Did you set out to be a make up artist or it was something that happened by accident?
I wanted to be an architect, but because I did not get the university entry form the first time, I abandoned it and did not write the exam for almost 10 years. While growing up, I helped my mom to weave her hair and in most cases pick dresses for her. While I was idling away, I made a trip to Abidjan where I met Oliver Price holding model grooming and make up classes. I enrolled for six months. I can say that was the turning point in my life, because while in the university, I started putting what I learnt into practice by organising pageants like Miss UNILAG. I got to know that what I was doing in the university was even better than what was in the market at that time. From there, people invited me to their agencies to do make over for them. It drew bigger and bigger, so I had to register my company and started working on my own.
And how has it been since then?
I have no regrets whatever. It has been quite fulfilling in the sense that I have always practised what I enjoy doing. This profession has taken me to a lot of places. I never worked with my university certificate. I took part in the Cape Town Fashion Week 2004 competition, which was organised by Mac Cosmetics and I emerged the most creative and original make up artist in Africa. And that same year, I had another competition, the best contemporary makeover artist where I came second. Automatically, I got registration opportunity from Mac Cosmetics. I can say Im the only Mac registered make up artist in West Africa. I go out to Mac events, seminars, where we discussed new techniques, ideas and skill acquisition. This is my 19th year of working as a professional make up artist. I have trained a lot of models and supermodels in and outside Nigeria. I have scouted a lot of models from Nigeria to foreign lands who are modelling and are doing very well. I have trained a lot of beauty queens too.
As a professional make up artist, what are some of the errors women make in making up?
The major thing I have noticed that is rampant in Nigeria, even in home videos, you can imagine a lady with black hair, you look at her face and she is wearing a red eyebrow. Is it possible? They use red eye pencil to line the brow. It is wrong. You have to use brown pencil. We are Nigerians; no matter how light or fair you are, you can never have a gold or bronze hair, so you cant have red pencil on your eye brow. It is not possible.
But there are situations where that is applicable...
Yes, it is only when you are doing a dramatic look like a fashion look, or a constructive look like high fashion. But it is not when you are on the streets. It is not possible. A lot of people use black eye brow pencil to line their lips; it is wrong. Most of our women think that you rush every time. You dont rush your blush every time. You use the closest shade to the lipstick you are going to wear. Whatever shade of lipstick you are going to wear, you wear the closest shade of lip liner to it. Some people wear some shocking lips and still line it with black, put silver and purple on the lips at the same time; some kind of looks you see that are not meant for the daily look. It turns me off. I dont like too much of everything. When you see me doing that, you know that I am following a brief. I do make up for people according to individuality. If you are the outgoing type, I do a make up that would stand you out and you will be able to carry it. But if you are someone that is very reserved and subtle, I do a pretty soft look that you would be comfortable with. I dont do the stereotype make up that people do in Nigeria, particularly when it comes to bridal.
Can men wear make up?
Men do wear make up, but not as much as women, except you have a very bad skin. Where men have to wear make up is in the movies, commercials, acting where you have to be on stage under a heavy light that will expose your skin pores. You wear little make up to give you a flawless and natural look.
How far should they go?
Just powder and get your brows groomed. Get a clean shave. As a guy, you must clean your skin always. If your skin clots up, you are likely to have bumps if you dont shave on time. The hair follicles that ought to come out wont come out and the ones that ought to come out are blocked underneath the skin thereby growing downward instead of growing upwards. But if you are a model or an actor, you have to get rid of the bumps. You dont get rid of bumps by using some things; you have to treat it.
What is the suitable make up application for the different skin types?
If you have oily skin, avoid the use of oil-based foundations and powders. Use a powder that settles into your skin and blocks the oil that comes out from the skin. Powders that contain mortifiers will reduce the oil extract that is coming out of the skin. It is a component of Benzoic, which is a mixture you get everywhere. It comes in form of Mary Kay, Mac and other products.
Are they not the normal Mary Kay products we see in shops?
They are the normal the normal Mary Kay, but its not just Mary Kay powder or Mac powder. Mac has got its oil mortifier, which is specifically for people who are with oily skins. When you wear the mortifier, it reduces the oil extract that comes to the face.
Why do you think people use wrong foundations and powders?
