Mother and Daughter, Donna and Kim, are the founders and girl bosses of West Barn Co.®, a company that focuses on creating high quality brow and skin prep products for professional makeup artists. Based in the heart of Durham’s industrial landscape both women have an abundance of knowledge, experience and creativity. This is what makes West Barn Co. what it is today. But how did this all come about?
In August 2016, Kim was working as a professional make-up artist on an editorial photoshoot for a magazine and wanted to create something completely different to the Instagram brow trend at the time; to create a brushed up, fluffy, natural brow. Frustrated that none of the brow products she had in her kit would hold the look, Kim was inspired by the old Hollywood trick of using soap to keep the brows in place but was extremely reluctant to put hand soap on her client’s faces.
At the same time Kim’s mam Donna had taken an interest in organic skincare and formulation, producing samples for friends and family members delivered in a brown paper bag. Kim asked Donna if it was possible to create a product similar to soap but that was suitable to wear on the face, particularly around the eyes. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Donna set to work formulating a little tin of brow soap that would completely change the game.
Soap Brows® was born and with it came opportunities the ladies didn’t think were possible. While spending all of their money on small aluminium tins and painstakingly hand pouring each product, news of Soap Brows exploded on social media. As it gathered momentum, Donna and Kim knew they needed more hands-on deck. They took on their first staff member in June 2018, working from a tiny office in Donna’s house. Orders were being sent out to an ever-growing customer base which included professional make-up artists working on tv and film, red carpet, editorial and fashion shoots. Amazed and inspired by the increasing success of the original Soap Brows, the ladies turned their attention to skin prep. Donna formulated more skincare products that would prove to be just as popular among the pro make-up industry elite.
Donna and Kim signed a lease for WBCo. HQ in December 2018 and to date, there are 23 staff members working in fulfilment, manufacturing and marketing. The company ships internationally to 60 countries and our mission has evolved into creating a complete range of exceptional brow and skin prep products that professional make-up artists will choose for their kit every time.
At West Barn Co.®, we are incredibly proud of our products and how they are made. From formulation to fulfilment of orders, we make sure we use the best of the best and that we keep our impact on the environment as minimal as possible. We only use the very best of plant-based ingredients to formulate our products and we are certified by the Vegan Society.
The types of ingredients we use include butters, waxes, oils, emulsifiers, hydrolats, active ingredients and carefully selected preservatives, which are all derived from plants, vegetables and herbs.
We like to be honest about what we put into our products and while preservatives are important in maintaining quality and protecting products from bacteria, we do our very best to make sure they aren’t harmful.
Where we can, we spend a little more to make sure that we contribute to suppliers who believe in protecting the environment and producing quality raw materials.
The quality of ingredients is a big focus for us, and it took a LOT of research to find the right suppliers. We were very keen to check environmental and sustainability policies before signing up to do business with any particular company.
We are in touch with a handful of suppliers who provide us with the ingredients we need to create our products. They were more than happy to provide us with their eco-credentials, which show exactly what they do to be as kind to the environment as they can be.
We believe animal cruelty should be eradicated and so do our suppliers. They don’t partake in any activity involved in animal cruelty.
We source our lovely hand woven Bamboo and Organic Cotton Cloths from Genesh and his family. Genesh, his wife Anitha and their three children all live and work on their organic cotton farm in Kerala.
Eyebrow grooming has cemented its place as part of personal style just as much as hair, clothes and the kind of coffee you like. While we have seen lots of different brow trends over the years, from the 1920s pencil thin eyebrow to the more recent ‘Instagram brow’, no one can deny the beauty of a brushed up brow that can perfectly frame a face.
The natural fluffy brow trend itself has been kicking around since 2013, gaining momentum in the last few years particularly on social media. Brushed up brows have been seen gracing TV sets and film sets as well as fashion shoots and the runway. Brow gels, waxes and mascaras all volunteered themselves as the go-to product to help create the look, but none gave that hold that people were searching for. Brow hairs dropped, clumped together or the products simply didn’t give that coveted textured eyebrow style. It wasn’t until Soap Brows was created in 2016 that professional make-up artists and beauty enthusiasts could embrace their creative side, knowing that whatever they created would last.
Fluffy, textured brows created using Soap Brows are winning hearts of professional makeup artists, photographers and models everywhere. Members of the celeb elite have been spotted rocking the most beautiful brows including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Perrie Edwards, Dua Lipa, Beyoncé, Hailey Bieber and Chrissy Teigen. Professional make-up artists like Nikki Wolff, Kristine Studd, Sarah Hill, Stephen Moleski and Mira Parmar have all used Soap Brows as part of their pro-kit. Publications such as Vogue, Glamour, Byrdie, Elle and Refinery 29 have featured Soap Brows as the must-have brow soap or as a firm favourite.
Soap Brows has been hailed as the best brow styling product by many and with its stellar styling power, gentle moisturising ingredients and portable packaging, we can’t say we are surprised! While we don’t like to brag, we are very proud of our little white tin and if you have come looking for the best product to style your brows, you’ve found it.
The concept of makeup has been around since the Ancient Egyptians who created the first cosmetics by using ingredients like kohl, red ochre and henna to beautify their faces. Since then makeup trends have undergone countless transformations throughout the centuries, from the roaring 20s to the swinging 60s and the neon 80s. Whether applied for fashion, beauty or culture, makeup has stood the test of time. One element of beauty that has often been overlooked however, is skin prep.
Skin preparation, or skin prep, is the key to flawless makeup application. Taking time to thoroughly cleanse, tone, moisturise and prime means your makeup will not only sit beautifully on your skin, but it will last longer. From a personal health perspective, looking after your skin with a nourishing routine of quality products means that you are investing in one of the largest organs in your body. Caring for your skin is essential as it regulates your body temperature, enables you to use your sense of touch and is your first defence against viruses and bacteria. More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of skin prep and with the emergence of the very popular ‘no-makeup makeup’ trend, people are searching for the right tools to develop the most beautiful version of themselves.
Our aim, as Skin Prep Experts, is to create skin-feeding products that will help your skin be at its very best. From our carefully sourced active ingredients to our personal handmade processes, our skin prep products are designed not only to care for your skin, but to actively improve it. Whether you are prepping your skin to apply makeup or to go about your day, we want to give you the confidence to show your face to the world.