Make-up maestro Smitha Deepak shares her magical make-up mantras

Smitha Deepak

Well-known make-up artist, beauty blogger and fashion influencer, California-based Smitha Deepak was in another orb when she was pursuing her bachelors in Computer Science and MBA. She worked in the corporate sector in the areas of fashion and marketing for over a decade before she decided to pursue her passion in make-up and media. I spoke to Smitha on her foray into the beauty business, her amazing ability to recreate celebrity looks and also on her make-up mantras.

Anjana: Smitha, you have a background in computer science but you ventured into a field diagonally opposite. How did the transition happen?

Smitha: I love everything art. I think most artists would agree with me that we look at things differently. Though being in corporate America gave me the financial security, I felt incomplete when it came to how much I could express myself. Since very early on, I did make-up on others in stealth, in fact even during my wedding, I not only did my own make-up but on several guests as well!

For years, I nurtured a deep desire to break free and just follow my heart. One fine day, I decided to put my thoughts to work, picked up my husband’s camera, borrowed my kids’ reading table/chair and set up a small studio in the corner of our master bedroom. I put out my very first video on YouTube two years ago and the rest is history.

A: How does your typical day/week look like?

S: As an influencer, my schedule is always packed with shoots and brand collaborations which leaves me with no time for freelancing. So all my professional work is portrayed online on the social media platform. I post new videos on Youtube every Tuesday and Thursday, and professional makeup looks on social media regularly which often gets shared by small and large cosmetic companies across the globe. I am mostly recognized for the celebrity recreations that I do, my subscribers look forward to those as it gives them a feeling that they can also recreate celebrity inspired looks by watching my videos.

Recreation of Kareena’s Veere di Wedding look

A: What, according to you, is the biggest make-up blunder people make?

S: Make-up is an art, using colors we create an illusion to enhance facial structure and features. We use colors to contour and create shadows and highlights on our face to make a round face look more chiseled, we use colors to open up droopy or hooded eyes to make them look much bigger, etc. Every face is different, so the formula for make-up changes and is unique to everyone. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is trying to do make-up like someone else and expecting the same result. Understanding our face and needs is the first and foremost important step, it’s only then that you can create magic.

A: What is your forecast for the trends for the upcoming year?

S: One of the biggest trends will be the “no make-up, make-up look”, especially with a natural glow. It is not new to the industry but a lot more people have been adopting this style, especially on the red carpet. It’s a look that gives you the most natural finish, makes you look flawless and well put-together without looking harsh. It’s a technique that you use to enhance your natural features without any bright colors or harsh contours.

A: Can you share some tips for this season?

S: Take good care of your skin! During winters, our skin becomes drier and more cracked. Applying make-up on cracked/chapped skin can look cakey. So, having a regular skin care routine (wash, steam, exfoliate, mask and moisturize) is very important.

A: What is the one make-up item that everybody should own? Which is your favorite?

S: They say, when in doubt, wear red. I say, when in doubt wear a lipstick! Even if you’re not having the best make-up or hair day, or when you’re in a hurry, applying a lipstick can change everything. So owning a good nude and a sassy red lipstick is a great idea. My favorites are Mac faux (for nude) and Pat McGrath Lipstick in “Elson 013” (for red).

Smitha recreates Anushka’s wedding look

A: How do you go about creating exact replicas of celebrity looks and how do you source your jewelery, clothes etc. as they always look identical to the original?

S: It all starts with tremendous amount of research. After the celeb pictures and videos get posted online, I start making notes, watching videos and looking at pictures from different angles. I also try to see who their original make-up artist was and if I can get the products they used. As time is of essence while publishing the recreations, I barely ever source the ensembles. I make most of it myself, including jewelry and outfits. In my studio, I have a separate area for making them. I have collected every color bead and stone for making jewelry, and every possible trim and border for outfits. So I work round the clock from doing the research, making my outfits/jewelry, taping, editing and posting on Youtube and other social media outlets, mostly within 24 hours from when the first celebrity pictures get posted.

A: Who according to you has the best make-up always?

S: I think Deepika Padukone and Charlize Theron are so versatile with their style and can carry any look, I love Salma Hayek’s and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s signature smokey eye looks, and definitely dig Alia Bhatt’s and Hande Erçel’s minimal makeup looks. When it comes to nude makeup with a fabulous glow, I love Jennifer Lopez.

Recreation of Sonakshi Sinha’s look

A: What are the differences in make-up routines/trends in India and the U.S?

S: India is bright and colorful in every aspect including make-up. We use a lot more vibrant colors and shimmers like golds and silvers. Defined eye make-up with kajal/eyeliners, blushes with a rosy hue and bright lips are always a hit. While in the US, there’s a lot more focus on bushy eyebrows, contours and bronzed looks and the trend is moving towards wearable runway and red carpet minimalistic looks.

A: Can you share a quick make-up routine for somebody in a rush, like an office-goer?

S: Apply a good moisturizer with SPF 30+ (to avoid sun damage)
Apply a liquid foundation and set with translucent or pressed powder
Enhance with a light blush on the cheeks
Apply an eye pencil in the waterline and some waterproof mascara to last an entire day
Finish up with a tinted lip balm or a lipstick.
This whole process should take you less than 10 minutes, which is perfect for anyone on the run.

A: Can you share some make-up tips?

S: Before buying foundation, always swatch test it on the side of the face to match it with the neck color. Applying make-up with fingers gets done faster, but applying make-up with brushes give you a flawless finish. Avoid eyeliners if you have hooded or droopy eyes.

Your make-up looks its best when you carry it with confidence. So, always wear your attitude and confidence, it will make you look even more beautiful.

Images Courtesy: Smitha Deepak