The Sit Down: J’ai Lone

Before I met skincare and makeup artist J’ai Lone, I don’t think I’d ever washed my face with anything other than bar soap. So when Constance introduced me to J’ai about 10 years ago, not only was I about to get a much-needed education in men’s grooming, I was also going to make a friend for life. J’ai and I have many things in common, but one of the most important is that we both love what we do and work hard to be the best we can be. Born and raised in Toronto, J’ai has worked with some of the most famous names from the worlds of entertainment and film, fashion, and high society (she even met Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, in his own bathroom). Over the course of a career that spans 30 years, her work has been featured in commercials and magazines including Allure, Elle, Bazaar, The New York Times, Glamour, InStyle, Self,and Town & Country. Today, she has her own appointment-only studio and results-based skincare line. She also happens to be one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet—which makes her success that much sweeter. 

Her backstory: “I’ve always wanted to be a makeup artist and aesthetician. Nothing else mattered to me, really … except boys and baseball <laughs> I have four wonderful sisters and I learned a lot about beauty by watching them, and to be honest, by borrowing a lot of their makeup and skincare. I was obsessed with looking through beauty magazines and watching old TV shows, too.”

Her career: “I got my aesthetician’s license, in Toronto, when I was l8 years old. I wrote and executed the first Makeup Artistry School in North America when I was l9. I opened the first M.A.C. location in Toronto. When I was 27, I moved to Los Angeles; I knew no one and had $3,000 to my name. I had started air-brushing makeup, way before it became mainstream, and that’s how I got my green card. Then I began working with [celebrity hairstylist] José Eber. I was immersed in a very glamorous world, and I learned so much. I opened my appointment-only studio in Beverly Hills more than 30 years ago. I also worked as head makeup artist on the TV show Star Search, as a celebrity guest artist for Canyon Ranch spas, and had a business in Honolulu. About 19 years ago, I decided I wanted to stop traveling and focus specifically on my skincare services and products. It has been such an incredible adventure and it never ever gets boring for me. I absolutely love what I do. 

Her routine: “My day always starts with a lovely Matcha green tea, morning meditation, and then a three- to four-mile walk with my pup, and some yoga or Pilates. My work day starts around 9 a.m. and goes till about 5 p.m. I start seeing clients at l0 a.m., and have three to four people a day, four days a week. I love working with my clients, providing them with amazing treatments and products.”

Her turning point: “The biggest turning point in my professional career was moving to Los Angeles on my own and following my dream. It was a big risk and it wasn’t easy.”

Her success secret: “I believe the key to my success has been working hard; being honest, reliable, and respectful with your clients and with yourself; and never getting stuck—always be open to learning and growing. But most importantly, loving what you do will always carry you far.”

Her memorable moments: “I met Frank Sinatra at his home in Malibu. I did his wife Barbara’s makeup and he came into the bathroom to say ‘hi.’ I was so excited that I went to shake his hand and nothing came out when I tried to speak. When he left, Barbara assured me that happened a lot. I also worked with Ellen DeGeneres, many years ago. We did a shoot down at Blake Edwards’s home, and I remember watching her dance: There was always something so special about her; you couldn’t keep your eyes off of her.”

Her Michael story: “Michael and I have known each other more than l0 years. To be honest, when I met Michael, I didn’t really know anything about him. Being Canadian, football wasn’t big in our family. Constance introduced us, and Michael and I became fast friends and continue to be. He’s one of the most genuine, kind, and loyal people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I am so fortunate to be able to call him my friend.”

Her style: “Very casual: a good pair of jeans, a white or black T-shirt, and a great shoe.”

Her philosophy: “I truly believe a kind, loving, and happy person will always radiate beauty. I have worked with some of the most beautiful women and men in the world, but honestly, if they aren’t nice, there is always something about their energy which makes them not so beautiful. You have to take care of yourself: Eat right, get great sleep, exercise, have a positive and grateful attitude, have good friends, and use great skincare products.”

Her must-haves: “I was laughing with someone the other day about going down the ‘beauty hole.’ I spend so many hours researching and reading about beauty and skincare; it doesn’t matter if it’s a dermatology journal or British Vogue. I crave information and I research constantly.

Her influences: “For beauty, I follow Lisa Eldridge and her videos. I really admire Constance for what she has accomplished, and I’m so impressed with Amal Clooney. I admire people who give back to society, and it doesn’t matter in what capacity. But my greatest influence is my mom. She had a tough life but had such incredible faith and strength. She was positive and always so supportive.”

Her words to live by: “Does this decision go along with my mission statement? Is this the best I can do?”

What’s next: “I can’t wait to find out!”