Based in Yorkshire with a multitude of skills tucked away in her make-up kit, Zahida Ashraf is regarded by those in the know as ‘the hidden gem of the north’. A strong believer in the notion that art only comes alive when its ideas are communicated precisely, she achieves results by ensuring she and her client are always in tune with one another – a quality she regards more as a natural gift than a learned skill.
Trained by Zaf Ansari, the creator of Super Cover and the darling of Hollywood, Zahida has opted to see her reputation steadily rise over the past 12 years through word-of-mouth rather than under the glare of the limelight, despite manning the backstage beauty at the IIFAs and on speed dial to many noted Bollywood stars. She professes: ‘The only critic worth listening to is the bride. A satisfied bride telling her nearest and dearest that I made her day is much more rewarding than any award the beauty industry could throw at me. Rather than be a well-known face in magazines, I would rather be known for my ability to bring out the inner beauty for each and every individual that passes through my care.’
After growing demand, she finally opened her own beauty salon in 2006, where she and her team of skilled make-up artists can give brides their undivided attention in a relaxed atmosphere, each of them following Zahida’s ethos: ‘Always put yourself in the bride’s shoes – see her vision through her eyes.’
With a qualified background in beauty therapy and hairdressing, Beautology also provides a range of beauty packages including manicures, pedicures and waxing, as well as specialist treatments such as microdermabrasion and oxygen facials. Zahida enthuses: ‘Make-up artistry is not just about applying make-up – it’s about the skin. Brides need to be pampered and primed before the wedding, so the makeup looks both flawless and effortless.’
Never one to rest on her laurels, Zahida keeps an eye on the latest trends and cutting-edge developments in the make-up industry, but she admits: ‘I am not here to copy other people’s work, but to tailor make-it for an individual. If a bride comes to me with a colour that she thinks doesn’t suit her, I will re-use that exact shade and demonstrate how it can look through a different technique and style.’
Her unflappable willingness to share ideas and tips has seen Zahida start her own training academy to ensure everyone can benefit from her wisdom and know-how. Teaching and guiding aspiring students with the knack and passion for hair and make-up, Beautology reveals all the tricks of the trade with old and different techniques to ensure everyone can look like the leading lady for any occasion.
And with Zahida always on hand to advise you on every aspect of your look from your outfit and jewellery to the best ways to maintain your skin, complete with mini rehearsals prior to the Big Day to ensure nothing is left to chance, Beautology is synonymous with happy brides all over the country.