brow-centric beauty?

JJ: Don’t over pluck…especially when you’re young. I have many clients who bring in their teen daughters because that’s when girls start to experiment and they end up with thin brows for life.

Brows aren’t one size fits all. Don’t use a stencil or make them too precise or dark. You want to work with and enhance your natural shape and texture. I see the industry moving away from the high-maintenance, over sculpted brow and towards a softer, fuller, natural look.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter: @AlyssaBarrie

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Eye Area Care: Eye Cream and Beyond

idiot's guide to eye makeup application

Common knowledge: The number one, most basic tool for an ageless and flawless eye area is a quality eye cream. (When a friend recently told me SHE DIDN’T USE EYE CREAM, EVER, I almost slapped her like a jilted lover, so shocked and upset was I. But I digress.) Which eye cream(s) you select is a very personal choice, based on everything from specific concerns to product consistency. Once you’ve found one (or a few) eye cream(s) that you really love, learning proper application is just as important. Think you’re a pro? EYE’ll be the judge of that ;). Here are some eye cream application best practices and eye area care tools and tips.

First Things First

Does your eye cream come in a jar? Many do. If so, do your whole body a favor and DO NOT stick your finger into the jar to apply. Instead, use a spatula. Many eye cream jars come with spatulas, but if yours does not, you can buy a whole bag of them for a few bucks at Ricky’s. Believe me, it’s money well-spent. Eyes are a “mucus membrane”, a.k.a. a portal for germs and other nasties to enter and leave the body. If you stick (dirtyeven if you think they’re clean) fingers in your eye cream jar every day, it will soon be a veritable petri dish. Using a clean tool like a mini-spatula to scoop out your eye cream will help protect you from a stye, a cold…or worse.

Put a Ring (Finger) On It

No matter what the instructions on your eye cream’s packaging say, always use your ring finger to apply all eye care products. Your ring finger has the gentlest touch, which is all you want to use on the delicate and thin skin of the eye area.
Even using your ring finger, don’t rub or tug! Press or tap cream on with light pressure. Dot the eye cream under your eye, moving from the inner to the outer corner. Then use a light patting motion under the eye to gently press the product into the skin to absorb.

Love Your Lids

There’s an ongoing debate about whether eye cream should be applied to lids. Personally, I have ALWAYS applied my eye cream to my lids. If you think about it, the ‘eye area’ goes from the brow down, then out as far as your crow’s feet go (smile fully in the mirror and you’ll see just how “out” those crow’s feet do go), as well as the actual area under the eye. Signs of aging can be seen in all of these places. As we age, our eyelids can become loose, wrinkled and crepey. By regularly applying eye cream to your eyelids, you keep them firm, hydrated and youthful-looking. Keeping your lids in tip-top shape also makes eye shadow go on easiest and look its best for the long haul.

But don’t just take my word for it! I asked skin whispering facialist, Shamara Bondaroff of SB Skin, where she stood on the lids vs. no lids eye cream debate, and she agreed that lids need love, too. “Absolutely. They probably need it the most, since it’s such delicate, thin skin. I only put eye cream on lids at night, though; in the day, eye cream may cause your makeup run.” So follow your under eye application with a gentle glide along the orbital (or brow) bone, again from the inner to the outer corner. I always give the pressure point in the inner, upper corner of my eye a nice, firm press for a few moments with whatever eye cream is left on my fingertips. It’s a great tension reliever.

Proceed With Caution

While you do want to apply your eye cream generously, be sure to also apply it carefully.
To avoid irritation, don’t apply your eye cream too close to your eye. Don’t worry, the cream will spread itself within an hour or so as it warms. Also take care not to get eye cream on your eyelashes, as that will also lead to the product entering and irritating your eye.
Especially be careful of any products with SPF in them. If even the tiniest dot gets in your eye…yowza! It will sting like the dickens for several minutes and you’ll look like you just sat through a Beaches/Steel Magnolias Double Feature for even longer.

