If we had to describe Lakmé Salon’s National Creative Director – Makeup in three words, it’d be determined, go-getter and a complete boss lady! With over 13 years of experience in the beauty industry, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Anupma’s knowledge about makeup is truly in-depth and unparalleled.

So, for Women’s Day this year, we decided to catch up with Anupma and asked her to share her thoughts on what being a mighty successful woman in the beauty industry feels like. Read on as this boss lady takes us through her amazing journey and also shares her everyday beauty routine with us.

On her journey of becoming a makeup artist

On her journey from being a makeup artist to creative director for India’s leading chain of beauty salons

My journey with makeup started with my love for colours and the magic that they could create. Wearing lipstick or kajal would bring a skip in my walk. As a young girl, we had many fashion show rehearsals at home as my cousin was a choreographer, and I remember looking at the models in absolute awe — their graceful walk, the confidence they exuded and how stunning they looked with makeup on.

I wanted to dress them up, to create looks for the ramp, and to play with colours; so when the time came to choose what I wanted to do, I knew I wanted to be a makeup artist.

I always wanted to work with an iconic brand that made a difference – and I’m fortunate to have it all here at Lakmé Salon. Education and equal opportunity are two things close to my heart and this organisation is particular about both. Here, I’ve been able to do LFW, ramp shows, editorials, television projects and so much more, all of which has helped me get better and do better.

My greatest joy is the Backstage Heroes plan that gives wings to experts across India to break through their limitations and express their creativity in this wonderful world of beauty and fashion – and Lakmé Salon makes that possible

What, according to her, is the best and worst part about being a makeup artist

Makeup is all about celebration, joy and laughter. Every time a bride walks into Lakmé Salon, it feels like we are an integral part of their family. The cousins, the aunts, the laughter around the salon when you are getting them ready feels like a celebration of love.

Even for Lakmé Fashion Week, designing makeup and beauty looks to ensure the models complement the creativity of the designer is a huge responsibility and a lot of fun. Prepping for the shows with the backstage team is the best part. The best totally outweighs anything else, so there really isn’t anything that I don’t like about this job.

On her favourite boss girl moment

This is my 16th year in the industry and every day I feel grateful for being here. It was my dream to be a part of Lakmé Fashion Week, as it is for every artist, and I was quite literally flying during my first one. It also gave me an insight into how elaborate and expansive LFW is. Every look is practised for days and the time taken to achieve it is clocked; the makeup product is identified and then when they are ready to walk the ramp, our cheers combine with the press and audience’s applause – it’s all exhilarating, and definitely a boss girl moment.

On her biggest learning as a makeup artist

The biggest learning has been to be calm and patient; panic may set in at the last minute, so it’s the makeup artist who holds it together for a client. Also, to give expression to someone’s concept, understand a client’s vision, and have them trust you to make them look their best takes time and one must be patient to take the time to learn and imbibe.

On her beauty routine

On what a typical day in the life of the National Creative Director - Makeup at Lakmé Salon looks like

At the salon, we are constantly striving to move one step higher, and expertise and training are crucial parts of our everyday schedules. Lakmé Salon is an iconic, trendsetting brand with education at its core. We have a responsibility towards our industry and it’s important to stay focused on that every day.

I also design new looks and with our amazing team of regional trainers, we train artists across more than 400 Lakmé Salons in India, ensuring that we maintain world-class standards for our people and customers.

We also have a Backstage Heroes plan for Lakmé Fashion Week, which is a major part of my daily life. The aim of this program is to train experts across the country, whether they are in Sasaram, Bihar or Bangalore and groom them to be a part of fashion week or our new bridal campaign. For us, at Lakmé Salon, it’s always people first, so we have individual development plans based on their goals.

Then, of course, there are brides I attend to, who log into our webshop from across the country. I discuss their looks, clothes and jewellery, help plan their makeup looks and then connect them with a particular salon and trainer most convenient for them for their big day. There are also shoots and shows on some days and putting looks together for those are also a lot of fun.

On 5 makeup products she can’t do without

The five beauty products are the Lakmé Eyeconic Kajal, Lakmé Flutter Secrets Mascara, Lakmé Lip Love balm, Dermalogica Phyto Replenishing Oil, and the Dermalogica Double Cleanser Super Duo. On her everyday beauty routine I follow a routine of CTM religiously every day and have recently graduated to the double cleanse routine, which makes my skin feel really clean and soft. Apart from that, I ensure that religiously apply sunscreen several times a day to protect my skin. Lastly, I give my skin an extra dose of moisture by applying the Phyto Replenishing Oil before sleeping as well as before putting on makeup.

On her off-duty makeup look

When it comes to my off-duty makeup look, I love a slightly smudged out, smokey eye, which I quickly create using the Lakmé Eyeconic Kajal. I also use a touch of mascara and pick any Lakmé 9 to 5 lipstick according to my mood for that day and apply a bit of the same colour on my cheeks as well.

On what would she like to tell people wanting to make it big in the makeup industry

It’s a fun profession but requires a lot of hard work, patience and sincerity. It’s not always as glamorous as it looks and while you are on the floor, it’s important to understand your clients’ expectations. I always advise young people to start their career at a salon, like Lakmé Salon, as we train on consultation, makeup, product identification, ramp and photo shoots. Be patient -- success will come if you are true to yourself and your client.

If you want to make it big, create a vision board. Map out where you want to be — a freelancer bridal artist, a celebrity artist, a photoshoot artist, or all of the above. Work and gain experience, don’t rush. And always remember makeup is about celebration, so make sure you deliver as promised.