Namrata Soni Curated

Makeup Designer and Hairstylist

CURATED BY :  


  • What are the 5 essential things that a girl should always carry?

  • How did you become a makeup artist?

    My beauty journey started in 2002. My mother didn’t want me to hang around at home after college and wanted me to do some kind of internship to keep myself busy. I used to cut all of my friends’ hair in my boarding school because we were not allowed to go out and cut our hair. That’s why I started assisting Coleen Khan. When I started assisting Coleen Khan, she encouraged me to do a basic make-up course just to groom myself. I went on to do one with Marvie Ann Beck. I learned the basics of make-up in a one-week course and loved it and felt like this could be a profession I could take on. A year later, after I finished college and had decided to go study further, I wanted to learn different things, not the same that were in India. This led to a six-week program at Delamar Academy of Makeup in London that covered all aspects like camouflage make-up, character make-up, beauty and fashion hair and extensions. The best part about this school was that every module had a new professor teaching you. This helps you understand better and find your own path and style. I came back and assisted on a couple of films, and then started working with Dilshad [Pastakia] in Bombay. I did Main Hoon Na and was one of the people who worked on hair for Shahrukh Khan, Zayed Khan and Amrita Rao. I worked with extensions for the first time, and it was a great experience for the first time on a movie set. I met Preity Zinta who gave me so many opportunities, my first Vogue cover was with her. I am where I am today because of Coleen Khan, Dilshad, Marvie Ann Beck, Sonam Kapoor, Farah Khan and Malaika Arora Khan. They had so much of faith in my skill and they supported me through everything.

  • How to achieve the sculpted contour look?

  • What are the steps to create reverse smokey eyes?

  • What inspired you to become a makeup artist?

    One of the reasons I was inclined towards this profession is because I saw my mother and other women in my family wearing Estée Lauder, YSL and Chanel products, and every time they left the house, me and my sister would go and start dressing up. We would apply multiple nail polishes, blush, lipstick and eyeshadows. My love for it started then.

  • How does it feel to be the Beauty Expert for L’oreal Paris?

  • Could you share few tips on how to make a bun for festive occasions?

  • One fashion tip you would like to give to millennials?

    Being comfortable in your own skin is very important. It’s great to follow trends but follow what suits you, don’t do it just because everyone else is. Red eyeliner might be a trend, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

  • What is your morning beauty ritual?

    I wake up and have a shot of Karela juice, it’s great for the liver and a good detox. Followed by a beer glass sized glug of water. Then sunscreen and moisturizer. I never leave the house without applying them. Never!

  • What is Baking Technique?

  • What is the best part about being a makeup artist?

    I get to work with the best people, in the best industry, and use the best products.

  • What is your must-have beauty product?

    That’s a tough one. Can I pick two? Sunscreen and Lash curler!

  • You work closely with Sonam Kapoor. What is the best part about working with her?

    She loves to experiment and try new things! Plus, the best part is that she has a lot of confidence and faith in me.

  • Could you show a hairstyle for medium to long hair which is suitable for wedding events?

  • What is a nude makeup look?

  • There was a law forbidding women working as female makeup artists in India when you started out. How did you cope up with this and come on top?

    I was very lucky that I had some fantastic Directors and Actors who supported me and so even though the union was extremely pulling, they always stood by us and were willing to take the stress of the union for us and so that went on for a long way in helping us to overcome them. We live in a secular country and no one can tell us what we can and can't do for a living. I think its sad that they managed to bully everyone for so many years but now we have finally won the case and it was definitely time. For the entire course of my career, officially men did makeup and women did hair. Since the inception of the industry in the 1950s, it had been the norm and nobody was willing to challenge it. So what would happen is, if a woman was a hair-dresser and had a son, he would be guaranteed a job as a makeup artist and vice-versa. So whether they had any experience or educational background, was not a decisive factor as long as you belonged to the family associated with the union. Today, everything has changed and we are emulating and learning from the West. More and more Directors understood the importance of specialist skills and training and so people like myself pushed forth to learn and educate ourselves with the latest techniques which is why we are where we are today.  For me, the biggest support and the Director who took me on was Farah Khan and the production house was Dharma Productions. They were an incredible support.

  • What products should be used to do the base makeup for wheatish skin?

  • What the basic steps for prepping skin for makeup?

  • Did you always know you wanted to be a Makeup Artist?

    No, I had no idea this is what I would do in life. I wanted to be a pilot and then I wanted to be a lawyer but things didn't work out the way I had planned. I studied in a boarding school down South for six years and while I was there, I used to randomly cut my friend's hair because we were not really allowed to go to salons. So, I invariably ended up being the one giving everyone trims and cuts and doing fun stuff for them. So when I moved back and went to Jaihind College in Bombay, I wanted to assist Coleen Khan who is one of the biggest hairstylists of our country. After college, I started training under her and she recommended I do a self-grooming course which turned into an artist's course which led me to London and New York. So one thing led to another and when I discovered I'm good at it and I wanted to be the best so I pursued it to the fullest.

