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