A powerful conversation with Ms. Akriti SachdevMesmereyes Makeup. Bridal Makeup Artist and YouTube Vlogger

BACKGROUND

Manchester, England, is where my love for makeup developed. Believe it or not, I was a carefree tomboy back in school. While completing my International Business from the University of Manchester, I began noticing how the people around me dressed up and how much time and energy they spent putting on makeup, grooming, focusing on their overall appearance and taking care of their health. Around that time is when I realised that it is very important to take care of your health and the way you present yourself, which then extended to makeup. I started enjoying the process of getting ready for a night out, from putting on body cream to a pretty dress to a bright lipstick; it was all new and exciting.

 

I am a makeup artist by profession but I also like to call myself a trainer and a vlogger. I enjoy connecting with women all across the globe, especially in India, through my YouTube channel where I share my favorite makeup tips and various techniques. I am truly at my happiest when I feel like I have played a part in empowering some woman in some part of the world. Women have gotten in touch with me and told me how their husband has started paying more attention to them, or how they feel more confident at their job. I would’ve never thought that my YouTube videos could make an impactful difference in even one woman’s life, but it’s true – the knowledge of makeup gives you confidence because you can choose to then use that knowledge in various ways whenever you want. I guess what I’m trying to say is that these women are now equipped with the choice and knowledge to look prettier or enhance their appearance whenever they wish to. ‘Makeup’ may sound trivial, but really it has been empowering.

I am very passionate about baking (besides shooting YouTube videos). My favourite thing to bake (and eat) is Red Velvet Cup Cakes and Carrot Cake. Carrot Cake makes me feel especially good, and less guilty, because I tell myself that I’m having a vitamin-rich dessert. My cousin sister and I spend so much of our time baking and experimenting. I think I would’ve probably spent 20% of my entire life so far just baking.

I love the outdoors, I love sports – I played competitive football and badminton during school, my all-time favourite band is Coldplay, I love the beach, my favourite cuisine is Thai – green curry all the way, I am very ticklish, my left ear sticks out more than my right ear and I love shopping alone.

STRUGGLES

When I began my journey with makeup (as a profession), not many people took me seriously. Considering I studied a business degree abroad, I was probably expected to make a career doing something else. I was laughed at and questioned, which initially made me doubt my dreams and my abilities; but then I realized that my demotivation took root if I surrounded myself with negative and unsupportive people. I made an active decision to stay away from anyone who put me down, and to work so hard that I deserved to have this career. I believe that if you want to get to the top then you have to start from the bottom – no shortcuts. I remember lots of people raised their eyebrows when I was working at MAC as a makeup artist. Little did they know that I had dreamt bigger dreams and was working toward my future. My plan at the time was to learn as much as I could, so as to incorporate and share all that knowledge, skills and top secret makeup tips and tricks in my future endeavours.

A quote that has stuck with me over the years is, “No one can make you feel inferior without your own consent.” I think I’ve always done what I want; I guess I am a rebel. I set my own rules and my own goals. When my mind is set on something, I work hard toward achieving it in my own way—irrespective of what society has to say or how I am expected to perform. I don’t live by other people’s expectations of me.

When I am stressed I either go for a run, bake or listen to Coldplay. Also, these songs make me happy and are my stress busters, Barobax – Soosan Khanoom and Willi.I.Am’s – Scream & Shout ft Britney Spears.

YouTube is a very critical platform. You have to be able to take criticism with a pinch of salt, if you want to gain popularity on YouTube. The other day someone commented on one of my videos saying some pretty mean things, including that I’m a waste of time and that I needed to shut up. I don’t let that negativity affect me because for every negative person there are 100 positive supporters who I’d rather focus on. I’m very fortunate to have had so many strangers from all over the globe, encourage me and partake in positive dialogue with me.

Each to their own. Live and let live.

BEAUTY

I think that perfection or perfect-beauty doesn’t exist, no one can be perfect. Striving to be the best version of yourself is the closest any of us can get to perfection, and that is beauty to me.

HEALTH

So these are my ‘much-awaited’ and ‘exclusive health secrets’. I’m just kidding! This is just simple stuff that I follow in terms of what I eat.

Waking up to a mug of warm water with lemon and honey is not only a great form of detox but also kick starts your metabolism.

I love love love Cinnamon. I add it to yoghurt, cakes that I bake and sometimes even my favorite rose tea. Cinnamon is great for boosting your metabolism and controlling your sugar levels.

I occasionally even have raw garlic. Yes. Raw garlic. Just chop up a little and chug it with water. It’s really nutritious, rich in antioxidants and boosts your immune system. It’s basically an overall health super-food in my opinion. Of course, brushing your teeth after is crucial.

My favorite drink is tender coconut water or just regular warm water. I never have cold drinks, cold water or ice. I can’t seem to swallow cold beverages. If I were at a party, club or dinner, I’m usually the weird one asking for coconut water or a glass of warm water, instead of vodka.

My main ‘secret’ is portion control. I eat what I what, but I ensure that I eat slowly and that I don’t overeat. Even when having chocolate I take a bite and let it melt in my mouth, instead of chewing and biting it- which I think is a waste of calories and is pointless because that way you will never get satisfied.

When I’m eating out, which due to my nature of work is often unfortunately, I always ask for less oil and less salt. Even at Sarvana Bhavan or Sangeeta’s I ask for my dosa with less oil, they usually always abide.

My favorite place to eat is at home or my friends homes, because I love tasting how food is made at different peoples homes and also you get to eat healthier in the process. Also, home cooked food is always tastes like it’s made with love.

FITNESS

I love running, especially by the beach, though I don’t run as often as I’d like. I used to practice yoga, which I need to get back into. My favorite exercise is running up and down stairs, because it is convenient and can be done anytime and anywhere. I try to stay active, so when I am shopping, for example, I walk fast. I am the crazy one doing arm curls with shopping bags at the mall.

