Esthetician ~ Eyebrow Artist ~ Makeup Artist
(.. I like to write the way I talk. Please forgive any errors :)
Aloha! Thank you for checking out my page.. my name is Riki and I am an eyebrow artist. And here is my mini autobiography :)
From an early age I have been fascinated by all things beauty. I still remember sitting on my parents bathroom counter applying all of my mom's makeup.. including her mascara into my brows.. you know, to really make them stand out :) As I grew older, makeup was a way for me to be creative. I was a victim to the thin “90’s brows” and couldn’t go a day without reaching for the tweezers (Grateful they DID grow back and anything that didn't.. I tattooed back on :)
I began doing special occasion and bridal makeup soon after I graduated high school. After 2 years at a community college, I knew that college was not on my path. In 2005 I enrolled in makeup school in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was then I discovered… I am good at this. Like really good. I was a freelance makeup artist for years. I loved it. I became so addicted to that feeling when I would hand my client a mirror for her to see herself for the first time. In such a beautiful way. I've always strived to enhance her beauty... not completely change her. It’s such a beautiful gift to make a positive difference in how someone sees themselves.
Fast forward a few years, I decided to take my career a step further and become an esthetician. I really wanted to help women on a deeper level... not to just cover things up. I wanted a greater understanding of skincare and as someone who has always loved getting facials and waxing, it felt like my next organic step. In 2009 I graduated top of my class from the Skin Science Institute of Laser and Esthetics in Salt Lake City, Utah. I LOVED going to this school. It was about this time when I realized that for me.. I didn't need a degree and a ton of student loans to feel of value, make a difference and obviously, to make a living.
Summer of 2010 I moved to Astoria, Oregon with my then husband (I send so much love to this man as he is the reason I moved to Oregon. He is the reason you are reading this right now. He helped me to become the woman I am.. I am forever grateful to my past) With minimal business knowledge and nothing but talent, undeniable blind faith and the help, support and love from so many incredible people in my life, I opened Malama Day Spa in October of 2010. Malama is now the home of 6 amazingly talented and beautiful women. They are my tribe. They are the reason it all works. We have always strived to put customer service as our #1 goal. Without our clients, we’d just be sitting around waxing each other… :) Malama has been awarded “Best Day Spa” by the Reader’s Choice Awards 7 times now. I am so grateful for our team, our clients, community, family, friends and my insanely smart accountant and business advisor. Malama has become more than just a dream. She gave me a platform to really focus on my strengths... Makeup and waxing. And more than anything else, eyebrow waxing. To say I am obsessed with eyebrows is an understatement. Although all the services I've offered now and in the past I've loved.. nothing has ever compared to eyebrows. Who knew brows could be so important?
I remember where I was the first time I ever heard of microblading. It was 2015. I was sitting on my couch in my post-divorce apartment scrolling through Instagram and wishing I were anywhere but where I was. A woman I didn’t personally know, but followed because hello we do that… just posted about getting her brows microbladed and OMG did they look good!! I started researching and obsessing and getting frustrated because at that time, microblading was super new to the US and there really wasn't much information out there. But I knew I was on to something. This was my next chapter. I would combine my two loves of eyebrow waxing and makeup and create this hybrid of amazingness!!! I saw the light. And I sprinted towards it like something was chasing me.
In September 2017 I completed the Everlasting Brows Microblading Course in Seattle. I will NEVER forget the way I felt the first time I tattooed an eyebrow onto fake skin… I thought.. THIS IS THE COOLEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE IN MY LIFE!!!! After my course I quickly started practicing on any friends and clients that were so gracious to allow me to. I am so honored to have their trust, especially during the beginning stages of my microblading career. Building my brand at Malama absolutely set me up to start my microblading journey. I worked hard to build a positive reputation as a brow artist and I know this is how I gained their trust that allowed me to cut into their faces.
To fine tune my skills and because I believe education is so important, I took on an apprenticeship with Mint Beauty in Vancouver, WA. I loved my original course but the one on one help from April at Mint Beauty really gave me extra confidence to move forward. April… thank you so much for helping me on my journey AND for giving me amazing brows. I am enrolled in a couple other courses as well for Spring and Summer of 2018 and am so stoked to keep improving my skills and learn from the best.
In January of 2018 I made my microblading dreams come true by opening Riki Leona Brows in Long Beach, WA (because of Oregon laws, I am unable to microblade in Oregon at this time. So grateful that geographically Long Beach is just a skip away from Astoria. Hopefully I will be able to bring my brow business to Oregon within the next few years - I'm not going to let a little hiccup stop me from my goals!)
I split my time between Malama and RLBrows, it's a balance that I am happy to navigate through. Some days, more gracefully than others. But... I love my job. To do what you LOVE as a career is such an incredible gift. I've always loved the beauty industry, but microblading has allowed my love to become much deeper and so inspiring. It never gets old watching someone see themselves for the first time after I’ve had the opportunity to do what I LOVE for them. I have the best job in the world. Thank you for reading about my journey and I hope you can be a part of it. ~Riki Leona
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