Ojas Rajani, Celebrity Makeup Artist, gives us some pointers about clean makeup, minimalist look, self care and self expression.
We’ve been discussing a lot about clean beauty, and minimalism in beauty. Well, we got talking to celebrity makeup artist and stylist Ojas Rajani to get some insider input on what clean makeup is all about. Ojas has been in the beauty industry for over 25 years – working with celebrities like Urmila Matondkar, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Shilpa Shetty and so on. A CA by education, Ojas learnt the art of makeup from the Miami School of Design during a trip to the US. She is credited with bringing in the concept of minimalist makeup look on Bollywood screen at a time when heavy, cakey makeup was the norm. Here she shares her tips on clean makeup, self-care and self-expression.
When we talk about minimalist and clean look, what is it that we should focus on?
While the media and influencers are talking about this whole clean makeup movement now, I have been practicing it for the last 25 years. In fact, when it comes to a makeup; clean, minimalist look with focus on healthy glowing skin has been my signature look since the time entered this industry. You can say that I introduced the idea of using minimal foundation and allowing your skin to breathe, when I first did the makeup on Urmila Matondkar for the movie Rangeela. With Aishwarya Rai I experimented with the dewy skin look rather than a very heavily pancaked look, which used to be predominant in Bollywood before that. Since, clean beauty is of essence right now, so it should translate into your makeup as well. It is about keeping it low key and allowing your natural skin to show through. Clean makeup is about loving your look.
How would you define your version of clean makeup look?
Like I mentioned, it is all about having a soft, glowing skin, accentuated with a soft flush of colour on your cheeks, lips and eyelids. When I am putting on makeup on myself or the brides and celebs I work with, I always focus on prepping the skin first. I use serum-based skin care products to give skin a buttery look and feel. When going for the minimalist look, ditch heavy foundation, instead use BB or CC creams and a hint of concealer to even out the complexion. Primer before makeup is a must if you want your look to last long. I prefer to use a primer that has highlighting properties to enhance the overall dewy skin effect. On regular days, try tinted moisturiser or make your own by blending a drop of liquid foundation with your day cream or hydrating serum. Use cream-based cheek and lip colours. In fact, I love the multi-use lip and cheek tints or balms that are available in the market today. These are perfect for adding colour to your lips, cheeks and even eyelids.
What kind of colours make for clean makeup or minimalist look?
Actually, 2022 is the year when we have seen the revival of lot of 80’s and 90’s looks. There’s a lot more use of highlighters and diffused colours compared to the very matte, contoured look of the past few years. Nude tones, soft pink and peach are the hue of the moment for lips and cheeks. Post pandemic, everyone wants to look as if glowing with health, so there is a lot more of rosy cheeks, and soft, fruit tinted lips. Eyes have that shimmery look with soft eyeshadows, coloured liners and graphic lines. Nothing too stark or harsh. Makeup lines are blurred and soft. In my mind, clean makeup is all about self-expression, showing your true colours and going with nature’s flow.
What does self-expression mean to you?
Being yourself and accepting the truth about yourself. I have been very lucky in being able to express my true self. I have a very strong family and my parents accepted me as who I am. Their love and unabashed acceptance of me has really helped me flourish and become what I am today. Even before coming out, I always stood out among my peers. Since my parents accepted my reality with a very open mind, so I had it little easier. I am a chartered accountant by profession, but my heart was always into fashion and makeup. I studied commerce in college and topped ICWA course and worked in the corporate world. However, soon I realised that it was not for me. So, I gave up a well-paying job to study hair and make-up styling in Miami School of Design, U.S.A. I decided to follow my passion and make it my career option. Bollywood is what inspired me then and it still does, after all these years.
I am really glad that there is lot more acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community among the newer generations. I always felt differently when growing up and veered naturally towards what you would call ‘girly things’. But it was not until I was in 12th grade that I realised that I was gay. I had attended a party, where there were many gay people, and for the first time I felt I was in a safe place, and with people who were like me. Once I realised myself, I told my parents, and they showed amazing support towards me. They accepted my reality with lots of love, care and understanding. In way, this made it easier for me to forge ahead in doing my work and establishing myself.
What inspires you to go to work every day?
I have done makeup and styling for 4 generations of Bollywood and in the advertising world. I am still inspired by Bollywood. In fact, it was Suneil Shetty who first gave me my first break as a stylist for his designer boutique. From there, I worked my way up and created different looks for actresses like Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi, Urmila Matondkar, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Perizaad Zorabian to name a few.
Today, I focus a lot more on bridal looks. It allows me to travel and offers me a challenge that is very refreshing. It is always fun working on brides from different parts of the world. I get to learn about many trends. Also, bridal makeovers are highly individualistic as I have to make sure the bride has the best time of her life while she is getting ready with me for her various wedding events. The other thing I love to do is to train the next generation of makeup artists and stylists who can create signature looks for their clients.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite clean beauty products?
Well, I love plain old rose water from any good, natural and organic brand. It is ideal for freshening up tired skin any time, anywhere. I also love Indulgeo Beauty Oil. It works wonders in giving you a dewy, glowing skin. Helps to prep the skin before makeup. I like Bioderma products as they are good for sensitive skin. Their makeup remover is very effective and cleans skin without harming the moisture balance. I also quite love the latest clutch of multi-use lip and cheeks tints from Indian clean beauty brands, and use them to create a diffused, dewy look.