Make-up that fits your lifestyle.
Today, HOLR sat down to chat with Basma Hameed, who is the incredible visionary behind Basma Beauty. Keep reading to find out her inspiring story and how it moved her to launch an amazing make-up brand that stands for inclusivity, empowerment and positivity.
Thanks so much for chatting with us today! You have such an inspiring story. Can you walk us through how your journey helped you discover Basma Beauty?
It really all started when I was a baby. When I was two years old, I burned half my face in a kitchen accident. Despite countless surgeries, doctors were unable to conceal the bright red scar that spanned my face. That’s why I started wearing makeup at a very early age. And while I first started wearing it out of necessity, it very quickly blossomed into a passion. I was obsessed with the science and art behind makeup: the colours, the undertones, ingredients and application techniques.
Makeup played a very important role in my life growing up. My childhood was anything but normal, but putting on makeup made me feel less like “the girl with the burn,” and more like a regular, high school student. It gave me a boost of confidence on the days I didn’t feel my best.
In the meantime, I tried everything I could to reduce the discolouration of my scar. From lasers to surgery to creams – but nothing worked. At the time, permanent makeup was slowly becoming popular and I had a thought: if colour could be implanted in the skin to mimic makeup, why couldn’t the colour of my skin be implanted on my scar?
I presented the idea to every doctor I could, but each one told me it was impossible. They said scar tissue wouldn’t hold the colour and I’d be wasting my time. I had nothing to lose at that point, so I decided to test my theory. One night, I developed a pigment that matched my skin tone, looked in the mirror and implanted it over my scar. The results were remarkable!!
I kept practicing on myself and learned a lot about colour correcting along the way. Eventually, I got to a point where I was very confident in not only how my scar appeared, but also how to perform the Scar Camouflage procedure itself. That gave way to the opening of my first clinic in Toronto, ON and then in Beverly Hills shortly after.
Over the last decade, I’ve been fortunate enough to work on over a thousand people with all types of skin tones, undertones, conditions and textures. It was always a dream of mine to own a beauty brand and getting that firsthand experience developing custom pigments and treating skin gave me the confidence to take my passion for makeup to the next level. And that’s how BASMA Beauty was born!
How is Basma Beauty different from other beauty brands?
I am a skin specialist. Having worked on so many different skin types, tones, undertones, and textures has given me a unique perspective and understanding on all things related to skin and pigments. I am able to develop products that truly cater to real people and real skin. For instance, I custom-developed each of the 40 shades of The Foundation Stick based on the clients I’ve treated over the last decade. My experience has also enabled me to develop formulas that serve a diverse range of skin types and conditions. So it doesn’t matter if you have normal or dry skin, hyperpigmentation or rosacea (just a few examples), our products are meant for everyone.
Another way I believe BASMA Beauty is unique is through our advocacy of makeup positivity. Makeup positivity empowers people to wear as much or as little makeup they want, free of judgment. It rejects societal standards that dictate what an “appropriate” amount of makeup is or the amount of time it should take to apply.
As a beauty brand, I believe we have a responsibility to address the beauty standards that are often perpetuated in our industry and the impact it can have on our mental health. It’s really easy to feel guilty or bad about yourself if you aren’t able to get ready in five minutes, or if you don’t feel your best in a barely-there look. I used to get asked all the time why I would “wear so much makeup” in high school. Whether it came from a place of genuine curiosity, there were always judgemental undertones.
I’ve always believed that makeup is a personal choice and isn’t reflective of one’s professionalism, productivity, personal character or self-confidence. We reiterate this sentiment in everything from our messaging, to the faces we feature on our social media feed.
How have your experiences in the beauty industry helped inspire your brand and product development?
My experiences played a really big role in the development of both the BASMA Beauty brand and our first product, The Foundation Stick.
From a product perspective, I used to really dislike being pigeon-holed into the “scar-friendly” makeup category where the options were scarce and formulas felt thick and cakey on my face. The shades would never perfectly match my skin so I would have to buy a few colours at once to mix together. Most importantly, a lot of the products “suited” for me lacked flexibility. It was high coverage, all the time.
From a branding standpoint, I felt like I could never relate to any beauty company. I never saw myself – or anyone I knew – in any of the brand images. They always featured these impossibly “perfect” people that had a way of making me feel bad about myself.
When I started BASMA Beauty, the most important thing to me was developing a brand that was for everyone – regardless of your skin type, skin tone, undertone, personal style or proficiency in makeup. The formulas we develop are versatile, truly buildable and portable because I’ve always believed that makeup should fit into your lifestyle – and not the other way around. You shouldn’t have to have five different foundations to achieve five different looks. Our products can take you from A to Z so you have true control over your beauty routine. So whether you want a barely-there vibe in under two minutes in the back of an Uber on your way to work, or a full glam look, we got you. This ideology has served as the foundation (no pun intended) for not just The Foundation Stick, but all of our upcoming products.
You have seen incredible success from your brand to date. Tell us all about your top product with glowing reviews- The Foundation Stick.
I had a very specific vision for The Foundation Stick: I wanted the ease of application like a tinted moisturizer, the portability of a pressed powder and the seamless finish of a liquid foundation. It took over 20 iterations over the span of three years to get the product just right. I’d use my skin as the baseline – if I couldn’t wear it myself, we’d go back to the drawing board.
The Foundation Stick is an ultra-hydrating formula with feel-good ingredients like apricot butter, aloe vera extract and Vitamin E. The best way to describe it is butter: it feels like it melts into your skin. It’s buildable from light to full coverage and is extremely lightweight, meaning your skin will still feel like skin – just with a luxurious satin finish. It comes in 40 shades and is vegan, dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.
The goal of The Foundation Stick was to remove the “work” that comes with applying foundation. I wanted something so easy that it’s impossible to mess up-and it doesn’t actually make a mess (RIP to 100 different blouses that I got liquid foundation on). The best part: it’s portable. So you can touch up whenever and wherever you want!
What does the future have in store for Basma Beauty?
Our goal is to develop a roster of beauty essentials that are classic and never go out of style. We’re working on a few products that should be out later this year and some exciting collaborations. But we can’t quite talk about it just yet 🙂