As one of the most creative and prominent make-up artists of today, Banke Meshida Lawal is renowned for her inventivebridal beauty looks. She has been in makeup artistry for 14 years and operates a business that incorporates makeup, hair and facial bar services, a first of its kind in Nigeria.Banke’s credits include, commercials, fashion, editorials, catwalk shows, private events and of course the area she’s popularly know for and where she’s horned her skill- bridal makeup artistry.
Banke Meshida Lawal
Her Banke Meshida Professional makeup line (BMPRO) expertise makes it stand out from the others in the makeup artistry industry. To make someone look flawless both in real life and under the scrutiny of a high definition lens, it takes precise application of clever products teamed with an artistic eye and experienced hand and BMPRO knows just her to do that for every woman.
Some of BMPRO products; Concealer and lipsticks
A cross-section of BMPRO products
As professionals in the makeup industry, the BMPRO team has made a big difference to the world of bridal beauty, using aquired skills of making each woman feel and look beautiful with the use of expert techniques and application of makeup. They enhance any women’s beauty by paying attention to details the ordinary eye cannot see.
We talked to Bankeabout her top beauty secrets and what it's like to work in the Nigerian beauty industry.
OB: Why become a make up artist and not follow what you studied in university?
BML: I studied English at the university of Lagos and had hopes of becoming a diplomat but obviously all that has been shelved. I think because I studied English, I had a lot of time to do other things that I wanted to. I had bookings in my diary while I was still at school and was occupied doing makeup so it was just the next thing to do.
OB: Why start up your own individual BMPRO makeup line, when the market already has a lot of products for black women, what has your line got to offer that is better?
BML:I will give you an example, when I started doing makeup I didn’t know there was anything like an Eyeshadow base, I remembered then that I had to use Johnson’s baby lotion as a primer for the lids. So that led me to start talking with a few manufacturing companies if they could create something that I could apply on the lids first before applying the Eyeshadow to help the shadow stay and make the colour pop.
I had spoken to a few companies about this and they sent me some samples so I went with the one that produced exactly what I required and they agreed to make a line for me as I wanted it to be, one that will appeal to the Nigerian market because at that time that was my target. So I started with the Eyeshadow base then moved to Blotting powder then we just moved on to various other products that the company could create for me. So in as much as there were other international brands available, I still needed something that will deliver makeup artistry the way that I was it and wanted it to be done. So BMPRO was born and it helps me create makeup looks as I want it to look and also as a makeup artist, it gives me pleasure being able to create looks easily. BMPRO products are manufactured in the United States but more recently I have started manufacturing in Turkey.
Banke at work
OB: Do you see manufacturing of makeup products in Nigeria anytime soon?
BML: You never know, its just as the fashion industry as evolved, where we are now is not where we were 15 years ago. So for makeup products we just need the right chemists, packaging, quality control and anything is possible.
OB: Who and what are your greatest influences, where do you get your inspiration from?
BML: I am generally known to work with a lot of brides so I would say the bridal industry has sort of shaped what we do here at BMPRO. It’s not that we don’t do other kinds of makeup but we are mostly known for as the bridal makeup artist to go to maybe because the for me the focus is beauty and perfection and that is what a lot of brides want to achieve on their wedding day I have just created different ways of achieving that.
Apart from this, I think I am inspired by the colour chat, fashion, trends because I always like to keep up with what’s ‘IN’ and I keep up with works of other makeup artists as well.
OB: We remember you did makeup for the models at one of Tiffany Amber’s shows around 2001 and looking at that I thought you would go on to be a fashion makeup artist and not bridal as you are mainly known for. What stopped you from taking the fashion route, are you waiting for the fashion industry to fully develop before anchoring your skills in that area?
BML: For me what runs the business is funding, for me to work with the budget people have and make sure that each person gets the BMPRO experience on their special day.
Some brides on her big day, makeup by BMPRO
Banke at work
Fashion for me as I have gotten older, all the chaos and madness, I have sort of removed myself from it. I remember then, you apply makeup on the models and five minutes later they go eaten chicken and coming back to meet you to reapply their lipstick, so that can be very hectic and annoying but one has to learn to be very patient. And its too much chaos for me, I am not saying wedding mornings are not chaotic but it is manageable chaos, it’s not like beauty pageants and fashion shows so am not drawn to things like that because you put in so much and get so little out of it.
OB: You have been truly blessed as a makeup artist looking back from 1999, what does it take break into the beauty industry and to be successful in the business, what is your advise for someone looking to get into makeup?
BML: I think, you need to never get complacent, you need to have passion and keep reinventing yourself all the time and never becoming that person who thinks it is time to slow down and afford to do mediocre work because trends keep changing and evolving so you need to move with that.
You need to be very patient as well and realize that what appeals to you might not necessary appeal to your clients, so you need to listen to your clients and bend but if bending means loosing your ideals as a makeup artist then you just have to know how far you can go. You need to also keep educating yourself, never get comfortable.
OB: Can you tell us of your proudest moments?
BML: The thing about me these days is that I am proud when I see the work my makeup artists have done because we have a school open to everybody and train a lot of young people, we have three locations for the school, in Lagos they are located at Ikoyi and Ikeja then we have one in Abuja.
