Working Lives: The Male Make-Up Artist Studying Microbiology at LASU
“I also have a dream of going to drama school after graduating from the sciences. So, if my parents send me abroad for masters I will just lowkey switch to drama school. I hope they don’t chop my head off when they find out”.
Lolu Pinheiro- Ikeja, Lagos.
Where are you from?
I am from Lagos state, Lagos Island to be precise.
Please, tell us about your education
I am a 400-level student of Lagos State University. I am studying Environmental Biology.
And your family?
My dad is a computer engineer while my mother was a banker, she’s retired now, she manages a store now. I am the only child.
Where do you live and how much is the rent?
I am still living with my parent in Ikeja. They are not yet asking for rent.
How did you start working as a make-up artist?
It started as a passion and then I turned it into a business in 2018. My parents wanted me to learn hair styling, but I wasn’t really interested in it so when I started school, I stopped learning. I didn’t complete the training. I made my own plans to start learning how to be a makeup artist. I watched series of tutorials on YouTube and Instagram and that was how it started. I started practicing with making faces on my laps, and then moved on to my friends’ faces, and my siblings’ also.
How much did you invest to start the business?
I had to save my pocket money to be able to start. I saved up N10,000 to buy the start-up kit-highlight char palette, and a brush set.
What were you doing before you started the make-up business?
Nothing at all, just being a student. Being a science student was too serious and boring for me, so making up people for me was like an escape from the science world. It was really fun to transform people’s faces and make them more beautiful.
How frequently do you get customers?
I get at least two customers in a week. I have to concentrate on my studies, so I try not to do more.
How many hours do you work in a day?
It depends on the kind of look we are trying to achieve. If it’s a basic look, it takes about an hour or two. If it’s a job for a magazine-what we call an editorial- or a home shoot, it takes about 4-5 hours because we might have to do several looks and then the person in particular has to change dresses and all that.
What’s your best day like on the job?
Hahaha. On days when I get a client that doesn’t stress me, and also pays me well and appreciate my work. And then when I get a top up i.e. tips from customers. I got a top up recently, I charged the client N15,000 and she gave me N21,000 because she liked my work. So, days like these are my best days.
How much do you charge for a make-up session?
Firstly, it depends on if the customer is coming to meet me or I am going to meet them. If the customer comes to meet me for a birthday photo shoot session, I charge N6,000. But if it is a shoot and I have to go and meet the customer and we have to achieve different looks, I charge at least N15,000. Such jobs take more than 5 hours.
How much do you make in a week?
On an average, I make at least N10,000 in a week. The highest I have made in a week was N30,000. I had two big shoots that week. The highest amount I have gotten from making up a customer was N80,000- it was a bridal makeup session. I made her up for the introduction and the white wedding.
How much do you spend in a day?
On transport alone, I spend about N1,500 because I always go to school from home daily. Sometimes N3,000 when I have to spend on things such as printing assignments.
What other things do you spend money on?
I spend money on Uber rides. I also spend on chilling out sometimes with friends, we go to the movies, restaurants, and parties too. I get to spend about N10,000-N15,000 on these outings monthly. I also have to buy makeup materials a lot. I try to use the latest foundation; I buy a lot of lashes because I use them a lot. I also buy brushes a lot, I love using new brushes. I basically buy the essentials that will be needed in making up. And then sometimes when I really have money, I buy high end products and not the regular products. High end products like Nuban Beauty, Mabrook, Anastacia Beverly Hills, Too Faced born this way foundation cost N32,000 for a very tiny bottle and a few others. One certain powder for Anastacia Beverly Hills could be N10,000 or above, a Mabrook pencil costs N2,500. I have spent close to N50,000 on high end products. Though I don’t use such materials for just anybody. I just have them with me in case I come across all these high-end customers, so they can respect me and know I am also big in the business.
For how long have you been in the business?
I started in 2018 so I have been in the business for about two years now.
Have you had any funny experience with a customer before?
I went for a shoot recently; someone had referred me. While I was doing my job for this lady, her boyfriend walked in and was all shocked to see a guy being a “makeup artist”. He later started making advances towards me, asking me personal questions, harassing me. It was such a horrible situation; I couldn’t even concentrate on my work. He was doing it without his fiancée noticing, he didn’t do it openly. People would always think being a male makeup artist means you are gay which is crazy. This is something I always face; it gets annoying when they harass me frequently. Then some people are very cocky, they talk to you anyhow.
Do you have savings and how much do you save in a month?
Yes, I have savings and I save daily. I use the PiggyVest App to save. But I have not been saving recently because my card got declined. I save about N20,000 in a good month.
Are you married?
No o. I am still a student. I am not thinking of that now.
Do you have plans to venture into something else and leave this business?
Like I said earlier, making people up was a hobby that turned into a job. And I also have a dream of going to drama school after graduating from the sciences. So, if my parents send me abroad for masters I will just lowkey switch to drama school. I hope they don’t chop my head off when they find out.