Specialist Spotlight
Salons by JC Superstar – Debra Dakin

Having the perfect eyebrow shape is one of the easiest ways to look younger, as Debra Daken proves every day. Known as “The Eyebrow Diva” by clients and friends alike, the brow pro, make-up artist and esthetician has beautified thousands of faces at her In the Pink studio within Salons by JC in Valrico, FL. The secret to her brows-with-wow: don’t clean the house before the maid comes.

Explains Debra, “Let your brows grow-out first. This allows me to comb them and observe how they work with your face shape. Then, I start the inner edge of the brow directly above the crease at the side of the nose.”

Debra uses the iris to place the arc and creates the end by angling a brush from the nose to the end of the brow. “The biggest mistakes made with brows is making them too short on the outside and too far in from the eye at the other end,” she notes. “For dramatic brows, keep the length.”

While about half her business involves brows, the other half involves facials and make-up. As someone who holds a make-up diploma from the renowned Westmore Academy of Cosmetic Arts in Los Angeles, she has ample experience in everything from theatre, film and television make-up to beauty and special effects—the latter comes in handy for Halloween. (She even did lash and brow tinting on the movie set of “Seven,” where she met Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow.)

When she moved to Florida 12 years ago, Debra worked in a spa, rebuilding her business from scratch. For someone so experienced (she now has 20 years in the business), building a clientele was easy; working for someone else wasn’t.

“Being told what to do, the hours, the politics—it was like spending three years in prison,” recalls the long-time freelancer. “So I saved every contact number and busted out.”

When Salons by JC opened nearby, she rushed right in to secure a window suite. “I love that there are no children running round and no excessive noise,” she says. “It’s a high-end creative place where I can hone my craft and be around other creatives. If there are problems that need fixing, I tell the concierge, and it’s taken care of.”

The tagline Debra created for In the Pink is “True Beauty Can Never be Disguised,” and she says the best way to bring out beauty is with great skin, which requires deep-cleansing facials, “Many spas don’t take the time to clean the skin properly and perform extractions,” notes Debra. “I book out two hours for my signature brows and the facial; it’s my most popular service.”

Her next most popular facial treatments are microdermabrasion and the newer Dermaplane, which involves removing vellus hair, infusing the skin with nutrients and calming it with a mask that leaves it glowing.

“After any exfoliation, products work better and make-up goes on easier,” says Debra. “Today, everyone wants to wear more make-up to look like the Kardashians. Contouring and using darker colors is the best way to get great driver’s license photo, because the camera washes-out and flattens-out facial features. But when it comes to lashes, I prefer the grow-your-own approach, for which products like RevitaLash work well.”

Part of keeping up with the Kardashian’s make-up routines involves constantly learning and staying up-to date with what’s new. To that end, Debra takes classes as often as she can, and recently became a member of the Esthetic Association of Florida. “If you’re willing to work hard and stay current, then renting a suite lets you reap the all rewards of your own efforts,” she says.

To keep current with what Debra’s up to, visit her website or follow her on Instagram @Debradakin.