One UK graduate has taken something British women often take for granted and used her passion for the topic to enhance the lives of others. Meet Lekshmi Menon, beauty expert to the underprivileged.
Lekshmi Menon spends much of her time in the UK, having fallen in love with the country when she came here from India to study.
Since her childhood, she has had an interest in make up and beauty and now pursues this as a full-time profession. Lekshmi uses her experience to help others feel better about themselves through workshops and classes. Looking nicely made up herself, she told us,
“The UK beauty scene helps me to understand about the latest colours in makeup, texture, and formulations that are being used in the western world. I study the research and influence of renowned British makeup artists like Charlotte Tilbury, Lisa Eldridge and Pat McGrath. I source brands from the UK’s small scale manufacturers that provide quality products at affordable costs. I introduce these British brands during my classes so as to make my students familiar with them. I blend techniques used by these UK makeup artists with my own knowledge of Indian makeup. This combination, which I call Induk makeup methodology, helps my students to understand a product, experience its feel and apply it to best effect.
How Lekshmi’s childhood made her fix on makeup.
I grew up in Kerala, where our family often got involved with society events. I remember, at the tender age of four, seeing beautiful, elegantly dressed women at these parties and getting inspired. I often wondered how their lips were pink or red.
Since my mother never wore lipstick I thought it was liquid Eyetex Shingar (liquid bindi in a tube) that these women applied on their lips. One day at home I saw my mum's Shingar and I applied it on my lips. My mum caught me and asked me not to wear Shingar, ever. She bought me my first lipstick to play with. It was pink. I dabbed it on my lips lightly before going to every event, new year parties or occasions with my family.
What made Lekshmi decide to help ladies with skin and make up?
In the Indian community there are innumerable pre-conceived notions about makeup. It is still considered superficial in society. Men hesitate to encourage women and women are reluctant to experiment with beauty. There are many in the profession but their skills lack refinement and an understanding of how art meets science. There is little effort to understand about changing makeup trends, new product releases, different kind of formulations. This inspired me to work with ladies and develop their makeup skills.
How Lekshmi Teaches.
Lekshmi researches and sources quality cosmetic products from the UK and studies their formulations, finish and quality. She says, “I conduct classes where people learn numerous makeup techniques. After the classes, I encourage them to be in regular contact so that I can provide them with advice/ mentor them about various products and the latest trends. Since most of my students are short of money, I encourage them to take advice before buying products so they are getting the right products for their work, and also let them know of cheaper alternatives available.
The Lekshmi Effect
“I have had numerous instances where people have spent considerable amounts of money and time to learn at other places and are now in a desperate situation as they are not only under pressure from family as they spent a significant amount of family money to study but are also not skilled enough to work with others. When they come to me for learning, I not only have to rebuild their confidence in this profession, but also make them fall in love with makeup again.
How Lekshmi Helps the Poor
I believe in the Chinese Proverb, “Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime”. I am offering people the skill set that will help them to work with other men and women who want to look their best. This helps them to generate enough money for their livelihoods. The feedback which I have getting is that we are helping them to differentiate themselves from others who are offering similar services, thereby helping them to generate more business and a sustainable livelihood.
“We are helping them to differentiate themselves from others.” Lekshmi Menon.