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After working in finance for 10 years, Nikki Brown decided it was no longer her jam; rather, she wanted to pursue a lifelong hobby — makeup. So, she quit her job and got herself a new one at one of her favorite makeup brands, MAC Cosmetics. Sixteen years later, she’s moved on from MAC and is a professional freelance makeup artist and licensed esthetician who operates under Nikki Brown Makeup.
We met with Brown and picked her brain about everything there is to know about makeup and skincare. Here’s what she had to say.
Maven superpower: Power of observation. I notice things that others don’t notice.
How did you get into makeup?
I’ve always had a passion for makeup. Since I was a little girl, I used to get in so much trouble taking my mom’s makeup and putting it on and trying to make it out the door to school. After working in finance for 10 years, I decided that I wanted to do makeup. So, I quit my corporate job before getting the job doing makeup. I went to my favorite brand at the time, which was MAC Cosmetics, and I got the job.
If you had to pick one, which makeup brand is your favorite?
MAC is still truly, honestly one of my favorites. I use an array of products. I don’t limit myself to just one brand. I love MAC. I love NARS. Pat McGrath. I spread the love around because there are so many good products out there. People need to not limit themselves to just sticking with one brand.
Name three products you could not live without.
I cannot live without my L’Oréal Voluminous Carbon Black Waterproof Mascara. I’ve got to have my MAC Blacktrack fluid liner. And the other thing that I have to have is my Viseart eye shadow palette.
What lip shade makes you feel most powerful?
Definitely red. I’m all about the red because I love clean, classic looks that are more Hollywood glam. Red lipstick is everything to me.
Tell us your best-kept makeup advice.
Please, please, please take care of your skin vs. trying to cover it up with makeup. Skincare is the best way to make your makeup look amazing. So, exfoliate those faces. If you pay attention to what you see in Vogue and all the magazines, that natural look is where the money is at. That’s what people are doing. That’s what people want to see in magazines. It’s just the way it is. A full-face of cakey makeup is not the jam.
How do you switch up your makeup for the holidays?
I’m a big fan of glitter. You can add just a little bit of glitter to your red lip. There are so many glitter shadows out that you can put on your lids. Don’t go crazy. Be subtle.
What does your everyday makeup look like?
For me personally, because I’m putting makeup on people everyday, I am skincare focused and I mainly focus on my lips, eyelashes, and eyebrows. And I may wear light powder just to keep the shine off. That’s just for me because I’m down to the bare minimum at this point.
Having a good skincare routine is essential. What’s your best kept skin secret?
Drinking lots of water. Exfoliation a couple times a week, and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
What new beauty product have you been loving lately that we need to add to our baskets ASAP?
Sonia Roselli. She has a moisturizer called Water Balm I love.
Tell us about a makeup mistake we’re all probably making and how to fix it.
One makeup mistake that I feel people make sometimes is when you’re putting on your mascara, make sure to wipe your brush off so you’re not over applying it. People should also make sure that they’re using the right shade of foundation because we change colors. Our summer color is not going to be the same as our winter color. We should all have more than one foundation color.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Indy on the weekends?
I love going to try new restaurants. It’s my absolute favorite thing. I like going to see art, anything artistic. I also love to just drive around and look at the hidden big houses in Indianapolis.
Is there a new restaurant you’ve been loving lately?
Brasserie, the restaurant attached to Kan Kan Cinema.