When you talk about Makari, one name comes to your mind: Olori Sandra Thomas, beautician extraordinaire, skincare expert, consultant and retailer of cosmetics and skin care products in Lagos. Olori Thomas, a representative of Makari in Nigeria, in this interview with thelaurel.com, recounts her journey with the giant skincare brand, as well as her odyssey as a beautician. She also gives valuable tips about achieving beautiful skin.
Give us an insight into your relationship with Makari
I’m a representative. I import their product lines from New York. So I distribute directly from them. I don’t just distribute, I have one-to-one relationships with my clients. I trained to become a beautician. It’s not about you going to the store and buying the product and you get home and it’s unsuitable for your skin type or your skin tone or it doesn’t address your problem. If you pick products that are unsuitable for your skin, you add to your problems. We have some clients that doctors recommend Makari for and when they come with their doctor’s prescription we ask, which one the doctor asked them to buy. Some of our products are medicinal and you don’t just pick anything for your body otherwise it would turn the other way round.
What do you actually do?
I trained as a beautician in South Africa. I do eyelashes, nails, and spa treatments―just everything about beauty. I had my studio in Cape Town, South Africa but when I came back to Nigeria, taking care of the family and running the business wasn’t easy. I would go back someday. I love to do lashes. I’m not into nails anymore. I interact with people and get their problems solved.
How did you end up a skin beautician?
I wanted a cream I could use that doesn’t contain hydroquinone and I Googled it and the name Makari popped-up. That was how I discovered it. Nobody told me about the product. I took that name to my doctor in Houston, Texas and requested to change my cream. He told me to bring one sample and that he would check it. At the time, they had about 3 or 4 product lines. I bought the lotion and soap. My doctor ran a test on them and a week later, he told me that they’re free from hydroquinone. It was after a year of using the lotion and soap that people started asking me what I was doing to my skin. At the mall, people would ask me, hey, what are you doing to your skin? I didn’t know skincare products had such impacts and influence on people like that. People told me I’m glowing and I told them the name of my cream and I started selling it. When I was moving back to Nigeria, the manufacturer suggested I start distributing in Nigeria and I was licensed to do so. I want to give Senator Florence Ita-Giwa the credit for bringing Makari products to Nigeria. She started it. When I wanted to become their representative, they told me that she was the first person to launch it in Nigeria. I think she laid the foundation for younger ones like us to follow. It’s her footprints that I’m following, so I respect her for that.
What’s fashionable to you?
People think I’m fashionable, I don’t think I am, I just like to look good. I like to wear what suits me and when I stand before the mirror and I look good, I’m okay. I don’t step out without looking at the mirror, and it has to be perfect. Fashion to me is evolving and I just roll with it. I like changing my wardrobe often.
What about makeup?
I’m not into makeup. I allow my skin to breathe. When you are in this kind of profession and you pile makeup on your face every day then you have something to hide. If a beautician wears makeup every day you need to question the authenticity of the products she uses. You should not use makeup to conceal your identity. I don’t wear makeup everyday. I wear my makeup to parties or on weekends, not every day. When people see me at parties and say I look good, it’s not my makeup that looks good, it’s my skin. It’s my skin that brought out the makeup. Makeup is the least on my budget because my skin is okay to bring out the beauty of the clothes I’m wearing.
Give us some nuggets about beautiful skin
One: Never sleeps with makeups no matter how beautiful or expensive you made it. Two: Never use towels especially the ones used on the body to wipe your face after a shower; dedicate a towel for the face. Three: Do not use harsh chemical-based creams on your skin. Four: Know your skin type, skin tone before purchasing any skincare products. Five: Do not patronise quacks; you can never achieve any flawless skin through such means.