A veteran magazine beauty editor/writer (and a member of the 40+ club), Genevieve Monsma created MediumBlonde to help Gen Xers and Baby Boomers age the way they want.


What Works: Jane Park

What Works: Jane Park

One benefit of working in the beauty industry for so many years is that I've encountered dozens of smart, savvy professionals (beauty company CEOs, product development VPs, power publicists, colorists, stylists, makeup artists, etc.) who've tried thousands of products and treatments, and, thus, have uber-informed beauty regimens. I've certainly swiped tips and recs from them—and now so can you. As part of a regular series, I’ll be asking inspiring, in-the-know women (all 40+, of course) to share their best tips and favorite products. The point? As always, to find out what works.

Today's beauty insider: Jane Park, 45, CEO and Founder of Julep

My first encounter with Jane was about ten years ago, when I was the beauty director at More, and she called and asked for a meeting. At the time, she’d opened what she called a “green” nail parlor in the Seattle area, and she was flying to New York City to meet with beauty editors and talk up this new business. This was unusual for a variety of reasons. She was brand-new to the beauty business and knew no one in it (a Yale law grad, Jane's previous stints were at Starbucks and Boston Consulting Group)—and she'd elected to do her own PR and was cold-calling editors herself. Not to be all Miranda Priestly, but this was not how things were done. Yet Jane was charming and sincere and, I could tell after talking to her for two minutes, smart. I admired her gumption, so I agreed to meet.

At that first meeting, I quickly sensed that Jane meant (and knew) business. And I was right. In the ensuing decade, I’ve watched Julep explode—in a good way. It’s gone from a neighborhood nail salon to a major skin, nail and makeup brand sold at Ulta, Nordstrom, QVC and on The brand will also soon be sold across the pond in the U.K.

Obviously, Jane has business smarts, given her academic and professional background. But I think the primary key to Julep’s success is Jane's innate ability to identify what real women want: nail polish that lasts and is free of toxic ingredients; invisible sunscreen; matte lipstick that doesn’t feel tight and dry. Jane really does her homework and enlists the help of actual customers (she calls them Mavens) in developing Julep’s products. And it shows, both in sales and in customer loyalty. So what does Jane, a super-busy entrepreneur and devoted mother to teenagers, use herself?  Primarily products and treatments that are time-saving and results-oriented. She also has a sensible approach to aging I believe is worth emulating. Here, for Jane, what works.

Choose products that multi-task “Women today are so busy. I thought I was busy before I had kids, but that was nothing like being mom-busy. So, I use our Love Your Bare Face Cleansing Oil because it's an eye-makeup remover, cleanser and moisturizer, all in one. Sometimes I just use that, and fall into bed.”

Stop skipping sunscreen “We named Julep’s sun-protection product No Excuses because it addresses nearly every anti-SPF excuse. It doesn't leave the skin chalky or ashy; it doesn’t make you breakout, it doesn’t impact the appearance of your makeup, it doesn’t smell, and it isn’t sticky. I really believe that wearing sunscreen every day is the most important thing we can do for our skin’s health.”

Eat real food “In my forties, I started to cut out processed foods. I also stopped counting calories and decided not to think about my ‘ideal’ weight. Now, I just choose wholesome, found-in-nature options, including half-n-half in my coffee—no fake creamer—and let the weight settle where it will.”

Pay attention to your eyebrows “Until recently, my brows weren’t something I was focused on. But [being in the beauty business] exposed me to the art of defining my eyebrows, and I realized it was the best anti-aging trick. If you have thin or thinning brows and you fill them in, it takes off years. I use our Don’t Leave Your Brows At Home.”

Try not to be a slave to your haircolor “As a busy working woman, I am always looking for ways to cut corners in beauty maintenance. That’s why my hair is an ombre shade [darker on top with lighter highlights at the mid-lengths and ends], so I don’t have to touch up the roots as often.”

Treat your scalp like skin “Once a week, I do a deep, exfoliating scalp treatment with Neutrogena T Gel Shampoo. I think this helps my hair stay healthy. I first apply Kerastase Original Oil on the bottom half of my long hair, which is quite dry. Then I step into the shower, massage the Neutrogena shampoo into just my scalp, and let it run through the rest of my hair, as I rinse with water. I finish by conditioning with Nexxus Humectress, an oldie but goodie that I keep coming back to.”

Jane shapes her eyes with Julep  When Pencil Met Gel in Blackest Black

Jane shapes her eyes with Julep When Pencil Met Gel in Blackest Black

Make more of your eyeliner “I am Korean and have what I call a mono-lid, so I use pretty heavy eyeliner to make my eyes stand out. But I find a lot of women are intimidated by eyeliner so they skip it and, instead, spend a fortune on mascara trying to make their eyes pop. If they just took dark liner, wiggled it into the base of your lashes, it would make their lashes look so much thicker.”

Say yes to champagne…eyeshadow, that is. “Everyone needs a little champagne-colored shimmer in the inner corner of the eye. I even tell men to do this. It makes you look brighter and more awake. I use our Eyeshadow 101 in Champagne Shimmer [pictured at the top of this post], a color that looks good on everyone and goes with everything.”

Shed the dead “I exfoliate every day with our Konjac Sponge. It provides a gentle, physical sloughing, even over the eyes. After using the sponge, my makeup go on more smoothly, and my skin is better able to absorb treatment products.”

Laugh more “To me, there’s nothing sexier, more beautiful, endearing, cozy, attractive and life-affirming than being funny.  And I have a girl crush on Amy Poehler, who is hilariously brilliant and honest.”

Brace yourself “I think it was George Clooney who once said you don’t age linearly; you age a decade overnight. I’ve found that to be true. I felt 25 forever—then woke up one day and saw a 35-year-old in the mirror. It sneaks up on you.”

Do what you want “One thing I love about aging is the freedom just to be myself—and let go of the things that I am not. At this point in my life, I finally have the confidence to do what I want to do, and less what I feel I have to do. And with age, there seem to be fewer of the have-tos.”

Stop thinking about age so much “My approach to aging is to not dwell on it. I believe in doing things that are good for my health, for my body and for my skin, but I’m not trying to look younger. Aging is inevitable so I don’t believe in fighting it.”

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