Hey Babe Cosmetics was created with a purpose: to make a difference. Nicole Abbott, 48, created an exclusive line of Canadian-made makeup that’s hypoallergenic, non-toxic and paraben and cruelty-free, which she launched in September.
“I was a widow first at 28 and then at 45,” said Abbott. “I have dealt with grief for a long time. I have lost two husbands, my home to a fire when I was pregnant with my daughter. I said to my kids we are going to dig deep and pick ourselves up. I wanted to teach my 20-year-old son Adam and 13-year old daughter Madison about giving back and making a difference.”
What makes Hey Babe stand out from the crowd is that a portion of the proceeds from all its sales support the memory of Abbott’s late husbands, Charles Krowitz and Allen Abbott.
Eighteen years ago, Abbott started the Charles Krowitz Fund for Burkitt’s Lymphoma Research at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. Burkitt is a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in which cancer starts in immune cells called B-cells.
“My family and I raised $1 million for Burkitt’s lymphoma,” said Abbott. “Every $100,000 would go towards a fellow who researched Burkitt’s lymphoma.”
Married in 1995, Abbott had been with her late husband for eleven years, married for four of those, when Krowitz died in 2000. Their son was only eight months old at the time.
“Charles got sick while I was pregnant. His diagnosis to death was six months,” said Abbott.
She met Allen Abbott on a blind date. “We both had our challenges. I lost my husband and he was suffering from kidney disease and was living with a transplanted kidney,” said Abbott. “We dated with Adam in a stroller. He didn’t blink an eye.”
Allen Abbott raised the boy as his own. They married in 2003 and had Madison Abbott in 2006. In 2010, Allen Abbott started experiencing problems with his transplanted kidney. By 2014, his kidney was functioning at only nine per cent.
“Transplant kidneys only last for so many years – the span is anywhere from eight to 10 to 12 years and Allen’s lasted for 21 years,” said Abbott. “We were looking for a kidney. I had been tested but I was not compatible. For the next four years, Allan was in and out of the hospital, fighting infections until his death in 2017.”
Abbott created the Allen David Abbott Scar Wars Fellowship Fund at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto to support pioneering fibrosis research. Fibrosis is at the root of most types of heart and kidney failure, including the kind that claimed Allen Abbott’s life.
Dr. Darren Yuen, a clinician-scientist with the Keenan Research Centre who treated Allen Abbott, explained that, “The Allen David Abbott Scar Wars Fellowship will fund research and support the next generation of clinician-scientists whose goal is to make breakthroughs in drug therapies that prevent or reverse fibrosis.”
In the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, Abbott is proud of her achievements. As a professional makeup artist, she was partial to a particular shade of pink. When the company that produced the line discontinued it, she went online and tracked down the last tubes.
“I received the last shipment just after Allen passed away. I smelled something horrible – lipstick has a shelf life and it was rancid,” said Abbott. “It all started with that pink lipstick.… I had life change on me yet again and I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to do something.’ I know makeup. I always dreamed of having my own company. That’s when ideas came to me.”
And that’s how Hey Babe was born. “Before we duplicated that exact pink – it took about five tries. So Hey Babe actually has five pinks in the line. I kept them all,” she said.
The collection has three pod eye shadow pallets – matte day look, shimmer nighttime look and glam party look. “They are all beautiful, thin in size, travel well, blend well, are triple milled – which means they go on really easily and are highly pigmented so they stay on,” explained Abbott.
Hey Babe products include brushes and accessories, touch up concealer/brighteners, BB creams, pressed powders, setting sprays, gel eye pencils, pro eye palettes, mascara, lip pencils, lipsticks, lip lacquers and lip glosses.
“There are some 55 products in my line. My lips are my hottest item,” said Abbott.
Hey Babe Cosmetics can be purchased at heybabecosmetics.ca.