Beauty In Lagos

First for all things Beauty, in Lagos!


Wednesday, 16 November 2016


Yesterday was so surreal! I knew meeting Sam Fine and sitting down with him was a big deal, but I didn't think about it too much. And you know what, it was actually a good thing because I may not have been able to get through the interview quite like I did. This was actually my first ever interview for the blog, and with a celebrity makeup artist that I never could've imagined in a million years would be sat across from me answering makeup questions. He was honestly one of the nicest, most humble people I've ever met. He was so warm and welcoming, and even gave me some pointers on how bits of the interview could go. It was like chatting with a fellow makeup lover, just that in this case, it was with a makeup Legend!

The interview took place at the MAC store located in the Palms Shopping Mall and I would like to sincerely thank the MAC Nigeria team for the opportunity! They must think I'm a little crazy, because I could not stop saying thank you to them!


Sam Fine was so open and very easy to talk to, he answered every single question and shared his own approach to the art of makeup!

Beauty In Lagos: The Climate here is a lot warmer than other parts of the world, so getting our makeup to stay on can be a challenge. What primer would you recommend?
  • Sam Fine: Primer to me is like anti-perspirant for the face, so it helps control oil, but in this humidity and also with black people being a little more oily than normal... By the way that's what keeps us young, that's why we don't wrinkle. But in terms of controlling the oil, I still talk about using a variety of products when it comes to your foundation. People say the climate is too warm to use a cream foundation, so you can just use it where you need it most. That would be around the centre of the face, where typically you'd want to conceal redness or darkness under the eyes, and then you can use a liquid foundation on the outer perimeter to finish things off. You don't have to only use one type of foundation, so that helps to mix and play.

BiL: So it's not just about primers when it comes to controlling the shine, but also about combining different product textures and placing them where you need them most. But is there one primer you can recommend?

  • SF: MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion. Many women of colour don't use SPF, so having a primer with SPF is key. I wear primer all the time, that's male grooming, it's sheer so it's really nice to have. But like I said, it's not just the all about primer, the products you use and where you place them, along the face, makes all the difference. I use cream foundation mostly as a makeup artist because it lasts longer and offers the ability to mix, play and contour seamlessly.

What foundation would you recommend for sensitive skin?
  •  I am not concerned so much about sensitive skin because if you sat in my chair today and you say "I'm sensitive", most people aren't going to break out from a cream foundation, most people aren't going to break from a liquid foundation, unless you HAVE to use a specific foundation. It's not always about sensitive skin for me, I'm not at esthetician, neither do I know skincare so for me it's about colour and coverage. Whatever I get when you sit in my chair is what I have to work with and I have to make the most with that. I have to say, I don't have many clients who are extra-sensitive. 

How do you apply false lashes on a client who has got naturally really curly lashes?
  • It's something you learn how to do. Naomi Campbell has very curly lashes and she used to ask for individual lashes which makes it even harder because there's no band or there's nothing to 'tame' that lash. As a makeup artist it's much easier applying them on a client, as opposed to doing it yourself. You have to go over the curl and into where it fits and then pulling some mascara through to fuse them together and straighten the lash a bit. But it's challenging, I always use waterproof mascara because it's dries faster and allows you tame those lashes and fuse them together more easily. Sometimes it also helps to use a lash curler to curl the lashes after, so it can also follow the natural curl of the lash. Placing it on takes a steady hand, and you have to go behind the lashes a bit and then in.

What's your trick for hooded eyes or barely-there lids?

  • A smokey eye! A smokey eye will add dimension, not using anything shimmery though. So when you look at an eye that is not so defined, like Oprah she has a hooded lid. I look at a defined eye as being very much like Iman's, very creased, very deep-set. Which is beautiful, but she also favours a smokey eye because it adds a different level of dimension. So a smokey eye enables you create dimension but also hide some of the imperfections/bulge of the eye so to speak. So if I wanted to mask I'll cover the entire area in dark  black and brown it's going to recess, you definitely want to pull away from shimmers, because it will reflect light and that won't give the recessed appearance you want. You are really trying to bring back weight and dimension to the eye area and a matte brown, grey or black would help achieve that.

How do you avoid creasing under your eyes?
  • It's best to set with a loose powder and because the area under the eye is a very fine area and usually dry, you don't need to leave the powder on for too long. Once you set under both eyes, you can proceed to brush off any excess almost immediately. Also what you can do is go back again to the lower lash line with an eyeshadow, not a liner because it can seem a little too harsh. So come back with something softer to bring back a bit of warmth to the area. Like a brown shadow that's close to the skin tone that will bring some warmth back to the skin

How do you make bright lips work on brown skin beauties?
  • Ultimately you have to choose a colour that is within your colour-range. Of course the lighter you are the easier it is to wear outstanding colours, and the browner you are the more vibrant they appear because more of the pigment shows up. A lot of cosmetic brands aren't putting a lot of blacks or browns into those lip colours that are vibrant to make them work for brown skin women. What you have to do is get a brown lip liner and base the lip with it first, like cover it completely. So by the time you are adding this vibrant shade it's not so vibrant anymore, and you get to control how vibrant you want it to be.

