A make-up artist (MUA) is often, and a bit unrealistically, seen as a magician who can turn you into an alluring creature of fantasy with a touch of his or her wand... err brush. The key, however, to a successful makeover session doesn’t lie in the MUA’s pots of fairy dusts, but in their relationship with the client. “Simply cleaning your face before you come in instead of being slathered in foundation can prove to be a blessing,” say Natasha Nischol and Virgina Holmes, founders of the makeup company FAT MU. “We know you’ve put foundation, we’re going to have to remove it, and you’re not fooling anyone.”
The duo, who have worked on the sets of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ in addition to many other films and are regulars at the Lakme Fashion Week, also reveal that many Indian women hesitate to ask questions, while others tend to interfere with every stroke of the brush. “You’re a living canvas and we want you to be a masterpiece,” they say.
To be able to do that, they’ve listed certain basic rules that every client should know about and follow:
After all, your MUA hasn’t studied magic at Hogwarts. “If you have an angry pimple, it can be covered but the bump cannot be entirely eliminated,” says Nischol. “Contouring and highlighting only goes so far, but giving us a photo and saying ‘make me look like her’ has its physical limitations.”
Indian women have beautiful dark brows, which is a coveted thing. “Many women here want to thin them out to nothing or draw them in like Groucho Marx,” says Nischol. “Brows frame your face, and a good MUA will want to make them look as natural as possible.”
Too much foundation in an attempt to look fairer will end up making you look grey or haggard. “It’s better to embrace your features and enhance them,” says Holmes. “Love who you are.”
It’s fun to chat with your make-up artist and communicate about what you want. But it can get frustrating for someone who’s trying to create a clean line or an intricate do while your face is moving. On that note, put your phone away.
Inform your MUA about any skin allergies you may have. Also, let them know if you’re not happy about something once they’re finished. A good make-up artist appreciates feedback, as long as it is delivered politely.
“Indian women LOVE powder foundation, especially M.A.C Studio Fix. Here’s the thing though, it is not setting powder,” says Holmes. “Don’t douse it on top of your foundation because it will cake it up. And if you have dry skin, stay away completely!”
Holmes feels that there has been a saturation of smoky eyes and kajal in India. Don’t get stuck in a rut, it’s boring to do the same look over and over again when there are so many new things to try.
Bad breath or body odour can be extremely off-putting when someone has to spend 4-6 hours in such close proximity to you. Make it pleasant for your MUA and carry some chewing gum or deodorant along if you’ve been out in the heat and come in fresh.
Indian weddings are colourful, which makes bridal makeup so much fun! “But a bright pink lehenga doesn’t always require the same shade of lipstick or nail paint,’ says Holmes. “Matchymatchy is not trendy. Instead let some contrasting makeup make its own statement.”
“It’s frustrating when people try to get freebies or bargain till the last rupee,” says Nischol. “Products are expensive, and we spend all day on our feet. But more importantly, every makeup artist considers his or her work a form of art. And it’s worth paying for.”
Congratulations if you’re at the top of the make-up trend game. And it’s okay to be clear about what you want, but scrutinising every brush and stroke of your makeup artist will make them want to paint your face to look like Boko the clown.
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