Other Things to Consider

When shopping for eye creams, research ingredients, analyze your own eyes/eye area and consider your main concerns (puffiness, dark circles, firmness, lines, all of the above…). Some superstar ingredients to look for are ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid, peptides to restore collagen and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and vitamin E.
I love me some face oil, but I make sure to apply itor any other thick skin care productcarefully so as to avoid my eye area. Many products claim they are totally safe to put around the eye, but if you’ve ever suffered from milia, I don’t have to tell you that that is not always the case. Miliathose little white bumps that usually form around the eyeare a buildup of oil underneath the skin. This excess oil usually comes from using products that are too rich for your skin. Because a layer of skin has grown over this buildup, milia cannot usually be removed superficially and/or at homeat least without major pain AND possible scarring. So though you may think that the heavier the eye cream, the better it is for anti-aging, don’t fall into that trap! When it comes to milia prevention, using lightor for some people even gel-basedproduct best.

Beyond the Cream: Other Products My Eyes Love

Institut Esthederm Eye Contour Lift Patches: These under eye masks work wonders. However, sorry to say that you DO have to cluster them—at first at leastto see real results. You can’t use them once a month and expect a transformation. But if you do commit to using these patches once a week for a few weeks, you will be amazed at how bright, smooth and revived your under eye area (an really, your whole face) will look.
Binchotan Eye Mask: I’ve gushed about this eye mask many, many times, and I will keep gushingit is THAT good. This soft and luxurious mask is a pampering treat for your eyes. It contains a layer of Binchotan charcoal, which emits infrared rays that help to gently stimulate blood flow, healing and soothing the eye area and relieving fatigue by easing pressure on the optic nerve. It is a priceless tool for relaxation, meditation, stress relief, sinus pain, airplane travel and, of course, a restful sleep!
Similasan\Irritated Eye Relief Drops: Now that many of us look at screens most of the day, our poor peepers get pooped. These homeopathic eye drops stimulate your body’s natural ability to temporarily relieve redness, dryness, burning and irritation, without any potentially irritating ingredients. Many other eye drops have vasoconstrictors that may exacerbate bloodshot eyes if used more than directed. I just love this stuff! I have a bottle in my bathroom, my bag and my car.

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram

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Take Off 10 Years With a Non-surgical Brow Lift

eyebrow shaping tips

A big trend in makeup right now is full, unkempt brows. As much as this looks great on teens and twentysomethings, get past your 30th birthday and overgrown brows look like untrimmed bushes. Let’s face it, proper grooming is always best. You want to look lifted and young, not like an overgrown plant that hasn’t been tended to. So let’s start with the basics.

 

So you think you have no brows left. You plucked them all in the 70s and they never grew back. I’ve heard this at least a couple hundred times. There are solutions! You can grow them back. There are numerous products on the market that will help you grow back your previously over-plucked brows. One such solution is a combo of Phylia de M. Connect and Re-Connect. Phylia is a line of revolutionary, award-winning hair care products created to give every person the healthiest, fullest and most luscious hair possible. While the products were created for the scalp, they work wonders on brows as well (not to mention nails). It won’t be an overnight transformation, but with a month of diligent use you will see brow hairs popping up in previously bare places.

 

While you’re waiting for your brows to grow, or even if you have full brows but they are very blond in some places, you’ll want a product that provides some extra oomph. Try my new Brow INK. This is not one of those hideous tattooed-on orange brows that looks like Groucho Marx which you think save you time in the morning. We are talking about one minute here. I know you can find the time. Brush on MB York Brow INK with the tiny brush provided to fill in all the blonde hairs that you didn’t know were there, and voila! You have more brows than you know what to do with. Prefer a pencil to fill in your brows? Try the foolproof Brenda Christian Universal Brow Definer and follow it with her magical Perfect Brow Gel, which gives the appearance of texture to the brow and holds them in place perfectly.

