Jessica Blanco, the owner of Central Coast Beauties, vividly remembers her abuelita (grandmother) creating homemade ointments and salves for the family with organic ingredients.
"If you got a cut or a burn she would go get a fresh aloe leaf from the backyard for you," Blanco said of the woman who raised her in the Bay Area.
She also remembers a rub that her abuelita would use to relieve her body of aches when she had a fever—it was a mixture of alcohol infused cannabis.
"I realize now that cannabis was going to end up in my future regardless, because she used to rub our bodies where we felt discomfort with this secret remedy, and it helped," she said.
Blanco's abuelita has since passed away, but constantly using herbs and home remedies during her upbringing gave Blanco an appreciation for an organic and holistic approach to caring for the body. But this ideology wouldn't really become Blanco's career focus until she took a deeper look into the products she used on her face after she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
Fresh out of beauty school, Blanco started her career as a makeup artist at MAC cosmetics. She learned a lot through that experience, but she said she started noticing that some clients would come in with inflammation, acne, or irritation on their face because of the products they were using.
Other than the laundry list of ingredients in one product, what stood out to her the most were the chemicals found in a typical moisturizer, blush, or concealer.
- Photos Courtesy Of Asia Croson Photography
- WHOLE BODY Jessica Blanco focuses on natural products, her client's diet, and their everyday routine to fully care for their skin.
Blanco said a typical beauty product could contain sodium lauryl sulfate, polyethylene, or parabens. These chemicals can be found in makeup, face wash, scrubs, and exfoliates. She also said that federal law does not require companies to list the chemicals used in their fragrance mixture on product labels.
It got her thinking about what she was applying to her face, and it was enough for her to start over with makeup and skin products.
"You really have to take the time and do your own research to find clean and natural products, because it could say organic on the label but you have to read the ingredients," she said.
As Blanco discovered natural products that were less harmful to her skin, she also started experiencing body aches and pain. She was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that was making it difficult for her to work. Abuelita's remedy came to mind and Blanco started looking into CBD products to manage the pain.
In her research, she discovered Cannabliss, an organic cannabis infused skincare line. It has products such as a cleanser, moisturizer, and body oil. The benefits of having cannabis in skincare products, she learned, is that it can work as an anti-inflammatory component. The plus, for Blanco, was the fact that most products from the company contained fewer than 10 ingredients.
"My biggest rule is it should have less than 10 ingredients, at least, and if I can't pronounce it, I don't want it," she said.
She tried the Cannabliss products as part of her skin care routine and facials. Blanco instantly knew that this was a product she could get behind for herself and others.
With all of these tools in her pocket, the next step for Blanco was to share her information about CBD and local organic makeup and skin care products with other women. She joined the Mission Community Services Corporation Women's Business Center to learn about creating her own business—a studio where she could not only showcase a few of her preferred products but offer makeup and organic facial services.
Home away from home
It's hard to miss Blanco's studio, Central Coast Beauties, on Grand Avenue in Grover Beach. The studio is part of a plaza with a few other businesses, but the gold palm tree leaves on the window give the studio away.
- Photos Courtesy Of Asia Croson Photography
- RELAXATION In addition to her all-natural and CBD products, Blanco uses a jade roller and Gua Sha tools to further enhance the oils and creams applied to the face.
Upon entering, Blanco is ready to greet you with a hug, something that's pretty instinctual for her. She's prepared to not only speak passionately with clients about their skin, but connect and learn more about them. It's not just about what goes on the skin, Blanco said, it's also about diet, illnesses people have, and stress, among other things.
"I just want people to walk in and instantly feel warm and welcomed," she said. "I'm hoping it feels cozy and like a getaway."
With more than 10 years of experience in the beauty industry, Blanco opened her studio in March of last year. Her services include organic facials (with or without CBD products), body treatments, event makeup, and makeup consultations.
Each client starts with a questionnaire so Blanco can understand where the skin on your face might need a little more attention.
On her massage table—the lights are dim and your choice of music floats in the background—she begins with a gentle steam. Each facial is different, as it's customized to the client and their needs. Blanco makes sure to tell you the product she's going to apply and why it's beneficial to your specific skin.
Between the sweet aromas, the electric fireplace, and soothing products, Blanco has created a space for more than just a facial. It's a place for her to share her love of clean beauty products and services with others—although she's not opposed to meeting with clients in their homes. It's also a place for her to support other local businesses and female business owners. Δ
Staff Writer Karen Garcia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.