“Be open to learning, keep evolving yourself and your style.” 

Savleen Manchanda is a makeup artist who is much celebrated in the B-town. She has splashed her immersive magic on a lot of Bollywood divas from Sonakshi Sinha to top stylist Rhea Kapoor. Let’s dive a little deeper into what she has to say about her journey in the industry


Q. Tell us about your background. Have you always wanted to work in the beauty industry? 

A. My father is a businessman and he was not really happy when I told him I want to be a makeup artist because I’m talking about around 12 years back. And that point of time make up artists did not have the amount of exposure as now. He really wanted me to complete my studies so I did, and later on, my parents agreed and today they are extremely proud.

Q. What inspired you to become a makeup/hair artist and who is your inspiration?

A. As a child, I was on vacation with my mother, And we were at Selfridges London and that was the first time I saw a MAC cosmetics counter. And I was mesmerized. I was blown away because there were these beautiful ladies who were doing makeup, which almost felt like painting. It was almost like some whimsical land where everyone was happy and beautiful. So I remember asking my mother “who are these girls because for me that was magical” and she explained they are makeup artists and they help people like her to get the right stuff and I remember telling her when I grow up I want to work here like this. To the irony, I did work in Mac as a makeup artist and that’s where I learned the most also. My inspiration is every woman. I strongly believe each one of us is beautiful in our own different way and If I can make them see how beautiful they are with my makeup my job is done. 

Q. Who do you look up to in terms of their makeup/hair artistry in India and abroad? 

A. People I look up to are Mickey Contractor, Pat Mcgrath, Anil Chinappa and Nikki Rajani. 

Q. How did you go about in your journey? Were you formally trained at a traditional beauty school?

A. I did a one year course for hair and makeup at Pearl academy of fashion and that really helped. 

Q. Was there ever a specific moment when you remember feeling like you’d gotten your big break?

A. While I was studying makeup, I always used to tell my teacher that I really want to work at Mac and she used to tell me that the course is about to get over and there are no vacancies as of now but then it happened and I had my interview and I got selected. For me, that was a big break as I learned a lot from there. 

Q. Has social media impacted your career? 

A. Absolutely, now you have this great platform where you can share your work with the world.

Q. Has there been a change in the industry since the time you started working?

A. Yes, as I said when I started, makeup artistry wasn’t a big deal now there’s so much exposure and opportunities it’s amazing.

Q. What is your advice for aspiring makeup artists? 

A. If you believe this is your passion don’t give up, keep practicing, keep believing in yourself and you will reach your destination also be punctual and professional.

Q. What are the challenges you face while working? 

A. I feel the challenge is to believe in your work and not to succumb under pressure. What’s trending is an art and it needs to come from you what you think is beautiful.

Q. Film schedules are long and hectic, how do you maintain a balance between professional and personal? 

A. Film schedules are long and hectic but it’s also a lot of fun. You work long hours and when it’s over I make sure to take out “me time” something which unwinds you as makes you happy, could be dance or meditation each to its own and catch up on that sleep. 

Q. When you are working with an actress in a film, what is the rapport like?

 A. Unlike still shoots or events, film schedules are way longer so you end up spending a lot more time with the talent. While the professional relationship has to stand as sacrosanct as before, it evolves into a bit more of a personal understanding as well. The relationship becomes a lot more symbiotic even in terms of creative input and character development. I’ve personally been blessed to work with some amazing talents and there’s so much you can constantly learn from them and apply to your own work. 

Q. Your favorite people to work with?

A. It’s impossible to pick as all of them are extremely amazing and every person I have worked with has been great to me and has given me immense opportunities. 

Q. How do you stay innovative?

A. Be open to learning, keep evolving yourself and your style. Critique yourself because every shoot, every event teaches you something. See how you could have made it better whether it’s that eyeliner or skin and keep practicing those things.

Q. What do you do to keep up with the changing trends? After all, the beauty industry is just as traditional as it is volatile when it comes to trends.

A. I believe rather than following trends, make your own trends. But I strongly believe in perfecting the classic technique. You can’t mess up a perfect red mouth, or skin in nude makeup as long as your basics and technique are good you can evolve yourself and make your own trends. 

Q. What are the 3 things you’d like to change in the industry? 


  1. To be more authentic, 
  2. To start using more of Eco-friendly brands
  3. To be more experimental 

Q. Tell us about your upcoming projects. 

 A. I am working on lots of interesting projects but work is on hold as we have more serious matters in hand that is COVID19 and we are staying home and safe and praying things will be fine soon. 

Q. Any advice/ tips/ tricks?

A. Advice and Tip – Please stick to your own skin color and don’t use a foundation color that is lighter than your own skin.

A. Tricks – You can use tinted lip balm or lipstick as blush, eyeshadow and over the lips of course.

Q. What advice do you have for aspiring makeup/hair artists who are just starting out?

A. Work hard and don’t lose your vision. 

Q. Where do you see the beauty industry in the next 5 years? 

A. In the future, I do see us becoming more responsible towards the environment and not taking it for granted using makeup which is organic and also using products that are not tested on animals. Being more authentic and true to one oneself and using make up a form of art to express themselves and not just following trends.