We have a problem in Nigeria: the people that sell make up products are not professionals. You dont just buy things off the rack. Things that can be bought off the rack abroad are things that are displayed on the counters. In England or elsewhere in the world, there are professional make up artists hanging around in the shops to assist you. They do a test sample for you whereby you know the shade of your powder, the kind of lipstick you should wear, the kind of eye shadow for a normal day. If you like, you buy everything that they used for you and continue the process. But here, it is a different thing all together. In most places, they just bring one girl from secondary school to come and manage the shop. Even graduates must undergo professional training to know what they are doing before selling the products to people. Our climatic condition here is different. If you buy a powder in England, it will not be the same shade when you come here. The ultraviolet rays will sort of darken it. So, when buying powder, buy the one that is slightly lighter than your shade so that when you apply it, you have the normal shade and a touch over.
What about dry skins?
Someone that has a dry skin type must use oil-based creams. You moisturise the skin properly so that theres a lot of water to enable the skin receive a lot of humidity. Revitalise your skin often in the sense that you try and use things like glycerin. Add more oil content into the skin. And when you are going to use a foundation, you use an oil-based foundation that can easily soak and penetrate the skin, because if you put anything dry on it, the dry one just goes in and doesnt really come out fine. But if it is an oil-based, the oil will settle and fill in the dry spaces all over the skin, which gives it an oily surfaced skin, then you powder up.
For a normal skin, it all depends on what you are doing. If you have a normal skin, that is not too dry and not too oily, all you need is just a studio fix, which is a mixture of both oil-based and mart-based powder. It is dry and oily at the same time. Most people with in between skin dont have much problem with getting products that suit their skin.
What are the basic make up items any woman should have?
First, you need mascara. This is important because the eyes say a lot. You need an eye brow pencil, especially for those who are not hairy. If you are hairy, you really do not need eyebrow pencil; all you need is just to tread, wax or shave your brow. You also need mascara, lip gloss and a lip liner with your powder. For men who are in the movie industries, the first important thing they need is powder and brush. Try not to share brush with people. You need hair brush for your hair and powder brush. The everyday man that goes to work needs a good cleanser, hair brush and moisturiser and that is all, except you have problems with your skin.
Having being in the industry for so long, are there plans to have your own range of cosmetic lines?
Having a cosmetic line is what anybody can do. All it takes is to go to China, pick a product and have your name on it, and then you bring it to Nigeria and sell. But if you want to stay long in business, you must take a deep look into the industry in the sense that you have to take into cognizance the climatic condition of Nigeria, which is very hot.
Are you saying that our climate is not suitable to floating a cosmetic line?
It is not that the weather is not suitable for me to float my own cosmetics line, but as a professional, there are certain details that I need. I need to know and be sure of the components of anything that I am selling to anybody.
And will that take a lifetime?
No. But in my long years of practising, I have not been thinking of floating products. Rather, I have been mostly into research. I am not a cosmetics dealer, I am an artist. Anybody can make a product in his or her name, but it is not everybody that can be a professional make up artist. Doing a make up range is something I would fall back to later. A lot of make up artists do not even know about exfoliating, ultra violet peeling, chemical peels or even the skin. They just apply products on the skin. It is not like that. You have to know what it takes when it comes to make up.
Can you give us a bit of your background?
I come from a royal family in Osun State, Ilesha to be precise. I am a fun lover and at times, I go out with friends. I am not the outgoing type. Any event I attend, the person must be very close to me or must be doing something very close to what I do. At times I go to clubs with my friends. I am homely in the sense that I like to take care of my family. Educationally, I graduated from the University of Lagos.
How did you meet your wife?
We met when we were in secondary school. We broke up, reconciled and now we have been back together for so many years.
What attracted you to her?
She is very real. I like real people. I dont have a lot of friends because I cant stand fake people. I dont like people that try to be who they are not or trying to act up unnecessarily. I dont pretend; if I dont like something I open up immediately. These are some of the qualities I have seen in my wife. She is very understanding and caring. She can take care of my home when I am not at home.
There is this belief that make up artists are gay...
People engage in what they like, and I dont come against anybody picking whatever he or she wants. I have chosen my path; anybody else can choose his or her own path. It is a free world.
Do you get advances from them?
Well, I dont go to places where I can get that. These days, you seldom see me. I have built a wall around myself in the sense that if you are not doing business, there is nowhere you can see me, except outside the country.
What does the future hold for Bayo Hastrophe?
Well I love to take care of my family, give them the comfort I have enjoyed and serve God.
What advice do you have for those aspiring to be models?
It is not everybody that is cut out to be a model. The fact that you are skinny does not mean you must be a model. You must have the X factor. Dont force yourself into what you are not good for.
What has been your highest pay with regard to make up?
I have done a single look for N360,000.
By ADA ONYEMA