MAKEUP

My favorite feature to focus on is my eyes. You can do so much, in terms of makeup, with the eyes. That’s actually how I chose my brand’s name- Mesmereyes Makeup.

I love the Inglot black gel eye liner. It is the best gel eyeliner in the world, nothing can come close! It’s smooth, jet black, doesn’t budge, is affordable and most importantly doesn’t dry up like all the others. I was so upset when the Inglot store closed down in Chennai! My favorite kajal is Revlon Colorstay in black, which I coat with MAC’s Carbon eye shadow  so that it doesn’t smudge and lasts the whole day. I choose my lipstick color depending on my mood, but my two favorites are See Sheer from MAC, which is a soft coral color, and Relentlessly Red also from MAC, which is a bright pink color (strange that it’s called red when it’s actually pink). My favorite mascara is Benefit’s They’re Real. I switch up my foundation, blush and bronzer based on what I am trying out and experimenting with, but my favorites are usually from MAC because they have a great color selection and superior quality.

A makeup tip that I swear by is blend, blend, blend is your friend. You want your makeup to look as smooth as possible, and the key to that is blending. Another tip is to use an eye shadow base before applying eye shadows because without the base all your effort will last only an hour or two. The base will help bring out the colors and seal the eye shadow. My favorite eye shadow base is from Elizabeth Arden.

For more makeup secrets, and details on what I use, watch my YouTube videos, because I can go on and on about makeup and I don’t think this interview should get too long.

*laughs*

SKIN CARE

My skin talks to me and I try my best to listen. If a pimple has popped up in the morning, it’s usually because I ate something oily the previous day. It’s crazy how my skin is directly affected by what I eat and where my mind is at! I have combination skin, though I suffer from the usual bolt of acne – when I am either sleep deprived, stressed, or eating out too often. I used to feel slightly insecure whenever a pimple came to visit, but I soon realized that I was and am still the same person with or without that pimple.

More than the products I use, what truly makes a difference to my skin is what I consume. I’ve actually also incorporated Oil Pulling to my routine after watching the TBR video and have seen fabulous results with my skin.

I use a Forest Essentials Honey, Lemon and Rosewater face cleanser followed by a rose-tea ice cube in place of a toner (I simply freeze my leftover rose tea in an ice tray) and then a light Forest Essentials Jasmine day moisturiser. I switch it up with a Cetaphil face wash and moisturiser, because it is more easily available and affordable when I travel. I am a huge sunscreen devotee and love the La Shield SPF 30 sunscreen, which is gel-based and gives a ‘mattifying’ look. To remove every trace of makeup I absolutely love Clinque’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm. I’ve talked about it in one my YouTube videos actually. I try to be consistent with my eye cream application, so whenever I get around to it I use Oriflame’s Seeing Is Believing eye cream. I drown fresh pimples in 2.5% benzoyl peroxide (that I get at my local pharmacy) and saturate them in prayers. Whenever I have time to myself, I like to use Body Shop’s Seaweed Clay Mask or a homemade mask of tomato, oats and yogurt.

BODY CARE

I love the Milk and Honey range from Oriflame– they have a delicious smelling body scrub! Right now I’m using a Kama shower gel with lovely purple hand exfoliating gloves that I got at Body Shop. I finish my bath routine with Vaseline’s Aloe Fresh body lotion or a Kama body lotion that smells citrusy. Oh and I also really like Oriflame’s Overnight Avocado foot cream.

HAIR CARE

I brush my hair with my fingers because it gets frizzier with a brush. I don’t even remember the last time I used a brush. I’m currently using the Tresseme Climate Control shampoo and conditioner, followed by Moroccan Oil as a serum. Sometimes I’ll treat myself to a Dove Intense Repair hair mask. I love getting head massages, because it’s not only relaxing but also leads to healthier hair. I’m currently using Juicy Chemistry’s hair massage oil. I get my hair trimmed once in 3 months because otherwise my curls take on a life of their own. In-between washes, I use talcum powder on my roots if I’ve run out of dry shampoo.

BOTOX & AGEING

In regards to my thoughts on botox and ageing, I think each to their own. People spend so much time concealing, contouring and slimming their face with makeup, so if they were to rather do it permanently what difference would it make. Whatever makes one happy! I think I’d like to age gracefully and embrace what I am handed.

FRAGRANCE & NAILS

This is easy. In terms of fragrance, my all-time favorite is Euphoria from Calvin Klein. In terms of nail color preference, I love bright coral colours.

STYLE

When I’m working with a bride, I prefer Indian cotton kurtis. While shooting videos for my YouTube channel, I switch it up based on the video’s topic. I love bright colours, floral prints and clothes that make me feel happy. I don’t follow trends. When I step out at night, I tend to choose block colours. My go-to outfit is a black or white dress so that I can go all-out and experiment with my makeup look. I am a huge accessory lover and spend a lot of my time and money buying cute, colourful things I may not really ever use or need. Recently for a video I bought a pink, heart-shaped purse mirror; it’s kinda heavy so I don’t think I’ll be carrying it as much as I intended to.

PARTING WORDS

You have only one life to live, why not spend it doing something you are passionate about and that you derive happiness from. Spend your life doing what makes you happy and surround yourself with people who make you grow. Push yourself everyday to be better, to be happier, to achieve more and to love more. Trust your gut instinct and believe in yourself before you expect others to believe in you.

-as told to TBR

Ms. Akriti Sachdev photographed at her home, in August 2014 by Nithin Barath for TBR

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P.P.S: This is the Pick Quick with Akriti Sachdev video. More information on the Pick Quick series can be found here.

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