 

I also recommend calling upon an expert. An EXPERT brow shaper, not your neighborhood landscaper. (Live in the NYC area? Try Yasmine Djerradine Institut de Beauté) Have them artfully shape your brows so your whole face is lifted in a few expert rips of wax, plucks of the tweezer and snips of the scissor. The brows really do frame the entire face. Gone is the heavy caterpillar pushing down on your lid making any sagging lid skin look heavier, and exposed is the opened eye of someone 10 years younger…all without going under the knife! If you are in the process of growing your brows back in, this can really help keep the shape becoming all the way through that process.

 

I am amazed when I hear from women that don’t want to take the time to get an expert brow shape and learn some new makeup tricks, yet these same women are constantly in the salon cutting and coloring their hair. Brow shaping isn’t extravagant or dangerous, like a facelift or cosmetic surgery. It is 15 minutes in a makeup or facial chair, and the results are magical! The best part is that it only costs about $50! Of course you need to fully trust whomever you are letting tend to your facial hair, so go to a master. Invest a little more, and get immediate positive feedback when your friends tell you how great you look. A simple way to distinguish an expert from an imposter is to take a close look at their brows. Is that the way you want yours to look? If not, there is a good chance that this is not the aesthetician for you.

 

Get a group of girls together, have wine at lunch, and head over to the best brow expert in your area for a 15 minute transformation that gives you way more bang for your buck than a pair of new shoes. After all, you want the focus to be on YOU, and the young, vibrant version you.

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Interview with Brenda Christian, Part 2

brenda christian eye brow interview

This is part 2 of our interview with inspiring female beauty entrepreneur, Brenda Christian. (Be sure to read part 1.) Here, Brenda shares some of her best brow tips that she’s learned in her 30+ year career as a makeup artist and brow specialist.

What are the biggest mistakes people make with their eyebrow makeup?

  • Drawing on the eyebrows with soft brow pencils or brush-on brow product, trying to color in the empty space. Brow hairs should always be stroked into the brow line in tiny short strokes, working in the direction from which the brow hair would grow naturally, in order to closely simulate real hair.
  • Another mistake is starting the eyebrows too far from the center of the face. Placement of the eyebrow is the most important cosmetic decision you will make for your face. (Read Brenda’s comprehensive shaping guide below.) Sometimes this requires patience for natural hair re-growth. During this time, filling in with Universal Brow Definer® and Perfect Brow® is ideal.
  • Third is trying to lift the eyes by drawing a circular style to the brow instead of gently framing the eye itself in its natural shape.

What step should eyebrow shaping be in your makeup routine? Middle? Last?

BC: Major brow clean-up, such as major tweezing or waxing, should be done prior to applying any makeup, so you are working on clean skin. But for your daily routine, eyebrows should be applied in the middle, after the application of skin treatment, foundation, concealers, and eye primer. Then brush the brows upward, clean up any stray hairs with a good pair of tweezers, sharpen and apply Universal Brow Definer® and set by pressing on Perfect Brow Gel®.

What are your tips for achieving the best brow shape?

It always concerns me when I see a professional makeup artist tell someone that there is an absolute rule for applying eyebrows, because the truth is there is not. There are so many variables which must be taken into account, such as ethnicity, natural and/or enhanced hair color, size of the eyes, both horizontally and vertically, amount of lid above the eye and skin in the brow bone area, width of the nose and the nostrils and overall bone structure of the client. The two most important considerations are balancing the face and framing the eyes. The eyebrow is like a frame on a fine painting in your living room. One must take into account the color of the wall, the amount of space around the frame and the size of the piece of art. The overall goal is to add beauty to the room by framing the art. A beautiful room (the face) is the primary objective, and the art (the eyes) should enhance the room. If the wall is large and the art is small and a heavy, ornate frame is chosen, then the focus becomes the frame…not the room, not the art. So it is with eyebrow design.

