Faces Behind Enchanting Faces

Although, the fact that inner beauty outshines external looks remains to be undisputed, the effect of one's looks on their social interactions is also undeniable. No matter how shallow or unfair it may seem, the book is often times judged by its cover. And this does not seem to be lost on most residents of Addis Abeba, who are now putting the matter of their self-presentation into the hands of professionals. Such businesses are currently improving the variety and quality of their makeup services to cope with the ever growing number of customers, reports HAWI ABDISA, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Biruktawit Getahun a.k.a Betty G, a young musician and song writer, is known for performing both on local as well as international platforms and interviews. And when it comes to presentability and self-preservation, it is no joking matter for her. For Betty, outfits and outlooks are matters to be handled by a professional, especially for stage figures like her and it was this understanding that drove her to hire a personal makeup artist.“The more the makeup artist becomes familiar with my face, the better the makeup is to look,” said Betty, explaining the benefit of hiring a personal makeup artist.

It is udeniable that looks and presentability are necessities for any personality and many Addis Abebans today are choosing to put the matter of their looks into the hands of professionals. This has led to the increase in the number of the professionals in a short span of time and become organized and frequent than ever before in the city.

Terhas Gebrekidan a.k.a Terry has been a makeup artist for the past 13 years, which likely makes her one of the pioneers of the business in Addis Abeba.  she started with a single studio on Dembel City mall, and now she has expanded and set up branches in Gurdshola, Sarbet, Bole, and Lebu. This makes Terry Style Salons one of the places that people go to find professionals who are smart enough in making them attractive yet natural for various occasions. “Even though the business is seasonal, there are customers like celebrities who frequently use our service,” explains Terry.

Businesses like Terry’s are usually flooded with customers during the wedding seasons, where the number of brides and bridesmaids that demand for makeup artists hits high. It takes no more than a day to beautify the bridesmaids for the makeup artists. But in the case of brides, it can take more than eight days. Starting from simple spa and baths, the process of bridal makeup involves services including facials, waxing, pedicures, and manicures.

Unlike what many people think, the makeup business is not simple, and is not just a normal routine. “It requires great attention to detail and it is important to know the steps; for instance, it would be very dangerous to do the waxing right after the morocco bath,” explains Terry. Even though many of the makeup salons, including Terry, mainly give services to brides, they also provide a whole package for graduates and regular customers. Currently, there are about 84 beauty salons registered by Food Medicine, Health Administration and Control Authority.

This trending culture of makeup artists has also brought other traditions along with it.  Feven Sileshi is a newcomer into the business. She has opened her beauty salon known as Belleza Makeup and Studio, located in front of Atlas Hotel, just a year ago. Feven displays her handy work in collaboration with different models.  And one of her customer is Feryat Yemane, a model and an actress. she is recently involved in different movies and music clips, usually does her own makeup, but there are times when she needs the expertise of these professionals. “Even though I mostly do my own makeup, I sometimes use artists when I work as a makeup model for some people,” Feryat told Fortune. This shows that the days when models are required only to showcase outfits are gone as makeup artists are increasingly using models to exhibit their works and talents.

Modeling is not the only business flourishing in relation to makeup arts. Beauty Schools are also among the booming businesses owing to the growth in the number of makeup artists. These schools provide training in two modalities: either independently or along with other courses. For anyone who wants to be a makeup pro, one has to take a course involving 12 steps; starting from cleaning, cleansing and moisturizing the face before beginning the makeup. Skin tones and features of each types of makeup are amongst topics covered in  standard training given to a start-up makeup artist, according to Shimeles Gebreyes, a beauty expert, who has a decade experience of teaching at Helen Beauty Training Institute. “The art of doing makeup is a very complicated matter. It requires understanding of each person’s needs and wants,” explains Shimeles.

Terry shares this sentiment. “Continuous training that keeps up the makeup artist with the latest trends is essential,” she asserted. “The needs of our customers never stay constant and they keep changing with the latest trends.” Taking this into consideration, Terry still follows training and courses all over the world despite spending a decade in the business.

Terhas Gebrekidan a.k.a Terry has been a makeup artist for the past 13 years, which likely makes her one of the pioneers of the business in Addis Abeba. 

Training and skill development courses are however not the reasons that make travelling abroad a necessity for the makeup artists. Shortage of authentic products also necessitates the need for travelling abroad to import cosmetic products from countries like Dubai, America, and Canada. One such make up artist is Israel Birhanu, who frequently travels abroad to bring makeup and cosmetics. Although he mostly travels to Dubai, sometimes his clients bring the items for him.

In the past six months alone, the country has spent 702 million Br to import tools used for the application of different makeup. “Since cosmetics and makeup are considered as luxury products, the tariff is high, which is discouraging for businesses to engage in importing the items,” said Israel. Israel owns Jordan Lite, a beauty salon located on Bethlehem Plaza around Megenagna. He offers makeup packages to customers based on their needs and depending on the occasion.

He provides package services for different social events, birthdays, weddings and parties. The birthday party and social event packages contain the standard makeup kit. It involves cleansing the face, styling the hair and finally applying makeup on the face. For parties and social events, the makeup is light in order to maintain the natural look as much as possible. In case of photo shoots, it gets a bit heavier as it needs to pop out in the pictures, according to Israel. When it comes to the wedding package, Jordan Lite provides three different services including, platinum, gold, and silver packages, where each of the package entails different processes, prices and procedures.

Despite the surge in makeup users, Betty G believes that a woman has to appear with minimal makeup. “I do not support using makeup every day,” says Betty, ” But, occasionally, makeup that matches with a woman’s outfit is an essential tradition to hold.”




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