Snothile Mzimela is a Durban based, self-taught makeup artist who has established great appreciation for the art. Since professionally starting out two years ago, her work has developed from the simple to more bold and artistic looks. Experimenting with new looks, exploring makeup practices and keeping abreast with the latest trends, is right up her alley. So, she started a business called Beauty Trends, to pursue her utmost passion.

She has become masterful with her makeup application techniques and her work displays a deep understanding of skin types, skin colours and makeup ingredients. She has a perfectionist attitude, an eye for detail, precision in application, and a well-developed appreciation of colour, shading, and blending. So much so that she was nominated this year for ‘Best Makeup Artist’ for the Durban Creative Awards and couldn’t contain her excitement about this.

“Ah! that meant a great deal to me. It was an acknowledgement of the hard work that I’ve been putting in. When I first received the news, I was overwhelmed with so many emotions and extremely excited. I was very grateful for all the support and strongly feel that the nomination has put a stamp and demonstrates that the sky is the limit. I have grown immensely, not only in my craft, but as an individual too. This is attributed to the people I associate myself with and my willingness to always want to learn and improve my skills. I have been exposed to opportunities that have drastically enhanced my growth and placed me out of my comfort zone, which has been very challenging,” says Snothile.

Keeping the techniques and applications on trend can help a makeup artist to effectively compete in this highly competitive industry, and Snothile agrees. “Yes, this is definitely a competitive industry and as I mentioned earlier, I ensure that I continuously learn and broaden my horizons so that I can have elements that set me apart from everyone else. I strive to be unique in everything that I do and constantly challenge myself,” she says.

Snothile subtly boasts about being the makeup artist to SA Idols season 15 contestant, MC and radio personality Minnie Ntuli and explains how she secured this gig. “I was invited to RadioDUT for an interview and she was one of the presenters who interviewed me. After the interview, we had a conversation about my makeup business, and she was very intrigued. Luckily, she had to rush to a shoot after the interview but didn’t have a makeup artist. So, that was my first makeup job with her, and it was an absolute success. I’ve been working with her since, as her personal makeup artist,” she says.

Minnie Ntuli

“Working with Minnie is absolutely amazing. Her energetic spirit and drive to always be great at what she does, inspires and motivates me. She is one of the people who allows me to use her face as my canvass to unleash my creativity. She loves dramatic looks, so she challenges me to always bring my A-Game,” she says.

Snothile says her inspiration stems from many things but seeing her client’s reactions after every makeup application takes the lead. “Client reactions are absolutely heart-warming to me. Creating amazing looks that make people feel good about themselves gives me joy. Seeing other makeup artists flourish also inspires me to keep going,” she says.

She says being on KwaZulu-Natal’s leading commercial radio station – East Coast Radio and in-house radio station of the Durban University of Technology (RadioDUT), and being part of the Durban July, as a makeup artist to celebrities was her biggest highlight, thus far.

Her short-term goal is to be affiliated with organisations and brands that will further accelerate her business. She says her medium- term goal is to have a training program for young upcoming beauticians. She hopes to have multiple walk-in beauty studios in and around KZN and ultimately, the whole of South Africa, as a long-term plan.

Snothile shares some tips and makeup Dos and Don’ts

What is a definite MUST when applying makeup?  

A definite MUST for me is getting the correct shade when applying your foundation.

What is a definite NO when it comes to makeup applications?

A definite NO for me is, not preparing the skin before makeup application. I always emphasise the importance of skin prepping before applying makeup to my clients, because the aim is to enhance our beauty and not to harm our skin.

It seems contouring is the current trend – what does it do for the face?

Contouring is currently trending and if executed properly it really helps achieve that slimmer look on the face. Contouring is done because it gives the illusion of a slimmer face.

What are your favourite lipstick colours and why?

My current favourite lipstick colours are bright, fun and colourful especially for this winter season. I’m loving the ultraviolet matte lipsticks from Smashbox and the matte lipsticks from Revlon.

Thick eyebrows are the current trend as well. What is your take on this?  What’s your favourite eyebrow and eyelash application technique?

When it comes to eyebrows, I always try to ensure that I keep them as natural as possible. So, if someone naturally doesn’t have thick eyebrows, then I will not draw them in such a way that they are too thick and seem unnatural. On the other hand, if your eyebrows are naturally thick, I will fill them in as naturally as possible.  For me when it comes to eyebrows, I try to keep the look as natural as possible.

My favourite eyebrow application method is outlining the natural brow not exceeding too much that it looks bigger than normal and conceal above and under the brow to neaten it (For my own application and clients as well).

A new trick that I have learnt when it comes to eyelash application is not looking directly at the mirror when applying lashes, but to bring the mirror under my face so that I can place them perfectly (this is for my own makeup application).

For clients, my favourite eyelash application method, is to place the client’s head on the headrest of the chair and have their face look up with eyes closed so that I can properly place the lashes.