By Anam Mansuri
Natasha Khalid is serious business. The 31-year-old is not only one of the most desired makeup artists in Pakistan, with up to 25 brides a day waiting to be dolled up by her during shaadi season, she’s also becoming one of the most influential.
Like her game-changing predecessors, she is also transforming the business of beauty in Pakistan, one step at a time, mostly using social media as her weapon of choice.
There is hardly any Pakistani woman with an internet connection who isn’t familiar with Khalid’s 100 watt skin or her sister Sabrina’s thick embellished braids. Every celebrity client (and there have been many) to walk through her doors, is also religiously documented on social media which leads to hordes of women showing up with reference pictures on their big day. This isn’t surprising given her 700,000 Facebook fans and 400,000 Instagram followers keep a close tab on every happening within her salon. Khalid has now started teaching makeup, and is going to be teaching a whole lot more!
After many attempts we finally caught up with Natasha Khalid, and sat down and discussed the business of beauty, her personal skin care regime and some of the craziest brides that have walked through her salon doors:
What is your daily beauty regime?
Usually it’s my moisturiser and sunscreen that I’m very particular about. I really like using the best that’s out there and don’t believe in using cheaper products. Women can buy 70 lawn joras and can carry the latest designer handbags, but for some reason when it comes to beauty products everybody turns to the drugstore. I use a La Mer moisturising cream on my face and then religiously apply Bioderma’s spf 50. Lately I’m using Giorgio Armani’s silk foundation, which I really love. My favourite mascara right now is the L’oreal telescopic black mascara and then my constant staple is a rose lip pencil by Bobbi Brown. On top of it, I apply Mac pushglass in Ample Pink. I also apply a blush by Nars, some days it’s Orgasm and others it’s Deep throat.
What’s your favourite makeup look these days?
People get very surprised by my personal preference given the kinds of brides I do. Girls love glitter and big hairdos, but I love the barely-there look. Of course, nobody wants to pay this kind of money and have makeup that hardly shows, but that doesn’t change the fact that I really like doing this kind of makeup with the right kind of hair and jewellery. Every now and then I do get a bride who gives me this leeway.
And can you tell us more about the brides who gave you this leeway?
Mashall Chaudhri was one of them. Firstly, she’s stunning, and no matter what I put on her she still looked stunning! Secondly, doing makeup on her was great because she wanted to stick to her own skin colour unlike many other brides who want to look fairer. This allowed me to work with her beautiful golden skin tone, and I had a great time doing so!
Annie Jafri was another bride we had a lot of fun with because she also gave us a lot of liberty to play with her looks. We did smoky eyes once, we went very light one day, and we also did a really cool afghan head dress.
I especially love doing designer Misha Lakhani’s makeup. The kind of makeup I do on her is what I would ideally love to do with everyone. She works with anything I tell her to do. I did all her wedding events. She started with something very light, then we went bronzy, and then on her wedding we did a very pop-y lipstick colour she was very nervous about initially but then started liking it.
Can you give us some non-product related tips to increase our glow?
Juicing. Other than makeup, health and nutrition is something I’m really interested in right now because not a lot of people know this but I’ve lost a lot of weight over the past five years, about 40 kilos now. It’s been a long journey but has made me really big on nutrition. I juice everyday – vegetable juices, not fruit juices. I also consume super foods as much as I can, such as Chia seeds. I’m dairy free, gluten free and almost vegetarian.
Who are some makeup artists that locally and internationally you look up to?
Internationally, David Horne, Val Garland, Kabuki and Pat Mcgrath. Locally, I admire Shamain. Her brides are very beautiful. And Omayr Waqar who has come up recently is fantastic!
What is the best professional lesson you’ve learnt in these four years?
I learnt two very important lessons in the course of my career: staying true to yourself by doing your own thing and focusing on your growth, and to constantly keep evolving.
People you would love to do makeup on?
Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek and Catherine Zeta Jones. I love their faces, dark hair and eyes.
Any distinct childhood memories with you and makeup?
One of my happiest memories is helping my grandmother Madam Noor Jahan pick out a lipstick for one of her recordings. I was pretty obsessed with her. She would always indulge me, the way grandmothers do, and give me lots of makeup to play with. But the best was when I would go with her to recordings and she would be surrounded by people who would make her look so glamorous. She would always do her makeup herself and often ask me to pick out a shade of lipstick for her. That moment would be very special.
Any make up faux pas while growing up?
Of course. I was a goth during my teens in school. I used to line my eyes really dark, and used to wear a lipstick that was almost black. I don’t know how my mom survived those two years I put her though because in all those pictures I look like a crazy person.
What do you think of the beauty blogging industry in Pakistan?
I think it’s progressing but nobody has really tackled it head on. I think there’s a lot of room for growth. Everyone is very accessible because of social media so you’re competing on a worldwide platform and need to up your game. There’s no one that really comes to mind if you think of beauty blogging in Pakistan. If you think of the UAE, Huda Kattan immediately comes to mind. There used to be Alyzeh Rahim Shirazi who has now started her own makeup line which is great. But no one right now.
I am working towards developing my own blog and it’s going to be a collaborative effort that includes many makeup artists. It has to be something that’s amazing and competes with blogs globally.
You’re getting married this November. Who is going to do your makeup and what is it going to be like?
My mum and I will both do my makeup. My mom is phenomenal; she’s so much better than me! In fact, she’s the only one who does my makeup. On my wedding, we are going to have some darker looks and some lighter looks. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to go for but the two things you wont see on my big day are big braids and glittery eyes!
Tell us about some funny bridezilla stories?
I have so many that I can write a book! Some of the most common ones involve lice. There are so many women who walk in with Gucci handbags on their arm but lice on their hair. We reserve the right to tell them that we can not serve them because having lice is like having a contagious disease. Lice flies, and if a client is sitting next to you they’re going to get it too. But some clients will refuse to budge and sit there and say, “No, how can you do this to us!” So I ask them, “how can you do this to me?”
Which is the most common celebrity photograph they bring in?
For here is Aiza Khan. I did her wedding makeup and she chose to do the glittery eyes and red lips. People keep giving us that reference for themselves.