Lancashire makeup guru's empowering mission

She's the "doctor" who helps transform everyday Lancashire women like you and me from makeup misfits into beauty buffs.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 8th October 2018, 11:32 am
Updated Monday, 8th October 2018, 11:48 am
Rita Parmar, who is in the business of "making women feel extraordinary everyday." Photo: by Scott Cross.
Rita Parmar, who is in the business of "making women feel extraordinary everyday." Photo: by Scott Cross.

Rita Parmar, AKA The Makeup Doctor, is not out to turn us all into flawless clones of Kim Kardashian.

But if you've ever had your fair share of makeup blunders, or if figuring out how to contour for your face shape seems like a physics equation, then this is your girl.

For the Burnley makeup coach helps people to pick the right products and techniques for them in one-to-one sessions and group demonstrations.

Rita sharing her secrets in makeup application at her event It's All About the Eyes. Photo: by Scott Cross.

Rita (38) said: "I want to take the dishonesty out of the industry. The perfect, airbrushed look is beautiful. But it's not real.

"There needs to be accountability for false impressions. Everything is staged, filtered and supersized; and even 'real' isn't real anymore.

"Women buy products expecting it to do something it won't and bloggers will give their opinions on something which works for their features. There are too many brands promoting something as perfect for a certain type of person, when actually it's quite generic.

"I want to help women find the products and techniques which are right for them as individuals, not what adverts or bloggers have said is good. My job is to help them be the best versions of themselves. Yes, I want to provide an enhanced image, but it has to be balanced and most of all, it has to work for real women, and help them celebrate, not mask, who they really are."

A model shows off her glamorous new look, with a little help from The Makeup Doctor. Photo: by Scott Cross.

The mum-of-one's love affair with makeup and business began around eight-years-old when she was tasked with creating cruelty-free sun cream at school.

Her teacher wrote to Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop and trail-blazer in the fight against animal testing, and Rita was lucky enough to meet, interview and learn secrets for success from the business icon. She even took home an inspiring tribal band, made with sources from the Amazon rain forest.

"Anna instilled within me a deeper motivation - you need to know why you are doing something and truly believe in it," Rita said.

"Anna wanted to show the world that beauty could be kind."

The Makeup Doctor and her team. Photo: by Scott Cross.

And Rita wants to show it can also be real.

Despite discovering a flair for art, she went on to study for a business degree at St Martin's, Lancaster.

Business proved to be a hidden talent: she beat nearly 14,000 applicants to land one of just nine places on a year-long graduate scheme in which she worked for huge luxury brands like Prada and Kurt Geiger, and retail giants like The Arcadia Group, which owns Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins. Rita ran huge retail teams and turned around under-performing stores. She also became an area manager for Benefit and ran 15 different business counters within big retail department stores, such as Debenhams, John Lewis, Harvey Nichols and Boots.

"I was naturally good at managing people," she said. "My role was to drive people to sell products but I felt in my gut we should be selling things for the right reasons. They have to be genuinely good for customers, otherwise there's no point. A brand shouldn't just be about making money but adding value to shopper's lives."

And so Rita trained her staff up in makeup artistry to help them guide customers towards the products which work for them. It brought in turnovers worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

"I'd done some beauty stuff in college but I never saw myself as a beautician. I loved training people though," she said.

At 35-years-old, while on maternity leave, she decided to put what she'd learnt into practice and launch her own business.

The Makeup Doctor was born. Over two months, Rita helps people to figure out their beauty needs and build skills in makeup application during one-to-one sessions.

Her ethics have been inspired not only by Anita Roddick but also, it seems, by her mum.

"My mum came to England from India when she was just 19-years-old and my parents brought up two kids despite being unable to speak much English," Rita said.

"She has a heart of gold and isn't driven by material things. She's such a positive and inspirational person."

Perhaps that's why Rita dreams of a beauty revolution which both empowers and helps real women to "feel extraordinary everyday".

"I don't want people to feel like they're not enough as they are," she said.

"Instead, I want to help women be, love and celebrate who they are."

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