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The Face of Things


Top makeup artist Nellie Muganda knows that good skin
starts from within - but a little lipstick never hurts.


BY MELISSA CERIA PHOTOGRAPH BY CAROLINE SCHIFF

For almost 23 years, Nellie Muganda jetted to work her blush on across the country performers like Tracy Chapman, Tony Bennett, and Paul McCartney. But she all in several years ago to open traded that her own salon, Neja Cosmetics, where she customizes her makeup tips to her clients’ features and feelings. “My father was a Mennonite pastor and used to counsel people at home, so I can sense if‘ someone walks in and they’re insecure,” says Muganda, who was raised in Tanzania. “I say to them, ‘Think of the positive.’ And then simple things like a little gloss and rouge can make a big difference.”

Why do people obsess over their eyebrows?
Eyebrows are very simple, but they mean a lot to someone’s face. If they’re not shaped the right way, they can make you look angry or depressed. You can’t just wax and say you’re done. You need to wax, trim, and tweeze. It‘s sort of like an instant eye lift without having surgery.

Do you believe in cosmetic surgery?
I think it helps. I’m not against it; If your lid is heavy and you have difficulty seeing, you should have surgery. And wear mineral makeup afterward; it‘s very fine grain and helps heal your skin.

Why did my grandmother scold me for not using powder?
Because it sets up your makeup and evens out your skin tones. If you put a little powder around your eyes and mouth, you brighten up.

But men don’t like women to wear lots of makeup.
They like them to look polished, but they don’t care for too bright of a lipstick. Ninety percent of my brides say their groom doesn’t want them to look too done up.

What are the two essentials every woman should have?
Probably a moisture tint with SPF, which gives you a glow, and lipstick.

Sixties fashion is back. Must we wear eyeliner?
IPS the Mod Squad look, pale lipstick with avant garde eyes. I think you can do a black eyeliner with not much mascara. I say that, but San Francisco women love their mascara.

Be honest, can everyone have good skin?
Yes, but you’ve got to work at it. This includes what you eat and drink, from sunrise to sunset.

Share your secret.
Lots of water and vegetables. No chocolate or liquor.

What story does our skin tell?
It says it all. When someone looks at you, they can tell whether you’ve lived a hard, happy, or sad life.