MAI Makeup
By Athena Raypold

A Personalized Experience

Ambitious and determined, affable and dedicated, TC Mai, the owner and makeup artist behind MAI Makeup, instantly and warmly smiles at every introduction. Her friendliness is engaging and contagious, a testament to how she approaches each and every client: with a warmth and sincerity to not only apply the perfect makeup, but to also truly connect with everyone she works with (clients, colleagues, and employees alike).

While MAI Makeup has a studio, TC prefers to work in clients’ homes. “You can be open with us in your own comfort [zone],” she says. “A lot of people leave a studio not liking their makeup, but they’re too scared to open up about it. When you’re at home, it’s easier for us to connect with you. It’s important to me to create that friendship, because I learn about my clients.”

To assist in connecting with clients, MAI Makeup creates custom makeup kits for each client based on the answers to their makeup questionnaire. “We send them surveys: Tell me about your event, skin, makeup routine; tell me about what this is for, tell me about your favourite products. It’s a very personalized experience,” says TC.

We want you to look like yourself, with your beauty enhanced. - TC Mai, makeup artist and owner
MAI Makeup also does makeup for events, fashion shoots and editorial fashion spreads
Photo by Wild Love Photos

Growing a Little Empire

TC didn’t always wear makeup. In fact, growing up she went to an all-girls school and her parents wouldn’t let her wear makeup. “My parents were like, ‘Focus on school, no makeup, those boys aren’t going to chase you,’” she says. As a result, TC’s makeup expertise stemmed from an adult desire to better her eyebrows. Once she mastered her brow game (brows are still her favourite feature to highlight), TC began watching countless Instagram videos on lashes, eyeliner, eye shadow, foundation, contouring, bronzing and blush. Posting infinite self-transformations as she learned, TC began earning admiration, friends and family started asking her to do their makeup and, suddenly, referrals were coming in. “It grew into a little empire,” she says.

Now, MAI Makeup employs junior and certified senior assistants – basically apprentices and teachers – to help her meet her clients needs. Together, they provide makeup services for weddings and events, plus fashion and editorial shoots. “We also do parties,” TC says. “For example, if you do a bridal shower or a stagette, we set up a makeup team and we bring champagne, mimosas and baked goods from local shops, and we make sure that you have a good time with your ladies and your makeup is done for the day or night.”

MAI Makeup does makeup looks for brides, mothers of brides and bridal parties
Photo by Adrian Photographers

Hygiene is Essential

Crucial to MAI Makeup’s core values is hygiene. “You have no idea how many makeup artists say they clean their brushes, but they do not. They might wipe it a little bit and no colour comes off, but the amount of bacteria in those brushes is disgusting,” says TC.

As a result, TC’s team makes a point of cleaning their brushes in front of clients, educating them on the importance of makeup hygiene. “People don’t understand that their skin can react to somebody else’s bacteria,” says TC. “Some people get itchy or breakout. Like with mascara – if a makeup artist uses the same mascara stick on 10 different people, that’s putting a lot of bacteria on your lashes. You can get eye infections.”

MAI Makeup provides makeup artistry for weddings, events, fashion shoots and editorials, in addition to makeup parties.
Photo by Hue of Blue Photography

Fresh, Young and Enhancing

While MAI Makeup does cater to the client overall, they have a certain look that they're trying to achieve. “It’s fresh, young and enhancing,” says TC. “We don’t go for the full-on pageant glam look; we go for the natural look. We want you to look like yourself, with your beauty enhanced.” TC stresses that beauty isn’t about transforming into someone else, it’s about enhancement, highlighting your best features, letting your inner beauty shine through. “I love making people feel beautiful,” she says. “Helping them notch up their confidence. I don’t even want their gratitude, because them smiling and saying ‘Wow! I feel like a better me’ is enough for me.”

While “young” is part of MAI Makeup’s brand, TC relishes the opportunity to apply makeup for older women. “To make someone feel younger, it means everything,” she says. “That little bit of makeup that makes them feel more youthful is everything. I love doing the mother of the bride. It’s not just the bride’s day, it’s also the mom’s day, and it’s so special to me how they feel touched by it, as well.”

MAI Makeup offers makeup parties for bachelorette parties so ladies can look their best before celebrating
Photo by Itati Photos
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