In the world of makeup, where every brushstroke is a stroke of creativity, one might not expect to find a software engineer turned makeup artist. Yet, for those who are driven by a passion for colour and the desire to create something beautiful, the journey often takes unexpected and inspiring turns. Meet Amaara Umair, who despite her background in software engineering, followed her heart’s calling to become a makeup artist and decided to transition from code to colour. She is a Dubai-based makeup artist who also travels to Karachi and Lahore for her work. In an exclusive interview with You! she talks about her unique journey, exploring the power of makeup and the colourful world she now calls her own…
You! Where did you get your training?
Amaara Umair: Makeup by Mario, Sephora, London School of Make-Up and lots and lots of practice.
You! How has the beauty business changed here since you began?
AU: The beauty industry keeps evolving, changing, and bringing new trends every day all over the world. Consumers are more informed and have a greater understanding of the makeup products nowadays. Brands in the industry are trying to be more inclusive, catering to a wider range of skin tones and types. Social media has increasingly become a major advertising channel for companies selling cosmetics, skincare, and other beauty products.
You! What famous artists have influenced you, and how?
AU: I wouldn’t say I’m influenced, but I genuinely enjoy watching artists create creative and stunning looks from around the world. Their work serves as inspiration for me to continually improve and enhance my own skills.
You! Name three holy grail drugstore and high-end products that you absolutely love:
AU: For drug store, it’s L’Oreal Paris Infallible Liquid Foundation, Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick, Essence mascaras. For high-end, it’s Nars Natural Radiant Foundation, Laura Mercier Setting Powder, Urban Decay Setting Spray.
You! What are your favourite makeup tools to work with?
AU: Beauty blender and high-end brushes. Good brushes and right tools are a game-changer and worth investing in.
You! What are your 3 dos and don’ts?
AU: Invest in good skincare products. Don’t sleep with your makeup on, do not follow a trend if it doesn’t suit you, do not follow home-based skincare tips mindlessly which you come across on social media.
You! Are brides these days more experimental when it comes to makeup?
AU: I do brides from all over the world with different nationalities as I am mostly taking appointments in Dubai and I found some of them being more open to experiment. But, brides, generally don’t want to take any risk on their big day.
You! What is your biggest challenge while doing bridal makeup?
AU: None, I guess. I always have a discussion with my brides in detail, beforehand. As a makeup artist, I keep them involved and guide them about what should be preferred. Brides really feel good to be part of the process. They trust you more if you ask them about their choices, as well.
You! How would you describe your signature look and what is it about your style that sets you apart from other makeup artists?
AU: A signature makeup look is about making a lasting impression. I don’t do the same makeup for everyone. I consider each person’s unique features, preferences, skin type, the occasion, and the time of day to bring out their best look.
You! How do you prep up skin before applying makeup on a client?
AU: Cleanser, hydrating mist, toner and moisturiser.
You! If a client has terrible skin, what technique do you use when applying foundation?
AU: I don’t believe any skin is ‘bad’. Every skin type is beautiful in its own way. The key is to use the right products tailored to your specific skin type to achieve the perfect look. A skilled and experienced makeup artist would understand how to highlight the best features of your face.
You! Suggest some tips to have your makeup last longer.
AU: Using a good setting spray is a must.
You! I have five minutes to do my makeup - what can I do that would make the most difference?
AU: Shape and fill in your eyebrows and enhance your natural lashes with a good mascara. Add a pop of colour on the lips and you’re good to go.
You! What style and colours do you prefer working with when doing eye makeup?
AU: Eye makeup can be done in any colour and style. It’s all about creating a balance between colours. I prefer browns and maroons with a hint of beautiful glitters.
You! For hooded eyes, what would you suggest to make their eye makeup pop?
AU: Apply your eyeliner in a thin line, as close to your lash-line as possible, mostly focusing on the outer corner. For best results, use half eyelashes on the outer corner.
You! What lip colours are in-vogue nowadays?
AU: Isn’t red the best and such a classic.
You! What are some of the top three common mistakes women (esp. brown women) tend to make while doing their makeup?
AU: I’ve noticed that sometimes makeup artists tend to apply too much makeup, rather than achieving the right balance. It’s important to remember that you don't need to use all the products at once. Less is always more.
You! Suggest a proper skin care regimen for all makeup enthusiasts who like to wear makeup every day?
AU: Cleanse and remove your makeup properly before bedtime. Let your skin breathe.
You! What do you love most about makeup?
You! What is the most important beauty advice that you can give to women?
AU: You all are beautiful the way you are. Always take care of your physical and mental health. Stay happy and positive.
You! Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring makeup artists?
AU: Practice on different faces as much as you can. It will refine your expertise and build your confidence.
You! What are your plans for the future (do you plan to collaborate with brands)?
AU: I love collaborating with brands and I will continue to do that.