The Woman Who Dared To Dream Big : In conversation with Miss Ambika Pillai 

Ambika Pillai. 

One name that we’ve all heard. One name we add to our ‘Wedding Wishlist’ as soon as we hit puberty. 
One woman who single handedly revolutionised the Make-Up industry with her avant garde business vision, far sightedness and belief. But most importantly, a name that stands out and inspires millions of women to not give up on their dreams. 
Brand Ambika Pillai dissects across the Indian Market with luxury salon lines and online products for wellness and beauty. Like the entrepreneur herself believes, every woman is born beautiful, but each of us could use some help to highlight our best Gifts! 

Make-Up for her, being the benchmark of her career spanning over a decade, isn’t something that models and runway dolls should be better aware of, it is something that can compliment and grace a 13 year old and a 40 year old, alike. If done right, enhancing aesthetics is the part that make up serves foremost, followed by an upheaval in confidence, Like it’s said, “stay confident. Look great!”
In this feature, we find out what puts brand AmbikaPillai on the top, and what makes sure it stays there, right from the words of the founder. P.S. Ladies! Take notes as She spills out the beans on looking great for every occasion! 

1. It is such a privilege covering your brand. It is a recognised name across countries. Looking back, how would you trace your journey ? 

Well, truthfully speaking it wasn’t a well planned road I had chosen to take. On the other hand it all happened by default. 

All I ever wanted as a kid was to be happily married with 4 kids and a husband who loved me unconditionally and of course 2 dogs… But life doesn’t always turn out the way you want it! 

Being divorced at 23 wasn’t the easiest situation to be in, especially when you are from an extremely orthodox family.

My dad didn’t believe in women working. So I left home, with a two year old daughter in my arms and went off to far away Delhi, with every intention of doing a beauty course and heading back home to Kerala to open up my own little salon. 

Of course it didn’t happen that way but it was the foundation for my life as I know it now. 
2. Dreaming big is something not everybody is capable of, while making that dream a reality is adopted by an even lesser nexus of people. What was your turning point in life where you knew this was your call? Any teething problems faced initially? 

After my courses at Shahnaz for beauty treatments and pivot point for hair. I got my first job that paid me Rs 2000/- , probably would have carried on being a small time parlour girl if I hadn’t been thrown out of my second job for a huge misunderstanding (laughs)!

 I decided I didn’t want to work for anyone anymore. I opened my first salon with a partner and worked as a shadow behind the very talented Sylvie. 

Once that partnership fell through, with my never say die attitude I opened yet another salon with yet another friend who was a billion times worse. Basically I jumped from the frying pan into the fire! 

The partnership lasted for 13 long years and even though it took me forever to find out my best friend was swindling all the money.. This is the time in my life other great things happened that would determine my path and take me to heights that was actually the beginning of my brand building exercise and making my brand a house hold name in Delhi. You ask me what the turning point was… Well, it takes a lot of hardships you struggle through to overcome to finally make something of your life.. But if was asked to pinpoint one incident then I would have to say it was winning my first national award for an ad film where I did the then ruling miss world Aishwarya Rai’s face. 

The press gave it everything they had and it became every girls dream to sit on my chair and get their hair and make up done by me.
3. These days, smokey eyes continue to be the ruling trend. Any tips on getting the winged eye liners perfect? 

There are umpteen ways to get the perfect eyeliner. 

Follow your lash line, start thin at the inner corner of the eye and thicker as you reach the outer corner, and the winged liner is a pull out of your basic liner that suits you. 

There are literally a hundred or more variations for smokey eyes however most are too dramatic for anything other than the ramp or fashion shoots.
Smoking out your kajal and liner by using an eye shadow is a look that suites most and many can carry it confidently. You can increase the intensity of colour for added dramatic effect. This of course varies depending on personal taste and the occasion.
Keep these points in mind:

Apply Liquid Eyeliner to your upper lid and while still wet blend your chosen Eye shadow colour along it with a dome brush. Smudge and blend to give a soft hazy or “smokey” look.

