Matin Maulawizada is one of the most recognizable celebrity makeup artists in the beauty industry. His work has been featured in the most prestigious fashion magazines and count among his clients some of the hottest A-listers, like Claire Danes and Angelina Jolie. The project he is most passionate about, though, is his organization Afghan Hands, which gives underprivileged women in Afghanistan, in particular widows, the opportunity to support themselves and further their education. He discusses the cause, beauty and much more in our interview.
Tell us a little about what’s new with your charity, Afghan Hands.
By early summer we will launch our new exciting collection. The embroidered scarves will have a more modem look. Even though the designs seem more simple to the eye, our girls were surprised to learn that they were more difficult to make, but the embraced the challenge! I It has been possible thanks to a great collaboration with a new designer duo, a mother and daughter, will soon announce soon who they are so stay tuned! We are also hoping to speed up our production in the future. The one-of-a-kind concept is great but very hard to manage our inventory. We are considering having a limited edition collections of more affordable scarves, maybe using machines for part of the embroidery. Having more items of a same style would allow us to go retail and would help raise more for the cause.
How many women are employed by Afghan Hands?
About 100 women, though about 25 take off in the summer to focus on their studies.
What kind of education opportunities do they have?
Our goal is for them to have at least a sixth grade education. At Afghan Hands, we give them the opportunity to continue working once they hit this milestone or continue their education. Very proud to say that three of the women have not only finished high school, but are applying to university. Two of the women who applied to college had to leave school because their mother were too old to work and their father were killed in war. Through this program, they were able to go back to school and further their education. These success stories make me very proud. Personally, I believe that charity should be solely reserved for children and animals. For adult, it’s far more beneficial to give them opportunities to strive to achieve more and open doors.
Why did you decide to create this charity?
For me, it’s so important to give a voice to people who are left behind. Most of the women who are employed by Afghan Hands are widows from the outskirts of Kabul. Back in 2004, when I started this cause, I also considered starting a charity for children. I was scared to work directly with them, though. There’s so much uncertainty since I can’t be there at all times – what if the people I hired to look out for them turned out to not be looking out for them? I couldn’t deal with that responsibility. I realized that Afghan Hands is the perfect way to indirectly help these children. Their mothers now have the strength and tools to support them.
A lot of the children of these women come from different ethnic groups that were at war in past generations. But they are growing together now as friends. It’s a beautiful thing.
Now let’s talk beauty… what has been your favorite beauty moment this year?
The recent Emmys and Claire Danes’ orange lip. It’s nice to have a statement lip and leave the rest light, it’s more sophisticated that an overdone look. Claire wasn’t sure about the orange lip actually, but it grew on her. I thought that it would be a great juxtaposition to her flowing feminine gown, and made her look not too not princess-y. I want to make sure that women look not only beautiful, but smart.
I love orange lips, even though they’re tricky to pull off. On Claire, I used Mod by Laura Mercier. It’s matte, but weightless so your lips don’t look dry.
Do you think trends come more from the red carpet or the catwalk?
Definitely the runway. In general, NY catches up a little later, but in Japan, for example, runway trends hit the streets almost immediately.
Do you like working on editorial shoots?
I love editorial. I’m always given a directions, but I have the freedom to put my own touch on looks and have fun with it. I like the mix of working on both editorial and the red carpet. With editorial, I get to experiment and push boundaries.
What is your favorite look?
The undone look – that effortless vibe that French girls have. Not overdone is the formula for chic. It always looks sexy. Overly polished looks unreal and unapproachable. You want to look kissable, touchable.
What are some trends you’re loving right now?
I’ve noticed a lot of beautiful eye looks. Love dark, multi-layered eyes. A gradience that goes from black to gray with a hint of sparkle – a subtle smoky eye. Also, obviously love statement lips. Claire Danes took a big risk at the SAG Awards with her vampy, wine lips and it paid off big time.
I have this kohl – it’s very black, but not toxic – made especially for me in Afghanistan. I can’t get it anywhere else. It contains almond oil and clarified butter, and creates a beautiful smoky eye. I also love Secret Camouflage by Laura Mercier and Orlane’s Creme Royale. I use Creme Royale on both clients and myself!
On the red carpet, I start off with the Creme Royale. Then I layer more products, like Laura Mercier eye cream and primer. I slowly layer products to create a glowy look. I prefer to use these skincare products instead of piling on makeup.
Any last words of advice for our readers?
Take care of your skin. Limit the amount of makeup you use – you’re putting so many chemicals on your face and it’s so important to be conscious of that. Use makeup strategically – when you don’t need to wear too much, don’t. Also, choose your skincare products wisely. Be mindful of what you’re putting on your skin.