If the name Syed Faizal Syed Noh doesn’t ring a bell, you may have seen his work on many Malaysian actresses like Fazura, Nelydia Senrose and Izara Aishah.
The makeup artist, known for techniques that provide a flawless finishing touch, even counts royalty among his steady stream of clients, including Swede Sofie Louise Johansson who recently tied the knot with the Crown Prince of Kelantan Tengku Muhammad Faiz Petra.
Despite rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names, Syed Faizal is a humble 34-year old beauty enthusiast from Petaling Jaya.
I was feeling a little adventurous and thought it would be fun to create my own makeup line. I wasn’t at all confident it was even going to sell
“I never call myself a celebrity makeup artist. People have always referred to me as that but to me, I’m just a makeup artist who’s still trying to learn new ways to perfect my craft in makeup," he says amiably.
“Working with a lot of celebrities, I do get asked a lot if I get starstruck? My answer is no - because this is work for me and I need to remain as professional as possible.”
More than being a makeup artist, Syed Faizal knew he's always had an entrepreneurial streak. With a strong social media following, coupled with endorsements by celebrities he's worked with, he started Syed Faizal Beauty - a makeup line offering a wide range of cosmetics aptly titled 'Mata' (Eyes), 'Bibir' (Lips) or Pipi (Cheeks).
“I was feeling a little adventurous and thought it would be fun to create my own makeup line. I wasn’t at all confident it was even going to sell."
The line, started in 2016, is sold exclusively on his website and e-commerce site Fashion Valet.
"I started designing the packaging of Syed Faizal Beauty on my phone and eventually went to China to begin production. I was able to choose the best formulas that wouldn’t cause skin irritation, such as parabens." Parabens are widely used as preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
“The first few lip mattes we created sold out within the first five days since released, and business has been booming.”
The self-taught makeup artist holds a degree in Mass Communications and Public Relations from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM). One of his earliest jobs was a radio traffic announcer and producer for Hot FM.
“I worked at Hot FM for five years. That’s where I met a lot of celebrities.”
“I’d build a relationship with them and asked if I could do their makeup, one day.”
“One of the first few celebs that really catapulted my career was Hunny Madu and Fara Fauzana, who eventually asked me to be her full-time makeup artist."
Personable and down-to-earth, Syed Faizel admits that it's easy to get caught up with the glitz and glam of the entertainment industry, yet he tries to stay true to his roots, focusing on developing his craft and repertoire.
A strong familial support system helps too, he adds.
“In our society, being a male who loves and wants to pursue (a career) in makeup can be quite daunting.”
“I love flipping through magazines and admiring the different makeup looks and styles, until finally, I felt brave enough to tell my mother that I wanted to pursue makeup," he says, reminiscing the early days of his career.
“My mother found it strange that her son loves makeup but nevertheless, still supported me. She said that I could practice on her face,” he says, chucking quietly as he talks about his first client many years ago - a friend of his mother who was getting married.
In our society, being a male who loves and wants to pursue (a career) in makeup can be quite daunting
“My first client was a bride. Back then, RM50 (payment) for a not well-known makeup artist was pretty good. I thought she paid me, but it was my mother who secretly paid her to pay me!"
“Now that I’m older I can look back and cherish these memories because she had always motivated me to chase my dreams. She allowed me to pursue makeup with the agreement that I’ll still go to school to obtain a degree, which I did.”
Just five years into his craft, and a thriving business to boot, the makeup artist's future is looking bright.
“Insyaallah, when the time is right, I want to travel and attend makeup courses in the UK. As a makeup artist, you should never stop learning the craft.”
“I’m also looking to expand Syed Faizal Beauty and create more products for my customers."
Apart from attending to a long-list of appointments, he also teaches makeup, holding classes as far as Singapore and Brunei.
“For me, the most important thing is to not be arrogant. Don’t ever get lost in the clouds because one day, you could be the most well-loved makeup artist out there and the next day, you are not," he says pragmatically.