American makeup artist Bobbi Brown once said, “I believe that all women are pretty without makeup but with the right makeup can be pretty powerful.” Perhaps when she said this, it was still believed that makeup was only for a woman which is no more the case. Not only makeup, skin and hair care are practiced by everyone these days, the profession has also evolved and is chosen by everyone belonging to different gender identities. Five beauticians and makeup artists share their journeys, a beauty hack and some tips for anyone looking to get into this profession:
Shradha Maskey doesn’t believe that makeup is only for women. “No makeup items come with ‘women only’ labels,” she remarks. “It is our gendered way of thinking that we think that makeup is only for women”. She believes the right makeup, proper skin care and hair care routine can boost anyone’s confidence, help them create a fine impression, and feel good about themselves.
Shradha herself feels confident to interact, express herself and exert her opinion in her workplace on the days when she has the right makeup on. She doesn’t really care about people’s opinion when they say beauty products and makeup are only for materialistic people. In truth, exploring new beauty products and practicing different makeup styles has helped her to get over a bad phase in life.
Following different international makeup artists, purchasing new products, providing makeup services to brides in London made it possible for her to forget the difficult life that she was living and opened doors to a field of work filled with opportunities. “In those days, practicing different makeup styles was my therapy,” she recalls.
Shradha had gone to London to study business. Her parents were expecting her to finish her studies, but when she decided to change course, it took a while for them – especially for her father – to understand her choice to become a makeup artist.
She advises anyone who is getting into business to believe in themselves and in their abilities. She also believes it is important to be thick skinned to criticism. “It is difficult at times for people to accept new ideas. In my initial days, while many people appreciated by work, a lot of people also criticised and trolled my style. Had I been affected by those things, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she affirms.
Shradha feels a sense of accomplishment when she sees the people she has trained start their own salons and parlors. Many of them are breadwinners for their families and contributing to the economy.
A beauty hack you swear by
Make use of a clear soap for your eyebrows- Use any clear soap, sprinkle some water on it and use a brush to run it on your eyebrows. It will help the brows to stick for the whole day and brows will look groomed too.
Suman Lama believes that being a makeup artist has given him the platform to show his creativity to the world. He acknowledges that there are still not many men in the profession, but he adds that more men have been taking up the profession in recent years. Suman was inspired by Sakil, a renowned makeup artist in K-town. He started his journey as a hairdresser 14 years ago and has been a makeup artist for the last eleven working with individual clients, events and fashion shows. The response to his work has been tremendous and some of the people he has worked with swear by his expertise.
“I used to braid my younger sister’s hair and try different styles on her,” Suman recalls with a smile. When he started out, his father had apprehensions regarding his profession. “While learning different makeup techniques, I used to even use my own face, so my father was not very happy about that,” he confides. But that is no longer the case now. Not only does Suman employ three others as assistants, but has also travelled to India to work with Bollywood actors including Manisha Koirala.
For Suman, his success has come with a lot of practice and commitment to his work. He believes discipline to be at the core of his work attributes. Suman says, “If you have skills and enjoy your work, you are bound to be noticed and appreciated.”
A beauty hack you swear by
Finished your mascara? Don’t throw away the bottle. Clean your mascara bottle properly, add some coconut oil and castor oil into the bottle. Coconut oil needs to be 90% of the mix remaining needs to be castor oil. Use the mix just like mascara at night for a month or so. Your eyelashes will start to become thicker.
The best thing about being a makeup artist for Sophie Sunuwar is the freedom and financial independence that comes with it. She knows there is no vacation or an off day in her line of work but she enjoys it so much that it never bothers her; not even if she is working on multiple models at an event.
Sophie started her career as a makeup artist in 2008. She is the first transgender woman of Nepal to have entered this profession. When Sophie started there were not many makeup artists in the country let alone a transgender makeup artist. Now she has trained so many and is proud that many of her students now work with celebrities. Today, Sophie is not only celebrated for her work but seen as a role model.
