Natasha Anwar is a freelance user experience/web designer who loves working with small business owners looking to grow their online presence. When she is not glued to the screen, she’s usually training her cat, Theodore, how to perform tricks and cooking all sorts of cuisines for company – when she could have company.

I recently (virtually) met Natasha through Make Lemonade, the co-working space which, during the the pandemic, created a new online networking community bringing entrepreneurs, small business owners, freelancers and female powerhouses together – through Zoom, of course!

Here’s what Natasha has to say about her “routine” for being Zoom ready, and check out who her beauty muse is … you’ll never guess!

What role does beauty play in your life at this moment? How has it changed over the years? What do you focus on to feel like your most beautiful self? (e.g. skincare, makeup, hair, mental well-being, physical well-being?

Beauty has always been something close to me and it has definitely changed the way I have seen myself over decades. I’ve come a long way from seeing beautiful as clear skin and no wrinkles.

My biggest focus towards my beauty happens in my mind. When I decide to take care of my thoughts and feelings, I’m able to take care of my body, my environment and my relationships with everyone around me. I find that all three of those things add to my personal beauty.

Describe your journey with beauty as each birthday or decade passes.

Growing up, I used to believe that ‘being beautiful’ was a tangible experience. That I could measure beauty in kgs and lbs, in the number of hours spent on removing facial hair, in the inches on a tape around my waist, even in the daily calories I consumed. I thought I could find a calculation and become beautiful (I studied life sciences and math for 8 years). But as I entered the somewhat real world in university, I thought maybe there was more to beauty than what I saw. It was kind of… everywhere.

I saw beauty in poetry and paintings and how a restaurant presented its dinner on a plate and in sunsets and the curves of a ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air…it was, quite literally, everywhere. I began to associate the feeling I felt when I experienced each of those with finding something beautiful.
When it comes to beautiful skin, I’ve watched mine have a mind of its own: be angry, be sad and look like it was crumbling until I decided to nurture it. I learned to ask for help when I needed it, and give it space when it felt like I was helping a little too much.

This experience led me to believe that inner and outer beauty is connected through a state of mind. If I can nurture myself from the inside out, find time to sit with my thoughts during my busy days, and look objectively at the state of my self-care, then I can pay attention to what I feed myself, when I hydrate and how I add nutrients to my body/skin. And when my mind and body feels like its healing together from under the surface, I feel the feeling I associate with something beautiful.

In light of Zoom calls and virtual meetings, tell us your tips and tricks for looking presentable online? Are you still wearing makeup? Still doing your hair?

Now that conversations are virtual, I sometimes need to show up at short notice. Here’s a mental checklist of the things I make sure I’m good with before hopping on a call:

  1. Does my hair look like it ran a marathon? I check for cowlicks, unruly curls and then pull it into a french braid as if that was the original intention.
  2. Are my dark circles screaming for help? I’m not a morning person so if I’m bringing my face to a video chat 12 minutes after waking up, I’m most likely wearing some salmon concealer and blending it into my skin to give off a ‘look I’ve been awake’ vibe.
  3. Is my concealer making my eyes look bland? Ok fine, I will wear mascara too.
  4. Does my face look too pale now? Is it hot enough for my face to be flushed on its own, and if not, I guess I’m wearing some blush as well.
  5. Do my clothes make me feel good? I managed to make some cute combinations and hang them close-by for a quick change between meetings. Even though its true, I don’t want everyone to know I packed up all the good things until next year.

Having a mental ritual has helped me in feeling somewhat grounded and more prepared to deal with the fact that my cat might come sit on my lap during an interview … and that’s okay!

During lockdown, what products have you been reaching for the most, and emptied out? Which products and items have you realized you don’t really need or use?

Somehow, lockdown applies to my wallet just as much as it does to my social life. I’ve been saving $$ on beauty products and to my surprise, products I couldn’t previously live without are not as necessary for me.
My day and night moisturizers, vitamin E serum, face wash and face masks are still super important for me but I haven’t had to replenish makeup products like my foundation, primers, setting sprays – I’ve saved quite a bit there.

Give us your fast five …

Beauty Muse : Neri Oxman (Yes, I’m a nerd)
Favourite Product : NYX Epic Ink Liner in Black
Your Splurge Item : Clinique Moisture Surge
Best Beauty Skill : Winged eyeliner sharper than my wit
Worst Beauty Skill :
Finding my foundation shade without help

Want to learn more about Natasha, check out her Instagram at @thatdesignernatasha and her website : www.anwarnatasha.com