One of my favourite Instagram accounts, makeup artist and teacher Chandni Singh is home to stunning brides, makeup tutorials and real talks. Loved by her students, Chandni Singh is one of Delhi’s leading bridal makeup artists whose also been teaching professional makeup and hair for as long as I can remember. I made most of quarantine time by interviewing her on her skincare routine, makeup for Indian women as well as tips for acne-prone skin. Let’s get started.
Makeup For Indian Women: Common Problems, Mindset & More
Q: I know you very well. But for the uninitiated, please introduce yourself.
Answer: Of course! Hi, everyone! I’m Chandni Singh, founder of Chandni Singh Makeup Academy. Originally from Lucknow, I’ve been a makeup artist based in Delhi for 15 years now. I’ve also been teaching professional makeup for the past decade.
Q: You are one of the leading MUAs in India, what according to you, are some of the most common problem areas for Indian women?
Answer: Under-eye dark circles, with pigmentation on the forehead & around the mouth, are some of the most common problems I see amongst my clients. Due to pollution and an improper skincare routine, I also see dehydrated skin as a common problem.
When it comes to brides, I also see a lot of women sulk because of the pressure of looking their best on their wedding. It’s also unfortunate that a lot of women talk down about their features and focus on the negative whereas how they look is BEAUTIFUL!
Q: When it comes to makeup, how important is the health of your skin?
Answer: Good makeup needs good skin. Period. Everyone wants lit-from-within skin, but if you have healthy skin, makeup will only enhance your facial features. Remember, when makeup is applied incorrectly, it can also highlight pores, acne and fine lines.
Q: Cystic or hormonal acne is a huge issue worldwide. How do you do a client’s makeup when they have acne-prone skin?
Answer: I would definitely use a cold compress on the skin before I apply any makeup. I usually start by asking my client if she is on any acne medication because that usually means their skin would be dehydrated, and I’ll prime their skin accordingly.
I would use a cold compress and then use natural products to prep their skin for makeup, especially if it’s hormonal acne. I would prefer airbrush makeup over traditional manual makeup techniques so avoid touching the skin. A MUA needs to keep in mind not to overlayer a client’s face with foundation because acne can even look more pronounced then. Keep the focus on the eyes and lips to take the attention away from the problem area.
Lastly, once I finish, I sanitise all my brushes and tools to avoid contamination altogether.
Q: Your favourite budget makeup products for Indian Skin?
Answer: Maybelline New York, L.A. Girl & Makeup Revolution have some amazing budget makeup products.
Q: You must have used hundreds of makeup brushes in the trade. What are some of your favourite brushes to do personal and professional makeup?
Answer: I’d have to say mine. I’ve had the opportunity to use hundreds of good makeup brushes, and I took it upon myself to design a brush set of 14 amazing brushes for my brand, CS Essentials. We use premium quality of synthetic hair for our face brushes & 100% natural hair for the eye set.
Chandni Singh On Skincare: Her AM: PM Skincare Routine Plus Tips
Q: In the age of double cleansing, we know it’s equally important to remove makeup. Please share your makeup removal routine with product recommendations for a full face of makeup, including lash extensions.
Answer: Sure. First, I use the CS Essentials Skinn Spa Micellar Water to remove eye & face makeup thoroughly. I follow this step up by applying Clinique Take The Day Off Balm to remove stubborn makeup thoroughly. I finish by washing my face with CS Essentials TLC Facewash, which is 100% natural. (We will be launching this product post lockdown.)
If you have permanent lash extensions, I’d recommend not doing it yourself and going back to the salon/studio that applied it for you.
Q: Are there particular ingredients that have always been a part of your skincare routine?
Answer: Hyaluronic acid is one ingredient that I always look for as it gives me skin extreme hydration. I use Elixir Shop HA Under Eye Gel once a day. For my face, I use my own moisturiser which has the goodness of shea butter, cocoa seed butter and liquorice extracts and peptides…it’s called CS Essentials Skinn Fuel Moisturizer. It’s incredibly hydrating, and the intention was to use ingredients that help lock in moisture for the day. I also swear by cold compress for the skin specifically before makeup.
I use sheet masks twice a week as they are incredibly hydrating too.