So when I see the work my artists have done I am so proud because they have been able to fly on their own. Also, whenever we win an award, that’s also very heart warming. So anytime our works are recognised it is a nice feeling.
Banke (middle) with her team of makeup artists
OB: What's your beauty philosophy today? How would you describe your aesthetic?
BML: For instance, I see a lot of makeup artists who believe that if someone is paying you to do their makeup then you have to pile up the makeup on their face and turn them into clowns, I cringe when I see that. There’s a reason why men say they don’t like women wearing a lot of makeup because indeed some women look better without makeup than when they put it on.
My ideal about makeup to sum it up is, less is more, emphasise the features that are flattering on the client and everywhere does not need to be coated or piled with makeup. People need to know that applying makeup is about balancing your features, there are some features you need to enhance so do it with good quality products especially with foundation.
I tell my clients and students, it’s not changing the skin tone but its to enhance it. For me, trying to create a seriously made up face can go wrong if you do not use the right products and if you don’t follow the right ideals.
OB: Nigeria’s beauty industry is growing at a fast pace. What do you think are the weaknesses of the industry?
BML: For one, I think people go into makeup artistry because they think it is a glamorous job and they will get to go for all the shows and parties. I mean, it is that but it can be very tasking and a lot of people fall off when they realize that it is not what they thought it was going to be.
Also, I get a lot of calls with people asking me, how I get my clients, I get my clients through referrals. When I started makeup, I didn’t do any advertising. These days you open the papers and magazines and see a lot of adverts for makeup artists and companies, bad quality adverts at that. The fact is that for an upcoming makeup artist you are giving your money to the media when probably you are broke or borrowed money to put out these adverts.
Makeup artists have to work hard and horn their skills, you have to be punctual to appointments and you have to put back your resources into the business to make a success out of it. There are a lot of lazy people that feel if I don’t go to school, I can go and become a makeup artist, you can get away with not going to school however, you have to be hard working, which is something you do not learn in school.
If you have an innate talent, which is what I have, I did not have any formal education for makeup artistry, then you need hardwork, patience and resilience. Makeup artistry is like any other professional industry such as banking and finance and so on, you have to be hardworking and know what you are doing coupled with patience and ability to manage people which are not easy things. So if you feel you want to become a makeup artist because you feel it is an easy profession, it absolutely not and it is not as glamorous as you think it is because some of those shows you think you’ll get to attend, if you are working on them, you tend to be backstage all through and not see what really goes on.
OB: Every weekend you are doing one bride’s makeup or the other, sometimes three a day, how are you able to find a balance in your life between running a business and family life?
BML: I have a diary that I have allocated bookings, my diary plans my life so if I know that on a certain day I am free, I let my husband know so he can come home early and we spend time together. I have a good support system and the people around me are willing to compromise. Most Saturdays I do not see my daughter because am out before she wakes up and I come back late at night when she’s gone to bed.
So basically, everyone in my home knows this is what I do and have accepted me like that which is very important. I met my husband while I was still at university so he sort of understands how I work.
OB: Describe yourself in three words?
BML: Patient, Artistic and Disciplined.
OB: Tell us five basic makeup products every woman must-have?
BML: A colourlessBlotting Powder because it is easy to use. An Eyebrow Pencil because I realize that it is not everyone that has a perfect eyebrow shape and it is important to learn to fill that out and look for the right shade. Lipgloss, a good Lipstick and Mascrara
OB: Any makeup tricks we should know about?
BML:You should always take off your makeup at night and always wash your applicators; foundation and powder applicators and brushes. I use a lot of puffs not the rubber ones because they are washable and bounce back to shape.
Also, find a very flattering lipstick colour that you can wear with nothing on your face that will still make your face pop. In our BMPRO range we have a variety of colours in different shades so everyone can find something for them.
OB: Apart form BMPRO, what are the best make up brands out there for black women?
BML: Iman, blackUp, House of Tara, Chanel, Armani and Yves Saint Lauren and even drug store brands like Max Factor and Maybelline.
OB: What are the big makeup don’ts?
BML: I think the wrong shade of foundation, a lot of people want to lighter than they really are. You need to take a close look at the shade of your face and back and find a colour that matches
OB: Can you tell us one thing you won’t be caught dead wearing?
BML: Clothes-wise I think that will be a short bandage dress and makeup-wise that will be a black lip-liner.
OB: What do you do to relax after a busy day at work?
BML: I like staying at home and laz around the house.
OB: Where is the best place to shop for makeup products?
BML: In Nigeria, any of the BMPRO studios, outside Nigeria, any of the beauty counters.
For more information, please visit BMPRO Makeup & Hair Studio:
Address: 13b Awori Road Dolphin Estate Ikoyi
Tel: 070 8182 9441, 070 4223 6077.
Address: Green Village, 58 Isaac John Street, G.R.A Ikeja Lagos
Address: Valley View Mall, (Next to Pride & Joy), Niyi Okunubi Street, Lekki Phase 1. (First Turning On Your Right From Lekki 1 Gate – Dowen College Road).
Address: 33 Gana Street, Maitama, FCT
Facebook: Banke Meshida Lawal @ BMPRO Makeup.
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