The Bollywood makeup hacks I learned in a day from a celebrity makeup artist ; Namrata Soni

The Bollywood makeup hacks I learned in a day from a celebrity makeup artist

Nothing spells an experience in quite the same way as Bollywood. Hindi films are visceral, evocative, vibrant and the Bollywood star is always shining bright, be it on-screen or on the red carpet. We all look up to them for inspiration—from the makeup looks to fashion statements, to their fitness lifestyle. For a true Bollywood fan, getting to know some of their top tricks or getting an inside access into their lives, is like striking gold.

In a curious extension of its already robust experience platform, Airbnb introduced a 10-day thematic festival ‘Bollywood Insiders on Airbnb’. A range of online experiences connected fans, professionals and the intrigued to the Indian film industry. The sessions offered a BTS look into the workings of the industry, from movie making and audition tips by Farah Khan to the life and times of an actor shared by Arjun Mathur, to recipes, fitness tips, music, and styling by various industry experts.

I signed up for a session that had promised celebrity makeup hacks, hosted by none other than Namrata Soni whose galaxy of clients includes Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, and Sara Ali Khan. Once registered, Airbnb shared a list of tools to keep ready for the one-hour long session conducted over Zoom. As it turned out, I didn’t need any tools, however, it is a handy ready reckoner of basic makeup must-haves that you will need to create the look. Soni promised, “easy makeup hacks to achieve the perfect glam look just like your favourite Bollywood stars.” Her mantra—less is more. Systematically and efficiently, she worked on a model (her sister) to build from first identifying the skin type (oily, dry or a combination) to moisturising and crafting a subtle, lasting daytime look that can withstand the Indian summer and humidity.

The enthusiastic participants—all women—asked questions about skincare, brands and shades, each one answered thoughtfully by Soni. One participant was curious to know what it was like readying recent celebrity bride Rhea Kapoor. Besides this, there was little mention of many Bollywood stars. The stage belonged to Soni and her preferred brands, including Christian Dior, Bobbi Brown, Estée Lauder, Charlotte Tilbury and Maybelline. Namrata Soni

Namrata Soni’s hacks for the perfect Bollywood glam look

  1. Before you begin, know your skin type.
  2. The right skin preparation and hydration (including under the eyes) will ensure that your makeup lasts longer and your skin looks healthier.
  3. Get the right product and the correct shade to match your skin tone.
  4. Wet your beauty blender before use. A damp sponge is better for blending the corrector to create balance across the skin.
  5. To determine your skin tone, check the inside of your wrist. The colour of your veins will help you match to the right corrector. Blue veins indicate cool tones (fair skin), green veins suggest warm undertones and a mix of blue and green points you towards neutral shades (darker skin).
  6. When applying foundation, take two pumps on your hand, then, with your fingers, make three lines from under the eye to the bottom of the face. Take a brush and blend. Don’t forget to brush in around the nose and across the forehead.
  7. As Soni says, “Blend, blend, blend.”
  8. Use a powder puff to settle those parts of the face that experience the most movement, such as under the eyes, to ensure there are no creases or oiliness. Soni recommends a nude powder by Charlotte Tilbury followed by a Charlotte Tilbury highlighter.
  9. Before starting on the eyes, understand the shape of your eye. Soni prefers to elongate the eyes and is not in favour of going dark in the insets.
  10. Similarly, with eyebrows—keep it lighter on the inside and darker on the outside. Don’t make your brows uniformly one colour. The Benefit No. 6 is Soni’s go-to brow pencil. Brush your brows at a 45-degree angle to shape and fill in the gaps.
  11. There’s nothing like a gel liner to create the perfect eye line and adding a champagne shade to the waterline makes the eyes look bigger.
  12. For longer-lasting lipstick, Soni suggests that after wiping off the excess hydrating lip balm, apply the lip liner and one layer of lipstick followed by a dab of powder and then a final layer of lipstick.

After an engaging hour that went by all too quickly, I learnt that getting your makeup right and achieving the Bollywood glam look requires patience, the right tools, a well-stocked makeup kit, the right colours and a very steady hand. Soni’s hacks can help the technique and tools, but there are no hacks for patience and a steady hand.

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