In our Expert Speaks series, we’re excited to introduce Deepti Sadhwani, a versatile professional in makeup artistry, men’s grooming, and licensed barbering. With a rich background in TV, film, commercial, and print work, Deepti draws inspiration from haute couture and the uniqueness of each face she works on. Her impressive collaborations span top brands like Marc Jacobs, Men’s Health, and Oscar de La Renta. Beyond traditional makeup and hairstyling, Deepti also excels in nail artistry, making her a multi-talented beauty artist who understands the transformative power of hairstyles and makeup on both appearance and confidence.
BG – Can you tell us about your journey into the world of makeup, hair, and special effects artistry? What inspired you to pursue this career?
Deepti – I’ve always been an artist, and it has consistently shaped my life choices. However, my family’s strict expectations led me to pursue a career in education, ultimately earning my Master’s degree and teaching for an extended period. Despite this, my passion for hair, makeup, and styling never waned. I continued to experiment with my own appearance and those of friends and family for various events. Over time, this dual life began to affect my mental well-being. Finally, I made a life-altering decision to follow my true calling. I left my job without informing my family and embarked on a journey to pursue my passion. I often tell people that it’s never too late to change your path. I entered the beauty industry at the age of 32, and it remains the best decision I’ve ever made.
BG – What do you enjoy most about working in makeup and hair, and how does special effects makeup differ from traditional beauty makeup?
Deepti -I relish the ever-changing nature of my work. Each day brings new challenges, and while some clients return regularly, I also have the opportunity to meet a diverse range of people from various backgrounds.
Special effects makeup, on the other hand, is an entirely distinct realm within the industry, primarily utilized on film sets. SFX artists operate within their networks and follow unique methodologies. Their work can get quite messy and typically involves prosthetics and elaborate transformations. Traditional beauty makeup, in contrast, focuses on enhancing a client’s natural beauty and achieving a glamorous finish.
3. How do you stay updated with the latest beauty trends and techniques, and how important is continuous learning in your field?
Deepti – I stay constantly updated by engaging with various online platforms. I browse through Instagram and TikTok, as well as read online beauty magazines. Following my favorite celebrities often provides insights into emerging trends that eventually reach the public. Furthermore, I maintain connections with fellow makeup artists and hair stylists, enabling us to share ideas and experiences. Continuous learning is pivotal in our field because the industry is constantly evolving. Adapting to these changes and staying ahead is imperative.
4. Can you share some of your favorite makeup and hair products or tools that you can’t live without?
Deepti – My list of favorite products is extensive, but here are some essentials. Skincare plays a significant role in makeup, and Sonia Roselli’s Water Balm is a staple in my professional and personal kits. It functions as an exceptional moisturizer suitable for all skin types and doubles as a makeup primer. Danessa Myricks’ Yummy Skin Blurring Balm Powder is a versatile product that blurs skin texture, absorbs excess oil, and is not overly drying. It can be used as a primer, a standalone product, and even for highlighting and contouring. Maybelline’s Sky High waterproof mascara is another must-have; it provides volume and length without smudging.
As for hair products, R & Co offers exceptional styling products, known for their delightful scents. Their Death Valley Dry Shampoo, in particular, is colorless, making it suitable for dark hair, and is lightweight, preventing overuse. Bumble & Bumble’s Invisible Oil Heat Protectant Leave-In Conditioner Primer is another versatile favorite, protecting hair from the sun with its UV filters. Lastly, my trusty Dyson blow dryer is always within reach, offering a lightweight design and powerful performance.
BG – When working with clients, how do you approach creating a personalized makeup and hair look that suits their unique features and style?
Deepti – Personalization begins with an initial consultation with the client. This is where I gather crucial information about their destination and attire. I greatly appreciate it when clients bring in inspirational photos, as visuals can be tremendously helpful in expressing their desires. Understanding their skin and hair characteristics is vital for product selection. During our conversation, I also conduct a visual analysis, allowing me to form a comprehensive mental picture of achievable outcomes. I emphasize the importance of maintaining realistic expectations, as we are artists, not magicians or plastic surgeons.
BG – Special effects makeup can be quite intricate. Can you walk us through the process of creating a memorable special effects makeup look from concept to completion?
Deepti – The most crucial phase is research and preparation. The process varies according to the specific concept, but having the appropriate supplies on hand is paramount. Our materials range from standard makeup to prosthetics and special effects components, including fake blood. Depending on the project, clients may cover the costs of prosthetics and some SFX supplies. Effective communication with the client is essential, as unexpected challenges can arise on the day of the shoot. We often work with potentially hazardous substances and sharp tools, such as scissors and tweezers. Our thorough preparation ensures we are ready for any scenario.
BG – What are some common misconceptions people have about makeup, hair, and special effects artistry, and how do you address them?
Deepti – One of the most prevalent misconceptions is the belief that our industry is straightforward because it involves “just makeup” or “just hair.” We all use hair and makeup in our daily lives, and this can lead to an underestimation of the depth of our profession. I want to emphasize that our work involves extensive physical labor. As freelancers, we lack benefits like healthcare, and our earnings are unpredictable since we only get paid on the days we work. Carrying heavy equipment is part of the job, and the physical strain often leads to issues like carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain. Injuries can occur on set. Despite these challenges, we pursue this path out of love for our craft.
BG – Could you share some valuable tips for our readers who want to improve their everyday makeup and hair routines?
Deepti – Improving your every day routines is an ongoing process, and it varies based on your lifestyle. Take advantage of the wealth of information available through platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. Be realistic about the time you’re willing to allocate to try something new, and don’t shy away from taking risks to discover what works best for you.
BG – In the beauty industry, sustainability and eco-friendly products are becoming more important. How do you incorporate sustainable practices into your work?
Deepti – Incorporating sustainability into our work has been a challenging journey, especially in the post-COVID-19 era, where sanitation is paramount. I prioritize sanitation to protect both clients and myself. While some situations require disposable items for safety, I have switched to biodegradable makeup remover wipes. I’ve also reduced overconsumption by streamlining my kit and taking better care of my tools to extend their lifespan. Sustainability is an ongoing process that requires a balance between safety and eco-conscious practices.
BG – What advice would you give to aspiring makeup, hair, and special effects artists who are just starting their careers?
Deepti – My advice to aspiring artists is to start by conducting thorough research. Learn from those who came before you and seek inspiration from industry veterans. Connect with your creative idols on social media, study their previous work, and don’t hesitate to reach out to them for guidance. Also, practice consistently; it’s the key to honing your skills.
BG – Can you share some of your most memorable transformations or creative makeup and hair looks that you’ve worked on?
Deepti- One memorable experience was collaborating with makeup artist Molly Stern on Cara Delevingne’s Met Gala look, which adhered to the camp theme. We meticulously hand-painted the distinctive stripes on her legs in a mere 45 minutes, a task that many thought involved tights. Another unforgettable project was working with portrait photographer Kourtney Roy for Paris Photo, the largest photo exhibition in Paris. Given complete creative freedom, I went all out, resulting in a striking and unique makeup look.