A reader of thedelhibride, Mansi, got engaged this June in New Delhi. She went to Ambika Pillai’s Punjabi Bagh salon to get her engagement hair & makeup done. They charge INR 7,000 for a Junior MUA and INR 12,000 for a Senior MUA (excluding taxes). Mansi chose a Junior Artist, and her experience at the salon was quite good. This is her review of the makeup artist, the hairstylist and the salon. Pictures at the end of the post.
Hi! I’m Mansi, a full-time event professional with a penchant for wedding blogs. That’s how I got to know about thedelhibride. And I bless that day. Getting married is difficult. It only gets difficult-er if you know absolutely nothing about the whole deal.
I had my Engagement on the 8th of June 2013. It was crazy hot, I am not exaggerating.
For someone who does not even know how to do basic eye make up, I cannot even explain how difficult it is to trust someone to do my makeup on an important occasion. After my roka, which was just a small get together, we decided that the wedding would take place only next year. This would leave me with ample time to shop, go for make up trials, etc. But for obvious reasons, we still wanted an engagement to celebrate with our near & dear ones. Eventually though, like every Indian wedding affair, we ended up calling over 200 people! And smiled/posed with them all night on stage 🙂 But more on that later.
Why I Chose Them
I still had about 2 months before the engagement and lots of stress at work, so I was freaking out a little more each day. Once my outfit was finalized, the biggest errand was glaring at me – the makeup artist. I have had some bad experiences with makeup artists in the past, but it hadn’t mattered much then. Because it was someone else’s wedding/engagement/reception and I was just a guest. I could live with that. But this time, it was different. It was my engagement. I had to be on stage, with 200 pairs of eyes staring at me all night. I could not take this lightly. Also, the biggest agenda on my mind was that I wanted to look really pretty for my fiancé. Not pretty, but really pretty. You know you can’t hold that against me! I wanted him to go “wow” when he saw me (cheesy, I know!)
With no knowledge about makeup, and because I’m a lazy, lazy girl – I ended up booking the MUA just 3 weeks before my engagement. Even that I managed thanks to an old and very dear friend of mine. My childhood friend was getting married almost a month before my engagement, and I happened to accompany her for her engagement and bridal makeup. This was truly the best opportunity I could get to have a close look at the MUAs in action – at Ambika Pillai Salon, Punjabi Bagh. It also gave me the freedom to chose a junior or a senior artist. To cut a long story short, I chose a junior artist. Specifically, the one my friend got her makeup done from. I could see how the MUA played with colors, and made her look pretty without being in-your-face-types. I wanted my makeup to look subtle. Not made up. I felt like this MUA was all I wanted! And I booked her without even checking any other MUA. It was a risk, but I took it.
Fast forwarding to the day of the engagement – all that could possibly go wrong, did. My photographer had to bail because of a family emergency. I had pimples due the heat (It was June, c’mon!) and the MUA that I wanted was not in the salon that day. Ambika Pillai salon has a weird rule where they don’t let you choose your Junior MUA, you have to work with whoever is present that day. Odd, right?
Anyway, I tried to calm myself down, which led to me staining my gown with the bright pink nail paint I was wearing. That’s when I decided “I am going to go all zen”. I completely let go (talking to my fiancé continuously also helped :P)
Fortunately, the MUA was not bad. Maybe I was over analysing everything. She did subtle and she did pretty. And the hair! I must tell you that the hair guy at the salon is an absolute darling!
What I Loved
- Subtle, natural looking makeup – I loved the overall look and feel of the makeup. Not even for a moment did I feel that there was something on my face. It was natural. It was not gawdy. No glitter. It was good make up. Since my dress was almost peachish in colour, I was absolutely dreading having peach eyeshadow on my eyelids. Thankfully, they didn’t do the matchy-matchy thing.
- The right hairstyle – You’ve got to love the hair! I am someone who goes for a haircut to feel better. There’s nothing better than an amazing blow dry. And I don’t have long hair. My main concern was – what can he do that is different from what I’ve ever gotten done? But he gave me the perfect hair do. It suited my face, and it worked with my hair length.
- Efficient time-wise & well-managed – I have to thank my stars that there was no other makeup appointment on the day of my engagement. My mom & I got all the attention! I got into the salon at 5 pm and was out of it by 7 pm! All ready, and on time for the function. They have totally different people for different responsibilities. One person will do your hair. Someone else will do the makeup, another will paint your nails and yet another person for sari draping! And since my mom & I were getting ready together, they used their resources nicely so that neither of us had to wait in the end.
What I Wasn’t A Fan Of
- Durability of the hairstyle – My hair almost came undone by the end of the function – although I can’t really blame them, should be blaming it on the fun I was having! These couple pictures were taken at the end of the function, hence, the hair! It will give a fair idea how my makeup stayed for the night. I got ready at 7 PM and the function lasted till 1.30 AM.
- Odd policy – The whole “you-cant-chose-your-junior-MUA” thing was something I didn’t appreciate. It’s a risk not a lot of people might not be willing to take.
About The Salon
IT was a happy place. Anyone would feel comfortable in that salon. For a bride that is so important, we are all just a bunch of nerves that day, aren’t we? I felt at peace there. There was coffee, and the manager came and checked up on us time & again asking if I was fine, and if I liked what they were doing? Very considerate.
Would I go here again?
Overall, my expereince with Ambika Pillai was great. I would like to go back to them. But I will definitely by exploring more options before the wedding.
Personally, I liked Mansi’s makeup – it did look quite nice in the pictures. Her hairstyle looks great too! And if you’re wondering where that gown is from, I got you the dope on that as well – “It’s a wholesale place in Karol Bagh that custom makes the gown for you. They supply to bigger retailers who then hike up the price and sell it. It’s called “Anant” and they keep only readymade stuff, no fabrics or saris.”
You can read other vendor reviews on the blog here.
Have any of you been to Ambika Pillai’s salon for makeup? What’s your take on it?