To many, the idea of “natural beauty” goes hand in hand with a cosmetics-free existence. But Jessa Blades would beg to differ. In fact, the traditional makeup artist turned eco product and lifestyle expert is committed to marrying the two, “helping women look like the best version of themselves using the best and healthiest products available.”
Recently, Terrific was lucky enough to witness the Brooklyn-based artist’s work firsthand, conducting a full day shoot featuring three distinctive makeup looks–all created with organic products. In addition to her obvious talent and enviable long locks, Jessa’s poise and genuine intelligence were undeniable.
“I love empowering women to learn how to care for their skin, inside and out,” she reveals in a follow-up phone call, “and how to use makeup that brings out their natural beauty.”
As with any artist, Jessa’s craft has evolved over time. After studying psychology and art in undergrad, she decided to attend makeup artistry school in Canada and began working in the field upon graduation. While she was enjoying her burgeoning craft, Jessa simultaneously started finding research that made her less-than-pleased with the tools of her trade; and the further she delved in, the more disconcerting information she discovered. Ignore it as we may, the majority of cosmetic products that women apply every day are filled with toxic chemicals, building up in our bodies over a near lifetime of application.
As Jessa learned more about the harmful effects of these various products, she was also combating a skin condition that could not seem to resolved. Despite the various lotions and potions her dermatologist prescribed, Jessa’s skin remained highly irritated. Eventually, Jessa set out to tackle the situation on her own and replaced the highly chemical skin creams and face washes with natural products–all safe enough to eat!
“Many people think they have ‘sensitive skin’ and perhaps they do,” Jessa explains, “but what I think is going on more often than not is that they are having appropriate reactions to the harsh ingredients in the products that they are using. It can be so frustrating to break out with a rash or bumps on your skin and many doctors or beauty companies blame the reaction on your ‘sensitive skin’…when really there is nothing wrong with your skin, it is simply communicating and saying ‘hold on, this ingredient doesn’t feel good and I’m trying to let you know that.’ In many cases we need to look at what is in our products, simplify what we are using, take out the toxins or harsh ingredients and bring our skin back to balance.”
Two years ago, Jessa also began training as an herbalist and now sells her own line of natural skincare products on her website. Alongside her signature face wash and mask, Jessa’s online shop also features a collection of her go-to natural beauty products, cherry picked from her favorite–and sometime hard to find–organic vendors. The shop includes what Jessa deems the “Perfect Eyeliner” from Zosimos Botanicals, an all-in-one lip and cheek color from Revolution Organics, and some of the best mascara on the market–natural or otherwise. With the site, Jessa aims to become “a trusted resource for women,” offering a streamlined collection of products from a reliable curator.
Although her online presence is impressive, the bulk of Jessa’s work happens in the real world–everything from editorial shoots to wedding makeup to one-on-one/small group consultations. In her time as a makeup artist, Jessa has realized that most women don’t actually know how what they’re doing. “They feel like they missed the class,” Jessa laughs, “except there was no class.” As such, Jessa aims to make it a conversation, enabling women to actually take control and feel confident about their appearance.
“My favorite part of my job is when I hear back from a client, ‘you know that trick you taught me about eyeliner? I can’t believe how easy it is to do and I do it every day now’ or ‘I realized that I no longer have sensitive skin, I was just allergic to my face wash.’ I love nothing more than hearing that I’m opening up a person to a new way of looking or feeling. I love helping folks find healthy products, simplifying their search by doing the work for them, building their trust and helping them look and feel really good.”
For more information on Jessa Blades, to shop online, or to schedule a consultation, visit Blades Natural Beauty.