Hi-Brow Beauty Bar (126 Sierra Court, Metairie, 504-325-2222; www.hibrownola.com) is located in an unassuming house on a quiet street. Inside, the atmosphere is soothing, with music, scented candles and conversation.
"This is how it always is," says owner Lauren Prats, who offers services ranging from brow waxes and tints to microblading and lash extensions. "You have people getting in the chairs and gossiping and chatting with each other."
Born and raised in Kenner, Prats attended De La Salle High School. She explored her love of beauty — with an eye toward brows — while studying esthetics at the Aveda Institute in Metairie. Drawn to the instant gratification that a good wax provides, she founded Hi-Brow in 2014, after spending 10 years at Earthsavers Day Spa and two years at Glow Hair and Beauty Bar.
"I was thinking, [high-end brow and lash services] are really big in New York and California, and there's nothing like that here, so let me try and turn this into something," Prats says.
In her first year at the Metairie location Prats serviced more than 10,000 clients. Employees are booked solid from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day. The most popular service is the signature brow wax, which lasts about 15 minutes and includes waxing, trimming, tweezing and an eyebrow cosmetics application.
"They come in here and they know they're going to get the best service and everybody genuinely cares and has a passion about every service that they do," Prats says. "It's truly humbling to have people come in and trust us with something on their face, whether it be brows or lashes."
Prats emphasizes good brow and lash care. Her brow philosophy is simple. Brows should be well-groomed and fit the individual's face and personality.
"The perfect brow for me is one that is perfectly trimmed," she says. "No two brows look alike."
Prats developed her own line of long-wearing products to enhance brows, which include a waterproof brow pen, brow mascara and clear brow gel. The products fill in gaps and add volume to sparse brows. Though people have approached her about buying into the company, Prats has no plans to franchise. She wants to stay local.
"This business was literally built brick by brick, dollar by dollar," she says. "And now we're starting to make a name for ourselves, and it really has been such a humbling experience."