Afolashade Odusote, Creative Director of Anike’s Visage, and working mother, chats with TFC…sharing awesome makeup tips, and how to effectively juggle work, marriage and parenting!
Please tell us about yourself?
My name is Afolashade Odusote. I’m a wife, I’m a mother. I’m a God-fearing person, I put God first in everything I do, and that moulds everything I do. It moulds me basically. I’m a fun loving person. I’m an introvert but if the situation calls for it, I can be an extrovert. People say I’m cool and distant, but I don’t tend to agree with that…but I do keep to myself a lot. I enjoy my “me-time”. I’m a regular girl next door basically.
What motivated you to start a career in make-up artistry?
I have always loved make up. My mom is a fashionista. When I look at her pictures when she was younger, the 50s, 60s, 70s pictures with her platform heels, mini skirts, afro…she did all that. She was very funky. I grew up seeing her like that. I saw her get dressed to go out and she was into make up, and I couldn’t wait to finish my secondary school and say, “Oh, I’m out of secondary school and I can use make up now.” Obviously, the first time I used make up was after my secondary school, and I was trying to apply my eye pencil or eye brows, I can’t remember which now, and my mom was like,“This is how you do it, and it makes it nicer” and I think that was just how my love for make up just started.
By nature, I like to make things beautiful. I’m a finicky person. I like arranging things and when they are being arranged, they have to align. That’s the kind of person I am. From that and trying to make everything beautiful, my surroundings, the way I look, the way I dress, I think that is where my love for make-up started.
And also in secondary school, I was good with fine arts, colours and I think that was just one more way for me to express myself.
What are your thoughts about the industry in Nigeria?
It has evolved over time. Make up is an art and with time, it has evolved. Make up has been on since forever, since the Egyptians. Even before the Western world, it is the Egyptians who had experimented with make up and you will realise that all the cat eyes, all the kohl looks, the Egyptians started them. And it has evolved over time. You realise that the trends that have been on since the early 20s, 30 and 40s are coming back now, even some from the 80s are coming back right now. So, it’s a lot of reinvention of the things that had been done before. I think a lot of people are just putting their own twist to it; coming up with processes, products, and such. It is basically reinventing everything and putting your own twist to it.
What has been the high point of your make up artistry career so far?
Honestly, I haven’t gotten to my highpoint already; I’m still in my teething stage. However, I have some ideas in my head, pertaining to beauty and aesthetics. It is not make up, but they are accessories that will aid make up, especially in our culture, where we have a lot of accessories that accompany make up. I have something that I have been playing with and would want to develop for the market. Once I have achieved that, that would be one of the high points of my career.
What is the unique selling point of your brand, given there are so many make-up artists out there?
My unique selling point is, I don’t follow the crowd. Fine, everyone is into make up, highlighting, contouring, you do this, you do that, but I think every woman is beautiful in her own way, every features are unique and all you have to do is highlight the features, rather than mask everything. There are a lot of “make up artistes” out there, who, by the time they are done with their work, you wouldn’t recognize the person again. And you are like, “Is that still you?”
My unique selling point is, when I do your make up, you will still be you but I don’t want to do too much. Except if that is what the person wants, but I try to make a point for the natural look. Customers would always have what they want but sometimes, I say, “Why don’t we try this and see how it looks. If you don’t like it, then we will do what you want.”
When I see some make up, I cringe and go “What??!”. Make up is just to enhance your features, don’t cover it all up. A little goes a long way. For me, simplicity is the key. Simple make up could make a classic impression.
What common make up mistake do you see women making all the time?
Matching the right foundation to the right skin tone, that is a major mistake that most women make. Currently, we have a lot of indigenous make up brands which are doing well with the products they were putting out, unlike back then, when it was just international brands. Because most of the make up is made for Caucasian skin, they sometimes don’t get the right colours, or if the colour is right, the undertones are wrong.
Now, your skin colour is different from the undertone and you have to get the right foundation that will suit both, because some fair complexioned ladies might think their undertone is yellow, when it is actually pink or red.
The thing is when you put on foundation that doesn’t suit your undertone and colour, you look grey. I’m sure you have seen people apply make-up and they look grey, ashen. That is the most common thing. Once you can get the right base for your skin, the rest will fall into place.
Could you give up tips on every day make up routines that can help our readers?
First and foremost, eat right, because what you put in is what comes out. You wonder what food has got to do with make up? The truth is, your skin is the largest organ of your body and it reflects what is on the inside. If you are not eating right, if you are not getting the right nutrients, it will show on your skin. Eating right gives you that glow no make up can. Get sufficient amount of liquid into your body and it will show.
