In The Beauty Breakdown ELLE talks to beauty obsessives about their desert-island beauty reccos, the experts on their speed dial, and everything they’ve learnt in their pursuit to achieving happy skin. This edition features Vanita Parti, the founder of UK’s popular Blink Brow Bar.
ELLE: As someone who has been running a successful business for 15 years, what’s your advice to other entrepreneurs in the beauty space?
Vanita Parti: It’s a busy and competitive market so I would recommend that any new start-up have a killer USP. There needs to be a clear and obvious reason as to why someone would buy a product or use a service, something that no one else provides or something that it presented differently to make life easier. You will know if you have it and then you have to be committed to making it work.
ELLE: Growing up in UK, where your beauty wasn’t celebrated in mainstream culture and your beauty needs weren’t met with can have its challenges. How did that influence your beauty routine?
VP: Yes, I was the only one waxing at an early age and there was nowhere to get wax from. My aunt had come over from Delhi, and she showed us how to make wax from lemon and honey–it was a Godsend. I also loved kohl eyeliner from an early age (a staple of my mother’s) and realised how beautiful it made our eyes look. I was not into foundation or other make-up routines really, and that’s because my mother only used a good skin cream and not much else. Groomed eyebrows however were always important!
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ELLE: How has your beauty routine evolved over the years?
VP: As you go through different decades of age, your skin needs different things. Being younger, you can be more experimental and bolder and as you get older, a more natural finish (but more coverage and help) is needed. Wellbeing is also such an important thing now, and I wish I had had the time and understanding to embrace this more as a young mother.
ELLE: On a scale of wash-my-face-with-just-water to beauty junkie, how do you rate yourself?
VP: Probably somewhere in the middle. Time also doesn’t allow for too much indulgence, but some brilliant basics and a routine is essential for me.
ELLE: What’s your current beauty fixation?
VP: As I get older, I think it is skin pigmentation. Every time I have a blemish, it takes twice as long to heal. I have started using retinol and vitamin C on my skin, which seems to help.
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ELLE: What are the top 5 products in your beauty kit?
NARS Tinted Moisturizer gives light coverage, SPF15 and the perfect shade for a natural finish.
BBB London Kajal Eyeliner is easy to smudge with a blender and it really opens up the eyes.
Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara has the perfect brush to give extension and volume.
Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Amal is the deepest and most perfect shade of red.
Becca Mineral Blush in Flower Child for a flush of colour on the cheeks.
ELLE: What will you fall back on when you run out of your favourite product while sheltering-in?
VP: Perhaps not wearing make-up and going back to some old traditional beauty tricks, like a homemade face mask with turmeric, yoghurt, honey and eggs.
ELLE: We love our beauty DIYs, what’s your favourite?
VP: Brow Oil! I turned the DIY into [Blink Brow Bar’s] best selling oil. It’s a mix of almond oil with crushed rosemary and sandalwood or lavender essential oils to keep your brows glossy and promote growth.
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ELLE: Studies have shown that skin ageing starts as early as 25 (ugh!). Do you think about this of while finding products for your beauty routine?
VP: I never really thought about this growing up, but I do try and teach my children to not over straighten their hair and eat better. It is great to start thinking about how to best preserve your assets at a young age, but perhaps not obsessively as it can take over. Ultimately we all have to face old age and there are many tricks to dealing with this now.
ELLE: Describe your perfect self-care Sunday.
VP: A really good face mask. I am in love with Forest Essentials Saffron Clay Face Mask, and stock up when I visit India.
ELLE: What’s your secret to great skin (drinking 8 glasses of water doesn’t count!)?
VP: I use night oils and deep moisturising creams with a serum as a first layer. My favourite night oil at the moment is Chantecaille rose oil (it’s light and is completely soaked up when I wake up) and Omorovicza plumping day cream, which feels luxurious on my skin.
ELLE: What’s your hair care routine?
VP: Brazilians to take the frizz out of my hair every 6 months, and when that is running out of steam (as it is now) some brilliant serums—Kerastase is a favourite for thick, frizzy hair. A good blow dry makes such a difference, but currently straighteners are helping out.
ELLE: How do you begin your day?
VP: I always wake up to a hot water and lemon, and make breakfast for my youngest before school. I then get myself ready to go to the office. During lockdown, I have been able to do yoga via Zoom classes, which is the dream way to start the day.
ELLE: What helps you stay focussed on a busy day?
VP: I have started listening to podcasts on my way to work and find them so inspiring. Listening to other people’s journeys puts everything into perspective. I like listening to Outspoken Beauty, Desert Island Discs, Deliciously Ella and Fortunately. Of course, music is vital and I like listening to my kids’ latest playlists as I refuse to get old.