Join our live chat with natural beauty expert Jessa Blades, Wednesday August 8th, 6-7pm PST / 9-10 EST. We're giving away over $350 in gifts! To enter click here.
In 2008, six years into a highly successful career as a professional make-up artist in New York City, natural beauty expert Jessa Blades grew tired of sacrificing women’s health in the name of beauty. Ditching toxic brands and founding Blades Natural Beauty, Jessa now applies her beauty knowledge with tips and techniques to teach women how to maximize their individual beauty naturally using the best healthy makeup and skincare brands. While the bulk of Jessa’s day-to-day work takes place in the fashion world, when not on set, Jessa hosts educational workshops & classes. Here’s a little glimpse into her expertise and perspective on natural beauty.
Organic Authority: How did you get started in beauty?
Jessa Blades: I studied art and psychology in college. After that I went to makeup artistry school. I've always been fascinated in how self esteem and attitude can be so influenced by makeup, style and self adornment. Feeling beautiful is very powerful. As an artist, I love helping people access this power- playing with beauty products and using line, shape and color. The face is my canvas - helping women look and feel like the best version of themselves, using the best products available, is my mission.
OA: Why the switch to natural beauty?
JB: I've made the switch to natural beauty products because the more I found out about the beauty industry, true skin health, and what is really in our products, I couldn't stay with the mainstream industry. Books like Not Just a Pretty Face and the work of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics really helped to educate me and transform my perspective. Eating healthy, whole foods has always been super important to me. It wasn't until I learned that my skin is my largest organ, and that there are toxic ingredients in our beauty products, that I knew I had to make the switch to naturals. Using natural, simple, healthy products is the logical direction for us all.
OA: What’s the most common question you get asked by clients?
JB: Most questions people ask are about their skin, either it is too dry, or oily, or sensitive. A lot of the problems that people are having are because they are negatively reacting to their products, or using ingredients that are too harsh. My goal is always to simplify, and get everything back into balance. The next question everyone asks is how to do a smokey eye.
OA: So, how do you create a smokey eye?
JB: A smokey eye is a really beautiful, sexy and classic look. The tricky part is using a base, to keep the eyeshadow on the lid, and blending with the right brushes. I find that what people like about the smokey eye look can be achieved by using a dark brown or black eyeliner. Using it to line the bottom and top lash line, super close to the roots of the lashes. This technique, plus 2 coats of black mascara on curled lashes, can look really amazing and sexy. A true smokey eye takes time, a bunch of products and can get a bit messy. But practice makes perfect and I always have people start out lighter and build to darker with liner and shadow, as it’s always easier to add product then to take it away.
OA: How do all those models you work on really look before make-up?
JB: Models look just like us, for the most part. Their faces require the tools of makeup, great lighting and photoshop in order to get that "flawless" look. They are obviously very beautiful and do have some extra visual gifts that us normal people don't have... but they all definitely get pimples, have under eye circles and deal with the other issues that we all experience.
OA: What are some of the most challenging products to switch out with naturals?
JB: The hardest product to find in naturals are the super pigmented products. You also don’t have the same long-wear properties that you find in mainstream products… but honestly, do you really want a lipstick to stay on your lips for 10 hours. It is also hard to find foundation colors to match every complexion, it takes creativity sometimes. Hopefully that will change as the natural products industry grows.
OA: What are some of your ‘can’t live without it’ cosmetics?
JB: My favorite mascara is by Couleur Caramel. I love The Organic Pharmacy’s antioxidant foundation. For lips, Jane Iredale glosses - the colors are like candy. For concealer, I like RMS Beauty and Zosimos Botanicals makes perfect, creamy, easy to apply & smudge eye liners.
OA: What's your 'secret weapon'...the product that you use on almost every client?
JB: Great question - Probably the Stress Remedy by H. Gillerman Organics. Sadly, we are all way to stressed and it is not good for our skin or overall health. A couple of drops of that oil gets everyone back to balance.
OA: What tips do you have for readers trying to 'come clean'?
JB: Begin with small, baby steps. Start reading ingredient labels and being curious with what is in your products. Avoid products that lather and strip your skin. I know how confusing it can be to make changes or even know where to start, so take one product at a time.
OA: How can readers benefit further from your expertise?
JB: It’s clear that most women don't have the time to become natural beauty experts, or feel overwhelmed about where to begin, which is why I’m here! To make things easy, I’ve created my own line of natural skincare, created an online store, and I serve in an expert capacity for media and other companies. For example, I recently curated a collection for Goodebox, a healthy, sustainable beauty & wellness product sample service. I also consult, both in person and virtually, and I host educational workshops in New York.
Have your own questions for Jessa? Feel free to post them here. She's kindly agreed to answer at least a few rounds.
image: Jessa Blades