Spooky szn: Four Halloween looks from PoC make-up artists

We’re nearing the crescendo of spooky szn and if you’ve not already got an outfit it’s probably too late. Given that we’re trying to minimize clothes waste and you can skip spending half your week’s rent on a disappointing store-bought costume, and serve face instead.

To celebrate Halloween, we asked four on-the-rise make-up artists of colour to create unique looks that show off their skills. Here they reveal their chosen looks and fill us in on their beauty idols, best tips, and career highlights.

Wendy Serwaah Asumadu (@wendysworld_xox), Is it really Halloween?

gal-dem: Tell me about your make-up journey.

Wendy Serwaah Asumadu: I guess I fell in love with makeup by accident. I only really started to play around with makeup because my sister refused to do my makeup anymore so I needed to teach myself. A lot of people don’t know that my background is fine art, so when I discovered how playful makeup can be as well and how I can incorporate my love for painting\doodling, I became obsessed. For a while now, I really struggled with how to identify myself. But honestly, I just feel like I’m a fine artist who uses several mediums including paint, makeup and more to create content.

I’m a creative who challenges our ideals, what we think makeup should be about.

What are some of your career highlights?

So I started out by just having fun with my makeup and posting it on Instagram then this exposure has allowed me to work with some of the biggest brands ie. Glossier, Lush, Makeup Revolution, Converse and more. Right now, I’m trying to find my place in the creative world and develop content that really highlights my love for art, being black, Ghanaian and making sure we see more and more content of black women everywhere. This is imperative and inspires me every day.  

How would you describe your work?

Unique, fun, bold, striking!

Have you had any difficulties finding shades to suit your skin tone?

Oh most certainly. When I look back, I’ve spent so much money on products that aren’t strong enough for my skin tone and it’s so disheartening. I think a lot of brands still bring out so many products that don’t cater to dark skin and it’s very boring at this point. I feel like we have to search harder and more time, spend more money to get what we need.

I do have faith that this will change so that’s why I’m always speaking with brands encouraging them to do more for us!

Name your favourite products and brands

For my face paint looks, I’ve been obsessed with Depixym. They produce some great quality emulsions that are great to use for my style of work. Sets well, pigmented, vegan, cruelty-free and allies to the LGBT+ community which is very important to me! Makeup Revolution really listens to feedback and I respect that. They create affordable products too.

If you could transform yourself into anyone who would it be?

The best version of myself. But I guess I’m always learning and evolving so is that even possible?  

May Tahmina Akhtar (@maytahmi), Clown


gal-dem: How did you first fall in love with make-up and what made you get involved?

May Tahmina Akhtar: I first fell in love with makeup when I was really young but my mum was proper strict with it so I only really wore eyeliner. It was after the Fenty launch when my love reignited and I started experimenting more and felt like I could finally be a part of the industry.

My career so far has surprised me I’m not gonna lie! I’ve done a few makeup artistry jobs, some modeling and a few brand collaborations too (keep an eye out).

How do you find good colours for a range of skin tones?

I started following people before I uploaded my first ever look, I was already clued up on certain brands like NYX and Kryolan so it didn’t take me too long. There are still certain things I avoid buying a lot of like eyeshadow palettes because I usually find they don’t show up on my skin. However, Revolution and Beauty Bay are killing it with the pigment at the moment!

Your looks are quite ornamental, why did you decide to add a 3D element to your artistry?

I think because I get bored easily, I was tired of just drawing simple things on my face so I wanted to incorporate different things so that my attention and passion wouldn’t go down

What are some products you couldn’t live without?

Okay so at the moment, the Fenty beauty vivid liners, Suva beauty liners, Revolution mascara, Glossier cloud paints, and a little Glisten Cosmetics gloss that is coming out soon.

If you could transform yourself into anybody – who would you be?

Rihanna. Always Rihanna. If there was someone who is her double, surely the chances of meeting her would increase?

Maya Man (@mayamanartist), Spider Woman

gal-dem: Tell me about your career so far, what are your highlights?

Maya Man: I randomly found a hair, makeup and prosthetic degree and knew I was going to fall in love with it. I’ve worked in film and music with Little Sims, Kojey Radical and Jungle plus I got to work on Cats earlier this year. designed for another feature film, started working regularly with Chinese productions like Vice China and Chinese TV series and when I can, involve my prosthetic skills. A highlight for me would be working on my sister’s first visual, Josie Man. Stay tuned!

How would you describe your work? Do you see yourself as an artist using your face as a blank canvas? What do you try to convey with your looks?

My work is from a performing aspect. Before I get on set I always want to know what is it we are trying to create and go from there. Especially in film, this is so important! Everything you do has to have a purpose and reason to add to the story being told. My prosthetic mind is always trying to make an illusion. So I’m always thinking about depth and shapes to complement the face.

What are the products you couldn’t live without?

Pears soap for the brows, Skin Food, and Nuxe lip balm.

If you could transform yourself into anybody – who would you be?

I’d transform myself into Christina Aguilera in Lady Marmalade – or any runway look Aquaria did her series of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

Umber Ghauri (@umberghauri), Simple but spooky

What made you fall in love with make-up?

Umber Ghauri: I always wanted to be different characters

Talk me through your highlights.

It can be really up and down but I love it when I do someone’s face and they’re like wow. Travis (Alabanza) does this little scream and they’re like ‘I’m so hot’. I live for that. Everyone can be iconic.

What do you try to convey with your looks?

Freedom, power, and creativity.

Do you have any tips for finding the right colours for different skin tones?

There are a lot more POC-owned brands now but before I was using products for things they weren’t intended for like lipstick on the eyes. Products I love are Pat McGrath eyeshadows, Fenty highlighters and brands like LA girl, Milani and NARS.

Who inspires you?

Pat Mcgrath because when we talk about ornamentation and three-dimensionality she invented it.

If you could transform yourself into anyone who would it be?

Keanu Reeves because he’s beautiful. The way he moves, and talks, his voice! The slickness of the way he looks. My goal used to be Danny from Grease, then Kanye West, but now Keanu is everything to me.


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