Jonny Sherwood makes his living developing, selling, and applying makeup, but he'll be the first to tell you if you need to go easy on the blush. "Sometimes I'll challenge you and say you don't need that much makeup," Sherwood says. "I'm not about to sell you a bunch of crap you don't need. Try to use less foundation. Challenge yourself to not wear as much mascara."
The point is to work with what you've got and be comfortable in your own skin. That's sort of the unspoken mission statement of JONNY Cosmetics. "I'm very direct with my clients," Sherwood says. "I look at their skin and we discuss. When someone says, 'I have huge bags under my eyes,' I'll say, 'Girl, that is not even a mini purse.' It's really just trying to be aware of people's ideas about themselves and trying to change them."
Sherwood himself wore makeup for years, using heavy foundation to cover what he felt was a "big, red face." These days, he doesn't wear an ounce of makeup, though he supports its use in all genders, ages, and races. After all, he points out, back in Egyptian times, the men were the ones sporting gold dust and kohl eyeliner.
He fell in love with makeup at the age of 16, when he was selling shoes at a department store. His manager noticed that he always seemed to be snooping around the cosmetics department, so he allowed Sherwood to switch to makeup. Sherwood worked for a major cosmetics company in New York City and then Charleston, where he moved in 2006. Two years later, he was ready to branch out on his own.
Sherwood admits that opening a cosmetics company didn't even cross his mind initially — he was thinking more along the lines of a coffee shop. But his friend (and now-business partner) Richard Visconti had other ideas. When Sherwood met a well-connected friend at a party, everything came together. "My girlfriend told me she was dating a hottie who was a chemist," he remembers. "I talked to him, we became friends, and before we knew it, it was kismet."
These days, JONNY Cosmetics products are sold in stores throughout the Southeast, including Lava Salon, Vanity Salon, and the Gate Center locally. He was inspired in part by the creativity and beauty of the Holy City. "Beauty can be found everywhere the eye lands in Charleston," Sherwood says. "And the beauty scene is amazingly vibrant. Charleston is a good fit for JONNY Cosmetics because of our bright and creative industry."
The artist-designed line is deeply pigmented and mineral-based, made with high-quality ingredients like healing grapeseed oil and extremely refined jet-milled pigments. "These quality ingredients provide staying power," Sherwood says. "You put it on and it's going to stay in place until you remove it. The versatility of our products is only limited by your imagination: Go natural, go glam, go naturally eccentric, get drag-matic with it." All of the products are made by a formulary in Queens, N.Y.
JONNY's most popular product is the Mineral Liquid Powder Foundation with SPF 15 UV protection. It can be used for sheer coverage or built up for full coverage without caking. Sherwood's advice: "Finish the application with our translucent blot powder to give a full matte finish or let the foundation set by itself for a soft satin finish. The wear is impeccable, and it looks better as the day goes on."
The line also includes polychromatic eyeshadows that combine coated metallic and pearlized pigments for a dramatic look, rich lipsticks in classic shades, and a collection of high-quality brushes to assist with application.
Along with his line, you'll still find Sherwood with a brush in hand, working with clients either on location or in his Archdale Street studio. "My journey and promise is to make sure that every time someone is in my chair, I encourage love of self and self-esteem," he says. "Because too many people convince themselves that they're ugly."
JONNY Cosmetics is located at 40-B Archdale St. Appointments are encouraged. Jonnycosmetics.com