By Randi Morse
Yelena Kalendareva has a Mental Health and Human Services degree and is a New York State licensed cosmetologist in Brooklyn, New York. She is also the Founder and CEO of the natural and organic makeup line called, Aneley Cosmetics. Yelena spent years of research, trial and error in order to find the right chemist and a formula that will contain pharmaceutical grade minerals. She did this to allow her clients to look their best after skin care treatments, such as waxing, facials and microdermabrasion, without the risk of irritation that is caused by conventional makeup products. In addition, she has a Sabbath Collection for her Jewish clients, which has received the difficulty to obtain Rabbinical approval that designates it safe to use on Shabbat (Sabbath).
What was your life like before studying cosmetology? Have you always been into hair and beauty?
Actually, I wanted to become a psychologist and cosmetology was not even on my mind. I was always interested in the study of mind. I finished college with a Mental Health and Human Services degree. When I was doing my internship, I realised that this job was not for me, it had absolutely no creative outlet, that I so desperately loved. In the last year of college, however, I decided to take a makeup certificate course. That was my first step towards this, I guess. After graduating college, I switched majors and went to business school. I was absolutely bored out of my mind at an accounting class. I remember like yesterday.
One day, my best friend called and said, “Yelena what are you doing to yourself, you have so much creativity in you. You should become a hairdresser.” I replied immediately “Eww, I’m not touching people’s hair”. She insisted for a month! Called me all the time. So, one evening I decided to call the school and make an appointment to see it. As I was walking through the school, nothing stood out to me, until we came to the stylist’s floor. WOW! The things they were creating with hair were beyond my comprehension. There was colour, interesting cuts, styles, pearls, lace, tease, hairspray. I felt like I was exactly where I belonged! So that evening I put a $100 deposit down, the next morning I quit my job and transferred out of college to go to cosmetology school. Every person on the planet thought I was out of my mind except for my best friend. I didn’t care. Once I began winning hair competitions, my family began to warm up to the idea that this was going to be my life moving forward. My dad even bought me my first salon, when I was 24 years old, a year after I graduated cosmetology school.
When did you realise you wanted to leave the business industry?
Technically I never really left the business industry, I just took a detour and realigned myself as to which type of business I want to be a part of.
You’ve said that it took you six years of research and trial and error before you introduced your cosmetic line. What motivated you to keep going all those years?
In my first salon, I was doing many facials for clients. If you have ever had a facial done you know that applying anything afterwards is not advisable, in fact it can hurt the skin. However, my clients wanted to apply makeup after facials because the skin was obviously in need of that after all the treatment. So, my search began. My clients were my motivation for creating this line, that’s specifically formulated for use after facials, microdermabrasion, plastic surgery, and just anyone that wants healthy and safe makeup.
You have a Sabbath approved makeup collection, which is not typically seen in cosmetic lines. Can you tell us a bit about this and your inspiration for it?
Sabbath collection was an inspiration from my clients in my second salon, which is located in the heart of an Orthodox Jewish community. I honestly never even heard of makeup for Sabbath. After hearing from my clients if they can wear my powder line for Sabbath, I had no idea what to answer. So, I went back to researching. I also realised how difficult it was to approve the line. I could not get it done for over 2 years. Finally, after presenting my case to a big Rabbi of Beit Din (Rabbinical court), I was able to prove that my line is made according to all the laws of Sabbath. I was so happy that I finally received this approval I cannot even describe! I was now able to provide makeup for Jewish women that they can safely use on Sabbath.
Can you leave our readers with a few essential beauty tips you’ve learned through your years of experience?
First, your skin must be taken care of before you even pick up a makeup brush. Exfoliating (removing dead skin) is step one. I recommend doing this two to three times a week, depending on your skin type. Next, moisturize! Moisture is so important for skin. It will help with preventing wrinkles, fine lines and overall health of your skin. Once you take care of your skin, you need to carry four basic products in your makeup bag: foundation, blush, mascara and lip gloss. Why lip gloss? Because it can be used pretty much with anything and for any occasion