Your skin is flawless, what is your skincare routine?

  • I'm not big on skincare, I just find a few things that work. I'm very fortunate. One thing I'm always with is the Shiseido benefiance cleanser. Atypical to blacks, I'm dry so I use a lot of moisturiser, heavy moisturisers like Kiehls Creme D'Elegance Repairateur.

What is your secret to achieving a flawless finish?

Photo cred:

  • Cream Foundation! I think people scare away from it because it seems so heavy, but cream can be manipulated in so many ways to make it look as light or as little as you like. I feel like, once you learn cream foundation everything else is easier. I spend so much time in foundation and powder whenever I'm working on a client. One of my favourites is the M.A.C. Full Coverage Foundation. Also a favourite when I use drugstore is  Black Opal. I developed the Black Opal stick foundations many many years ago. 

What would you say was that defining moment that skyrocketed your career as a Makeup Artist?
  • One thing that changes your career has nothing to do with a celebrity client, it has to do with the power every celebrity has to request you for a job when there wouldn't have been a black makeup artist on set. So to have their belief, to have someone in your corner and walk you in the room when there really is no space, that makes all the difference. There's no affirmative action in this business, it's a freelance life, so there's no necessary reason to make sure that there's another black person on set. But when you walk into the room with Patti Labelle and know that you were specially requested because they trust you with their beauty, which is their biggest commodity, that means a lot, that's the biggest difference. It means you have something unique to bring to the table.

Now with the social media, it seems that's the only sure-fire way to get noticed. Do you agree?
  • If I had Facebook or Instagram as I was growing up, I don't know how I would've chosen to use those platforms, perhaps I would've been taking it behind the scenes at fashions shows and when I go to work. But I do think it's a wonderful opportunity to display your work, to be seen, in fact nobody asks for my portfolio anymore so they just ask for my social media pages or a website. So I do understand why it's popular to be on social media, but it's also popular to understand how to maintain professionalism, to edit images to show your work as beautifully as possible. But also, if you've put five filters on your work and someone books you based off of that image, trust me, your client will want to see work like that when you do it. So you have to be very careful with the images you put out, and be prepared to live up to them.

What would you say is your Signature feature that makes it easy for anyone to identify your work?
  • When I began my career people always said I had a signature brow. Now I think more people notice contour and highighting, which is something I have been doing for years. But because it's so popular now I think people now appreciate how much work goes into it, they see how fluid my contour and highlighting is. My signature, to me, is a collective classic look; You'll only see me using browns, golds and blacks with beautiful lashes and bleached/brown brows, neutral lips and dark lips. I want to be able to look back 10-20years at my past work and still feel that it's beautiful. And they say you attract who you are, that's why the clients I have are who they are.

What encouragement would you give a Makeup Artist who is still working at the cosmetic counter or as a Makeup Assistant, and knows they are destined for greater things but can't see a way out right now?
  • For anyone who's working as an assisant or behind the cosmetic counter, like I was, the job on the other side is still the same. You just leave working at a counter, and you're in a different location. There's not a huge difference, you're under more pressure. It may look like fun, but theres also a lot of pressure, not only on your client but for you to make sure they look their best. Say you've done beautiful work once, then you have to repeat that again. It's hard, everytime a Makeup Artists works it's an original work of art. I want people to remember that the makeup counter is the best training ground you can ever have because you are running into real women who are dealing with the same things your celebrity clients are going to ask you. And you learn how to be a better servant then than at any other time in your career.

Quick Fire Questions

Tweezers or Fingers (for strip-lash application)
  • Fingers
Sponge or Brush
  • Sponge
Matte Liquid Lipsticks vs Regular
  • Regular

I actually can't say thank you enough to Sam Fine for being so patient and very open. Some behind the scenes of the entire interview have now been uploaded to my Instastory over on Instagram. So if you did not get a chance to catch my snapchat yesterday (which must've expired by now), go follow me on Instagram and checkout my Instastory. My Instagram Username is @BeautyInLagos. Hurry because that expires in 24hours

As you can see I did get quite a number of your questions in and I hope you enjoyed reading this interview. It's my first one ever, so I hope I did you all proud!

Ez xxX


  1. You did great!!!! Funny enough I just got the Black Opal is AMAZING!!!!!!

  2. VERY VERY NICE interview! Very well done Ezinne.

    Berry Dakara Blog

  3. I enjoyed the interview. Lovely!

  4. Amazing interview...thanks for sharing this.

  5. Ezinne you did very well and the questions and his responses were apt too.


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