Secrets of a Make-up Artist – an interview with Anjum Darakshan

I was so excited when Anjum Darakshan, make-up artist extraordinaire and owner of Aa’raish salon in Schaumburg, agreed to sit down with me for an interview to share her secrets and tips on beauty and makeup.  

A picture of Anjum I stole from her Facebook page, because she didn’t want to take a picture of herself. I’m sure she won’t mind…

I first met Anjum when I was looking for a make-up artist for my wedding reception a couple of years ago. I had driven by the salon countless times, but I hadn’t ever gone inside. I ended up not only getting my makeup done by Anjum there, but I also got my hair styled, and my sari put on properly. For those who do not know, a sari is a long piece of fabric that is artfully wrapped and carefully pinned on the person wearing it. It is extremely difficult for some people to do it themselves, especially for someone like me who hadn’t worn one in years. 

Me wearing the traditional bridal red at my reception. This picture was taken at the END of the night, believe it or not. 

By the way, the employees at Aa’raish are so genuinely sweet and helpful, it is almost like visiting your best girlfriends, and not just a place of business. I ask them for recommendations on everything from tailors to recipes! 

Side note: Anjum and Simona are both healthy foodies. Foodie tip I learned today, take a piece of charcoal and light it, partially wrap it in foil and place in your rotisserie while you roast your chicken. It will taste like it was charcoal-grilled. I can’t wait to try that one!

Interview below:

Z: First of all, what does Aa’raish mean?

A: Aa’raish means enhancing your beauty. 

Z: What should we all do to have amazing skin like yours?

A: (Laughs off my compliment) The key is prevention. In your early twenties, start being strict with your nightly routine. If you haven’t started yet, what are you waiting for?

1) Don’t go to bed with makeup on. 

2) You must apply a serum, a glycolic eye cream, and a moisturizer every night. 

3) Make sure to get facials every 2-3 months and exfoliate at least 2-3 times a week. 

4) Drink a lot of water, eat avocados, and nuts. Feed the inside as well as the outside. That goes for attitude as well, when someone is truly beautiful on the inside, it shows on the outside too. Our slogan is just that: Inner Beauty, Outer Glow. 

5) Get some sleep!

Z: In your experience as a make-up artist, what are some common mistakes girls make?

A: There are a couple that are really common:

1) Wearing too much cover up or concealer to hide blemishes or acne. That really just draws more attention to the problem skin, and makes it look worse.

2) Wearing layers of makeup to the point where your skin looks completely matte. Healthy skin looks dewy, and not caked on. 

I give anyone that comes to visit me their own personal make-up/skin care therapy session. Haha.

Z: What are some of your skincare and makeup must haves?

A: 1) MAC makeup – I started with MAC and I still love it!

2) Bobbi Brown concealer
3) TV Stick (that’s my little secret but I will give you that one)

4) For skincare, I love the Dermatologica and Mario Badescu lines, but I also love the Cerave brand face wash and moisturizers that you can get from Walgreens.

5) Oh and of course, sun block! At least with an SPF of 30.

Z: Ok this question isn’t related to skincare, but who has the best celebrity style in your opinion?

A: For Bollywood – Priyanka Chopra. She is not only gorgeous, but she is always dressed impeccably. 

Hollywood – Jennifer Aniston. She has a timeless style, and her look is simple and beautiful. 

Z: How did you start your career and end up owning your own salon?

A: I actually started in a completely different career with the airlines, but after my boys were born, I stopped working. Then I wanted to get back into the workforce, so I started working at the skincare counter at Nordstrom. I learned a lot about the different lines of makeup and skincare products that were offered there, and they had us training on different products often. I moved to the MAC counter and worked there for a few years and became a certified MAC make-up artist. One day a girl came in looking for someone who did make up Indian style for her wedding, and that is where I began doing make-up professionally. As my make-up business grew, I decided to go to school and become an esthetician so that I could open a full service salon. That is what I ended up doing, and here we are!

Z: Any advice for an aspiring make-up artist or esthetician?

If you want to do makeup, definitely work at a counter. You will learn a lot about different brands and products and also get access to clients. If you are going to start a salon, work in a salon before opening your own, that way you can learn in advance, some of the things that I had to learn the hard way. Also, owning your own business is a 24/7 job, add a couple of kids to that list of responsibilities, and you are asking for a lot of stress! But that said, it has been an amazing experience and I wouldn’t change anything. 

Visit Anjum at Aa’raish salon:

 755 West Golf Road  Schaumburg, IL 60194 

Follow Me! @zahra_sandberg


Last week we took a quick trip to escape the snow for some sunshine in Key Largo, Florida☀️ We spent every moment possible outside, Tom and Adam got their Scuba Diver PADI certification (yay!) while Sophia and I spent our days either swimming or drawing marine life and landscapes. This was my first trip after my sister passed last November, and even though I look so happy here, there were so many moments I felt the grief and sadness, as if it happened just yesterday. I am still figuring out how I want to show up in this space, as I have changed so much as a person since the loss. I just don’t feel called to post some of the things I shared before. Maybe that will change someday, or maybe it will just naturally evolve into something new. I think I will take this year to just process it all. (Even the idea of taking an entire year to think through something is a huge shift for my usually hyperactive type A personality) My focus at the moment is just living in the moment with my family and friends, spending time doing things that make me happy and healthy. I hope to share some of that journey here with you ~ thanks for following along ❤️
I had planned to shoot this outfit in collaboration with @lenacoutureofficial right before my dear sister passed away. Saba, the designer, was more than understanding if I didn’t want to anymore - but after thinking on it for a while I decided I wanted to - in my sister’s honor 💗 She was always my biggest hype woman. When i would feel like I’m not good enough or that I should quit (which was often) she would tell me I was unique and great and to keep it up. When I think of my sister, beauty and love is all that she embodied in her being. She expressed that on the outside also - as she loved to wear everything glam, bright & colorful, and full of bling. Hair done, nails done, everything did - that was Nusrat. For this shoot I took the time to get glam after a long hiatus - and makeup and hair took so long because I think I forgot how to do it, but afterwards I was surprised how I felt transformed. When I wore this gorgeous outfit that I know was designed with such love and incredible attention to detail by @lenacoutureofficial, I felt all of that beauty - like a walking piece of art, and very much at peace. Thank you so much to @divmophoto for capturing the feeling so well 💕
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There are some trees with seeds that only grow after a fire. Their seeds are completely sealed with a resin that have to be physically melted off by a great fire in order to propagate. So to do we as humans, gain wisdom only after great pain and suffering.*
A month ago (and one day) I lost my sister and best friend to cancer. I am still completely gutted and broken. But, I’m also so so grateful to have had felt the love that now brings me so much heartbreak. ❤️ I am so inspired by her - and I will forever live my life to honor her memory. Miss you sis ❤️
Classic outfit combo: oversized blazer + denim 🖤fendi mules @shoeslutz
Just a mom who loves mums 🌸 🪴
Cozy for a coffee date ☕️
French. Toast. Egg. Bake. Save this recipe for a weekend or holiday brunch - it’s SO good and fool-proof! I’m not even a sweet person and I love it. The pecans are a non-negotiable IMO - I get honey bourbon vanilla pecans for this and it is just heavenly. Enjoy!