Zimbos in make-up craze

HARARE - Zimbabweans have always been obsessed with looking good and they believe an outfit is not complete without a professionally made-up face.

While fashion trends have always been borrowed from other countries as locals seldom come up with their own original trends, Zimbos are outstanding when it comes to imitating and they do it with such grace and precision that you would believe those trends were originated locally.

One fashion trend that has caught up with ladies and to a smaller extent men is wearing make-up, a development  which has created demand for make-up artists (MUA).

The new beauty inclined career has seen more ladies and gents ditching their nine to fives’ to pursue the make-up profession which is racking in the bucks, especially during the festive and wedding seasons.

One popular make-up artist who comes to mind is Chipo Mnikwa Muponda who left her thriving career in banking to pursue a fully-fledged career in make-up under her brand ‘Poda by Chipo’.

And gone are the days of razor thin eyebrows and ashy powdered faces as now is the era of well-groomed eyebrows. Whether a lady is from the leafy suburbs or high density areas, a well groomed eyebrow is the order of the day.

The eyebrow craze was introduced a few years ago by Vault cosmetics founder and Hollywood make-up artist Jackie Mgido. She introduced the art of threading and grooming eyebrows using pencil and concealer. Vault cosmetics changed the make-up landscape in Zimbabwe and this led to the sprouting of several make-up houses as it had proven to be big business.

Other make-up trends popularised by Vault cosmetics include highlighting and contouring as well as lipstains which introduced very bold lipcolours which were matte and lasted for up to 24 hours.

Not to be outdone, local Chinese retailers flooded the market with a cheaper imitation, which made the lipstain craze go viral as everyone could now afford lipstains regardless of their financial disposition with some of them were going for as little as $1.

While there are many opinions floating around in society about the reason why people especially females wear make-up, there has always been this notion that women do it to attract men.

I have personally observed that most men didn’t care less about make-up, hence my belief that ladies wear make-up for themselves and other girls!

As controversial as this may sound, it must be acknowledged that women tend to compete among themselves so they will go the extra mile to be noticed and envied by their female counterparts.

I presented the make-up issue to a male colleague of mine and he said that a well made-up lady gives off the impression of a person who takes good care of herself and that it is a trait that most men find attractive.

While speaking to grooming and deportment expert Fungai Mtisi, it was brought to my attention that to get certain jobs, good make-up is very important. Jobs like those of gatekeepers at organisations (front desk personnel, receptionists secretaries), flight attendants, Public Relations practitioners, spokespersons, News anchors, TV personalities are professions for which good make-up is required. The bottom line is in certain professions make-up can make or break a career.

In the words of Jackie Mgido (founder and CEO of vault cosmetics): "Make-up is important because it helps us to understand ourselves. Our relationship with our own being is built in the silence of learning to hide the things we are insecure about.

“This gives us the wings and the confidence to achieve anything because no one is concentrating on our insecurities, just our enhancements. Everyone likes to look at beautiful people, and that is how the world goes."

A popular sentiment locally is that people wear make-up as a mask because there are afraid to show the world their real selves.

Make-up artist and Co-founder of Make Up Bar Tsungai Makwanya believes that make-up makes women feel and look good. “It's not about hiding anything. It is just a form of self-expression.”

I managed to get stylist Marshall Malikula's perspective and he had very interesting and helpful pointers.

He stressed that make-up provides a balance between your face and your outfit. It can either make or break an outfit. Make-up completes or brings the whole together whether on stage, red carpet, event or even at the office. Know how, when and where to wear a make-up look.

Daytime make-up should be lighter (one can get coverage without looking plastered). Evening looks require more make-up due to the effect of light which tends to fade make-up away.

Both men and women can wear make-up on the red carpet. Men's make-up should be subtle. A sizeable number of Zimbabweans are now wearing make-up for photo shoot and some grooms on their weddings and other special occasions.

Even the dead want to look good as they embark onto their journey into the afterlife as funeral parlours are now providing make-up services for the deceased as per request.

While make-up with its many advantages has reached staple status in the Zimbabwean society, it has also been abused by some who have not mastered the art of beautifying themselves but have achieved the opposite instead to the chagrin of onlookers.

You are supposed to wear your make-up! Make-up is not supposed to wear you! Too much of anything in never good!

Make-up can become a very expensive habit, as most good brands are pricey, and there is always a tendency of spending a lot of money. At times in a bid to develop the perfect look, a lot of trial and error is involved.

Some develop an addiction to make-up to the extent of feeling ugly or plain without it, thus failing to move around with a clean face.

Some men can testify to having never seen their spouse or girlfriend without make up. Bizarre stories of women who wake up very early while their husbands are asleep to put on make-up have circulated on the internet. A case in point is of a certain man who divorced his wife after he saw her without make-up and felt cheated went viral on the internet last year.

Sleeping with make-up on is not recommended as it can lead to clogged pores, break outs, irritation and rough skin texture, but more importantly, it leads to premature signs of aging.

To sum it all up, I would say that the make-up craze is a serious income generator that has not only created the much needed employment, but has the potential to contribute economically to the nation if taken seriously.

I see nothing wrong in people investing in their looks if it makes them feel good about themselves.

If some of the miraculous make overs and transformations we have witnessed online are anything to go by, then the theory that beauty exists in a bottle is surely true.

Cosmetics have become an alternative to plastic surgery! (Cindy is a multi-award winning musician and business woman who runs the boutique, Cindy’s Corner in Harare)

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