Inside The Home Of An L.A. Beauty Guru

Considering Hourglass Cosmetics is known for innovative formulas and luxe packaging, it's no surprise the brand's founder and CEO boasts incredible personal style.
Living in Venice, California with her husband and three dogs, Carisa Janes dedicates her everyday life to creating products with one goal in mind: "I want to make women's lives easier," she says matter-of-factly. Come tour her stunning Cali home, hear how she built the company from the ground up, and find out what's next for the cult brand.
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Growing up, were you always very into beauty?
"Yes, very much so. In college, I would spend all of my money at the MAC counter buying makeup. Growing up, I always thought I would go into fashion because I didn’t think there was a career in cosmetics. I thought you had to be a makeup artist to go into cosmetics."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Did you study cosmetics in college?
"I studied design at Parsons in New York. They didn’t teach me about cosmetics or product development there – everything was about fashion."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
What was your first job in the beauty industry?
"Straight out of college, I worked at Urban Decay. I learned everything there and it was just a natural fit. I realized then that this is what I wanted to do."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Why did you name the brand Hourglass?
"I didn’t want to name it after myself. I wanted something that was feminine, and strong, and timeless, and it just kind of stuck."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Who designed your house?
“The architect is a man by the name of Steven Ehrlich. He’s really amazing. He did the whole thing. I just dumped my stuff in each room.”
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
What's the concept behind Hourglass Cosmetics?
"I really wanted to create a modern luxury brand. I loved luxury brands, but at the time, luxury was always more of your mother’s makeup. I wanted to create a brand that was very focused on innovation and technology, but was very chic and indulgent. In other words, it was high-performance, but it also felt amazing on your skin."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
What's different about the Hourglass customer?
"I think our customers expect a lot. They expect to have an experience that’s different from anything else on the market. And if that's not the case, I think they'll feel pretty let down."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Unlike most other makeup brands, you don't really create products that are trend focused — why is that?
"It’s not important to me. I’m selfish, and ultimately I’m creating products for myself, and that I want to use everyday."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Do you like living in Venice?
"I love Venice! I really love it here. I always thought I’d move back to New York at some point, but once I moved to Venice, that desire went away. It's the first place I've lived in Los Angeles that feels truly like home."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
What products are you working on now?
"I’m developing a product now that I’m obsessed with. I can’t tell you what it is — it’s too far down the line. But I’m so excited about it because it’s going to make women’s lives so much easier. There's nothing in it's field like it. It’s a game-changer."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
How much does your environment influence the products you create?
"As a creative person, it’s important for me to be inspired all the time by art, color — just my environment as a whole. And I’m sure all of that ultimately affects what I do and the products I make."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Your Veil Mineral Primer is incredible and like nothing of its kind — which is pretty amazing considering the massive influx of primers on the market. What is it that makes it so incredible?
“Primers have been around for a while, but they were completely different from what I wanted to create. I think ours is the first of its kind. It has SPF, which sets it apart from most others. There is a texture to that product that is so hard to describe. You just have to experience it. And once you do, nothing compares. It’s wild. It really is a transformative product.”
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Do you wear your primer everyday?
“Mostly. Sometimes I’ll skip it and put on my makeup. I’m like, ‘Oh, my skin’s been looking so great! I don’t need it today!’ And then, I realize that it’s not my skin that looks great, it’s the product doing it, and I’m so annoyed with myself for not putting it on to begin with. It’s crazy how much better everyone looks with it on.”
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
How do you decide what type of product you want to develop next?
"When I’m developing a product, it needs to be one of two things: It either needs to be the total reinvention of a category, or it needs to be a product from the future. If it’s been done, I’m not interested."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
How has living in L.A. helped to shape your brand?
“I think living in L.A. created the right environment for me to feel confident enough to do what I’m doing. Living here, you’re around creative people, but the fashion industry isn’t as in your face.”
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Do you keep up with new releases from other beauty brands? How much of what you create do you feel is inspired by what's going on in the beauty industry at that given moment?
"A lot of times, there are certain products on the market that aren’t mine, and, whichever brand it is, did a great job with it. I feel no need to try and recreate or outdo that. If it’s out there, it works, and it’s great, I have no desire to compete with it.”
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Your packaging is gorgeous. How important is the look of a product in the beauty industry?
"I love beautiful, glamorous products. But, while that piece of it is so fun, it’s really about creating products that women must have."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
How has living in L.A. helped to shape your brand?
“I think living in L.A. created the right environment for me to feel confident enough to do what I’m doing. Living here, you’re around creative people, but the fashion industry isn’t as in your face.”
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
What is one of your favorite pieces in your house?
"The lamps in my bedroom. I'm in love with them."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Do ever feel distant and like your at a disadvantage by living outside of New York’s fashion epicenter?
“I don’t think I would have had the courage or confidence in myself to create my own brand if I stayed in New York. And, I love New York, but even now when I go back, all the retail and outpouring of trends is so overwhelming. Every one of my competitors has massive stores on Madison Avenue, and a new one coming in SoHo. That competitive landscape is just too much for me.”
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
What do you love most about your job?
"I love to create products that make a woman's day easier and help her to feel better about herself. I like helping women with real skin problems— like me! I’m a woman, I’m aging, and I don’t have perfect skin."
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