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provoke cosmetics

Our Story

Provoke’s Founder Zaynab,started out as trained Beauty, Skin & Massage Therapist, as well as being a fully qualified Make Up Artist. She began her beauty career as a Consultant with some of Europe's leading cosmetic houses including, Helena Rubinstein, Chanel, and Elizabeth Arden.

– 1994

Provoke opened its first Health & Beauty Salon in London. News of this ‘new kid on the block’ with ‘never seen before, cutting-edge make-up techniques’ combined with knowledge in Skin Care and experience in looking after high-end clients spread rapidly resulting in being featured on the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 and became busy with London’s leading awards ceremonies and fashion shows which involved styling celebrities and politicians alike – including a UK Prime Minister.


Word spread across the globe while also being favoured as the make-up and artist for Bollywood films and Celebs. Earning Zaynab and Provoke the title ‘Ultimate Bollywood Make-up Guru’ by the UK’s press.

– 1996

The opening of ‘The Provoke Training Academy’ was a natural progression as the demand to learn ‘Provokes unique style’ had grown tremendously. Over the years we passed on our knowledge and expertise to hundreds of young entrepreneurs. Each Artist leaves the Academy fully qualified and equipped to set up their own beauty businesses.

– 1997

Provoke earned an enviable reputation as the hottest new talent on the beauty scene and received further accolades when she launched the internationally acclaimed, bestselling book ‘The Ancient Art of Mehndi” in 1997, winning Provoke a project commissioned by Carlton Books. The book has sold over 250,000 copies across 26 countries worldwide and also has a German edition.

– 1998

Provoke opened a flagship salon, in an affluent North London Suburb which went on to win two ‘National Salon of Excellence’ awards.

– 2000

Provokes’ Founder Zaynabwas short listed by the ‘Cosmopolitan Women of Achievement Awards’ as being one of the 100 most successful young women in the UK. An honour she shared with TV personality Gaby Logan who was the winner of the Young Achiever category.

– 2001

Zaynabwas again short listed as the one of the top 4 leading entrepreneurs in the UK, this time by the ‘Asian Women of Achievement Awards’. She was the youngest in this category by over a decade.

– 2003

Was another exceptional year for Provoke when Zaynab was featured on the cover of Success Magazine as one of the UK’s most successful ‘Young Asian entrepreneurs.
Provoke decided to work on a range to be available to Professional Make-up Artist to fill the gap in the Asian Colour Market and set out on 5 Years of research spending most of the time globe-trotting to fulfil this ambition. The research, product development and planning took provoke to the Middle East, the Subcontinent and finally to the US where we worked with leading cosmetics manufacturers to create a palette of colours and products that we believed will satisfy all women… The result? A range for all women, especially those of colour who are looking for more from their makeup.
Provoke featured on the BBC2 documentary ‘Making a fortune the Asian way’ alongside many of the UK’s ‘Times Rich List millionaires’ Again she was the youngest Entrepreneur featured.

– 2004

Provoke was approached by the world’s largest contact lenses manufacturer CIBA VISION to help launch their Freshlook Colour Contact Lenses to an international Asian audience. Zaynab worked with Ciba Vision to create a 12 Page Look Book along with a makeup palette to go with each of the lenses.

– 2006

Provoke took our Brand to Dubai as title Platinum Sponsor for the Region’s largest Bride Show. This allowed the brand to be showcased to the affluent Middle East Market. As a result, later in the year Provoke was approached by the Region’s largest Perfumery Chain to distribute the Brand exclusively in the Middle East.

– 2007

Provoke Cosmetics opened its 1st retail operation in Abu Dhabi. Followed by concessions in Dubai.
The Brand has continued to grow in the UK and Middle East and has over 250 independent consultants who sell and use the brand.

Provoke was approached by the British Independent Film leading to Celebrities like Emilia Fox, Rachel Weiz, Kiera Knightly& Tilda Swinton amongst others to try the hand-picked products. Provoke has gone on to pick up a steady celeb fan following. Which includes two Miss World’s & numerous Bollywood actresses.


– 2009

Saw the Global Financial Crises and it was decided to not expand the retail until after the global markets recover.

– 2011

Was the year for provoke started gearing up to expand under the guidance of our founder Zaynab. 1-year was taken for market alinement to refresh the make-up to current fashions and reconnect with the retailers and distributers for the planned 2012 relaunch. Devastatingly Zaynab was diagnosed with stage 2 Ovarian Cancer.

– 2013

Was the start for the fight of cancer, all launches were put on hold and Provokes’ Zaynab became a vocal ambassador for the global awareness and fight against Ovarian Cancer. All resources turned away from the launch of Provoke and into the fight for survival.

5-years of fighting and campaigning paid off and Zaynab was given the ALL CLEAR! – Now the race to re-launch Provoke Cosmetics became focus number 1.

– 2018

Saw all the experiences and lessons learned over the years, Provoke was now being prepared for being relaunched in 2020 back to the long waiting and very loyal fans! Only with a difference, Provoke has evolved… still edgy and trend setting, but now Halal, Vegan, Not tested on animals, FDA Approved and using less chemicals than any other brand at this level.

– 2020

We are here!


A new decade brings with it new beginnings...


Dubai: 2407, Tiffany Tower, JLT, Dubai, UAE

UK: Kemp House, 152 City rd, London, EC1V 2NX

E-mail: Phone : +971 4 276 6289

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