Makeup artist Navela Sharin Hussain shares her story
Navela Sharin Hussain, a Bangladeshi-Canadian from Montreal, is a make-up artist and aspiring designer. Navela has always loved playing with make-up for as long as she can remember. That may have been largely due to her mother dressing her up, and applying kohl to her eyes, and making her pose in front of the camera. As a toddler, Navela would never walk out of the house without carrying a nail polish or a lipstick from her mom’s makeup bag. From that little girl who loved the world of beauty to someone who made a career out of that very love, Navela has had quite the journey. This month, we reached out to her to know her story.
Tell us about your career so far. How did it begin, what kind of experience have you gathered, and what kind of make-up would you say you specialize in?
At a very young age, I fell deeply in love with cosmetic products and all the things I could do with them. As a teenager, I knew I had to turn my passion for makeup into a career. As such, I started to take make-up courses from professionals after school. In 2010, with the support of my mom, I graduated from a makeup and aesthetic academy in Montreal called Academie Edith Serai. Since then, I have learned how to do stage make-up, special effects make-up, and western bridal make-up, but I specialize in commercial and Asian bridal make-up. At first, I took clients for free and volunteered to do make-up on dancers and local actors. I participated in fashions shows as an assistant to professional make-up artists who where in the industry for a very long time, and that’s where I started to gather real life experience. I slowly started building up my network. Sometimes clients would pay me with products, and that is how I began to build my kits. The experience was more valuable than anything else.
It was not about making money at that time; it was more about gaining experience of working with different personalities, practicing my skills as a make-up artist, networking with people, and, most importantly, having fun doing what I enjoyed doing the most.
How would you say make-up trends have evolved over the years that you’ve been in the business?
I have been in this industry for a little over 12 years now, and I must say I have learned a lot, and yet feel there is so much more to learn. I enjoy trying out new trends, but not every trend is to my liking. I remember being 15 years old and contouring my cheeks and nose even before it became a trend, thanks to Kim Kardashian’s make-up artist Mario Dedivanovic. I used to use taupe shadow or matt bronzer to create shadow and add light to my face. As professional make-up artists, we learn techniques and details such as the chemistry about the ingredients, which teaches us much more than just about the application of the make-up. Make-up trends are more visible now, thanks to social media. As I was evolving in my business, I found it difficult to find comfortable and affordable lashes, therefore in 2018, I launched my own lash line, Astrolashes (@astrolashes on Instagram) and created lashes catering to everyone. They are not only comfortable and budget friendly; the styles are all reusable over 20 times, if they’re taken care of.
How have your own skills developed over the years? Do you keep a lookout for latest trends in make-up?
In order to keep developing my own skill, I tend to collaborate with different photographers, models and stylists at least once a month. We all collaborate together to achieve looks we have not done before, and it helps up keep our portfolio updated as well and create looks that we would not do on a regular booking. I also am my own muse. I review a lot of products myself for others. I practice techniques learned from other artists on myself. I love reviewing products and help those who have similar skin and make-up concerns as mine. I follow several beauty professionals on social media and keep myself updated regularly on latest trends, news and buzz around the industry. I also love teaching and passing on my own developed skills to new artists, for which I offer one-on-one classes to those who want to improve their makeup looks.
You grew up in Canada, but you seem to be very much in touch with traditional Bengali styles. How much inspiration do you draw from Bengali culture for your work?
Growing up in Canada it was not difficult to keep in touch with my Bengali roots, thanks to my parents. I always loved desi outfits and culture. I enjoy creating Bengali looks, as I feel Bengalis are incredibly beautiful; they are known for beautiful eyes and the taana kajal winged liner. I truly believe that no make-up look is complete without kajal/liner and lashes. I get really excited for Pohela Boishakh looks, as bold makeup is my favorite. I am so happy that we Bengali beauties have stepped out of the box of the traditional red/maroon lipstick and embraced other bright colors such as hot pinks and oranges for lipstick during festive seasons.
Since you specialize in bridal make-up, what tips would you have for brides to have clear, glowing skin on the big day?
To all future brides, I would recommend adapting a good skincare routine a minimum of three months ahead of time. I also recommend a facial two days prior to the wedding, and a facial wax before makeup application. Exfoliating and hydrating your skin will allow your skin to glow and be smooth for wedding make-up. A trick I have applied myself during my own wedding is meditation, and positive affirmations before the event. Self-care is super important, brides!
What are some common make-up mistakes people make, especially for big events?
From my experience, brides tend to forget that it’s their big day and they will be photographed from every angle. It’s always best to hire a professional make-up artist according to their experience, and not only their service fee. I understand that weddings can be very expensive and the families involved put a lot of effort in making everything memorable, but the hair and make-up for the wedding are very important, too. Also, brides tend to want a lighter skin shade; I can’t emphasize enough on how important it is for brides, especially in our Bengali community, to embrace their own skin tone. I recommend brides to stick to their true skin tone, but with make-up techniques, they can enhance their natural beauty and camouflage little imperfections. Brides also tend to experience dehydration and a lack of sleep before the event.
It is, of course, easier said than done; but before the big day, it is very important to rest and be hydrated. I recommend not to party the night before the big day. A lot of brides test out new products right before the big day and that can cause breakouts. Any new or unusual product should be avoided right before special events.
What’s your current favourite look to do?
One of my signature make-up looks has to be the pop of colour on the lower lash line. I love incorporating a pop of colour to enhance the makeup look and harmonize with the complete outfit. I really love “glowing from within” looks. I tend to prefer a matte finish on the skin rather than a dewy look, as it can easily look greasy.
You have also launched a clothing line recently. Could you tell us something about that?
I have recently engaged myself in a new venture. I launched my new online boutique called Ami Naika. Ami Naika is a celebrity inspired fashion boutique. I have always found myself recreating Bollywood and Hollywood celebrity looks. My new boutique will not only bring out the naika (diva) in you, but will also make you feel like a celebrity. Every outfit can be made to measure and fit you like perfection. Orders are taken personally via Instagram @ami.naika.
Lastly, what advice would you give to the readers of Avenue T?
My advice to the beautiful readers of Avenue T would be: Always follow your passion, even if you don’t have the means to fulfill it completely. Start with what you have, that first step is the most important one. I promise you, will be one step closer to a happy career. It is not always about being successful at the first attempt, but to keep trying to be better than you were yesterday.