When Shawnelle Prestidge met Jane Fonda working on a L’Oréal commercial in the mid-aughts, their bond was immediate. “I remember how regal yet approachable she was,” recalled Prestidge. “She had given me a handful of compliments, and asked for my phone number and if I’d be interested in doing her makeup for a film that she had in the works.” While the film never came to fruition, that day marked the start of their decade-long relationship. Fonda was also the inspiration behind Prestidge’s decision to launch her namesake, much buzzed about five-product line Prestidge Beauté Active Organics, two years ago. Her gold-ticket item is her Ageless Skin Serum, which boasts 15 high-vibrating, nutrient-rich essential oils, and active botanicals. “I had always sought products that would do what the serum does, but had always come up short,” explained Prestidge, who saw her wrinkles disappear and her skin reverse 10 years after she self-tested her first batch. “After all, the cornerstone of great makeup is great skin!” Here, Prestidge gives us the lowdown on the first thing you should do in the morning, why organic is crucial in your skin care routine, and the magic ingredients that will keep you looking fly like Fonda.
How did you originally get into beauty?
I was obsessed with fashion magazines in the mid-’70s and ’80s, and when I was a teen, Siouxsie Sioux was my style icon. Things came full circle when I booked a job to do her makeup sometime in the ’90s, but I digress. I went to beauty school early on for hair, and switched to an aesthetician program to learn everything that I could about skin and makeup. You could say I was completely enamored with all things beauty.
You’ve worked with other notable clients besides Jane—can you give me the breakdown?
I’ve been very lucky in that I have worked with a wide range of remarkable, iconic talents in my many decades working in the beauty industry. Some of the most notable include Sharon Stone, Holly Hunter (kind and lovely), Kerry Washington (stunning and whip smart), Zoe Saldana (drop-dead and real), Elizabeth Banks (hysterical and totally down-to-earth), Solange Knowles (very respectful and cool), the cast of SNL circa 2008 (could not have been more in love with Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig), John Legend, Joaquin Phoenix (charming and so sweet) and Siouxsie (my ’80s heroine who was so gracious and had the most incredible skin).
What can we do from the inside out to help our skin?
I drink a tonic of raw organic apple cider vinegar, raw organic local honey, and tepid to hot water in the mornings before eating anything to help balance my microbiome and decrease inflammation in my system. This has helped significantly with my allergies, immune system and tummy/body bloat, plus my hair, skin, and nails.
What advice have you given Jane about her skin?
It’s always more of a conversation. Prior to creating my Ageless Skin Serum, I was always after products that would hydrate to a noticeable degree, but most products out there are full of nonorganic (often harmful) ingredients and synthetic fragrances. Which is one of the main reasons Jane was such an inspiration to me and encouraged me to create my Ageless Skin Serum. The aesthetician in me was very passionate and unconsciously on a mission to create what has come to be my hero product.
What has been your most memorable moment with her?
There have been a lot of incredible moments, like meeting Lily Tomlin and Gloria Steinem on a couple of occasions. Then there was Queen Oprah, who invited Jane on one of her final episodes for the entire hour. But the most personal and meaningful was her warmth, concern, and generosity after my husband befell a tragic, temporarily paralyzing accident. She was truly loving and supportive.
Why did you start using organic products, and why is it so important to make the switch?
I was introduced to organic beauty products very early on. I believe that what we put into and onto our bodies affects everything, from our organs (skin being the largest and only external one), weight, mood, mental stability, and spirit. I was first introduced to essentials oils when I was in school studying aesthetics and makeup as a teen, and fell completely in love with how they smelled, how they made me feel, and their powerful healing properties.
Let’s talk about your serum—what makes it so special?
It’s a category-defining, all-organic, small-batch, reiki-infused, nut oil–free, multicorrectional face oil for all ages, genders, and skin types, and will literally address just about any area of concern.
What are the secret ingredients?
Evening primrose, carrot seed oil, helichrysum, sea buckthorn, rosehip, neroli, and sandalwood are a few magical ingredients.
What changes did you notice after using it?
I use it morning and night around the eyes, all over the face, neck, and décolletage. It has lifted my left eye back into symmetry with the right, significantly decreased my laugh and furrow lines, healed my peri-acne, faded my sun spots, and evened out my blotchy skin tone. To be fair, I created it with my skin’s best interests in mind.
Why do you think organic products are so important, or why do they trump normal skincare products?
Anything going on your skin that is being absorbed into your system is something to take pretty seriously. It’s like asking if you’d prefer a glass of clean, filtered water or some fresh from the bottom of the subway tracks.
Should makeup be lighter in the summer?
Definitely! Unless you don’t wear any or already tread lightly…then carry on!
What is the trick to a natural glow?
Healthy, healing, nutritious, organic food and skin care, lots of clean, filtered water, regular exercise, laughing, loving, meditation, service, and plenty of sleep!
What makeup trend is coming next?
A shock of color washed across the eyelid, a hyperflushed cheek, and classic winged eyeliner!