Apply Kajal to the lower lid and blend the eye shadow along the base of your lower lashes with the dome brush.
The key to the perfect smokey eye is proper blending.
Basic Guidlines:
– The Eye shadow should not spill onto the nose or too far out from the sides
– Your imaginary guideline is the inner corner of the eyes to the beginning of the eyebrow and outer corner of the eye to the end of the eye brow.
– Highlight the brow area with either a Matt nude eye shadow or a frosted soft silver or gold tone.
– Do not take the dark eye shadow colours higher than the crease of the lid
– For added intensity or ‘smoulder’ you can darken the outer corner of the eye lid. This contouring adds drama and character to the eyes

4. What do you suggest for a daily make-up routine? 

Actually you need a daily skin care routine, that should comprise of cleansing, toning and moisturising using products that’s meant for your skin type. Then your make up goes on. Remember to wind down your day with the same 3 golden rules to keep your skin healthy. 
5. How important is flawless skin for good make-up? Any tips to remain acne free this scathing summer? 

Flawless skin is a must for good make up. The thing is, a little goes a long way when your skin is blemish free. Acne is sign of unhealthy upkeep of your skin. People with oily skin is prone to acne if they do not look after their skin. Dandruff if the root cause for acne on the face, back, shoulders and chest. So keep your scalp dandruff free and your skin well looked after. 
6. A lot of young girls today are using make-up. Do you feel this trend is a positive? Or should one go natural for as long as they can?

It’s fine to use make up as long as you have good knowledge on how to remove it. Going natural is the way to go but sometimes your job calls for make up or there are times you just want to enhance your face.
7. What is the most bizarre make-up trend you’ve witnessed? 

Most make up worn on the ramp is bizarre for girls to wear on a day to day basis. Normally bizarre looks never become a trend. 

A trend is where loads of people love carrying off a look. If you ask me which look I’d like becoming a trend I d probably say the uneven dark eyes I’ve done on Carol for Rohit and Rahul. (picture below) 


8. Where do you see your company 5 years from now? 

I d like my full skin care and make up line to go pan india. Maybe 2/3 more salons. One in dubai, one in Calicut Kerala and the other.. I haven’t made up my mind as yet.  
9. What’s the most important thing about hair care? With highlights and lowlights being quite the buzz, what shades would you suggest to go in for? (Considering every other girl we see today gets gold streaks done!)
Hair and scalp care is a must! 

Major reasons for immense hair fall is…hereditary, thyroid, pcod, pcos, stress, medication, washing your hair too often with only water ( some people wash it everyday and shockingly some twice a day), vitamin D deficiency … amongst others. 
The hair starts thinning right on top of the head, then the crown area. Most reasons, goes for both men and women, get all your tests done and If it is a health issue, take medication! 

If it is vitamin D deficiency, exposure to the sun, for the right amount of time at the right time of day, is the best source. 

If your hair wash routine is as mentioned above please stop and follow the directions I’ve given below. 
The right way to shampoo and condition your hair: 

Wash your hair two, maximum three times a week to avoid dandruff and hair fall, with products that are meant for your scalp and hair type. 

It will help to oil your scalp and hair once or twice a week, using coconut, olive or almond oil. 

Every time you shampoo your hair apply the shampoo twice, 1st shampoo with a squeeze or two onto your palm and massage throughly to clean out scalp. Rinse well and apply 2nd shampoo, squeeze a little product and dilute shampoo with water in your palm and wash out scalp and hair this time spend more time throughly cleaning out the hair. 

(So the 1st time you are concentrating on your scalp and the 2nd time your hair). Rinse well and use conditioner only on the hair and not on the scalp. Comb out with a wide tooth comb or a flat brush.

Use a big butterfly clip and pin your hair away. Have a body bath and finally rinse out the conditioner after leaving it on for 4 to 5 mins. 
As far as streaking or colouring your hair, “Always”choose a colour that goes with your skin tone. 

10. What do you think makes a woman, truly beautiful?

Being comfortable in her own skin.

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