A well-known name in the world of hair and beauty – Ambika Pillai is a celebrated makeup artist that is successful in a number of ways. Other than creating stunning looks on the red carpet or at Fashion Week runway shows, the beauty and hair expert runs several salons in New Delhi as well as her home state, Kerala.
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Add to that her own makeup brand ‘ambikapillai’ as well as the plan to open another salon here in Dubai, and we can see why this lady is running around from city to city and country to country. Makeup brand Inglot brings the fabulous makeup extraordinaire to Dubai for a bloggers retreat, and Masala! has a chat to get some tips from the funny and inspiring Ambika Pillai.
We hear that you are opening up a salon in Dubai soon – what brings you here?
“I’m very excited about coming here! I feel like there are so many people waiting for me to come here. I have salons in Delhi and in my home state Kerala. Dubai for me is a boiling pot of both my clients – my north Indian as well as my south Indian clients, and this will be a lot of fun for me. When I came here for a workshop once, most of the people were Arab or north Indians and I was so surprised because I was expecting a lot of south Indians. It’s quite cool that I get to meet all my previous clients in Dubai through a workshop and I hope to continue doing that with my salon here. The Indian community is what definitely brings me here.
Now, my connection with the Arab world is that I have done several brides for the Royal families in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I am very much in touch with that side of the world as well, but it’s a more hidden world. So they’re excited too that I’m coming although I doubt they’ll ever come to my salon, I’ll have to go to them (laughs).”
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Do you have any makeup tips for our Indian readers?
“Of course, so many! (laughs) I’m not just talking about the north Indians – for all Indians across India – one thing that they want is to look fairer. Every bride that sits in my chair says ‘please make me look fair’. I mean, really? Fair and Lovely of course sells the most in south India. But I’m constantly telling my clients to please just stick with your own skin colour tones. A little goes a long way. If you want to conceal something on you face, use spot concealing – don’t use full coverage unless you have an occasion to go to. Remember to smoke out your kajal and liner – it is so simple (Ambika Pillai showed us how – it is actually so simple!). Experiment but don’t go over the top because it can look a little scary too. Choose a bright lip colour or highlight your eyes – it is the window to your soul, it can look so beautiful.
Either go dark on the mouth or go dark on the eyes, but never do both. But you can go light on both, of course! Go really dramatic on the eyes and go pale on your mouth. If your lips are red or pink, go soft on the eyes. It’s just too drastic if you do both. And choose your colours right! During summer months, don’t go matte because it makes you look parched. You want to look fully hydrated so some gloss over your lips really works well. Choose your make up according to your seasons and according to what works on your skin stone. Keep everything in mind, from what you wear to what type of job you do. Be yourself and be natural. Always do what you are comfortable with. My best makeup tip? You don’t necessarily have to follow trends, but borrow from trends instead!”
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So what would you say the trend is right now in the makeup world?
“Luminous. Luminous skin, luminous hair, luminous everything. Nothing can look parched, you have to have that hydrated look. A healthy and loving look – you have to be loving life. Look after your skin, and don’t think that you have to hide it with makeup. Less is always more. A little really goes a long way where makeup is concerned.”