A successful makeup artist who is so proud of her lineage, Natasha Ali Lakhani has always been very fascinated about beauty and personal grooming. Being the granddaughter of Madam Noor Jehan, good looks are in her genes. “The fascination has been there since I was a child looking at my grandmother and mother doing their makeup in the mirror.
And the fascination wasn’t limited to looking glamorous myself, but understanding the process to be able to create and transform others as well – the skill I worked on during my school years,” reminisces Natasha Ali Lakhani.
Surrounded by great women in her family, this prodigy has proved her mettle in the beauty business with a number of fans who don’t just love her work but are impressed by how she is taking the world of beauty to another level in Pakistan. In a few years, she has taken her brand Natasha Salon to a great height of success and popularity. Currently, this Karachi-based makeup artist is making a global impact with her online masterclasses and tutorials and also has big plans to maximise her reach. This week You! talks to Natasha about her passion and a few winter makeup, skin and hair care tips for its readers…
You! When and how did you dabble into the beauty business?
Natasha Ali Lakhani: I grew up surrounded by a host of beautiful, talented women, which inspired me to be involved in the arts. Later, I took extensive makeup courses in London before moving to Dubai. I joined M.A.C as a makeup artist whilst also building a portfolio that included working with brands such as YSL, Giorgio Armani, Bobbi Brown, Dior, Makeup Forever and others. The idea to open a salon in Karachi was my sister’s and we had no idea that it would take off as it did. We have grown and evolved alongside the brand and now with this new digital frontier, we are taking our knowledge/artistry online with the masterclasses, online tutorials and our soon to be launched YouTube channel and website we are incredibly excited about. The possibilities are endless.
You! People are hooked to your engaging makeup tutorials on Instagram. How are you keeping up with it post lockdown when you are back to work with a busy schedule?
NAL: I am a multitasker… especially with a baby, one has to be so even in the midst of a lockdown. I was juggling ten things as we started our online makeup masterclasses, tutorials and our other new content on Instagram simultaneously. The trick is to plan well which my sister Sabrina – who is the head of business and development – alongside my team, streamlines it for me which makes it easy to do it all. We tend to record the tutorials ahead of time depending on how busy my schedule is about to become. So even in the midst of all that, the content keeps regularly being shared.
You! You have been posting monotone makeup looks. Give a few tips on how to create one of them in less time.
NAL: I do love a great monotone makeup look and it’s one of the current trends I am loving at the moment. The best way to create it in a short time is to get a great lip colour that you would then blend on your eyelids, apples of your cheek and your lips. It is a great quick way to make the entire look cohesive without having to match eyeshadows with blush and lip colours. I am currently loving a peach or a ’90s brown monotone makeup look.
You! What is the formula of your signature 100-watt skin?
NAL: My formula for the signature 100-watt skin is all about beauty from the inside/out. It’s about having that radiant/glowy skin which I believe is an amalgamation of 4 things for your insides and include raw vegetables/fruits in your diet, at least 3 litres of water to hydrate your skin and body, 8 hours of beauty sleep and 4-5 days of the week where you have a great cardiovascular workout. That plus having a great skin routine/skin prep and then makeup that is sheer is the formula to achieve that 100-watt skin.
You! How can we create fresh-faced makeup look on a daily basis in winter?
NAL: For me, it’s always about skin care first. The winters mean skin gets more dehydrated hence having a good morning/night-time routine that involves double cleansing, hydrating cleansers, chemical exfoliators, toners and moisturisers. A tip to create that fresh-faced look is to use a dewy tinted moisturiser that adds hydration to the skin as well; alongside a thin veil of coverage. On top of which one would give skin colour by using a rosy tint on the cheeks/lips and eyelids. A swipe of mascara alongside a pink berry toned lip would really give a fresh-faced makeup look that really adds colour to the face during the grey months of winter.
You! What products do you use to moisturise your skin in winter?
NAL: In the winter, I like to use a great hyaluronic acid before I apply my moisturisers. The tip is to always apply the hyaluronic acid on a damp not dry face and applying a great moisturiser right after. I also add a brightening Vitamin C serum and make sure that all the skin products I use are hydrating; from my face wash to cleansers to toners etc. Other essentials are a great hydrating lip balm and a hand moisturiser.
You! What are your winter makeup essentials?
NAL: An illuminating primer, tinted moisturiser, volumising mascara, cream blush, lip gloss and a dewy setting spray.
You! What is your biggest beauty indulgence?
NAL: Skin care products is my biggest beauty indulgence; I love investing in the best that the world has to offer because as I keep telling my students that your skin is an actual organ. Put the best ingredients/products on it, if your skin is looking good you can get away with wearing bare minimum makeup and look radiant and beautiful naturally.
You! Do you have a beauty look that you will never attempt?
NAL: I generally am not a fan of the hyper exaggerated Instagram influencer style of makeup. A lot of my tutorials are softer looks and I do many a look without eyelashes. When people ask me why, I tell them when did eyelashes become the norm. Clean, dewy, well blended, classic makeup is timeless and I feel we need to see more than that on our social media platforms.
You! What is your go-to holiday look?
NAL: It’s either a messy chocolate brown smoky eye with a nude lip or clean dewy skin with a red lip and a swipe of mascara.
You! Do you have any beauty icons?
NAL: My nani and my mother.
You! Your makeup bag consists of?
NAL: At the moment, Benefit Precisely My Brow Pencil, Benefit Badgal Mascara, an eyelash curler, Bobbi Brown lip pencil in Rose, M.A.C lipstick in Modesty, NARS blush in Deep Throat, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation, NARS Laguna Bronzer and M.A.C Teddy Pencil.
You! Best home remedies for making a moisturising face mask:
NAL: One of my favourites is this one: 1 tbsp gram flour, 1 tbsp cream or milk, 1 tsp honey, 2 drops of lemon juice, a pinch of turmeric and the oil from 1 vitamin E capsule. Mix it all together, apply to the face for 20 mins to 30 mins and then wash off.
You! Best home remedies for making a moisturising hair mask:
NAL: Mix 1/2 cup of mustard oil, 2 tbsps of honey, 1 mashed banana, 1 egg and 1 cup of yogurt. Blend it well and then apply to the entire length of your hair. Keep the mask on your hair from 30 minutes to an hour. Then wash and rinse out.
You! What beauty advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
NAL: That less is more. That I don’t need to hide my flaws with extra makeup but instead, embrace them whilst enhancing my best features. I would also tell her to start putting skincare before makeup and letting my skin breathe.