Talented, Olabisi Folawiyo has made her mark in the beauty industry. An authority in the field, the soft-spoken make-up artist shares her trade secrets
Why did you choose to become a make-up artist?
I like to say that I stumbled on the make-up industry. I was working as an investment banker when I moved back to Nigeria but make-up is something I have been doing since my days at the university, almost 10 years ago. My close friend and I still laugh when we remember how I had only one make-up brush for everything back then!
You attended two different make-up schools in London and New York, why was it so?
After I finished from the Academy of Freelance Make-up in London, I wanted something that was geared towards women of colour, hence my trip to New York. I am happy I did that because I am now trained not only to apply make-up on dark-skinned people alone, but also Caucasian/European women.
Was it difficult convincing your parents to support your switch to another career?
Like I said, I used to be an investment banker, so they found the switch quite shocking. After explaining things to them and because they believe that whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well, they advised me to strive to be the best make-up artist there is out there.
How favourable is the business environment in Nigeria?
The average Nigerian woman is very aware of her beauty and outward appearance. She wants to look good always, and sometimes at any cost. So, it creates a demand for what we do. Also, the Nigerian fashion industry, and more recently, the wedding industry have created an even greater proposition for make-up artistry in this country.
The make-up industry in Nigeria is very saturated. Is this a challenge?
As a creative person, I never limit my craft. You must t be at par with trends and also be willing to try new things. I don’t stay too fixated on how things are done. I am inspired by make-up greats and I just keep learning.
What are the challenges you encounter?
The fact that people do not think highly of what we do and therefore, treat us the same way. They think that make-up artists are dropouts.
How do you deal with feedback from your clients?
I’m not offended by it at all. People don’t have to like everything you do. That doesn’t make you any less of a great make-up artist, but you just need to know what works for certain people because it makes your work easier at the end of the day.
Is the industry a competitive one?
It is very competitive. You should never get comfortable with your level of success. Stay hungry. The day you feel you have ‘arrived’, there will be a problem. Pray, work hard and stay humble.
It appears everyone is into make-up, do you think the craft is being abused?
No, I don’t feel so. Instead, I take it that customers are spoilt for choice. Anyway, I understand why people would feel that way.
How best should a woman wear her make-up?
Since I am team natural, I believe a woman should enhance and not take the shine off her natural beauty. Build make-up but don’t pack it on.
Make-up artists appear to have a glamorous lifestyle, does that apply to you
It is not the same with me. When I arrived for this photoshoot, I was asked to put on my wig but I did not come with one because I am wearing my natural hair for the shoot. That’s me.
What informs your choice of make-up products for different clients?
The client’s skin type and tone, allergic reactions to certain brands, the person’s style and the nature of the occasion determines the look and type of products I use.
How should women care for the face after wearing make-up?
Take off your make-up before you go to bed. Keep a simple skincare regimen that works for you and try not to use different products on your face at once.
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