In conversation with Bollywood makeup expert, Puja Taluja
What inspired you to get into the beauty industry?
I started my career years ago with an advertising firm and client servicing took me to a lot of shoots. That’s how I got interested in makeup and styling, and landed in Mumbai to try my hand at it. It was a real struggle early on but eventually, my passion and dedication paid off.
How did your association with Bollywood kick off?
To start with, I assisted Bollywood makeup guru Jaywant Thakre. The work involved artistically painting the faces of well-known celebrities such as Kareena Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Riya Sen and many more. In order to bring more modern techniques to India, I moved to London where I trained at the prestigious London School of Makeup and Fashion. Advanced airbrush makeup for a flawless look is my forte, something which not many Indian makeup artists are adept at.
Tell us about your experience of working with the film industry.
Working with the best in the business and learning something new every day is creatively very satisfying. On the other hand, the hours are long and erratic with a lot of travel, so physically it can take a toll on your body. After marriage, I found it
difficult to continue, which is why I opened a studio and settled in Delhi.
What do you most enjoy—films, still shoots or bridal?
I just love makeup in every field—be it shoots, ads, magazines or bridal makeup. But if I still have to make a choice, it would be bridal. It’s immensely satisfying to turn a simple face into a glamorous one and it feels special to be part of the most important day of the woman’s life. I like to be involved with each client and build a personal bond with the bride.
According to you, which makeup technique or product is the best gift that the West has given to the East?
Airbrush makeup. It helps you achieve a flawless and clean look as the makeup is sprayed on to your face with the help of an airbrush gun. The skin ends up looking flawless and you can’t really tell that you have applied makeup.
Share a makeup secret.
My makeup secret would definitely be to get the foundation right. I personally feel that once you get the skin and face looking flawless, half the battle is won. Make sure it’s not overdone and choose the right shade. I prefer mixing primer with foundation as this is a foolproof way to retain the foundation’s coverage without looking caked up. Plus, you get to reap the long-lasting durability that cream foundation has over liquids and powders. This also helps the makeup blend seamlessly with the first layer of primer on your skin.
It’s immensely satisfying to turn a simple face into a glamorous one. I like to be involved with each client and build a personal bond with the bride.
Which celebrity do you enjoy working with the most?
All celebrities are very professional and very different from one another so it’s satisfying to work with all of them. Each face is so different from the other that you really can’t compare.
Which celebrity would you like to work with?
The one Indian celebrity who I haven’t worked with yet, but would love to, is Deepika Padukone. She has a well structured face. At times she can looking traditional like the girl-next-door and at other times, the right kind of make-up and styling, can make her an international diva. Amongst international celebrities, it would be a dream come true to do Jennifer Lopez’s face as she has the perfect oval shaped face and is any make-up artist’s delight.
Which colours are trending this season for lips, eyes and nails?
For lips, it’s orange (in shades of coral). It’s a beautiful colour that can perk up your entire look. From sweet melon shades to rich fuchsia hues, bright nail colours are trending. For the eyes, playful and cheerful hues for the day and metallics for the night are great.
Word of advice for upcoming make-up artists.
The only one advice I have is that just like you can’t learn to become a painter, you can’t learn to be a make-up artist. You either have it in you or you don’t. And if you have the passion and talent, then all you need is the right training to enhance your skills.