In converstion with Navin Ahmed, owner of Gala Makeover Studio and Salon
From being someone who was doubtful about her future, to becoming the most influential person in the makeup industry, Navin Ahmed’s story is a truly inspirational one. Although she has become a household name today, her immense success story isn’t one without any struggles. And these very struggles are what she owes her massive success to.
We caught up with Navin Ahmed this month, to know more about her story.
“Since childhood, I was not a very confident person, and to add to that, I wasn’t a very good student as well. However, art was something that I was always interested in and genuinely loved doing. In fact, during my O levels I scored the second highest marks in the world in the subject, and that's what gave me the confidence to decide I can do something that included art. So initially, my plan was to go abroad and study art, since I was good at it. But along the way, make-up was also another thing that fascinated me the most. I would also do make-up on my friends, cousins and other family members, and that was also something which brought out the inner artist in me. My best friend, who lived in Canada at that time, suggested me to look into a course that taught make-up artistry. That is where it all began,” says Navin, while discussing what motivated her to get a professional training in this field.
“Then I went to Toronto for my higher studies and did a two year extensive diploma course at the Sheridan College on Cosmetic Techniques and Management and later went to York University,” she says. “After finishing that I returned to Bangladesh. In 2011, I started Gala Makeover Studio and began to do makeup professionally.”
In her own words, being an entrepreneur in Bangladesh has been an “eye-opener” for Navin. Since her style of make-up was completely different than the ones traditional parlours used to offer at that time, Navin always thought it would be quite difficult for her when she first started off. “However, it was incredibly easy for me,” she says. “My preferred style is naturally glamourous. For me, the skin has to look flawless, with features that are well defined and sculpted, but the overall finish should not look cakey. That is why, I’m not very heavy handed with products. Women who understood the right kind of application techniques and preferred authentic brands being used on them, went for me because I think that’s not something a lot of people would find in parlours those days. Nowadays, most makeup artists use makeup products that are of high quality, but in those days, that was hard to find.”
As the conversation went on, we asked Navin what’s trending this season, to which she replied, “Smoky eyes are back. For quite sometime, light eyes and bold lips were all the rage, but I definitely think smokey eyes are back -- and they are here to stay. Smoky eyes and nude lips can create that classic, timeless look for a bride, and this is an advice that I give to all my brides -- to go for such a look which will make them feel like they made the right choice, even when they look at their photos 10 or 20 years later.”
“For the hair, elegant sleek updos are in these days. It is a timeless hairstyle hat never really goes out of fashion, and most of the brides want to go with this chic hairstyle these days, rather than a more voluminous updo. Messy buns were quite in for sometime, but for the ‘red’ look, brides definitely want a sleek hairdo with a shitapati,” she adds.
When asked to describe her style of make-up for a minimalistic bride, Navin says, “For a bride who wants to keep things simple, I first ask them what their choice of lip colour would be. That is because I believe, every girl has a favourite lipstick or a certain shade of lipcolour that they always want to go for, whether they apply any other make-up products or not. So I always make it a point to ask them what they want to do with their lips. If they go for a bold colour, then I use more earthy or soft eye shadows and keep the contouring light so that the whole look does not become too overpowering. On the other hand, if they want a nude lip or a lighter shade of colour on their lips, I go for dramatic eyes, maybe smoky or a cut crease with glitter. However, I prefer a natural base for all kinds of looks, because I feel like a cakey base can make one look more aged. Overall, I like to keep things very glowy and soft, with a dewy finish.”
Talking about the importance of maintaining a proper skincare routine, the make-up artist said, “Taking care of your skin is a must, and I cannot stress this enough. Drinking lots of water, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep is of utmost importance. A scheduled skin care routine that includes cleansing, toning and moisturizing regularly is also important. I always suggest my clients to do double-cleansing, which involves washing your face in two steps, first by using an oil-based cleanser, followed by a water-based cleanser. Also, it is equally important to use quality products whenever you’re doing your make-up. And it is that much important to remove your make-up properly at the end of the day.”
The entire process of applying make-up on someone, whether she is doing it on herself or her clients, is what entices Navin the most. "The face is like a canvas for me, and I feel like it brings out the inner artist in me. Apart from that, a glowy base is something that I absolutely love doing. That is something I started off with and have been doing for nearly 10 years now, and it has always been my signature style,” says Navin, when asked to describe what she loves most about doing makeovers.
A trend that should stay according to Navin is the naturally glamourous look that everyone prefers these days. “When you’re not trying to look like someone else, that is when you can be true to yourself -- that is when your inner beauty shows. I’d like people to feel comfortable in their own skin, and not try to imitate others,” she says. The make-up artist feels that a heavy base is not something that people want to go for anymore, and she wants it to stay that way.
Navin’s advice to budding beauty entrepreneurs would be -- “Follow your dreams and be confident. It is essential to acquire training when you want to excel at something, so if you feel like there’s room for improvement, get some professional training. It always helps to learn. Moreover, don’t think of your peers as competition -- the only person you should compete with is yourself, because only then you can excel. The make-up industry is booming, and it will boom further, so I would encourage newcomers to join and make the tribe bigger. And above all, knowing your clients well and serving them in the best way possible is of utmost importance.”