THE NORTH SHORE’S Jen Bobay has always had a connection to the beauty world, first through her grandmother who was a hairdresser in the city and then as a teacher who applied her love of science to ingredient combinations that she learned helped her skin. “I fell in love with makeup and skincare and was trained by a line that I loved and believed in,” Bobay remembers. “But nearly every product I tried irritated my skin.”
It wasn’t until after Bobay gave birth to her son Nicholas and was looking for an opportunity where she could work and still make him a priority that she decided to create her own mindful line of makeup.
Bobay founded Jar Bar Makeup, a complete mineral makeup line that is free of parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and talc.
“When I first decided to launch my company, I thought my business would be more education about makeup application—teaching my friends and their daughters how to use makeup and what was in their products,” she explains. “It was somewhat of an accident that we ended up marketing the makeup itself.”
Like any new business owner, Bobay found “shiny pennies” everywhere she looked, opportunities that sounded good on paper but maybe didn’t make sense for where she was at the moment.
“Many friends and clients wanted Jar Bar to offer more products and initially I wanted to please and would try and be everything to everyone,” she says. “Around year two, I knew that I needed to refocus. It was time to take a step back and get some advice.”
Bobay’s cousin encouraged her to join an entrepreneurial club and she came across a newly formed one at The Lake Forest Shop.
“The day I went to my first meeting was a moment in time,” she says. “When I met Ellen Stirling, I found a wonderful mentor that taught me the art of balance between running a business and maintaining your priorities for your clients and your family.” Bobay began by introducing her products through a series of trunk shows and learned that a glow palette she carried was a hit.
“We don’t carry my entire line at The Lake Forest Shop. We’ve customized what we offer to clients of The Lake Forest Shop,” says Bobay.
Bobay credits much of her success to the collaborative network of women in her corner. “Ellen Stirling has been an incredible role model to me,” she adds. “And along the way, my mother, husband, son, and several friends have stepped in and helped me with many things from campaigns to photographs for my website. Working with others has been my favorite part of creating Jar Bar. My grandmother used to listen to women share their problems when she would be styling them. And when they would ask for advice, she lifted people up with the art of beauty. There is something therapeutic beneath the surface of the beauty industry. The hardest days won’t be cured by a great lipstick, but they sure can be made better.”
Bobay believes today that her calling is bigger than selling makeup. So, she’s tapping into her science teacher toolbox to teach women of all ages the meditative powers of a good beauty regimen. Jar Bar will always be a part of Bobay, but educating clients on how to be their own makeup artist now will be the focus of her one-on-one sessions at the Lake Forest Shop.
“I’ve really gone back to where I started with Jar Bar and it’s been in the last 18 months of dealing with Covid and its repercussions that have helped me get there,” she says. Bobay, who is an educator by nature, has been teaching since 1995 and most recently had the joy of teaching at both the School of St. Mary in Lake Forest and St. Francis Xavier in Wilmette.
“I love being a teacher,” she says. “There is something about building up others through what you teach them that is so rewarding. I see it every day with my classroom of students and the teachers I work alongside with. Now I want to be able to create this same type of change and empower women through what I know about makeup and beauty.”
Bobay believes that makeup and skincare—regardless of the brand you use—can be a meditative ritual. To this end, she shares 10 ideas for you to add to your beauty routine in 2022.
1. Use a gentle non-foaming cleanser as soon as you wake up and before you go to bed at night. This will change your skin over time for the better.
2. When you cleanse your skin at night, use a clean washcloth to help exfoliate your skin. Always use a fresh washcloth. (Expert tip: The cheap washcloths that aren’t super plush are the best for this.)
3. If you are concerned about blocking pores, the best foundation is a loose mineral powder. If you apply it with a plush kabuki brush, it goes on flawlessly. Jar Bar’s loose powders offer buildable coverage that let the skin breathe.
4. Always use a little under-eye concealer with your foundation.
5. If you look tired, use an eye primer all over your lid to instantly brighten any shadows, darkness, or veins. Many women who feel their eyes look tired are amazed at what an eye primer can do.
6. Use a powder blush and a cream blush for staying power and glow. Jar Bar’s Cheek and Lip Tints were inspired by Bobay’s grandmother who always wore a cream blush.
7. The eyes require a few brushes to finish properly—an all over shadow brush, a tiny plush brush to soften any liner, and a brow brush.
8. Fill your brows with a natural brow gel. Brows frame the face.
9. The perfect lip shade is always two colors mixed together that create your natural lip color just two shades darker.
10. Finish your look with a touch of lip gloss in the center of your bottom lip.
“Beauty routines are important as long as they support you in being the best version of yourself,” Bobay says. “Little changes can lead to big rewards. I especially love starting habits like these at the beginning of a new year.”