If you’ve ever looked into or read about Permanent Cosmetics – in particular, Microblading – there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Karen Betts. Karen is recognised as the UK’s #1 at what she does, the ‘Queen of Brows’, and an undeniable talent in her field for which she has been helping to pioneer for over twenty years.
What sets Karen apart from most Permanent Cosmetic Artists (or PMU’s) out there is her cross-over into the Medical; and subsequently, charity work. Her passion for Permanent Cosmetics actually began when a close friend with cancer expressed her concern at the thought of losing her eyebrows during treatment. Without a second thought, Karen flew out to the U.S (where Permanent Makeup and microblading had been popularised for some time) and began to learn the skills that would go on to make her one of the best in the business.
With Permanent Makeup often regarded as a purely cosmetic type of treatment – for the purposes of beauty – we can forget the effect it can have on our self-esteem. With this in mind, and seeing first hand her clients beaming in front of the mirror following their treatments, Karen knew there was more to be done with the obvious correlation between Permanent Cosmetics and the confidence it gave people.
For the last couple of years, Karen Betts has hosted an inspiring event named Gift of Confidence all with the aim of giving back. On Wednesday 11th April Karen hosted 2018’s event at the serene Agua Spa in London’s Sanderson Hotel and we were lucky enough to attend! As we walked into the beautifully calm spa setting we instantly felt relaxed and incredibly grateful to learn more about this very special day (and the people involved).
Karen and her team scoured the UK to find 4 Very Inspirational People (that’s VIPs) who had recently faced tremendous personal challenges and emerged from their experiences with strength and courage despite facing so much adversity. Karen’s four VIPs, all ladies from different areas around the country, each had their own story to share (more on this below). Along with co-hosts Katie Piper and Alex Lewis (whose charities Karen is actively involved in; The Katie Piper Foundation and Alex Lewis Trust, respectively).
Karen was able to give all 4 of her VIP’s the perfect brows with microblading. With two of the ladies having alopecia, it was amazing to capture their overwhelming reactions on film as the ladies were recorded throughout the process in order to share their stories. The other two ladies had their existing brows enhanced and defined, having thinner and uneven brows due to over-plucking. During these appointments, each VIP was transformed – including styling by Hayley Sparkes, makeup by HD Brows, hair styling by the Errol Douglas team and clothes gifted by Next and the Katie Piper Collection by Want That Trend (as well as massages, manicures and pedicures from the team at the Agua Spa).
After losing both her sister and life-long best friend to cancer in the space of a few months Diana, from Chiswick, lost all her hair due to the grief and stress she was under. The following year, Diana visited the doctors for a routine doctor’s appointment and was diagnosed with lung cancer. The following months saw Diana undergo daily chemo or radiotherapy appointments plus surgery to remove the cancer and lymph. Today, Diana is finally building her way back up again, and is back to work, having had the all-clear from her remission scans.
After being homeless herself from the age of 14, Tracy now runs Tracy’s Street Kitchen in Nottingham where she cooks for and feeds around 130 people every Friday night. Tracy is always finding food donations, managing to cook and feed everyone. She organises clothes, sleeping bags and toiletries for the homeless, despite being unemployed at this time, she is actively seeking work but still manages to bring a team together every week to look after ‘her homeless family’.
Carly, from Colchester, Essex, has alopecia universalis. Although initially it devastated her and she hid from the world she decided that she can use her experience to help others on their hair loss journey. She started a wig consultancy so she could help people find their perfect new hair and offer her emotional support. She volunteers for Alopecia UK, Changing Faces and gets involved in many media projects so that she can make a difference to society’s perception of the beauty ideal.
Sophie, from Devon, was born with a club foot and has endured many surgeries, having her leg amputated last February. Sophie is currently training to be an Endurance Athlete for the GB Paralympic rowing on the Development squad Nationally Classified soon to be international.
Chatting with these ladies and their families after they shared their stories was incredibly heart-warming and humbling. All four of them were in love with their new eyebrows, and to see the boost Karen’s work had given them was a very special thing. Overall the event was an emotional and inspiring day which brought together many courageous people to tell their story. Karen Betts, together with the style and makeup teams contributed to making the most memorable day for these wonderful women.
You can find out more about Karen’s work by visiting www.karenbetts.com