Makeup with Rabia- Dummy Learns Makeup


The thing about makeup is that it fascinates almost all women- either in an enticing, enigmatic way or in a disdainful way. Especially here in India where wearing makeup is an exception rather than the rule ( read Why Indian Women Do Not Use Makeup), we are either attracted by it’s seeming enigma and ability to boost your looks and confidence or simply look down upon it as something meant for the vain and conceited. And, interestingly, as with everything else, we don’t need to learn it- just as yoga and spirituality run in our bloods and we don’t need to learn, so it is with makeup- it may be alien to most of us, but we know it. How, don’t ask- but we just know it. No wonder then many of us do a shoddy job of it and give it up after a while.

With the onslaught of YouTube videos and so many tutorials on beauty blogs, learning how to do even a so-called “advanced” or “professional” look isn’t difficult. But the only problem I see with them is that none of these are interactive-there is no way to correct your mistakes, show you how to do something better or to decide what works best for you rather than stick to any rule of the thumb. And that is where a makeup class by a professional MUA comes in handy. Sadly, there are not many such classes available – neither could I find one in Gurgaon when I stayed there a couple of years ago, nor could I find one here in Chandigarh. Until I came across Makeup Classes by Rabia.


I had written about her salon in an earlier post (read here) but Rabia, a well-known MUA in Chandigarh, needs no introduction. Honestly speaking, I was a bit apprehensive going to her classes, just as I used to be walking into a MAC store a couple of years back. The fear of making a complete ass of yourself because you know next to nothing looms large. But Rabia is as down to earth as one can possibly be and within a matter of minutes makes one feel at home. She started out with a quick chat about our skin types and what makeup, if any, we have been using so far. Spread over 3 days, over an hour and a half daily, her methodology is straight and simple- demonstrate and monitor as we practice. It’s a very hands on approach rather than a chalk and talk one. The emphasis in her class, rightly so, is on abundant practice. Theoretically, we know plenty- it’s in practice that we lack and blunder.



DSC08977Over the 3 days she covered all the basics like concealing and application of foundation as well as finer details like highlighting and contouring the face. She made us do up half our face with concealer and foundation while letting the other half be to see the difference for ourselves and then decide what kind of coverage we were looking for.

Similarly, we also highlighted and contoured half our face while just DSC08979covering the other half with a foundation to see the difference and decide what look we would like and for what occasion. Eye makeup, that can effectively make or mar a look, has always been the bane of my makeup experiments. With Rabia we learnt three different looks and practiced at leisure, doing and redoing the same thing until we got it right. Finally, on the third day we did the entire face complete with brows and lips as well as some tips on hairstyles.  Rabia also encouraged us to carry pictures of any particular look that we might want to learn.


Was I wiser after these 3days with her? Definitely. Not only was I wielding the brushes with much more ease, what I gained the most was confidence- that good makeup isn’t nuclear science but something that we all can achieve with adequate patience and practice. Furthermore, there are no hard and fast rules or “must dos” – you need to experiment and see for yourself what works best for you. As Rabia pointed out, every MUA has his/her own signature style and favourites- you need to find what works best for you.


About my own makeup journey, for a long time, I myself was disdainful of makeup and learning makeup ? Nah- who needs to “learn”! Gradually, however, my perception changed. “Makeup is a way for a woman to look and feel like herself, only prettier and more confident”-this line by the iconic Bobbi Brown (who I didn’t know about for a long time-but that is a story for another time) made me rethink how I have been looking at makeup. Rather than torment myself over my Dalmatian skin what with acne marks and uneven skin tone, why not experiment with makeup and feel and look good? Does that make me vain in the eyes of others? Maybe it does. But does it really matter what others think? I don’t think so. As for “learning” how to apply makeup, when Bobbi Brown feels the need to teach people how to apply makeup (she has complimentary classes at her outlets) I think learning right way of application is as important as owning the right products. When you have an excellent, friendly MUA like Rabia ( the only Chandigarh based MUA approved by wedding site offering such classes, I think it’s worth your while to learn.

