Founder tells all.

Hourglass, aka one of the leading cruelty-free makeup brands that are on their way to being 100 percent vegan, have finally arrived in Dubai.

The California-based company was founded by Carisa Janes who previously studied design marketing at Parsons before landing her first job at Urban Decay. After gaining experience in product development, she consulted on a number of brands before launching Hourglass in 2004.

hourglass interview

She has a loyal beauty following including A-list like Jessica Alba, Emily Blunt, Zoe Saldana and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley along with leading makeup artists such as Gina Brooke and Lauren Anderson.


Below she shares with us why decided to launch in the region and products she always carries with her.

Why is the Middle East important to Hourglass?

So many reasons. One, we’ve waited a long time to come to the Middle East. There’s been opportunities to come but we weren’t sure that the timing was right. Now that we’ve become more of a global brand and we have strong presence in the UK and we’re seeing more Middle East customers that want the brand to come to the region, I think we were reaching that customer and it was the perfect timing.

Which are the top products in the region?

The primer. It’s humidity proof, it waterproofs your makeup so it’s really good for pores and keeping your makeup on all day. When I developed this product, I didn’t want to make a primer because in my mind it was one more step that I didn’t have to do. I thought ‘do I really need a primer’? Until this. It’s very weightless and it doesn’t have an oily residue, it’s dry and light, and everything you put on top of that stays put. Second product I love is our Veil Loose Setting Powder and it’s for all skin types and tones, it’s a blurring setting powder. The third would be a tie between the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation and the Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation and it really depends on what you prefer. It’s light but there’s great coverage. I like a full coverage product that you don’t need a lot of.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Hourglass Cosmetics (@hourglasscosmetics) on

Tell us about your plans to make the brand 100% vegan.

We have always been a cruelty-free brand and we are one of a few luxury brands that are cruelty-free. If I’m a truly cruelty free beauty brand, shouldn’t my products be vegan? I started to see a lot of consumers asking what products are vegan, so we always had a lot of vegan products but we started to dig deep and we could just see that there were a couple of products that had beeswax, products that had an ingredient called Carmine. Carmine are crushed beetles and they use them in a lot of makeup products. So it’s something we should think about when evolving the range and there are great ingredients out there that can substitute. 

Is it challenging to substitute in a way that doesn’t effect the quality of the products?

A lot of our products were already vegan so you won’t see a big transformation. We would never want to compromise the performance, luckily we did not have to. But there are a couple of interesting things we are doing but we are not announcing yet. But there are some things from innovation stand point that we’ve been working on to help us go vegan. 

Are there trends that you think work really well for this market? 

Right now I love a full brow that looks natural. On a personal note, I had to stop plucking and waxing my brows and it was so hard. And then it’s having the right product. We have Arch Brow Fiber gel and you can backcomb your brows and it puts the fibers underneath so you build the brow instead of drawing them on and then you shape the brow. For this market, there are so many beauty trends so it’s more about having the right products to achieve those looks you love.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Hourglass Cosmetics (@hourglasscosmetics) on

How do you think that social media has affected today’s idea of beauty?

You have so much information, its such an incredible tool to communicate. What I love about social media as a consumer, is if I want to know how to do something I can learn.

You have just launched in the Middle East, congrats…where can we buy Hourglass?

We launched exclusively in Sephora. The Ambient Lighting Palette was our original finishing powder palette so we added four exclusive palettes that you can only get in the Middle East and Europe, just in Sephora.

What can we expect in the future for Hourglass?

I can’t tell you, but I think you’ll see a big focus on brows for us and eyes.

And finally, which products can we always find in your makeup bag?

I carry a lot of makeup with me. I have separation anxiety from my makeup, I can’t leave anything behind so I bring everything. On the go I always have a loose powder, Ambient palette, eyeliners – I love 1.5 – the gel liners are amazing, mascara and the Retouching Fluid which has hyaluronic acid.

Hourglass is available at Sephora now.  

– For more about Dubai’s lifestyle, news and fashion scene straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook

Images: Instagram, Supplied