Kylie Jenner at the 2018 Met Gala with brows by Kelley Baker. Image by: Getty
She's not a fan of microblading, for starters.
If you’ve ever seen a picture of Zendaya, Ariana Grande or most of the Kardashian-Jenners, you’ve seen the work of Kelley Baker.
The celebrity brow whisperer, who operates out of Venice, Los Angeles, got her start as a makeup artist before dedicating all of her time to giving celebs (well, and regular folk, too) the best brows of their lives.
We caught up with Baker during a visit to Toronto's Lac + Beauty to talk managing brow expectations, building her celebrity clientele and why she has an intense hatred of microblading.
Who was your first celebrity client?
Maybe Mandy Moore or Extra host Dana Devon? I remember working at a gifting suite for the Oscars and cool celebs always came in.
How did it grow from there?
I worked for someone who was already well known [the Beverly Hills-based Damone Roberts], so I was kind of thrown in to it. Solange Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Jamie Presley were probably my biggest clients then. I also get clients through makeup artists like Patrick Ta, who brought me Shay Mitchell and Zendaya.
When did you start doing the Kardashians?
About two years ago. One of their makeup artists called me and said, “Can you come do Kourtney’s brows?” Kourtney was the first, and then it was Khloe, then Kim, then Kris and now Kylie. It's just Kendall and Caitlyn I haven't worked with. Khloe, Kourtney and Kylie are monthly regulars.
Is that how often people should be coming in for an appointment, once a month?
You have to wait for your brows to grow out a little bit. For Kourtney and Khloe, I have told them not to touch their brows and they’ve both been good at leaving them and letting me do all the work. They’ve seen a dramatic change.
Is the problem over-plucking?
People just don’t understand that there is a method. Even with Zendaya, I had to tell her, "Don’t touch them, let me teach you the ways.” Zendaya loves makeup, and likes to do her own. The other ones listen. Kourtney and Khloe are like, “I ain’t touching them." [Laughs]
What would you say is the most common mistake people make with their brows?
Tweezing too much or trimming too short. And I absolutely hate microblading to the core. It has gotten super popular so fast and there is no regulation around it. Anyone can take a course and they are certified in a day, and they might not have an aestheticians license or a background in makeup. Everyone sees it online and thinks this is the next best thing, like a magic pill that’s just going to make them skinny, and it’s not.
This one client said “I just want to wake up and never have to do my brows,” and I said, “Sweetheart, that’s not how anything in life works!” I wish I could tell the world not to do it.
When celebrities are coming in to see you, what are they asking for?
Big and full brows. The bigger and fuller the brow, the younger you look. I just did Sofia Richie, and it was her first time ever getting her brows done. She had never tweezed, never done anything, and I didn’t even want to do them! I loved that they weren’t touched.
Who is your dream client?
Definitely Beyoncé. I would love to do JLo, Oprah, and Sofia Vergara. I would love to do Jennifer Aniston too… and Sandra Bullock. And then I think I am good! [Laughs]
Look mom! My first beauty campaign is with @kyliejenner & @kourtneykardash for the KOURT X KYLIE @kyliecosmetics collaboration 🎉🎉🙌🏻🙌🏻 Pretty cool to work with this amazing team of creative fabulousness @andrewfitzsimons as creative director and hair! Makeup masters @makeupbyariel & @rokaelbeauty New fresh brows by me for both ladies 🌈 Photography @gregswalesart nails @kimkimnails styling @danixmichelle COLLECTION DROPS IN 4 DAYS 🙌🏻 #nobigdeal #omgsocool #imdying #canwegetanamen #browgirlworknhard #kyliejenner #kourtneykardashian #kelleybakerbrows
What makes a brow hard to do?
It's challenging when people request something—it doesn't work that way. It’s just like a body part, you get what you get. Typically if you have curly hair you want it straight and vice versa. It's the same thing with brows: if you have arched brows, you want boy brows. I can try and tweak it as much as I can, but I can only do so much. A lot of the older women have over-tweezed brows, but even with them, it’s really just a matter of fixing little tweaks here and there, and it changes everything. I think my favourite part [of my job] is when somebody says, "There’s nothing you can do.” I say, “Oh, really? Have a seat darling, let me show you.”
How can we do this at home?
That’s the biggest part. I know for me, if I go get my hair done or my makeup done and they show me things that I can’t recreate, I am never going to use the products again. You hand a client a mirror and ask, “Do you want to watch me fill them in?” They will always say yes. And when you’re done they will ask “Can I buy that? Do you sell it?” So we made kits to keep it easy.
Images courtesy of kelleybakerbrows.com.
From left to right: Kelley Baker Brows & Beauty: Camo Light Highlighter Pencil, Highlighter Smudge Brush, Brow Defining Pencil, Tinted Brow Gel, Angled Spooly Brush, Brow Duo Powder.