Framing The Eyes

The goal is to create the most beautiful face, drawing attention to the eyes by softly and specifically framing the eyes, keeping in mind the balance of the face so that a brow appears to be almost non-existent, youthful, and above all, natural. This isn’t to say that fashion trends do not play a part in the eyebrow design dynamic. Today’s brow is fuller, soft in relation to the hair color of the client, and carefully stroked with a precision wedge or point simulating real eyebrow hairs.

Always work with a very sharp pencil, never a soft, crayon like pencil. The texture of the pencil is very important because it must allow you to create the width of an actual hair. Apply the Universal Brow Definer in short, firm strokes, always in the direction the hair would grow naturally. This automatically gives a wider look to the root area of the brow stroke, narrowing toward the end of the hair, just as natural eyebrow hairs appear. The natural texture of the brow is achieved by applying Perfect Brow Gel® in short, pressing strokes, releasing a matte gel over the pencil strokes to set and enhance the brow application.

Brow Color

As far as color is concerned, very rarely should eyebrow hair be darker than a client’s natural hair. Even if a blond has dramatically lightened the hair, the natural hair color will be a deeper, ash or golden blond color and that color eyebrow will appear most natural. Likewise, a red head will rarely have a bright red eyebrow. Look at the eyebrows on a naturally auburn haired child and you will see a reddened softened brown or blonde brow, rarely a bright red tone. A brunette should apply the tone of brown or black closest to his or her natural hair color but a slight shade lighter and then layer the strokes of the hairs to increase density for a more natural look, never appearing hard. On most people, the Universal Brow Definer and Perfect Brow Gel will provide the most natural eyebrow appearance possible. Sometimes, I will variegate in a distinct color like an auburn red, or deep black very, very sparingly to enhance the tone of the Universal Brow Definer application, but this is the exception and not the rule.

Step-by-Step Eyebrow Shaping Guide

As far as shaping is concerned, the most general guidance I can suggest is that the brow should begin above the inner tear duct and arch above the outer iris, then gently taper outward at about a 15-20 degree downward angle to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch outside the outer eye including the eyelash extension length. Be careful not to dip down on the edges of the eyebrow causing a semi-circular clown like appearance. Don’t use the nose as a guide, because nose widths vary both between the eyes and at the nostrils, so to use the nose can throw the entire eyebrow shaping out of proper alignment with the eye. An important tool is a good magnification mirror, but a full sized mirror should be used to check shaping during the process so that the overall appearance is natural. As far as the density and width of the brow are concerned, that is where the amount of eyelid above the eye comes into play, as well as the overall facial bone structure, whether it is small, medium, or large. This is where artistry comes into play. My best advice is to consult a professional makeup artist with a specialty in eyebrow design and enjoy a professional design that you can maintain on your own. Personally, one of my greatest joys is a private eyebrow consultation. My fee is $125.00 per client and includes a take home brow kit to continue the look, a very worthwhile investment in your personal style. If you are in the Jacksonville Beach, Florida area, please feel free to schedule an appointment. Please email: info@brendachristian.com

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Brenda Christian Interview Pt. 1: The Universal Brow Definer

brenda christian interview

Always worth a revisit: Our exclusive interview with female entrepreneur and brow guru, Brenda Christian – founder of Brenda Christian Cosmetics. Her revolutionary Universal Brow Definer is an all-time best seller – and for good reason! It perfectly enhances any and all brow shades from blonde to black. Read about how she created this dream product.

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Interview with Brenda Christian

President and CEO, Brenda Christian Cosmetics, Inc.

Brenda Christian founded her eponymous cosmetics line in 1982 to offer women unparalleled solutions to their skin care and makeup needs. The company develops products based upon voids in the cosmetics industry that Christian identifies through client interactions.

We talked to this inspiring female entrepreneur about her journey, creating her own line of products and much more!

What inspired you to develop your cosmetic products?

