A talent for pairing natural, earthy looks with heightened attention to detail, Ashleigh Sharman spoke to makeup artist and Aveda global artistic director of makeup, Janell Geason.
Janell Geason’s earliest makeup memory is of her eldest sister, she has eight, separating her eye lashes with a safety pin. This was the 1970s and, as a little girl sitting on the bathroom counter watching on, Janell was mesmerised by the precision.
“I discovered makeup was the perfect combination of all the painting and sculpting classes I loved, whilst also having the opportunity to make women look and feel beautiful,” she says. “But I would have to say, most of my training was self taught by just doing it, analysing it and pushing my work every time.”
Janell earned her official credentials as a young adult in 1986 at the Horst Cosmetology School in Minneapolis, taking as many Aveda makeup classes as she could, and at the age of 20, she left the U.S. to live in London and Italy where she worked as a hairdresser and makeup artist.
“I love all types of makeup from natural, to a perfect lip and smokey eye, however my ‘style’ comes though in the attention to detail — I think that is what makes the difference. I also really love colour and whether the look is simple and clean, or more experimental, it always needs to look beautiful.”
Upon her return to Minnesota, Janell reconnected with the Aveda network by joining Juut SalonSpa as makeup director. Since then, she has been an Aveda Purefessional, educator, guest artist, named Makeup Artist of the Year in 2008 and 2009 at the North American Hairstyling Awards, and was appointed artistic director for Makeup in June 2010.
“Aveda has always been a part of my career and I love working for the brand because I can create beautiful faces while doing something good for the planet,” says Janell. “Aveda approaches beauty with total wellness in mind, using plant-derived ingredients that are good for both consumers and for the earth.”
A down-to-earth attitude has ensured that mindfulness plays a part in all Janell does. Her most memorable moment behind the chair; working with a woman going through treatment for cancer who had lost her brows and lashes. Janell showed her how to fill in her brows and apply false lashes, and as she finished, the guest looked at her reflection, smiled, and with a hug said, ‘What you do is much more than makeup, you help transform how a woman feels about herself’.
“My eyes welled with tears as I felt the positive impact of what I do. This is why I love my job!” recalls Janell who is humbled by the great moments in her career. From winning North American Makeup Artist of the Year, creating a segment at Congress, to launching successful collections she understands how fortunate it is to truly love your career.
A career that, in its latest incarnation, saw her launch Aveda’s limited edition 2015 collection Rare Bloom.
Shot on a Minnesota prairie for its raw, natural beauty, Janell took inspiration from flower petals and butterfly wings to create looks of magnetic complexity heightened with contradictory colours.
“2015 has been a great year of beauty, with women, overall, returning to ‘pretty’ looks. We saw a lot of hyper-natural, clean looks last season, but I think this will be amped up to a more ‘pretty’ version. And of course, there will also be fresh, youthful colour combinations, and applications that will appeal to the more adventurous girl.”
Janell Geason is Global Artistic Director, Makeup Aveda Artistic Team, aveda.com.au