Soraya Shawky's Made-Up World

The beautiful Soraya Shawky lives in a make-up world, where she eats, sleeps, and breathes make-up. The talented make-up artist has managed to make a name for herself in the beauty industry and is not showing any signs of slowing down. eniGma’s Radwa El Ziki talks to the artist about her future and her favourite tips and tricks.

Ever since she was 13, Shawky has been obsessed with make-up. “It was a big no no for girls at that age to wear make-up,” she exclaims, but she went on to do it anyway. Even though she studied accounting and finance in school and went on to work in marketing and real estate, Shawky always aspired to be part of the artistic scene. She admits that she owes that final push to get into make-up to her father. “He knew I was  good at it and he suggested I try it out,” Shawky explains, and so she did. Fortunately for Shawky, her two best friends, Nazly Abou Seif and Shahira Zaki, had something similar in mind. They decided to open their own photography studio, Photo Boutique, and that Shawky should do the make-up for their photoshoots. “I hadn’t taken courses or done any professional make-up then but I worked day and night to perfect my skills,” she admits. Reading books, watching YouTube videos and practicing on her friends gave her the boost she needed to dive into the fashion industry. With Bobbi Brown and Lauren Luke as her inspirations, Shawky quickly made her mark on the scene.

Taking her career a step further, Shawky decided to get a master’s degree in make-up and hair artistry in Spain in 2012. She quickly realised that her favourite course was special effects make-up for film and TV. She found it very intriguing, especially all the details that go into achieving the desired outcome. For someone with a bullet wound, for instance, where the bullet hits, in which direction the blood gushes and how the wounded person falls, all determine how the special effect make-up will be done.  Although Shawky tried to work in Egyptian television when she returned, she did not enjoy the experience. “In Europe, they respect the make-up artist, but in Egypt it’s different,” she laments. Her ultimate dream is to work with special effects artists in Hollywood.

Working with big names like L’Oréal and MAC, Shawky’s all-time favourite thing to do is bridal make-up. “It’s more emotional. You feel an immediate sense of happiness when you see the bride satisfied with her look for her big day,” Shawky says excitedly.  She also finds fashion make-up fun, but notes that it sometimes lacks creativity. “There is a big evolution in the fashion scene in Egypt, but people have also started to copy each other and international designers.”

Shawky doesn’t believe in trends and advises women to have their own style or to tweak a specific trend to suit their own look. “Burgundy lips were big, for example, but if you don’t have the lips for it, just don’t do it!” Shawky jokes.  In her opinion, the most important tip is taking care of your skin, rather than just covering everything with make-up.  Have a skin regimen that is suitable for your skin type, she advises, adding, “no matter how much make-up you apply, if your skin is not healthy, the result will look bad.” Shawky also suggests that you drink lots of water and increase your vitamin intake.

When it comes to foreign beauty magazines, Shawky reminds us that they are targeted to people living abroad. She explains,“In the West, they have a completely different climate and their habits are also different. If you choose to follow their beauty routines, you might as well not be doing anything.” Shawky advises Middle Eastern women to either double the routine mentioned in the magazines, or ask a beauty consultant to tailor a routine specifically for them. A big thing to avoid in Shakwy’s book is the use of white concealer. If you must use a concealer  then it should be in salmon or yellow tones.  “White is going to make the circles under your eyes look gray, and it will also look bad in pictures!” she exclaims.

For every day simplicity, Shawky suggests using BB or CC creams with cream blush. “Don’t use powdered products in the morning,” she advises, “the weather is dusty and it will only make your face look flaky.”

Although Shawky believes that each woman will find the specific products that suit her, her own favourite products are L’Oréal’s CC cream, Armani Foundation and Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Palette.  Her ultimate advice: “If you have tinted moisturiser, lip balm, mascara, and blush; you are good to go!”