B.C.: Though my business is now 32 years old, it seems like yesterday that I made the decision to become a professional makeup artist. I was young and energetic, and within a few months was booked solid, traveling and doing fashion show work. Still, my greatest love was teaching a woman, one on one, how to apply her makeup…everything from how to hold a makeup brush correctly to selecting shades she could wear to achieve her best look. When I began developing products, I did so out of necessity.

Regarding my brow products, that is quite a story!

Early on I became the go-to person for brow shaping in Houston. I adored working with my clients, but felt weak in adding to eyebrows to fill voids, or even more terrifying, creating an eyebrow where absolutely no hair existed. I could not find a product that worked well, and felt insecure about my work.

About that time, I enrolled in a three day course for experienced makeup artists offered by Maurice Stein, a well-known Hollywood makeup artist. The first day of the course, he tested each student. After the practical testing, Maurice pulled me away from the rest of the class and asked me why I was working in Houston and not California! I explained that my goal was not to become a television and cinema makeup artist, but to develop products formulated to work in extreme climatic conditions, like the heat and humidity of Houston. I told him I was working on a product to create eyebrows on women that had none.

For three days, Maurice worked with me, teaching me separately from the rest of the class, how to create beautiful eyebrows on women that had none. At the end of the class, Maurice asked me if I would show the products that I had been working on to Harry Blake, Director of Makeup for NBC Studios. I was happy to do so! Both men were excited about the potential of the new wax I had developed and encouraged me to share the products with them upon completion. Today, I am honored that Maurice sells my eyebrow products in his Cinema Secrets store in California, and I have always been grateful for his artistic training.

Your Universal Brow Definer is legendary. How is one brow pencil shade really universal?

B.C.: As I worked with my clients without brow hairs – due to genetics, a bad tweezing or waxing experience, or loss of hair through aging – and as a perfectionist, I would attempt to create an eyebrow that looked just as natural as real hair. I tried working with pencils and brush-on brow products, but couldn’t accomplish a natural looking brow. I began to work with different types of materials; oils, gels, clays, pastes, etc., trying to develop a “three dimensional eyebrow”.

I worked with literally hundreds of clients trying to create an eyebrow “hair” that could not be distinguished from the adjacent actual eyebrow hairs. As I tested different materials, I noticed that one material in one color would actually change color depending upon whether my client had very dry skin or oily skin around the brows. I mention this because the wax would not change color anywhere else on the body.

Most natural blondes have finer hair and drier skin and most redheads have even drier skin. This affected the color of the Universal Brow Definer wax as I applied it to the skin. Clients with oilier skin would cause the wax to become very dark. It had very little to do with how much pressure was placed on the eyebrow. It had to do with the reaction of the formula itself, creating a specific color base on almost every eyebrow. This material was a tinted wax, and when applied on a blond, it would literally turn golden blond or ash blond to mimic the client’s actual hair color. The same color would turn a reddened tan shade when applied to a redhead, and amazingly on myself, with very deep brown hair, it would turn dark when it touched my skin. The wax was actually reacting to the pH of the skin’s surface.

This in itself was fabulous, but the strokes – whether I poured the wax into a pencil and applied it or used it with a brush – were flat, and I wanted a three dimensional appearance. In order to accomplish that, I had to thicken the wax base of the colorant (now Universal Brow Definer Pencil®) and apply it in extremely thin strokes, which meant I needed to design a special blade to provide an angled edge on the pencil. Knowing that some of the best knives came from Germany, I visited with a sharpener company and they developed a special blade to provide that very specific edge to the pencil. Next, I needed to provide the three dimensional texture that would have each stroke look like a brow hair. To do that, I needed to work with light to catch facets of the strokes. I developed a demi-matte gel which, when applied, intensified the color of the wax base of the pencil but absorbed and refracted light and simulated a circular appearance in the brow hair stroke. Because it refracted light, it also reflected the actual hair color that the client had on her head, causing the eyebrows to be truly perfected. Thus, the first eyebrow gel was born; I called it Perfect Brow®.

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