Making it Up with Lexi Audas
Lexi Audas’ career in makeup began as an experimental necessity. The eldest of three daughters who all danced competitively, she learned how to apply makeup on herself and her sisters by trial and error in the throes of pre-dance-recital-jitters.
“We used to just have to put on makeup and hope for the best,” Audas said. “Then there was the surge of learning how to do it on YouTube. That’s when I started learning it was more of an art than I’d ever realized before.”
Audas traded dancing shoes for a PR degree and a job at an organic health and wellness store in Norman, OK. She credits her time there with educating her on the dangers of many makeup products. The reality of the harmful, harsh chemicals in everyday foundation, powder and glittery eyeshadow alarmed her.
“I realized that in order to have makeup that’s healthy, it tends to be really expensive,” Audas said. “I realized I could make my own and make it in a way that’s accessible to everyone.”
Audas began a dive down a rabbit hole that revealed the damaging ingredients, environmental concerns and exploitative testing in the makeup industry.
“A lot of these big brands get away with things that we really don’t know about,” Audas said. “There’s such a drastic difference between making makeup at home and buying it from a big company shipping it around the world.”
Audas researched healthy, sustainable, cruelty-free, makeup ingredients and started experimenting. She described hours in her kitchen mixing creams and essential oils into a myriad of ‘disgusting’ makeup products until she found the right combinations for her creamy eyeshadows and hydrating lip glosses. Audas decided to go into business for herself and thus, JessiLex Makeup was born.
The brand’s name comes from a nickname Audas’ sisters gave her—her original makeup muses. But Audas’ makeup artist style has changed dramatically since her dance recital days. Now, Audas focuses more on the visuals her makeup can create than the simple beauty aspects of the art form.
“Ten years ago, makeup had all these rules—like ‘this is where your blush goes,’” Audas said. “I like that I’ve become a part of this shift where you can paint your eyebrows purple and nobody cares. I love that now there’s no rules. That’s what art is truly about. There’s no rules to it.”
Audas’ approach is very freeform. She described herself as a perfectionist in a lot of aspects of her life, but finds that this tendency fades when she holds a makeup brush in her hand.
“I do improv makeup,” Audas said. “It never ends up being how I planned. But it helps remind me that it’s okay if things don’t end up exactly how you thought they would.”
Audas recently released an astrology series in which she designed a look for each sign. She’s also recreated celebrity looks and designed makeup around the holiday seasons. She credits Doniella Davy—makeup artist of Euphoria fame—as inspiration for her artistic point of view.
She also says being queer influences the way she does makeup and runs her business.
“When you’re queer you have to learn to be comfortable with learning to live your life outside of the norm,” Audas said. “It helps me in making my decisions. I feel like I have less pressure to do what everyone’s going to like.”
Up next, Audas hopes to incorporate sustainable skincare into her product line while continuing to create her wearable, ruleless art.
“If you’re a painter, you can’t carry your painting around with you wherever you go,” Audas said. “I can paint my face and wear it out.”You can find JessiLex products at jessilex.com and follow the @jessilexmakeup Instagram for new product roll-outs.