Exercise right. If you can do all that, then with the right skin glow, the less make up you will need. The less you will need to cover up.
And when it comes to the external make up; cleanse your skin well. Hygiene is key; never ever sleep with make up on, because your skin needs to breathe. With all the make up on, the environment and having all of that mixing up with your skin, it just clogs up your pores and that is when break outs happen.
Some people have breakouts due to hormones, if it is not hormone related, then it is due to improper hygiene, improper cleansing.
If you get all of that right, the less make up you will need to use on a daily basis. Whatever you have is only to enhance what you already have.
How much make up do you wear yourself?
I don’t wear foundation every day. I’m not wearing any right now. I just used powder…and a cheap powder at that. For my daily routine, I have a day job besides from makeup, so I need to get out of the house as early as possible. My make up takes 10 to 15 minutes and I’m done. I cleanse and moisturize my skin. Another make up routine is to always moisturise your skin, whether you are oily or dry, you skin still needs to be moisturise. For me, I use sunscreen to moisturise my skin and then I use a face primer, because I’m an oily girl. The primer helps your make up last longer, rather than it sliding off your face. Then I do my brows and I’m off and then I don’t touch up all day. Once, I’m out of the house, I’m out.
My notion has always been, if you take care of your skin, the less you would have to cover up.
Who are some of your role models in the make-up industry in Nigeria?
Wow, Banke Meshida wows me. Even though she uses products, she keeps it as natural as possible. It’s one thing for you to have the products and another for you to be able to apply it, without making the person look painted on.
Someone else I’m looking at, and liking her looks, is a young lady, Beautycook. I don’t know her but I have seen her work and I like it!
There is another lady in the US. Every time she does make up, it turns out looking as natural as possible and that is what I like to achieve, simple make up, but you can go all wild with your accessories, if you want to. Then Tatiana Ali, who also shows off her work on instagram.
Where do you see your make-up brand in the next five years?
In the next five years, I plan to have developed the accessories I mentioned earlier, hoping to have them in the market and people craving for them. I think it will really define make up accessories.
How close is infertility to you?
It’s pretty close, because I have people close to me who are affected by infertility. One of these people, close to me, was older and had gotten married while I was in secondary school. She would come to our house to talk and I would see her talking to my father, and she would be crying. And because I was young, I did not know what was going on at home.
She later got divorced and remarried and had only one child. When I asked my mom years later, the gist was that her first marriage had failed because of this infertility challenge. It is devastating but I guess God compensated her with her child, and they are all fine.
For the other TTC moms I know, it was a struggle for them to keep their head up, when everyone was announcing the fact that they were pregnant, having a baby, and these two were already married, even before I did. It was difficult and then for me, it was a not easy relating with them, without making them feel any worse than they already felt; trying to find the right words, wondering what to say, what not to say, how to act, how not to act but they were able to manage it well in public but it was tough.
Funny enough, both women are mommies now, one of them had a son who was conceived naturally, after they tried IUI, IVF which didn’t work. The other got pregnant with twins when they did one of the procedures but miraculously, she got pregnant again out of nowhere, so she has three children, within the space of two and the half years, after waiting for seven years.
I had to be sensitive, but at the same time, they didn’t need my pity. That would be the worst mistake. They didn’t need my pity, and I had to be sensitive enough to manage the situation.
How do you cope with work-life balance? Could you share some real life tips other women can use?
It’s a struggle…(laughs), you are asking me? I’m still struggling to find my work-life balance, but one thing that I have learnt to find that balance is that work is never ever finished until you are dead. It just won’t finish. Based on my personality, I can’t sit still; I will always find something to do. It tires me out and I’m stressed. What I have learnt to do is, for my work-life balance, leave work at work if you can. You will still go back and meet it. Just because you did not finish it doesn’t mean the world will end. And when you get home, face your family, because the little time you spend with your family matters a lot, because you’re able to unwind and de-stress.
And average Lagosian spends about 80 percent of their time at work and in traffic; some even spend more than that. Finding that balance is hard but it is just a mindset now. Leave work at work and enjoy the time with your family.
What’s your favourite look for any day?
Simple and comfortable. I love my comfort, even though they say, you have to suffer for your fashion, but my everyday look is simple. For my makeup, once my brows are fine, everything else is fine. Simple and comfortable is what I like, if I can help it, and also depending on where I am going to.
