A Brandonite since the age of three, now-25-year-old Jaylene Howarth trained in Vancouver and then came home to ply her trade. And while she’s an esthetician who is happy to provide a number of different services to her clients, her specialty is in an area some might find surprising. But as much as she loves her chosen career, Howarth views her day job as a springboard to contribute to the community in a meaningful way. (TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN)
Your background is interesting because you went to Blanche MacDonald Centre in Vancouver, correct? And your training was in doing what, specifically?
I initially moved there to take makeup artistry, so I completed the full makeup artistry diploma. That included bridal makeup, TV and film makeup, prosthetics, airbrushing — everything. And near the end of my course, within the same school, the esthetics course was also offered. And for some reason I thought, ‘What a great idea — to take more schooling!’ (laughs) So I immediately enrolled and I took the esthetics course/spa therapy course as well. Then I graduated from that and started working right after.
How long a program of study was it?
All together I was in school for two years.
And your idea originally was that you wanted to go into doing makeup for TV and films?
I wasn’t really sure. I don’t remember the initial ‘wanting to do it’ — I just remember the process of making the move. And then I got there and it was so inspiring! There was just SO much creativity in one building — it was absolutely crazy! We started with the basics, and then bridal, fashion — that kind of thing. Then we moved into makeup for film and TV — prosthetics — all the more wild stuff. So we got to learn a lot about the film industry, and in Vancouver, obviously, there’s a large film industry. But then I started to realize, ‘No — I don’t think that’s for me,’ because of the lifestyle. You’re not always with a constant job. It’s hard even to get into the union. And then your days are 16-hour days. And I just thought, ‘Well, if I ever wanted to have a family, that’s probably not really ideal.’ So then I kind of wanted something more stable, and that’s when I went into the esthetics program.
So when did you come back to Brandon?
I worked in Vancouver for six months after I finished school, and then I moved back to Brandon in September of 2009. It was supposed to be temporary, but now it’s not so temporary!
Were you one of those kids who couldn’t wait to get out of Brandon when she was growing up?
I always knew I was a big-city girl and I probably will be again someday, but right now I’m enjoying being here. I have young nieces and nephews and I just don’t want to be away from them. There’s just too much to be around for right now. And Brandon is just so easy, and it’s fun, to be honest.
Why is it fun?
Just because your friends and your family are so close and they’re so easily accessible. When I lived in the big city, that wasn’t the case. I couldn’t call up a friend and say, ‘Hey, do you want to hang out in an hour?’ It wasn’t like that.
Where did you work when you first came back?
I had three years of great experience at Pantages but I was just ready for a change and ready to move out on my own and spread my wings, I guess.
So now, at Platinum Designs Hair & Nail Studio, you’re the resident esthetician and waxing specialist?
Yes. I rent space here, so I work for myself. I have a business license and everything. And everyone else here does the same. But we’re like a little family.
What is it you like about your job? About waxing hair from people’s bodies?
Instant gratification. You see results right away. And mostly, it is a social job — so social. I know all my clients — we don’t talk about the waxing, really — we’re talking about each other’s lives and meanwhile, I’m providing them a service and it’s almost like I’m just chatting with friends.
People, especially for their first time, are really nervous. But I do my best to make them feel very comfortable. And I like that I can comfort them and I can make them feel at ease when I’m doing such an intimate and almost vulnerable service.
So why is this gratifying for you?
It’s gratifying because I leave work every day and don’t feel like I’ve worked! I really enjoy the company I have with my clients. And now that I work for myself, I have so much more time and there are all these goals I want to achieve. This is to pay the bills, and I enjoy it, because everyone has to make money and everyone has to pay their bills, but now I have so much more time, I’ve been volunteering at the soup kitchen. I have plans, in the fall, to maybe do an in-school mentorship or something. I’ve always felt I wanted to do things like that, but for some reason, when I was at my previous jobs, I didn’t really feel like I had the time. I feel more freedom now, and I feel more inspired and motivated to pursue those other goals.
Is that because you can determine your own hours here and you can say yes or no if somebody wants an appointment?
My clients — I consider them my boss. They dictate my schedule, so I don’t say no unless there’s a conflict with another client, or I’ve made commitments to volunteer — then I’ll see if we can arrange another time.
You work under the Platinum Designs umbrella. But the name of your company is Va Jay Jay’s. And that — I’ve done some research! — is generally considered a non-offensive substitute for the word ‘vagina’, right?
Yup. And my name — Jaylene — people refer to me as Jay, so I thought that was too perfect to give up. And I do leg-waxing, arm-waxing, facial-waxing, but I focus on Brazilian waxes. I would say 95 per cent of my clientele get Brazilians, where everything from the lower regions — all the hair — is gone. You dare to bare!
What’s the reason most people want to go bare down there?
I’m not sure. I think it’s just definitely a trend now. If they do choose — some do choose to leave a little something so they don’t feel so bare. But it’s also very hygienic to have all the hair removed. And what’s so interesting is that I have a clientele from such a wide age range — from teens, like 16 or 17, to 60. And probably a lot more on the scale of 30 up.
What do you recommend after the treatment?
I give my clients a wax-remover oil to use. I also suggest that when they go home, they put Polysporin over the area. That’s because the hair follicles are wide open, and you’re going to go about your day, and bacteria could be lingering, so it’s just to kind of nip that in the bud. It helps a lot with ingrown hairs. Exfoliation in between your waxes is the most important thing that you can do to prevent ingrown hairs. Then when you get your next wax, you’ll get a much better wax because waxing is also very exfoliating, so you’re essentially ripping off dead skin cells. When the cell renewal happens, you don’t want them to grow over the hair follicle and trap bacteria in there.
You mentioned that there was another service you provide that’s a little different?
(laughs) I do what I call Vajazzling, which is attaching little Swarovski crystals to your lady bits. Some people want them for Valentine’s Day or other special occasions. So you can just be Vajazzled up and go have fun!
To contact Howarth about bridal makeup, Brazilians, or any of the other services she offers, call 720-6567.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 7, 2012