Just weeks before my wedding I suffered a bit of a meltdown. I couldn’t find a decent Asian makeup artist for my big day. It was getting pretty desperate and I found myself scouring Youtube looking at makeup tutorials. That’s right, as a last resort, I would have applied my own wedding makeup. In fact, I had a go at creating my own bridal makeup look, and you can see my efforts here.
The reason? Not because there were bad MUAs, but some (not all – that’s my disclaimer) of the Asian makeup artists I contacted were unprofessional, inefficient, or just damn blaggers.
A few MUAs didn’t even get to trial stage. One such bridal makeup artist, who had a flashy website and impressive portfolio, claimed to initially offer a phone consultation. Only this never happened. I was promised a call, which was rescheduled twice, until I finally gave up.
Another Asian makeup artist came as a recommendation. I courted her on Facebook, only to find that
she was a woman of very few words. Our FB conversation went something like this:
Me: Hi, I’m getting married on xxxx, are you free to do bridal hair and makeup?
Half-arsed makeup artist: I am
Me: Great. Do you offer a trial? And if so, how much do you charge?
Half-arsed makeup artist: Yes
Me: OK, would you be able to come to my house for a trial? Or do I need to come to you?
Half-arsed makeup artist: No, I can’t come to your house, you come to me
Me: OK. What about on the day itself? Would you come to my house then?
Half-arsed makeup artists: No. You come to me, as I have other clients that day, before and after you.
I am not kidding. That’s how the conversation went. Though I have made some alterations, mainly on the spelling and grammar front as she wasn’t the most literate of minds. You would think she didn’t want the business.
These makeup artists didn’t get to trial stage. The few that did had mixed competencies, and there was one prize winner who had the coveted role of painting me for hours on end.
Here’s a brief summary of the finalists, with pictures of my makeover:
Asian makeup artist #1 – The tight-ass bu**shit merchant
I trialled this lady before my engagement. She used to do my eyebrows and her salon was nice. She quoted me an OK price, so I thought I’d give her a try.
Before I even sat in the makeup chair she was pushing me to have a facial. Not being the biggest fan of facials, I declined but she was persistent and annoying. After my final resistance, she took the hint and got to work.
Now, I’ve had a few makeup trials in my time, and they’ve
always applied fake eyelashes, to give me an indication of the final look. After all, no Asian bridal look is complete
without lashes. I never use them again, and would happily give them back, but need them applied initially.
However, lady BS was shocked at the suggestion, so she dug out a pair of purple novelty lashes (I‘m assuming she didn’t want to part with a black pair) and made a sneaky comment about how I’m ready for my engagement party now!
Despite this, I have to admit, I really liked her makeup at
the time. Not too heavy, but enough vibrancy in my cheeks to look a bit more special than daywear.
However, once I told her that I liked the makeup, she went back on her original quote and bumped up her price my 50%. I still don’t know to this day whether she was lying or ‘chose to forget’ but I certainly didn’t book with her, and I’ve not had my eyebrows threaded there since.
Asian makeup artist #2 – The bridal makeup artist with a limited pallet
This makeup artist was lovely. While you may expect this to be a given, you’d be surprised how many artists out there are rude and brash. Like I’ve ranted before (Asian beauticians), our desi makeup artists didn’t exactly graduate from the school of good customer service.
However, her downside (apart from turning up half an hour late) was the limited range of makeup she could offer. She turned up with a small box containing mainly Sleek products.
Now Sleek isn’t a bad range at all, but when you’re forking out hundreds of pounds for a makeup artist, you at least expect them to have premium brand makeup, or at least MAC.
She had only three lip liners, so I had to choose between brown, pink or red (not much scope there) and she didn’t have a maroon eye shadow, a staple for a traditional bridal look.
As for the makeup application itself, the look was a little vampy and goth. The eyes were too dark- and I think the base didn’t do me any favours. The foundation was too dark and looked rather dull, whereas it should have been a bright, golden canvass. Overall, I would say the makeup is more suited to a party look rather than bridal.
Also, the one thing that I noticed from the two aforementioned MUAs was that they only trialled makeup, but didn’t do hair, instead we kind of discussed what look to go for, while they promoted the idea of hair extensions (at an additional cost, of course).
Asian makeup artist #3 – The ‘one’
By the time I trialled Komal Khan, my expectations were pretty low. But this isn’t to take away from the great job she did. I had a trial in her home, with an agreement that she would come to my house to do my makeup on the wedding day.
While other MUAs who I trialled were a bit bish-bash-bosh, Komal’s spent hours (yes, hours) applying my makeup. At a minimal cost, she practically created my wedding look. She had a kaleidoscope of makeup colours and brands. Admittedly some of her lipsticks had seen better days, but you can’t have it all. Plus she worked with me to discuss colours, textures and also what would work under the harsh photographers light.
Komal also spent the last hour of the trial doing my hair. She backcombed, added a fake hairpiece and even finished with a dupatta and headpiece so I got a feel of how I would look. Honestly, she was so thorough that I could have got married that day!
But it wasn’t just her makeup I was happy with, it was her level of service. She was polite, friendly and made my poor mum – who sat with me for hours – a cup of tea and biscuits. She even offered my mum a lie down on her bed!
Between the trial and wedding she called me to see how I was doing. Though being a little stressed, I first assumed she called to cancel on me – I wasn’t used to such courtesy! And she text me ideas ahead of the day.
Most importantly, she paid as much attention on my mehndi and wedding day as did on the trial. So
thanks to Komal, my faith is Asian makeup artists has been restored. I now believe it IS possible have a good makeup artists who can also offer a good level of service.
I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!