I first heard about New York-based makeup artist Karuna Chani in an email a friend wrote me gushing about how she’d met this incredible makeup artist who made her skin lookflawless (in her words) for a Vogue US shoot. Magazines love her, Priyanka Chopra loves her, women all over the world love her – and now, after having spoken to her I do, too. Read on for her thoughts on Indian beauty and whether trends are, in fact, a thing.
What’s your morning and evening regimen like?
In the morning I use Guinot’s Anti-Fatigue Eye Gel and Beaute Neuve Radiance Renewal Cream, followed by Laura Mercier’s Daily Face Shield SPF 40 and MD Solutions’ R&R Lifting Serum.
In the evening, I use Lorac’s Oil Cleanser, Guinot’s Lifting Night Cream and Anti-Fatigue Eye Gel and the MD Solutions R&R Therapy Facial Firming Formula again. You can only get it in dermatologists' office here in the US but I swear to god, if you used that serum for just two days, you’d go crazy. It lifts your entire face!
Do you believe in trends?
If I were to be perfectly honest – no. It’s the same thing every season; every summer it’s about dewy skin and bright lips and every winter it’s about the merlot lip. I mean, smokey eyes never go out of fashion. We’re not reinventing the wheel; we’re just tweaking it.
Trends change by decade, not season. It’s when you zoom out that you can see the difference every ten years, from Cindy to Kate to Gisele.
Can you fake good skin?
100 per cent. It’s all about finding ‘corrector’ products, products which are made to tone down redness or go over brown spots or smooth over bumps. You need three key things. First is a primer; it glides over your pores and makes them invisible. Next, you need foundation that’s been made specifically for use with high definition cameras – you’ll be able to pick them out because they’ll say HD on them. Lastly, concealer is really important, especially for Indian girls; we’ve got the heavy dark circles, which is just the nature of Indian skin, and concealer goes a long way towards minimizing that.
What’s your favourite makeup trick?
I use this one all the time. If I don’t have time do get my roots done, I take a brown or black mascara and go over the entire front section of my hair, right where the roots show. It works really well between appointments if you really have no other option.
Rose toned lipstick also works really well as blush. Most women are afraid of wearing red but it’s one of the most flattering shades out there, especially if you’re Indian. Indian skin tends to have high levels of yellow in it, which can look quite sallow. The best way to counteract that is with red; a deep red or a rose red both work really well.
Where is beauty headed at the moment?
Things aren’t as defined and precise as they used to be. Anything goes now – you can do any lip with any eye, you can have blonde hair with black eyebrows. One one hand you’ve got to do a lot more now to make yourself unique, because it’s all about expressing individuality. On the other, it’s incredibly freeing. I come from a generation that had distinct beauty rules, but now? Anything goes. There's no better time to do what makes you happy, because I think society has become much more accepting of uniqueness as far as beauty is concerned.
Five things you’re coveting right now…
1. There’s this great new beauty line out called Surratt by this makeup artist called Kevin Surratt. I’m currently loving their Autographique Liner. There’s tons of black eyeliner out there but let me tell you, this is the one. It’s got a great, precise black tip, it’s super matte, jet black, and holds all night long. You have to physically take this stuff off with a Q-tip.
2. Kevin Surratt also came out with a great new stick eyeshadow called the Smokey Eye Baton. You unscrew the tip and it’s already loaded with eyeshadow so you just glide this on, and you’re out the door.
3. I’m loving two new shades of lipstick called Copenhagen and Transylvannia, both by this really small company called NYX. They were unknown for a few years and are super cheap, but they make really great products.
4. Make Up For Ever has a new line of baked eyeshadow which has fantastic colours for Indian women. Most golds look too yellow on Indian women, but these have beautiful coppery shades that look amazing on Indian skin.
5. Laura Mercier’s Crème Cheek Colour.
What’s the most important tool in your makeup kit?
What’s the most interesting place you’ve been to lately?
Mykonos. There's just something about the women there that I found fascinating. It's a different way of looking at life, how you dress, and makeup; they're so much more relaxed about everything there and still manage to look so beautiful. I’m quite an OCD, Type A person; things have to be done a certain way, and Mykonos helped me open up and taught me to relax and change up my style a bit.
Karuna wears Helmut Lang Crux Leather Sleeve blazer, Rag & Bone Classic Tank, Frame Denim Le Rip Skinny jeans, Christian Louboutin pumps and Deepa Gurnani necklace and cuff.
Karuna Chani photographed by Tara Sharma. Check out more of Tara's work here.