Updated: Mar 5
By: Zara Rawoof
The concept of makeup is simple. Pigmented products can be used for various different reasons on your skin. Some call it a form of self-expression, and others use it as a way to boost their confidence. Ancient Egyptians are often depicted with black-lined eyes, while 18th-century royalty powdered their skin stark white. The discourse surrounding makeup goes far beyond the application, and as formulas advance, more concerns are raised regarding the true intentions behind cosmetics. Do these new full coverage foundations stray further and further away from embracing one’s natural beauty? What are these comedogenic concealers actually doing to our skin? Not only that, but the ingredients going into potent recipes are written in minuscule font, making the prefix and suffix heavy hyphenated phrases harder to understand. But even though the world of makeup has perplexingly evolved past the juice of cherries as blush, there is a saving grace bringing the beauty world back to the basics. Basma Beauty has seemingly fallen from the Heavens, presenting itself into the hands of makeup lovers at varying levels of skill, all struggling to find both the perfect shade and the right formula for them.
“You don't need 10 different brushes to apply it. The ingredients are beneficial, so you know they're not damaging your skin. Whether you have a scar or you don't have a scar, I want you to always take care of your skin. We only have one skin! It took us some time to develop the formula to concentrate on color to come up with 40 shades.”
Basma Hameed, the founder of Basma Beauty and creator of her brands’ foundation stick, emphasizes the importance of honesty and quality when creating products.
“I can't tell somebody you can see yourself in my brand if you can't even find your color. We wanted to make sure that you have a lot of shades to choose from. We did the 40 colors, we did the formula with ingredients like vitamin E, apricot butter, aloe vera extract, all beneficial for your skin. I didn’t want this product just to stick my name on it.”
When listening to Hameed talk, it sounds like she knows what she’s doing. This makes sense, considering the fact she is the creator of groundbreaking scar camouflaging technology that precisely implants pigment into scar tissue in a way that will seamlessly blend with the rest of the skin. While this technology doesn’t seem perfectly simple, neither were Hameed’s beginnings. During a kitchen accident when she was two years old, Basma Hameed suffered severe burns on half of her face.
“Growing up it was the first thing that anybody would see,” she says, and the constant awareness of her differences led to using makeup as a newfound vessel of confidence.
“It's like Superman with his cape on. For me, I can become anything when I have my makeup on. It gave me that sense of freedom. I learned how to color correctly. I had so much experience with myself. I knew colors, I knew the undertone. I had to play with so much makeup and learned so much by practicing on myself.”
All this practice eventually led Basma Hameed further into the world of scar coverups, and at just 17 years old, Hameed became fascinated with the concept of pigment implantation, mixing just the right colors in order for a seamless blend into the face. But what eventually led to the path of success Hameed found herself on now had first been met with a tremendous amount of rejection. “Doctors advised me not to do it because they said that it could possibly make scar tissue worse. I said, ‘Well, okay, you guys told me there's nothing else you can do for me. I have this big massive red scar on my face.’ I just didn't want to give up there. I had nothing to lose. So I started learning everything about how to implant color into the skin. I began mixing my own colors. And then one day I just started practicing on myself. From there, I would tell them my story and people would be interested. They were like, ‘You know what Basma? If yours was successful, can you please try it on my birthmark? Can you try it on my surgical scar?’ And I was so young and I just told them it had worked on my third-degree burn and I don't know if it's gonna work the same for you. Honestly, everyone just wanted a little bit of hope. I understand how they felt and I just kept trying. With every single case, I started seeing improvement and saw that the pigment actually survives in birthmarks, burns, and surgical scars. We just kept trying. And then the story grew. I started getting coverage. In 2012 I received coverage from CNN. From there, I was able to open two locations: two clinics in Toronto, Canada, and in Beverly Hills, California, where every day we have people flying from all over the world. I think it's so important that we knew from early on that our goal is to focus on improving people's lives. That was always my mission.” Hameed has curated teams of specialists in her clinics that change people’s lives on a daily. Basma’s techniques show that hard work pays off, with raving reviews from celebrities like Paris Hilton and Kourtney Kardashian.
While the empire Basma created for herself had reached tremendous success, Hameed returned to her first love a few years back. "I was extremely young and as soon as I started wearing makeup, I felt a sense of relief, this freeing feeling for me. Because it gave me the confidence and it gave me the push that I needed to go outside every day.” Scars or no scars, Basma’s intel regarding blemish coverage helped to create a foundation stick that revolutionizes makeup forever. The smooth formula glides on effortlessly and is one of the only foundations that is as buildable as it claims to be. No concealer is needed, and instead, a user can opt for one more swipe around the area needed.
Anyone who has used foundation before knows the frustration of trying to cover up a blemish. As layers and layers of more products cover the skin, it’s easy to create a cakey makeup look that completely steals one’s natural glow. Basma Beauty’s stick blends in its user’s blemishes with the rest of their complexion, not overpowering existing beauty while subtly muting the undesirably noticeable zones of the skin. Basma herself explains it poignantly, saying, “For me, I just know makeup’s a day-by-day thing. There are days where I feel like I want the full face on and there are days where I don't want anything on. So it gives you that flexibility like it's on your own terms. No one should tell you how you feel. It's just like fashion.”
The product is found exclusively on the Basma Beauty website, leaving buyers relying on their two-step skin survey to find their perfect shade. While it seems impossible, results are shockingly accurate, making the product swatch on skin hard to see as it blends so effortlessly. The longwear foundation only elevates the appeal already there. The sleek pink packaging encapsulates the light-heartedness that comes with not only the product but the brand itself. “I learned to own everything just like I own my scar. My scar is not going anywhere. I found ways to make it better, but it's still who I am. You always want to work on improving yourself and becoming that best version of yourself without having the expectations of somebody else and what they think you should look like. It's unrealistic. It’s so important to do what makes you happy.”
With more products on the market, makeup becomes a more complicated industry. But Basma has faith in her audiences to do what’s right for their skin. She believes that with the power of social media, people have realized the value of clean beauty products that can actually benefit their skin. As makeup users realize that the perfect makeup routine doesn’t have to be complicated, we slowly start to return back to the simple roots of makeup. While we aren’t resorting back to berry lip stains and rice powder face products, Basma Hameed formulated a product that reminds us of the beautiful simplicity behind our own confidence.