October 1st, 2014
Brows are getting big; big in size and big in the beauty business. No longer will a quick tweeze suffice, there’s a real science to the perfect brow. Learning how to achieve it and what’s more being able to hone your skills as a make-up artist in order to make money from the humble eye brow is something HD Brows has turned into an art form. Warpaint meets the woman behind the brand, Nilam Holmes Patel as well as catching up with Creative Director and A-lister MUA Francesca Neil, co-creator of the new HD Brow make-up.
What’s more, such is the synergy between HD Brows and the MUA community that they have teamed up with Warpaint for our second Warpaint Scholar Competition. One lucky winner will get the chance to train with HD Brows, a new skill that could become a whole new career.
If there’s a woman in the beauty business who knows about spotting a trend and building a brand from scratch its Nilam Holmes Patel, the captivating founder of the biggest brand name in Brows, HD Brows.
WP: Can you pinpoint when brows became big beauty news and what caused it?
NHP: Without sounding big headed, I would say it became popular because of us. Before 2009, when we launched HD Brows, there were no well-known, brow-shaping brands. There were a lot of well-known individuals who could complete a brow shaping treatment, but never a brand for them to sit underneath. HD Brows is a branded treatment that has grown since its inception and I couldn’t be prouder.
WP: HD Brows has a traditional synergy with beauty therapists, while MUAs seem a natural bedfellow too. How are HD Brows looking to market to them?
NHP: There used to be a time when there was only a make-up, hair and sometimes a nail team, but now it’s the full package on all shoots and shows. As a result we look to offer training to leave people proficient in the skills their clients want. We offer complementary training packages, such as our two-day HD Brows training course and our four-day Professional Artistry Course, which leaves attendees as accredited Make-Up Artists. These two courses combined means MUAs can offer clients the full package.
WP: You talk of your Asian heritage and art of threading. How important are those skills in today’s high tech brow treatment?
NHP: In the HD Brows treatment we use threading as part of the blending process, rather than a tool for shaping. Threading can offer a service to groom other areas of the face to complement the brows. I may only use threading to create a really natural, full brow purely because it is such a fantastic blending tool.
WP: What are the plans for HD Brows over the next five years?
NHP: There are so many plans for HD Brows in the next five years. Firstly, we are looking at franchising overseas in to stores and verified salons. I will continue to extend the Make-up by HD Brows range and I also would like to look at expanding the brand even further by creating a bespoke skincare range. I would love to create essential products to suit everyone’s daily/nightly regime while fully complementing the HD Brows treatment and Make-up by HD Brows range.
WP: HD Brows is one of the market leaders in the pro sector, do you see this as your core market still even as you develop consumer products?
NHP: Yes, absolutely! My stylists and make-up artists are incredibly important to both me, and the brand. I create new, innovative products and constantly develop the training we offer to complement professionals and their services.
WP: Training is an important part of the HD Brows offering, why is yours different to the competition?
NHP: The training is different because of me. I say that because I have been so heavily involved with all aspects of it since I launched the business. I am the creator, face, researcher and ambassador, and have an amazing team of people who are all heading in the same direction as me – one step ahead of everyone else. My team of elite trainers has the same passion for the brand and always set incredibly high standards, which allows students attending our training to feel inspired, motivated and loyal towards the HD Brows treatment and brand.
WP: What is the HD Brow treatment process?
NHP: HD Brows is much more than eyebrow shaping; every treatment is exclusive, and while there are other treatments that use a ‘one size fits all’ approach, our stylists assess the shape of your face and colouring before creating a bespoke, well-groomed high-definition brow, tailored exclusively to each client. Using a combination of skills, from preparation and personal consultation to custom blending, designing, creating and tailoring the shape as well as customized aftercare, HD Brows stylists can transform a face to such an extent that the effect has been likened to a mini facelift.
WP: What would MUA gain by adding HD Brows to their services?
NHP: I made the decision to develop the Make-up by HD Brows 76-strong capsule collection to fully accommodate and respond to the needs of working make-up artists. Offering the HD Brows service is also a great add-on to professional MUAs, who are looking to develop and expand their services, using the only very best, branded products. It also meant I could bring in Francesca Neil to do that.
WP: How did you become involved with Nilam and HD Brows?
FN: I was lucky enough to meet Nilam five years ago, when I was doing the make-up for her wedding day. We just clicked. We share a brow obsession and a love of making people look and feel beautiful. We realised we worked with many of the same clients and had a mutual respect for each other’s work. Meeting was a total coincidence, but we’ve been really close ever since. A few weeks later I attended the HD Brows training course, which was incredible and has benefited me so much as a MUA. From then on we became good friends and continued to work with each other on a regular basis.
