In conversation: Rise of make-up artistry

Fahya Naghman Dec 16 2015

In the recent few years, a new trend that has taken Karachi by storm is makeup artistry. In keeping with this spirit, I decided to interview a new up-and-coming makeup artist Munira Mujtaba.

Munira, who is also a second year MBBS student at Dow Medical university, started her page called  M and H Lounge in March 2015 and has managed to get over 3000 followers on both Facebook and Instagram.

Were you always interested in makeup and hair, as a young girl?

That’s a question I tend to get asked a lot! I was as interested as much as the next girl, no more downright glamorous. I was always awed by the power of makeup. But my obsession with makeup is a pretty recent one. It developed about two years ago, suddenly out of the blue!

How and when did you realize you wanted to pursue this as a career?

This was about a year and a half ago, while I was at home for six months, studying for my entrance exams in various med schools in Karachi. I was at a low point of my life. Nothing was right, socially, academically, emotionally etc. And staying at home with nothing to do but study was not helping.

Around that time I suddenly developed an interest in makeup, started following hudabeauty in particular, along with various other famous Instagram makeup artists. I found myself marveling at their talent literally all day long. I started spending every waking moment on YouTube, constantly trying to learn this art. I was obsessed to say the least.

A friend of mine, who’s also a successful home-based makeup artist, Amna Farhad, was giving makeup artistry classes. My hunger to learn made me join her session and that was literally the beginning for me. I followed that up with a short course from London College of Makeup in Dubai and an advanced pro course from a famous Pakistani makeup artist, Furqan Ahmed. Furqan has been my mentor throughout this journey and encouraged me to take the step to begin taking appointments. And voila! Here I am today.

Where there any obstacles you had to overcome along the way?

Parents and family have been nothing but supportive during this journey. But the biggest obstacle that I have come across is through acquaintances. People absolutely love to criticize and backbite. And I’ve faced quite a bit of it while I was starting out; in fact, I still do tend to hear stuff every now and then.

The fact is we don’t really live in an empowering society. Envy just tends to make people put other people down. And I don’t know a single successful makeup artist who hasn’t experienced this obstacle in their career.

Makeup shaming is a real problem in our society; often enough I get to hear “oh your lipstick is too dark” or “you have foundation on today, don’t you think it’s better to look natural?” These are only a few comments that I tend to hear quite often. But this just makes me more determined to succeed and be better – there is still a long way to go!

How do you tackle being a makeup artist as well a medical student?

Well, it’s not easy. Makeup continues to be a hobby for me, while my main ambition lies with medicine. Often I’m having exams and if you are in my university, we have exams nearly every month! During that time, I refrain from taking appointments and students and focus on my studies. And so far it’s been working out well.

What advice would you like to give girls everywhere who are victims of makeup shaming?

I’d tell them to live for themselves. Be selfish and love yourself. Every person is beautiful. You are beautiful without makeup and you are beautiful with makeup. I don’t do makeup because I’m insecure about my looks and I want to look good for the boys. But I do it because I simply love it.

Makeup is art, and an artist cannot live without indulging in their art. No matter what people say, you keep your eyebrows on fleek, your lipstick on point and your foundation flawless because that makes you happy! You DO NOT need another reason.

What goes into making a small home-based makeup studio a success?

It’s all about attracting a following. And if you’re good at what you do and if people like your work, word will spread slowly and they will acknowledge your talent. I cannot say that my studio is a success yet because I’m working on pure trial and error. I take inspiration from what other successful makeup artists do and then showcase my work. Social media is truly the best way to do so. Instagram for example has turned many home based artists into celebrities such as Huda beauty and Tamanna Roshan of DressyourFace.

I’ve been using Facebook and Instagram both as my platforms to show my work. I mostly like to recreate or make looks of my own, upload tutorials and create signature portfolios by using my friends and family as my models. Many lovely clients also agree to let me put up the looks I did on them and they always recommend me to their acquaintances as well.

That’s very important for me. That every client leaves my studio absolutely satisfied. My goal is to make my client happy and give them the look they desire. Before every appointment, I like to spend 5 minutes just chatting with my client about what they want, from colors to technique; I like to know their preference before I begin.

What is your go-to makeup look for days when you’re running late or do not feeling like putting a lot of effort?

My go-to makeup look consists of my sunscreen; my favorite is Bio derma 60 SPF sunscreen. It’s chemical-based, super lightweight and absorbs into my skin like a dream. This is followed by my favorite tinted moisturizer by Laura Mercier in the shade Natural. I do not prefer a heavy foundation look for everyday wear so this moisturizer is perfect for me. This leaves me with a very healthy glow while concealing imperfections.

I quickly like to do my brows using my ABH brow whiz or my Essence brow kit in medium. I finish the look using my favoriteL’Oreal Telescopic Mascara, kohl pencil on my water line and my everyday lip color Antwerp soft matte lip cream by NYX cosmetics. I like to use a berry color lip balm to give a hint of color and shine to my cheeks. And that’s pretty much it!

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to startup their own studio?

I’d tell them to not give up under any circumstances. Keep trying and keep practicing. My mentor Furqan has had a career in makeup for a decade and today he is a famous name. I get inspired from that and keep trying. Do not give up. With time and practice your skill will continue to improve and flourish and success will slowly but surely follow you.

Fahya Naghman

Fahya Naghman:

Med student/self-proclaimed fashion freak. Living life one exam at a time.