Maven Brow and Beauty
By Athena Raypold

An Artist and a Welder

Marla Shaw’s body is her canvas: her graceful frame is generously painted in beautiful, artistic tattoos; her face expertly, inconspicuously made up to highlight her natural features – high cheekbones, heavy-lidded eyes. Even before her first tattoo, Marla’s skin was merely a tableau. “I was always drawing on myself as a kid. My mom would say, ‘You’re going to get ink poisoning.’ I loved it.”

A kinesthetic person, Marla is drawn to the tactile aspect of painting, sculpting and creating something beautiful with her hands, which is what led her to both makeup artistry and welding (which Marla pursued simultaneously). Between working as a makeup artist and salesperson for MAC Cosmetics, and achieving her journeyman ticket in welding, Marla had four children and acquired more than 12 years experience in makeup application before starting up Maven Brow and Beauty.

This is your makeup. If you don’t like it, we’ll change it. We’ll take it off and do it again. - Marla Shaw, owner and makeup artist
Maven Brow and Beauty owner Marla Shaw gained experience working at MAC Cosmetics before starting her own makeup artist business
Photo by Jessica Fern Facette Photography

Client Driven, Professional Makeup

Providing makeup services for weddings, graduations and special events, as well as for fashion, family and boudoir photo shoots, Marla is a true artist. Her clients’ faces are her canvas. “It’s pretty hard to stump me with face shape, eye colour or eye shape,” she says. “I know what will look good. After 12 years, it’s second nature.” But as much as her work is an art form, Marla is all about giving clients what they want. “This is your makeup,” she says. “If you don’t like it, we’ll change it. We’ll take it off and do it again.” To ensure that her work makes clients “feel everything they want to feel,” Marla asks clients to provide her with pictures of makeup they like and don’t like, as well as photographs that illustrate how they normally wear their makeup so that she can connect with her clients and fully grasp their vision. Because getting makeup done is so personal and, therefore, a bit scary, Marla always shows up on time, organized and prepared.

In addition to traditional makeup services, Marla also provides clients with creative and imaginative makeup for costumes, theatre and performances. From La Muerte in Book of Life and Beetlejuice to dance competitions and drag queens, her ability has no limits. Often, her daughter Lowen wants to play with makeup, asking Marla to do her up as a man, complete with a unibrow, a moustache and chest hair. However, having daughters continually reminds Marla that “make up doesn’t make you prettier.” Instead, Marla believes that it accentuates each person’s inherent beauty.

Maven Brow and Beauty does makeup services ranging from classic to elaborate, for everything from weddings to boudoir photoshoots
Photo by Appletree Photography
Maven Brow and Beauty offers microblading, a semi-permanent method of enhancing and shaping eyebrows
Photo by Uryelle Dimailig Photography and Design

Microblading

Marla says she’s from “the Drew Barrymore semi-circle eyebrow generation” which prompted the microblading side of Maven Brow and Beauty. A semi-permanent method of enhancing and shaping eyebrows, microblading is similar to a tattoo in that it creates tiny, hair-like strokes that are inked. Unlike tattooing, however, these strokes are close to the skin’s surface, lending them a crisper, more natural aesthetic. Because it’s closer to the surface, after the initial application microblading requires touch ups.

To be certified in microblading, Marla attended a course on brow theory, brow mapping and face structure – all of which came naturally to her as a seasoned makeup artist. Marla maps out each client’s eyebrows with almost excruciating precision to ensure that the brows are as symmetrical as possible and best suit her clients’ faces, always aiming for a natural look.

Maven Brow and Beauty provides clients with full makeup application for special events
Photo by Life Dot Style

Giving Back

Volunteering at her son’s junior high school, Marla teaches teenage girls about makeup. Over and over again, young girls ask her about contouring. They watch YouTube videos of makeup artists with model-like bone structure transforming their faces and they want to learn how to do it. “I am always telling girls that they can’t make a square face round. ‘Your faces are perfect the way they are,’ I tell them. I want to give them realistic expectations [because] I have an opportunity to make them feel more confident,” she says.

Giving back is important to Maven Brow and Beauty and, in addition to volunteering at local schools, Marla provides free microblading services to clients with alopecia areata or those suffering hair loss from chemotherapy treatments (when their immune systems can handle the work). Ultimately, Marla’s work is service oriented: She wants to provide her clients with a service that suits them, that makes them feel good and that enhances their natural beauty.

Maven Brow and Beauty provides makeup for photo shoots, weddings, events, boudoir photos and more, plus microblading
Photo by Katherine Kingston Photography
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