makeup artist union - Kharisma Pari

Kharisma Pari, the successful IT executive who became a member of the makeup artist union.

Beautiful conversation with Kharisma Pari, a well-established member of the makeup artist union, born and raised in Harlem, NY. She provides technically accurate and creative visual representations to actors, performers, models, and presenters. Kharisma has worked on commercials for Mastercard, New Era, Dove, McDonald’s, among others. She is the Head MUA on The Maury Holiday Makeover and Ray Donovan TVShows. She worked on The Lion King, Broadway musical theater, and now she specializes in movies.

Kharisma, can you tell us how you became part of the makeup artist union?

Coming from a family of successful upper-level executives in the tech and financial industries. I thought that was a path I should follow. Then one evening, I was at a hair salon I frequented, preparing for a night out and the owner/patrons complimented my natural makeup look and mentioned how well they thought I always did. They questioned my occupation working in IT. And, suggested I consider a change in my career to become a makeup artist.

I was then referred to take a popular hands-on makeup course with rising and now world-renown makeup artist Danessa Myricks. I took Danessa’s class and hit the ground running, working both my full-time corporate job and my new part-time beauty advisor counter position to continue to practice my new craft.

As my interest grew, I wanted to take it up a notch and apply myself to being a makeup artist on a full-time basis. During this time, the beauty trade-show circuit was really big and Danessa (notably) was carving her own lane. For three years, I texted Danessa updating her on my progress and the work I had been doing, probing for an opportunity to become apart of her team. Finally, the moment presented itself for me to go with  her to Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show in Atlanta, GA impromptu one weekend that helped to change my life and career.

Kharisma Pari working backstage

Has it been a smooth road?

No triumph without tribulation. No reward without risk & sacrifices. The life of a full-time creative & entrepreneur can be a risky one. Leaving a salary job with benefits required me to have a plan. I had no savings, I just had this newfound passion and this new exciting life with this great mentor who was also growing her own makeup artist business. So taking on the role of an assistant required me to make some life changes and sacrifices to my lifestyle.

Kharisma backstage during the filming: Breaking News in Yuba County.

Becoming a member of the makeup artist union was a choice?

Absolutely, as a member of the makeup artist union, I specialize in production of Film/Television, Network Broadcasting Television, and Theater makeup. It helps me continue to refine and perfect my “makeup, no makeup” signature technique. My clients and referrals have shared with me their appreciation of my skill to make them look like a more enhanced version of themselves with a strong focus on eyes and skin vs. a completely different person.

Maury Holiday Makeover by MUA K. Pari

I have learned it is much easier to apply makeup in a heavy noticeable way which can lead to bad skin and later bad makeup. I do adjust my skills as a makeup artist the way each experience requires. I am always educating both men and women on the importance of skincare and, how products such as moisturizers and eye creams can be a game-changer providing instant results to the texture and appearance of the skin. I don’t want to just do the job I am hired to do. My background in retail sales and consumer consult/education forces me to want the people I encounter to have helpful information they can use for their own skincare routine.

beauty editorial - K. Pari

Fashion Editorial, Makeup by Kharisma

And, who inspires you the most?

I don’t have one source of inspiration. On a daily, living in “America’s Melting Pot”, my ideas and creative limits are expanded by the people I see during my commute. I also find inspiration in both my past and present, my family and friends, the staff and youth in the shelter I volunteer, the music I listen to, the art I see, the nature I walk through. It all seeds into my spirit for some form of positive output.

Could you tell us what BEAUTY means to you?

Beauty to me means a healthy inner-being, a kind spirit, confidence, charisma, a strong sense of self, a distinct presence.

What about your own skincare routine?

My skincare routine is important to me​ because, as a child, I had flawless skin​, and, as I became a teenager (uneducated) I started using makeup products that were terrible for my skin causing me to have breakouts and scarring. After a few different dermatologist visits, I found one that understood the needs of my skin as an African-American woman. My routine is basic and I only use products with simple formulas:

  • I get a chemical peel twice a year which has evened out my complexion.
  • I exfoliate twice a week with gentle face exfoliator
  • I clean and wash my face daily
  • I apply moisturizer in the evening and/or a Vitamin E vaseline textured ointment that I live by both morning and night with a sunscreen moisturizer underneath during the day.
I am extremely in love with glowing (not greasy) skin and this routine gets it done!​​

D​o you follow a religious step-by-step skin prep on your models?

Before makeup, I prep the lips with an exfoliator and/or moisturizer. Following, I like to use a quick effective eye cream, serum, or under eye-pads to smooth out any under-eye carriage. I continue the makeup artist classic skin-prep application of Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre. This product continues to make the skin instantly look like it’s had a drink of water without the greasiness that can cause makeup to move. I think it is great everyday consumers are starting to use it in their day to day routine. I also like to use Benefit Cosmetic’s Moisture Prep if I am on a time constraint. It quickly makes the skin smooth and soft and, helps to take the red out if you have a client with red skin.

Again, bad skin = bad makeup!

Karishma Pari - makeup artist usa

Makeup by K. Pari

What are your Embryolisse’s favorite skincare products?

Hydra-Mask: I travel a lot. So this mask helps to quickly rejuvenate my skin’s moisture, restore it’s barriers and smooth it out with all of the product’s benefits.

Lait Creme Concentre helps my skin look fresh and supple like a baby’s bottom not greasy and weighed down. 

What is your favorite memory?

My favorite memory is laughing hysterically with my mom at a joke she made about getting dentures, LOL!

Do you have a motto in life?

“The one who knows HOW will always have a job. The one who knows WHY will always be the BOSS.”


Thank you, Kharisma for sharing your makeup artist union story with us.

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