India is a world in a country: Daniel Bauer

The ace German make-up artist talks about Indian actresses and their beauty.

Tress Tales
If there is one thing which I feel represents Indian beauty at its finest, it has to be Indian hair. Unquestionably Indian women have the best hair in the world. However, the beauty of Indian hair is more than skin deep; nowhere in the world does a women’s hair have such cultural importance. I’ve always felt India is a world in a country, a land where fair skin and green eyes are as prevalent as beautiful dusky tones with striking brown eyes, but this stunning hair is similar across all corners of Incredible India, and is nurtured from childhood, like in no other country.

Iconic Beauties
I remain blessed in being able to work with some of the most iconic heroines of Indian cinema. Be it contouring Priyanka or Deepika, painting the eyes of Aishwarya or Kareena or styling the hair for Katrina or Sushmita, each actress has her own unique beauty, and as an artist it’s incredibly exciting to be given the trust and the creativity to create and explore different looks and avatars.

Skin Deep
I am a firm believer in loving the skin you are in. Most women start using make-up when they are teenagers, a time of change and for some, body confidence issues. Bad make-up habits designed around insecurities can follow you into adulthood. I always try to advocate healthy skin; you’ll rarely see a model or actress on set without a bottle of water. Healthy skin is the best make-up. Make-up, for some, is a mask; the heavier the mask, the more protected you feel. I don’t share this view, make-up is about transforming, not hiding, make-up is about enhancing, not deceiving. Make-up has the ability to lift a mood, change an atmosphere and generate wow. Day-to-day, ditch the foundation and just use a concealer where needed…your skin absolutely needs to breathe.

Changing Attitudes
Indian women are no more obsessed with looking fair, than European women want to look tanned. As an artist, I fully support women who may want to go one or two shades lighter or darker (many top actresses do in fact go darker with their foundation). What needs to change is that ‘fair is better’. This is wrong on every possible level. This is a problem, not just with India, but across Asia and many parts of Africa. It’s certainly a generational thing, but I do notice attitudes slowly changing for the better.

Homing In
My grandfather is from Chennai and I’ve been travelling to Thailand with my parents since the early 1980s, so in a small away I was familiar with Indian/Asian culture. While nothing can fully prepare you for your first visit to India, the key is to not fight the current, but go with the flow. After eight years in India, I don’t feel like I’m a foreigner anymore. India is my home.

Flexibility Works
Working in Europe, almost every shoot is planned to the finest detail, and what you set out to achieve on the morning of a shoot, is enviably what you get at the end of the day. While the Indian scene is moving toward this approach, I still love the more wildly used Indian approach of ‘Let’s see on the day’ – it allows for far more creativity, definitely less planning and, more often than not, far more imaginative work. There are some things which can do with improvement but this is a never-ending process, which is underway in India and everywhere in the world.

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