  • What, according to you, are some of the most glaring makeup myths?

    I think its quite personal to be honest. The one general rule that I really believe in is that one should wipe off all their makeup before going to bed at night. I remember when I was learning initially they taught us that your skin should be absolutely clean and bare of any moisture before applying foundation. It was common to think that if you apply moisturizer and eye-cream before your makeup, it doesn't stay on as long. I don't think that's true at all, I think the more you hydrate and care for your skin, the better makeup glides on and stays on. Another big myth is that not everyone can wear red lipstick which I think is absolute rubbish. There is a red out there for everyone, you just have to understand your skin-tone and your undertone. If you are more of a yellowish or greenish tone, a red with a lovely orange undertone will look beautiful. If you have a bluish pinkish undertone, then a red with burgundy or wine would look amazing on you. There is a new myth being busted everyday, I could go on and on.

  • Could you recommend the right shade of Pink lipstick for different skin tones?

  • Could you recommend the right shade of Orange lipstick for different skin tones?

  • What are the different ways of applying blush on oily and dry skin?

  • Could you share some summer makeup trends?

  • What are some quick hair trends for summer?

  • Could you recommend some summer skincare essentials?

  • Could you recommend the right shade of Red lipstick for different skin tones?

  • How to do smokey eye makeup?

  • How to do contouring?

  • What is the right way to use concealer?

  • How to apply foundation?

  • What are your 5 favourite makeup hacks?

  • What is your signature look as a Makeup Artist?

  • How to apply bronzer?

  • How to get smokey eyes with a kajal?

  • Can you tell us about Sonam Kapoor’s must have bag items?

    She will always have a red lipstick on her, she loves it. A good lip balm, a concealer, an eye cream, and a blush will always be in her bag.

  • What are some Makeup Do’s and Don’ts according to you?

    Do's: Don't go through life without trying a red lipstick! Always hydrate your skin before applying makeup. A good moisturizer and eye cream is a must. Drink plenty of water because makeup can only look as fresh as you feel from within. Always powder your concealer under your eyes even if you don't want to do your whole face, so that the concealer doesn't budge from place. The biggest problem girls have while doing smokey eyes and eyeliners is that dark colours have a tendency to fall under the eye. To avoid this, you need to pat some extra loose powder under your eyes with a puff, just sweep the undereye area after applying your eye makeup so you won't have any residue. The gel pot is really good in this regard because it won't smudge and is easy to use. My favourite one is the L'oreal gel pot, its the best one I have used till date and it will stay put even in the rain. Don'ts: Don't get too many cleanses and facials if your skin doesn't require it. Go to a good dermatologist if you have bad skin, because if you sort your skin out half the battle is won and you can wear simple light foundations and BB Creams and go out looking gorgeous. Do not over line your lips, don't wear a darker lip line over your lips, it looks terrible, very 1980s.

  • Tell us about your experience working on some of your huge Bollywood hits. Which has been your most challenging and favourite?

    How it works is that we always have a look test before the film goes on the floor. We sit down with our Directors and Actors and create looks around the character. So for Om Shanti Om, we figured out this is what we'll do for Shahrukh's body makeup, this is what we'll do for Arjun's ageing makeup and so on. For Ayesha, we brainstormed the same way, matching the costumes to the hair and makeup. If she was wearing a coat, let's keep the hair tied up or a short skirt with a bustier top would look good with hair open and so forth. Then we have a look test where we get the best photographer to come and shoot the Actors in all their main looks in the film and finalize their outfits with the makeup and hair. The director has a lot of input and today even the Actors have a lot to say in how they want to look. Sometimes, there is a conflict between the sides but we always take into consideration what will work. Even the costume stylist plays a very big role in all of it. It takes months of prep work to finalize and put it all together. The most challenging work for me was Om Shanti Om because we had to use prosthetics for it and for me as an artist that was creatively a big challenge. The most fun I have ever had was with Ayesha because it was catering to the audience of young girls who wanted to look and dress like the character. It was very fresh and trendy, so I got to experiment with fun and modern looks which was a ball.  

  • How to pick the right foundation shade?

  • What does Coloured Look mean?

  • What is your own personal beauty regime?

    I always wash my face with a good cleanser, my current favourite is Colbert MD from New York. I wear a Vitamin C Serum every day followed by a moisturizer with a SPF and I never leave my house without eye cream. My favourite moisturizer is the Forest Essentials Sanjeevani, its my favourite beauty product. The eye cream would be Shiseido and Vitamin C would be Shiseido or Keihl's. At night, I use just an eye cream and an oil on my face such as Bio-Oil, Argan or Almond Oil. Apply very little, just rub a tiny drop into your palms to activate it and press it into your face to absorb the right amount.

  • Who has been your favourite face to work on?

    Sonam Kapoor, 100%. She’s incredibly versatile and knows her passion. We get along very well; we both started out at the same time and grew together as artists. She has encouraged me to explore and experiment and as a result we have created some really wonderful looks that have become iconic.