Q: Which products make it to your summer skincare routine?
Here’s what my AM:PM routine usually consists of:
Face cleanser : CS Essentials TLC face wash
Toner : Kiehls Ultra Facial Toner
Moisturiser: CS Essentials Skinn Fuel
Sunscreen: Clarins UV Plus SPF50/PA++++
Face Oil : CS Essentials Skinn Treat
Vitamin C serum : Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
Eye cream : Elixir shop HA Eye Gel & Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream
Night cream : Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Skin Correcting Face Serum
Apart from these, I also use
Face mask : Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay mask / Valentia Ultra Plumping Hydration mask
Face scrub : Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream
Body scrub : The Beauty Co. Chocolate Coffee Scrub
Hand cream : Lush Helping hands
Eye mask: Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Resist 24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask
Monthly indulgent sheet mask : Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrate Mask
Q: Please tell us your quarantine skincare routine and hair routine.
Answer: I start my day with a spoonful of chia seeds soaked in water overnight. Then I eat five almonds soaked overnight. I also drink lukewarm water with 45ml of apple cider vinegar. If I plan to go live on my Instagram page for a makeup tutorial, I also apply a sheet mask. Post shower, I use a serum like Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum. I follow this up with moisturiser and sunscreen. For my hair am currently trying out 2 masks & 2 different hair oils for my brand CS Essentials (quarantine is a good time to do product research).
At night, I double cleanse and follow it up toner, cream, under-eye cream and night serum mentioned above. When my skin is looking tired, I make most of Pixi Collagen Plumping Mask to bed.
Q: A DIY mask that has done wonders for you: it could be for skin, hair, body. Please skip if you don’t have one.
Answer: I use 1 egg white and mix it with 1-2 tablespoons of honey as a DIY masks. I have extremely dry skin, so it suits me and helps firm my skin too. Using banana peels with honey can also do wonders for your skin.
Q: What’s your take on cosmetic treatments?
Answer: It’s your face. You do you. Just find the right doctor and please don’t overdo it because that can look horrible.
Q: How often do you opt for a facial? Is there a particular facial you like?
I opt for a Skeyndor derma peel every six weeks.
Q: What’s your travel skincare routine?
Answer: I carry a few products in travel size jars which includes face wash, moisturiser, toner, shampoo, conditioner, sunblock & night cream. I always take a few sheet masks with me.
Q: What about Gua Sha? Is it all hype?
Answer: No, it really helps reduce bloating and lymphatic drainage. I end up using my Gua Sha tool 4-5 days in a week.
Q: When it comes to beauty labels, how do you decide if a product is for you? Are there certain ingredients that you avoid like the plague?
Answer: Yes. Ingredients like mineral oil, parabens, sulphates, synthetic fragrances are a no-no in my routine. I usually go by a lot of recommendations by women who I trust. Most of them are homemakers who are well-informed on ingredients as well as holistic wellness which is important to me. Also, if I keep hearing of a product over and over online or offline, I try get my hands on some samples before I invest in a full-sized product.
Q: We know that beautiful skin has a lot to do with mental health, food and lifestyle. Please give us a snippet of the same: what do you do to tackle anxiety, clear skin, stress, long hours at work
Indulge in any activity that makes you happy. I think music is therapeutic so turn that volume up. I’ve been exercising for 10 years, and I think exercising is THAT one step that’ll help you destress, energise and get sorted. Stay away from toxic people & indulge in anything that makes you happy. When it comes to diet, I would just say eat everything in moderation. Try to cultivate a holistic wellness routine in your life: mind, body, skin and soul.
Q: Lastly, do you opt for supplements that to boost your skin and hair?
I’ve had GNC Hair Skin & Nails for years. I’ve also added Neo Cell Super Collagen Powder.
I also eat a fistful of nuts and seeds including pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds, dried blueberries and raspberries. You can also add this to Greek yoghurt add crushed ice and make it into a smoothie.
Also if you can add amla to your diet, I slice it, add olive oil and have about two pieces every day: it’s loaded with vitamin C and is beneficial for both, your health and skin.
I hope you liked this post and got a lot of tips from this series. Thanks for reading!