For more information on Rabia’s classes you can see her Facbeook page-

PP Bobbi Brown

Makeup for Dummies…By a Dummy


When I googled this term, “makeup for dummies”, so many results came up that I was dumbstruck. Trust google to throw up answers to any and everything but still. As I browsed through them, one thing that stood out was that all the advice for dummies was coming from professionals- either professional makeup artists or professional beauty bloggers, both being people who can apply makeup on their face while people like me are still struggling with  holding the brush the correct way. While it is certainly wise to get advice from people who know what they are talking about (blind leading blind can’t get one much far), but it is also intimidating and terribly confusing. I, for one, could not figure out, say, what all one is supposed to put on the face- moisturiser, sunscreen, primer, concealer, foundation, blusher, powder…phew! How many eye shadows go into creating one simple look? And how the hell do you get all this stuff off your face?

This is how this idea of “makeup for a dummy” series came to my mind. You know what they say- that to really understand a child, you need to place yourself in a child’s shoes. In a similar vein, I realised that to offer basic makeup advice and suggestions to a beginner, one has to understand where that beginner is coming from- the confusion; the lack of confidence to walk into a makeup store (say MAC) and choose products; the hesitation in wearing a basic kohl after years of bare face; the fear of ending up looking like a clown yet a desire to learn; the usual problem of buying too many products and using too little… the list is long. I myself have struggled with and am still struggling with all of these- yet, makeup is not exactly nuclear physics that is beyond grasp. Even nuclear physics is mastered by many…why should makeup deter anyone! So here it goes…The first in the series – just some basic, common sense pointers and things to ponder over-

  1. No matter what the product (foundation, powder, eye shadow) says – lightweight, satin finish, sheer etc etc- you will feel the product on your face because, well, you have it on your face! When I started using a foundation, I hated the artificial feel on my face- almost as if my skin could not breathe. As I started using better products and learnt how to apply makeup, my face felt lighter but it’s not the same feeling as bare skin or skin with just a sunscreen. Yes, some products are less heavy than others but the difference is of degree rather than kind.
  2. It goes without saying that while wearing makeup more products are applied on the face than a moisturiser and a sunscreen- try not to get overwhelmed. As you go along, you will figure out what works best for you and for what occasion- say a daily office look as opposed to an evening out. You may want to skip a concealer for the former but not for the latter.
  3. As a corollary to the above, it follows logically that you will need to take out more time in the mornings or before an outing if you want to wear makeup and wear it well. As time goes by, you will require less time but until then, plan carefully. No point doing a botched up job due to less time and kicking yourself over it.
  4. The key to learning and perfecting makeup application isn’t simply knowledge but practice. I tried the winged eyeliner about a year ago and never again. How good I am at doing it right is anybody’s guess. Even if you don’t plan to wear makeup every day, it’s better to keep practicing for those special occasions so that you do get it right.
  5. We all have lots of products tucked away somewhere. Unless they are way beyond the best before date, use them before buying more. Never mind all the catchy slogans- “must have nude lipsticks”; “the most lightweight foundation ever”- don’t keep on hoarding. There is no one magic product that you “must have” or which will give you the finish of your dreams.Yes all brands and formulas are different and while you figure out what is best for you, use up what you have or give them to someone who might or else just toss them in the garbage. We Indians like to hoard for posterity. Shop wisely and hoard even more astutely. Go slow- something that maybe overwhelming today, you may carry with elan tomorrow.

Lastly, don’t be apologetic about wearing, or not wearing, makeup. As I had said in an earlier post (here), Indian women hardly use makeup and even when they do, it’s with lot of apologies and explanations. You want to experiment with makeup at 45- sure! You want to look like a Barbie doll one day and a rag doll, the next? Why not? As the Bobbi Brown outlet at Select City Walk put it