Your name and what do
My name is Ikhlas Arif. I am a makeup artist.
What is your specialty?
My specialty is beauty makeup. My instagram page is @iku_mua, you can view my work.
Why did you become a
It started out when I got married in late 2012. I began
attending many weddings and did not like what the makeup artists had to offer
at the time…very light coloured foundation very heavy eyes. I preferred my
makeup to be more toned down more natural looking. I began doing my own makeup,
family around me kept telling me how good my makeup looked. Eventually they
would ask me to do their makeup and then urged me to do it professionally. Two
years later I took the plunge bought makeup and began my makeup artistry career
What are the
challenges you went through to become a MUA?
When I first started out I faced quite a lot of challenges.
My pricing was my first big hurdle. My prices had to be much higher that what
was being charged locally because I used very pricey and genuine products. I
remember the average artist charging around ksh.500 I charged ksh.1000. Trying
to explain why I charged double to my client was hard especially at a time when
there was no sensitisation about the dangers of counterfeit makeup and people
didn’t really know how much makeup actually cost. I even remember having to
refund some clients.
- Another challenge I faced Was breaking into an industry with a new approach and style. Being “simple” Embracing different skin tones and enhancing them instead of masking and making everyone look light skinned. Toning down the overall heaviness and making the makeup softer. Many people did not get the appeal. Things are changing now and nothing makes me happier.
- Another challenge I faced personally that affected my work greatly was pregnancy! I was unable to keep up my work and social media while being pregnant and having an infant. It was too overwhelming for me I had to take a very long break. This set me back greatly I feel. On my social media especially, as I was one of very few doing it in the coast at the time.
Were there resources
for you that made your learning easy?
One of my biggest resources would definitely be YouTube. I
learnt basic skills from there it helped me greatly. I remember hiding under my
blankets watching tutorials back in high school until 5am, pretending to be
asleep when my mum came to wake me for prayers
Has social media
helped you in your career growth? And how?
I began at a time when my work was somewhat niche. Social
media helped me reach out to people that were interested in my type of makeup.
Which would have been incredibly difficult otherwise. To this day my Instagram
is my biggest marketing tool. I reach a huge audience very quickly. My work is
on display and anyone that is interested, can reach me with a click of a button
How do you find out
about world trends in the Make-up industry?
I follow a lot of trend setting artist and celebrities on
How can one find
their shade for foundation, because a lot of people use a shade that is not
similar to their skin tone?
Foundation matching is a little bit tricky but not difficult
at all. First you have to identify the undertones in your skin. Are they
yellow, olive, neutral or red? There are many ways to figure this out like
looking at veins (which is not completely accurate) my favourite and easiest
would be to swatch the different undertone foundations on your skin whatever
doesn’t look sallow or grey will be your undertone. Majority, I would say 99%
of coastal people Swahilis, Arabs, Indians, have yellow olive skin tones. Next
would be to pick out the shade. Shade means lightness or darkness of the
foundation within your undertone. I like to match my foundation to the centre
of my chest. So you do not have the floating head syndrome where you face and
chest do not match.
What advice do you
have for someone who wants to choose this career path?
To any one that wants to be a makeup artist. I would
definitely say go for it. Invest in quality makeup that is within the budget of
your target clients. Sharpen your skills, invest in them, do a hands on or
online course from someone who’s work appeals to you. Most of all be aware you
are in the service industry you will need lots of social skills and patience.
It can be tough but you will love it.
Be passionate, give it your all and never forget to enjoy
what you do because it shows, art is a form of expression.