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Anastasia Soare Is Reinventing the Beauty Game, One Product at a Time

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Happy Women’s History Month! To celebrate, we’re spotlighting a few beauty trailblazers and IPSY brand partners who are putting their stamp on the industry. These women are pushing for inclusivity, breaking business barriers, and innovating from a whole new perspective—and we’re all the better for it.

If you’ve ever used a brow pomade to fill in sparse spots, a stencil to define your shape, or a gel to lock those brow hairs in place, you have Anastasia Soare to thank. Well, Anastasia and Oprah Winfrey—more on that later.

Before this beauty trailblazer opened her own salon, launched a globally renowned brand, Anastasia Beverly Hills (try some of their Holy Grail products in your Glam Bag!), and became a household name, Soare was an esthetician working out of a rented room at a salon in Beverly Hills. It was the early ‘90s and she was doing eyebrows, facials, and body waxing, but it was her eyebrow work that kept her A-list and non-celeb clients coming back again and again. That, and her homemade paste of aloe vera, petroleum jelly, and eyeshadow that she would use to perfect the brow after she’d wax.

The Brand’s Bold Beginning

“My clients would come back after three weeks to get reshaped, and they would say, ‘When I leave your place, my eyebrows are perfect, but after I take a shower I still see those empty spots. You need to sell that product that you keep mixing,’” says Soare. So she did. She went to Italy to start working on her product line. There she was faced with myriad challenges.

For starters, eyebrow products like she had in mind just didn’t exist then. She had big dreams to invent a new product category, but the labs had nothing to compare it to. Nailing the perfect shade range was a challenge in and of itself. “You could have 10 dark brown brow powders from 10 companies, and they will each have a completely different undertone and look different,” says Soare. “To this day, believe it or not, I’m still approving every single batch of every eyebrow product we make before it goes into production.”

The Anastasia Beverly Hills line officially launched in 1999 with a full collection of brow powders, gel, pencils, pomades, highlighter, and scissors. Soare had reinvented eyebrows, but now she needed to educate the masses on how to use her innovative new products.

Even though today’s Internet is full of more brow tutorials than you’d know what to do with, this was the ‘90s. No one was talking about eyebrows. (A quick Google search of over-tweezed ‘90s brows is all the proof you need.) “So I went on the Oprah Winfrey show to talk about how important eyebrows are,” says Soare. “At the time she was the biggest influencer on the planet. Afterward, everybody started paying attention to eyebrows.”

At ABH, Innovation Is Queen

In the two decades since she launched her line, innovation has not slowed down. “We created the craziness on social media with eyebrows,” she says. “I remember when we launched the Dipbrow Pomade, everybody went crazy. Then we started the contouring trend. Not that contouring wasn’t well known among the Hollywood elite makeup artists, but the everyday consumer didn’t know about it. So we created a contour kit. It was revolutionary. Then we created the glow kit and everybody went crazy.”

Soare credits being an esthetician first with her ability to create new, unique products. “I still did eyebrows in the store until five years ago,” she says. “I would create every product while working on a client and understanding their needs. I would give clients samples to get their feedback.” Her entire brow category was born while working on clients in the salon, and according to Soare, she used to see a new eyebrow client every five minutes. That’s a whole lot of test subjects.

Strong Women Run in the Family

Soare’s strong work ethic, creativity, and never-give-up attitude are all a product of her environment. Growing up, she had a prime example of what a strong, female business woman looks like: her mother. “Living in Romania, my mother just knew how to do business at her tailor shop; she was a great marketer; she loved her customers,” says Soare. “Never for a minute did she think, ‘I’m a woman in a communisit regime—I cannot do this.’”

It’s that same mentality that Soare is passing on to her own daughter, Claudia, now president of Anastasia Beverly Hills. Claudia started working for her mother in the salon, then eventually as her assistant before working her way up. “I wanted her to learn every single department,” says Soare. “I was kind of a strict boss, I have to say. When she started working at the salon, I fired her because she was late three times. When I finally named her president of the company, I really believed that she knew every aspect of our business.”

It was with her mother’s encouragement that she got to where she is today. “In the beginning, do you think people believed that I could pay my rent doing eyebrows? Of course not!” says Soare. “Everyone was telling me that I’m crazy, but my mother said, ‘Do it! What do you have to lose? You can get another job if it doesn’t work out.’” Twenty-four years since she opened the doors at Anastasia Beverly Hills, Soare’s products are sold all over the world, her company is valued at $3 billion, and she has even made Forbe’s list of America’s top self-made women. I think it’s safe to say that everything has, in fact, worked out.

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About the author
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Maddie Aberman
Maddie is the senior manager of editorial at IPSY. She’s been covering beauty and wellness for more than nine years. Her work has appeared in Allure, Cosmopolitan, Popsugar, Women's Health, Good Housekeeping, and Seventeen, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated March 12, 2021 12:00 AM