Meet the make-up masters

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We take a look at the journey of some phenomenal female makeup artists in the country. They braved several challenges and their tryst with beauty and glamour industry is inspiring and enticing. Hard work, immense talent and tremendous support system from people around have been their strength. More importantly, these women have a beautiful heart!

Vidya Tikari

Vidya Tikari began her journey in 1991 and is currently one of the best known names in the field of hair and make-up. She has worked with a host of actors in Bollywood including Deepika Padukone, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Priyanka Chopra among others. Vidya has also groomed famous personalities including Virat Kohli, Vikas Khanna, Chetan Bhagat to name a few. She is an entrepreneur, a professional artist, a trainer but the role of mother is the most challenging for her. “One of the biggest challenge was the opening of my studio in 2008. I had barely two months to find a studio and it was peak makeup season. After a decade I feel that Delhi is not the easiest city for a woman entrepreneur. I do not know about the rest of the country, but in Delhi it is certainly not easy.

“It is not about loud makeup, it is about eventually looking good,” she says. Vidya shares how using a good product ensures that half the job is done. “Everything can happen with one magical bottle (of skincare or cosmetics),” she adds.

Tips from Vidya to look gorgeous:
Always keep your body, hair, nail, and skin well maintained. To look good one needs to be healthy. If your skin is healthy only then your makeup looks healthy. Try maintaining your skin by visiting a dermatologist every now and then. Drinking water is essential for good skin. Men should use hair serum (for hair to look supple).


Chandni Singh

She started her career as a makeup artist in 2004. At 17, she knew that a career in beauty and makeup was her calling (after she saw a makeup artist from Lucknow Doordarshan who worked magic on a friend of hers). “I started without any formal training and freelanced for seven years; working with the top professionals in the industry. In 2013, I launched my makeup studio and academy in partnership with a friend. We have launched our brand ‘CS Essentials’. We sell makeup vanitys, makeup organisers, chairs for makeup artists, ring lights and soon we will launch our eye-lashes too,” shares Chandni.
She faced numerous challenges before she carved a niche for herself. She had a tough time finding work initially. “This was because people found my style extremely minimal. Later when we launched the studio and academy, we faced typical issues that any new entrepreneurs face,” she shares. A piece of advice for budding makeup artists by Chandni “If you are an aspiring MUA remember success won’t come over night. Do a good course and practice religiously. Makeup needs a lot of precision and understanding and that comes with practice.”

Tips from Chandni to look good

  • Follow a skincare routine daily.
  • Keep your body and skin hydrated.
  • Stick to your skin color when buying products.
  • As you grow older your makeup needs to be lesser.


Indra Ahluwalia

A Mumbai girl, her family had migrated from Pakistan and settled in the tinsel town. She shifted to Ludhiana after her marriage in May 1979. Gauging her profound interest in the field of beauty, her mother-in-law (now no more) provided her the incentive and requisite boost to both practice and research in her chosen field. Meet Indra Ahluwalia, CMD – Grace Beauty Clinic Pvt. Ltd., started almost three decades back in 1982 with a small beauty clinic in a posh location Model Town, Ludhiana. Anticipating a great scope in the beauty industry, she expanded a small beauty clinic into a well organized company which now runs five beauty clinics in Ludhiana and one in Mumbai, Phagwara, Amritsar and Barnala. Indra has also introduced many new useful techniques and skills in hair, make-up and beauty therapy. She has an international hair and beauty school that has trained more than 5000 beauty professionals. Not only does this lady head a sought after beauty clinic chain but her dedication to social causes is also interesting and engaging. She brought up and trained some orphaned poor girls, those with hearing and speech impairment and helped them re-gain their confidence and enabled them to work independently. Many among these got placement in her company itself. Narrating the challenges she faced in her career, she adds, “I have gone through several ups and downs. When I started back in 1982, the thought process of people around was very conservative. However my family supported me throughout. My children were small but I could manage both home and my work since I started my first venture from home itself at Model Town. It is now a well known bridal studio of the country and also corporate office for Grace Beauty Clinic Pvt Ltd. My son has also joined me in the business and he is handling hair institutes as well as Grace express chain of salons.”

Tips from Indra
Think positive, eat healthy, take less stress, enjoy whatever comes ahead in life! Keep smiling and do not forget to follow a daily skin care and hair care regime. Cleansing, toning and moisturising are a must for men. Do not forget to put SPF lotion


Meenakshi Dutt

At the onset, she did not plan her journey in this field, but now, after years of toil and hard work, Meenakshi Dutt is among the top make-up artists of India. “I was a model and while I was modeling I used to do make up of my co-models. After I got married and had a baby I considered doing make-up as a professional course. I then did several advertorials shoots. I was once doing a fashion show and a bride came up to me and asked if I could do her bridal make up. I took this challenge and did my best. Then eventually I started doing bridal make-up,” shares Meenakshi.

It was a gradual journey for her and things started falling into place on their own.“To look gorgeous one must have a positive attitude and needs to be original. Because when you copy someone you make a fool out of yourself. So, if you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to be more original. And everyday its best to invest in yourself, on your skin, on your hair because there is nothing more important than taking care of your own self,” she adds. She admires Deepika Padukone for her originality and Rekha for her persistent style. People have a lot of misconception regarding natural make-up but she shares, “It takes a lot of make-up effort even to get a natural look! We use nude colors for that purpose,” she adds.

Meenakshi’s beauty tip for men

“It is necessary to take care of your skin and ensure basics like face cleansing so that you don’t have blackheads. Basic hygiene like keeping your nails clean is essential.”


Richa Agarwal

She worked as a dietician earlier and in 2003, and after her mother’s motivation, she started her own business. “My mother supported me when I started Cleopatra. And at that time there was no spa, there were only barber shops or parlors. So, we introduced the ‘one-stop shop’ for public. I never planned it. People did not know about spa back then, so to make them understand what is spa we had to add everything related to it and this was the most challenging part. We started in 2003 and till 2005 we did a lot of activities to promote and make people aware about us,” adds Richa. Many people, she says do not have the knowledge on make-up and they do not know what products to use for good skin and how to use these products. “I guess this is the biggest misconception,” she adds. Richa admires Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sonam Kapoor for there consistent looks and Ranbir Kapoor among the male actors for his experiments.

Richa’s tips to look gorgeous
Enhance your original beauty! Ensure that you use products that are good for your skin.


Lavanya Malhotra

Lavanya began her journey as a fashion designer and was always a fashion and beauty enthusiast. She began working as a designer, a stylist and eventually found her true love in makeup. Her journey has not been sans challenges. She works on tight schedules during wedding seasons and fashion shows. “Therefore, it is very important to fully know your job and have complete technical knowledge, a creative eye, patience and confidence in creating a look, especially for a bride. There is no room for experiment and second chances, hence, it is of utmost importance to satisfy the expectations of your client,” she adds.Beauty comes from within she feels. “One should identify what works best for them in terms of a daily skincare routine and stick by it. It is necessary to enhance your natural beauty instead of hiding flaws,” opines Lavanya. Makeup is not layering to hide the flaws and your features to look like someone else, she says. “Makeup is an art. An art that you create on a blank canvas. Makeup is enhancing one’s features instead of hiding them. Makeup, in my view is also a study. A study of facial expressions, products and techniques,” she adds.

Lavanya’s handy tips for makeup

A good pre-base (like a primer) is very important before applying foundation
A good moisturizer before makeup will not only save the skin, but also help the base stay in place
Use natural eyelashes for a subtle day look and dramatic lashes for the night ( Never reverse that!)

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