WP: Can you explain how HD Brows Cosmetics came about, from initial concept to final product?
FN: Nilam had always spoken to me about evolving the brand from brows and developing a make-up range, and asked me if I would be interested in helping her develop it when she did. Obviously it was an incredibly exciting opportunity and I jumped at the chance to get involved; developing a range from start to finish has always been a dream of mine.
We have very similar styles and vision when it comes to beauty and make-up. It’s all about flawless, natural, red carpet glamour. We wanted to create a range that was suitable for everybody and every occasion, while offering people the education and confidence to be able to use the products in different ways in order to experiment and achieve a variety of looks.
We both had a clear idea of what products we wanted to feature in the range, from the textures to the colours, right through to the finishes, so it was just a case of bringing our collective vision to life. For just over two years we found ourselves mixing colours, playing with texture, trialling and testing product after product, until we eventually launched our capsule collection of 76 products in March 2014. We couldn’t be happier with the range and the response that we have had. We are now working on our next line of products and looking forward to continually developing and expanding the range.
WP: How involved were you in the development?
FN: Both Nilam and I were very hands-on throughout the entire development process. We had such a clear, specific vision of what we wanted to achieve, so we had to be involved every step of the way, from the initial colour swatches right through to testing the final samples.
WP: The range is extensive – was this a conscious decision to launch so many products, when many would have built up their offering gradually?
FN: The initial discussions for the capsule collection didn’t include as many products as we eventually launched, but once we sat down and discussed, step by step everything we needed in the range, we added quite a few more. We wanted to develop a collection for the whole face and, as a result products sit within brow, eye, skin, lip and accessory categories. The cosmetics industry is incredibly saturated with highly innovative products, so we knew we had to compete with the best. As a result we added in products that we believed complemented and enhanced the core staple products so the range isn’t lacking in anything.
WP: As a MUA, can you explain how important brow shape is to a final look?
FN: Brow shape is essential to the final, overall look. I always start with the brows to frame the face and then end with the brows to finish the look. Brow shape can instantly change the face and add youth and structure, if done correctly, or the reverse, if done badly. I saw a great quote on Instagram the other day that summed this up perfectly: “Brows are the frames to your entire face. To painstakingly make-up the rest and ignore them is to shove a Helmut Newton in an IKEA clip frame.” This made me laugh, though it is so true.
WP: Why do you think HD Brow training would be of benefit to MUAs?
FN: HD Brow training would benefit any make-up artist, as it teaches you to create the perfect brow shape for each individual eye and face shape. You learn to study the face, minimise asymmetry and enhance the features, helping to perfect the overall look. Brows are such big business, so training in this area is so beneficial for a MUA as it means you can offers clients the complete package.
WP: What are your hero products from the range?
FN: I love the Make-up by HD Brows Fluid Foundation. It’s a high coverage foundation with a soft-focus effect and you can apply it in different ways to create so many different finishes – it really is amazing. I also love the Make-up by HD Brows Powder Blush in Punch. It’s a soft, buildable, creamy blusher that gives a velvet finish blusher to the skin. Another hero product is the Make-up by HD Brows Illuminator, which is light diffusing, lightweight and pearlescent, while the Make-up by HD Brows Eye & Brow Palette is everything you need to create and maintain perfectly defined eyes and brows. Each palette includes a highlighting shade, two intensifying brow shades, wet/dry carbon-black definer, setting wax and a versatile applicator.
WP: What challenges were there in the creation of the make-up?
FN: The main challenge was that both Nilam and I are complete perfectionists. We would obsess over everything and not sign anything off until things were perfect. Because we had such a clear vision of what we wanted, this process often took quite a long time, but it was certainly worth it in the end.
WARPAINT SCHOLAR COMPETITION in association with HD Brows – HOW TO ENTER
If you want to be our next Warpaint Scholar and bag yourself a place on a 4 day HD Brows Professional Artistry training course, you need to enter our competition.
To be in with a chance of winning, entrants are required to submit their best ‘idol brow’ selfie, taken with the entrant’s eyes and eyebrows completely covered by those of the celebrity they think possesses the most covetable eyes and eyebrows. This can be in the form of either a printed version or torn out from a magazine. The submission of the best idol brow selfie will win. Send your selfie on twitter to @Warpaint_Mag and @hdbrows, or to FaceBook Warpaint_Mag with the #HDidolbrow, #WarpaintScholar.
Full T&Cs can be found here.