Could you run us through what your typical day is like?
I’m a morning person. Even when I try to sleep in, I just can’t. This morning, I woke up as early as 4:30am and I’m running the tasks that I need to do in my head; get myself sorted, get my son sorted, make breakfast, clean up the house, pack up whatever I need to pack up.
My morning time with God is on the go (God forgive me), which shouldn’t be. On the go because, when I wake up, my head is filled with the things that I need to do. I know I need to find time to have quiet time. By the time I run around, getting my son ready for school and other things, I’m off.
And then I always have a cup of tea in the morning. Without that cup of tea,…emm. I have been having tea since forever. It was a morning ritual with my father, who liked tea too.
How long have you been married?
It’s going to be five years on December 17.
How has having children changed your relationship with your husband?
Oh, it changed everything. It changed it for the better. Initially, we had to find our rhythm. Having a baby changes everything, your life is never your own again. So, like I tell people that are about to get married, enjoy yourself now, because once the children come, that is it.
It made us more mature, more tolerant and patient. And then to trust God, because this is a life that you are responsible for. I mean, when I first had him, even though I had read all the books and heard other people’s experience, it still didn’t prepare me for the reality. So, you know what, you just have to trust God to come through for you. Do what you know how to do and trust God for the rest.
You make mistakes along the way, you learn from your mistakes but I have learnt also that children are stronger than they look. They are fighters actually. Do what is right, take them to the doctor, if you have to, make situations better, but they are stronger than we give them credit for.
What lessons did you learn, growing up, that have helped you in your motherhood journey so far?
Putting God first in everything. It’s hard being a woman in this time and age and it is harder being a mother, it is hard being a good wife and a woman and now, all three roles on one person. If you want to do it on your own, you are going to burn out, you are going to fail miserably, so put God first.
And then I have learnt also to respect my husband. Men are egoistical beings, you can’t change that. I have learnt to respect him more and to be humble in my dealings with him. Because if you give your husband the respect and regard he deserves, he would love you as Christ loves the church. It will be hard, it will be tough, but without all the attitude problem and what not, it makes it easier to do.
Another lesson I have learnt is let go and let God. I have tried it in my own strength and it was not working. I was frustrated. I was tired, so there is no point. I used to want to do everything, do this, do that, but I was frustrated! The moment I decided, you know what, “ I cannot come and die”, I just let go.
He is not perfect, I don’t have the ideal marriage but it’s good, its great actually. I cannot ask for anything better and I know that God is working through me, for me, and within me.
What is your parenting style?
I can’t say I really have one parenting style. For me, it is all about what works in that situation. I don’t want to be rigid and be just one way kind of, but one thing I know is that I’m strict, and I know what is right from wrong.
As long as you are not doing the wrong thing, you are fine. I let my son explore. I let him be himself. I don’t want him to be a momma’s boy. I want him to grow up independent of his parents. I want him to have the mind-set that if he sets outs to do something, he can do it. I urge him on, whenever I need to help him, I help him, but most times, I let him do what he wants, even if he fails or falls, he gets back up.
I think, initially, his father was the one who let him have whatever he wanted, because I’m very strict with him. So he will just run to his Daddy, but as he has grown older, his dad no longer lets him have his way, so he runs to me, but between us, I think, I’m still stricter with him.
My father was a disciplinarian; no nonsense, no rubbish. If my father was coming, you would be at attention but at the same time, we could still hang out with him, still talk to him…but he was very strict.
Growing up and even till now, there are sometimes I want to do some things, go crazy but I find myself controlling myself, because of my upbringing. That is the kind of thing I want with my child. I want him to be responsible and well-mannered, but I want him to still be able to come to me.
I’m his mother first before I’m his friend. I’m traditional, even though westernized, but still, you will respect your elders, prostrate if you have to, don’t call people older than you by name, even if others are doing that. That is the kind of person I am.
What lessons has life taught you?
Life has taught me that life can be very unfair. Life is not fair but God is just. And that is the key thing that I have learnt. Life is going to throw curve balls at you, throw situations at you, you are going to feel cheated, you are going to feel unloved but one thing that keeps coming to my mind is, no matter how unfair life is, God is just and He will reward everyone in whatever capacity, they need to be rewarded.
So, I have learnt that whatever it is you are going through is just a phase and it will pass, just as every other situation. It is just for you to keep keeping on. Wake up every morning, put your best face on, try and smile, it’s just another day.
It’s hard but it’s doable.
- Anike’s Visage
Facebook: Anike’s Visage
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