Sophie was interested in makeup from a very young age. It was important for her to make her name not only within her community but also in the mainstream market. She says, “In a society like ours, transgender women have been stereotyped and are only seen in certain roles.” She drew inspiration from Thailand, “I saw trans women as air hostess, as employees in malls and holding different positions in different lines of work.” She knew she could be the one to help change the perception in her home country.
Contrary to popular belief people have about transwomen journeys, Sophie feels her journey is about triumphs and happiness. She always found support and care from people around her. She got encouragement and motivation from her colleagues when she was working in Blue Diamond Society to attend different training and classes to become a makeup artist. Celebrities and photographers have enjoyed working with her because of her professionalism. “My gender identity has never been my weakness, rather it has been a strength,” claims Sophie.
To all aspiring people, she says, “It is very easy to learn to become a makeup artist these days, but the things that they also need to learn are about being punctual, listening to clients, being updated with new trends and maintaining healthy hygiene.” According to her, these traits are as important as the makeup skills.
A beauty hack you swear by
If you only have lipstick in your purse and need makeup… no worries- your lipstick can serve as a multipurpose tool. You can use it as lip gloss, your shadow and also as blush.
Back in his village in Sunsari when Dinesh Rai used to watch Miss Nepal pageants on TV, he dreamt of working with people in the creative field and some day getting recognized for his work. When he came to Kathmandu, he learnt to become a beautician and worked at Ananeke Beauty Salon for some years. It was while working in the salon that he got interested in becoming a makeup artist. He used the internet to take tutorials and tried his skills on colleagues at the salon.
His aspiration to become a makeup artist then took him to Mumbai to attend a course. He has since been working with bridal makeup, with celebrities and beauty pageant participants. “I used to be nervous introducing myself as a makeup artist in the early days as people didn’t expect a man to be in this field,” Dinesh says. But now his success has given him the confidence and attitude to not allow other peoples’ opinions to upset him.
He feels that times are also changing and the makeup culture is shifting to become gender neutral. These days grooms and some men are interested in getting makeup done to attend events.
Dinesh finds happiness and satisfaction in his work. Dinesh shares that this profession can give a person name, fame and money but it is important to enjoy the journey more. He asserts, “You can only deliver your best if you feel good and positive about the work that you are doing.” Also, it is important to stay updated. Dinesh elaborates, “The tips and tricks that I learnt eight years ago will not be relevant today. I need to keep learning. Learning should never stop.”
A beauty hack you swear by
Have you broken you makeup item such as blush or compact powder? Don’t throw it away. Instead pick up the material, put it back in a makeup container, and add some isopropyl rubbing alcohol (spirit) found in any medical shop. Put the makeup box inside the fridge for 24 hours. The makeup item will be good to use again.
Being a beautician wasn’t in Shanti Lama’s bucket list. She was working for an INGO when her sister came from abroad and both of them got enrolled for a course to be a beautician. After working in her sister in law’s salon for a few years, she bought the salon from her and became a co-owner of Times Skin Care and Beauty Salon with few other friends. That was 15 years ago. She has not looked back since then.
Shanti feels she discovered herself and found her passion through her work. In all these years Shanti has never felt tired even after working for hours in her salon. She gets to interact with many people from different backgrounds and enjoys learning one or two things from them as well. While providing services in skin and hair has been her forte, Shanti provides makeup services to people who approach her.
“In my starting days I didn’t have many men clients. But in the last few years I have found more men are interested in grooming themselves. My salon is open for everyone,” says Shanti. She believes taking good care of skin and hair should be considered as a healthy habit and should be practiced by everyone irrespective of their gender. She has a couple of staff who work with her.
She suggests anyone who is interested in becoming a beautician needs to be patient. It takes many years of practice, knowledge and skills to start reaping the benefits of the profession. She advises everyone to gather as much knowledge and experience to be successful. According to her, it is not different from any other line of work. “One needs to be professional to be successful,” Shanti claims.
One Beauty hack that you swear by:
“Had a tiring day and yet have a night out planned? Make use of cucumber and milk at home. Slice some cucumber pieces and dip them in the milk and let the mix sit inside the fridge for 10 minutes. Use the mix on your face for some time and then wash. Your face will glow and your makeup will hold better on your face.