When supermodel-turned-entrepreneur, Iman decided that she wanted to take on another beauty line she looked to none other than beauty and style expert, Jay Manuel. The two are veterans in the industry and share a friendship that spans more than 17 years dating back to the late 90’s when Jay was recommended to do Iman’s makeup for a cover shoot. Today, the Toronto native is a household name, garnering accolades for everything from popular reality shows.
The prestige line took two and a half years to develop and incorporates advanced K-beauty techniques as well as luxe ingredients like crushed gemstones and real diamond dust. Believing that skin is the foundation of beauty, he created the Filter Finish Collection, which focuses on perfecting skin's appearance through advanced blurring and camouflaging techniques. Paired with the collection are three curated beauty profiles: Classic, Iconic and Avant-Garde that allow women to highlight their natural beauty and experiment with alter beauty egos. Here, we reveal the inside scoop from Jay Manuel Beauty.
ESSENCE: What was it like working with Iman to create this line; did she assist in the production process?
Jay Manuel: When you start a partnership there are growing pains, but because Iman and I have a wonderful relationship that spans 17 years, we already had the synergy built in. I consider myself incredibly fortunate that she has such great trust for me. Everything from packaging and design to formulas and shades was entirely up to me. I knew everything that I wanted performance-wise before we even began. We started every product in base formulation. I just want to bring them something that is quality. There is no reason for the consumer to be hoodwinked.
ESSENCE: What inspired you to create this collection?
Manuel: Inspiration for the collection was born from questions that I get from women. I'm humbled that I have worked with the world's most creative visionaries, but for me, really what it comes to when thinking about the business of beauty, the products need to be consumer focused. This line addresses that need. Consumers know a lot more now and women really want to talk about it. They want to talk about using two different tones of foundation...
ESSENCE: Speaking of foundations, your line has an impressive range of 12 shades in three tonal categories for the foundation and 9 shades for the powder, how did you select the shade color scheme?
Manuel: Quite honestly, it came from working with a wide range of skin tones. I started by looking at my own kit and really wanted to be inclusive of all shades. I had to make sure it catered to everyone from the fairest skin to the richest.
ESSENCE: What is your favorite aspect of the Filter Finish collection?
Manuel: All of those products are made to perfect skin. We use real diamond dust to refract light. Women want the youthful radiance without the attention that pearl draws to fine lines. We use real diamond dust to give the radiance without highlighting fine lines. For women who truly want that 'lit from within glow,' I created the Filter Finish Collection Skin Facelift, a luminescent finishing powder that is made of complexion enhancing pigments and crushed gemstones including Emerald, Ruby, Topaz, and Sapphire.
ESSENCE: I have to ask you about these lipsticks. I'm curious to know more about the racy titles for the lipsticks!
Manuel: I wanted to do five classic lipsticks for each profile and name them after women who inspired them. But we didn't want to put a different image into someone's mind—we wanted it to be entirely about the consumer.
ESSENCE: This will also allow women to try out shades that perhaps are more fitting for an alter ego, like the Classic woman who sometimes moonlights as someone more Avant-Garde. Do you have a favorite of three style profiles?
Manuel: I love a great classic face, I also love a woman who is not afraid to expand and play around as well. If I had to go back to my bedroom when I was thirteen years old—I used to have these Saks Fifth Avenue photos on my wall with representations of these iconic women. I remember when I started her makeup I was thinking I have to make her into the Icon that she is.
ESSENCE: Jay Manuel Beauty is one of few beauty brands with a beauty app, how will the app impact the users experience with the brand?
Manuel: Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge techy person. I'm very tech savvy. I knew that we were going to have to do an app, but I have found that apps are quite gimmicky. We partnered with Plum Perfect and I put it through the ringer! You take a selfie, which will force you to face the light straight on. The app knows the difference between daylight and candescent light, and it will take the lighting into consideration to determine your true skin tone and color signature—your hair, eye, and natural flesh lip tone.
Dying to discover which beauty profile fits you? Download the app and check out the line here to find out if you're Classic, Iconic or Avant-Garde.