Chatting With Makeup Maverick Sabrina Suhail

Having flawlessly decked up faces of models, brides, and children for occasions running the gamut, from weddings to shoots and fashion shows, Bangalore born and bred freelance makeup and hair artist Sabrina Suhail has years of experience to her name. Her biography on her website counts her ability to nail looks going from ‘bold, funky, avant garde to the other end of the spectrum that’s soft, ethereal and delicate’ – probably the reason why Shabana Azmi counts as one of her clients – but what is most impressive about the young achiever is the genuine passion for her profession.

“I have always been the creative type, and when my mum suggested that I try makeup, I did a course and haven't turned back since,” says Sabrina, recounting her foray into the industry. Here’s a woman who is so dedicated to her passion that it sometimes makes her do slightly quirky things. “A messed up red lip that hasn't been drawn on equally really bothers me. I once took an unknown lady to the rest room of a lounge on a Saturday night and offered to correct it for her,” she says matter-of-factly.

It’s not easy to miss out Sabrina’s work – her artistry is splashed across pages of magazines such as Vogue and Marie Claire, and for brands like Puma, Fast track and Pooja Jewels. In fact, she was one of the first few Bangalorean artists to be featured in Vogue India (November 2012) as one of the best artists for bridal makeup. As one would imagine, the face painter has quite a distinct – and an easily affable – personality to match the prolific amount of work. Ask her what the biggest challenge and satisfaction of doing bridal makeup is, and she’s quick to retort, “Listening to the bride’s family’s gossip!,” with her signature twinkle in the eye.

Quite similarly, her sense of personal style is also quite edgy and interesting. When asked how she would define it, she says, “I don't have a style. I have days when I just want to wear a tee with linen pants, and other days when I like to dress up in a gown. Some days I’ll go totally grunge with dark makeup, a black shirt, black tights, a black waist coat, a fedora and boots. So it depends on how I’m feeling that morning. I also have a huge accessory collection, because I think if you wear the right accessories, shoes, hair and makeup, it could set the mood for anything!”.

Of course, we couldn’t resist asking the makeup pro to teach us some beauty tricks. On the topic of makeup blunders that Indian women tend to make often, she’s quick to answer, “A crooked eyeliner! Just try holding your breath while doing an eyeliner, and it will form straighter.” If you’re wondering how the maverick stays at the top of her game, here’s what she does, so take notes: “Apart from watching the seasonal fashion shows, I keep my self up to date by collaborating with designers on their projects and draw inspiration from their work. I also think it’s important to set trends myself!,” she smiles.

Speaking of trends, Sabrina thinks these are the ones that will rule 2016: platinum (ash blonde) hair, the pixie/bob for short-haired girls, straight and highlighted with platinum streaks for longer hair. Makeup-wise? Futuristic and edgy eyeliners (including white eyeliner) teamed with an oxblood red lip with grey nails is the look of the year according to me. Other great looks:  subtle matte eye shade + matte lipstick + oxblood red nails; clear matte skin + matte blush + lots of mascara; bold lip + bold eyes; bright lip + dark smokey eye if you can pull it off.

“India wasn't open to makeup before, but when I started teaching makeup, I was surprised at the number of people who wanted to learn it for themselves. It’s great that a number of fashion schools, makeup and hair institutes are opening nowadays. Kids are getting in touch with their creative side and that is the future! Magazines still sell, but the younger generation would rather log into their phones and blog about where they are going, who they are wearing, what they are wearing, what they should be wearing and what they wish they could have and they want the world to know this – it isn't meant to be kept personal. And I think fashion is meant to be shared, so what better way to do it than digitally?,” she says, commenting on the digital fashion space.

“I think Zapyle is an excellent portal through which fashion can be shared. I’m the youngest in my family so I know what it feels like to always wear hand-me-downs. Now it's time to take pride in wearing someone else's style instead of my elder brother’s old stained tee shirt!,” she giggles.

Quick 5:

* Worst experience with bridal makeup?

“A bride cancelled her appointment with me because I forgot her name.”

* Most common goof-ups that happen while doing makeup?

“An eyelash always comes off!”

* Favourite celebrity you've worked on? 

“Shabana Azmi – she’s an inspirational woman.”

* If you had only 5 products in your makeup kit for the rest of your life, which ones would they be?

“Benefit Bad Girl mascara, M.A.C eye lash curler, Makeup Forever Step One Yellow Primer, Urban Decay Naked Foundation (#6), M.A.C Blush in Pink Swoon, Victoria’s Secret lip balm.”

* One makeup faux pas?

“Inadequate amount of makeup.”

Naaila Khan