Your name and what do you 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 make-up artist?
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 social media.
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.