Working in the beauty field might seem a shallow pursuit, but when you meet Courtney Casgraux you realize there's an admirable depth to the calling. The SoCal native and founder of Go Blush Yourself (GBY) is beloved by L.A.'s hippest hotties and influencers, especially when it comes to her luscious lash extensions.
But the company is about alternative beauty, enhancing features to express individuality, not some cookie-cutter ideal. To that end, GBY, which she started with partner Kendra Studdert, offers other fun services to personalize one's look, from micro-bladed eyebrows (thick brows are as coveted as long lashes right now) to tooth gems (crystals and gold letters or symbols glued to your pearly whites) to airbrush tanning and makeup application, all available at GBY's two newish L.A. storefronts in WeHo and Silver Lake.
It's lashes that have made Casgraux an entrepreneurial success story, though. The makeup artist turned “lash guru” was one of the first to offer the lid-lengthening service and even developed her own glue (the much-imitated Active Lash formula, which is sweat-proof and won't come off, even with oily makeup removers).
As she's grown her company, the O.C.-born single mother has sought to give back, too. She always seems to have some new idea to celebrate women and make the world a better place, whether it be helping low-income girls through puberty with period kits under the name “Cycle” (she distributes them at local camps and girls clubs around the city for free) or celebrating freedom of expression with refugees in Iraq via an art show she conceptualized.
With her finger on the pulse of pop culture and her “girls,” as she calls her clients and crew, doing exciting things in the community and breaking down boundaries via social media, Casgraux has been noticed by big companies seeking collaboration. She's worked with Nike, and partnered with companies like Google and Buzzfeed, who nominate women for free beauty services and classes to become beauty technicians.
Currently Casgraux is under contract with Hurley Surf, consulting on their women's relaunch and helping redefine surfwear aesthetics with an inclusive eye on casting for fashion shows and print advertising.
“They brought me in to help them find their muse,” Casgraux says. “Even though I grew up in Southern California, surf was an environment that I've never really felt comfortable in. … We want the perception of the industry to change and to expand, to appeal to everyone. So I'm choosing their muses, who they collaborate with, and bringing in a new energy and fresh faces.”
Casgraux's work with big brands and campaigns is changing our perception of beauty in a major, culturally driven way, but the personal touch and connections provided in her salons remain central. At her salons there's a real sisterhood feel (in WeHo this includes men, too) and she offers special services to highlight the good vibes, including Reiki and crystal therapy on “Mystic” Mondays.
Though GBY initially got attention and press for celebrity clientele (Kylie Jenner, Selena Gomez) its brand ambassadors run the gamut. They're mostly cool L.A. girls, from biracial to nonbinary to punky and funky tattooed types working in the music, art and fashion worlds. Casgraux and Studdert often throw parties for their girls with wine, food and goodie bags.
Social media and brand sharing is an aspect but highlighting women's accomplishments or what they see as potential is the point. “I want to encourage women and girls to feel good about themselves,” Casgraux says, always looking at the bigger picture. “But I also want to give them the opportunity to be embraced by commercial brands and the mainstream.”