Gold Coast born and bred Japanese beauty Rino Imamiya lives and breathes makeup on a daily basis. At first, makeup for Rino was a solution to covering up her skin imperfections, but once she realised makeup’s power to boost confidence, she set out to educate and help others to love makeup for the same reasons.
We sat down with the makeup artist and model to find out her best beauty lessons including how she’s learnt to interpret Western trends to best suit her Asian features.
First beauty memory...
“I did a little bit of dancing when I was younger and that’s the first time I ever put on makeup. I always loved it and would beg my mum to let me put some on. Then, I started wearing it daily around Year 9. I saw all the other girls wearing it and wanted to as well. It looked horrible but you know how it goes!”
What inspired you to become a makeup artist?
“I have always been interested in makeup. When I was younger, I would use makeup to cover up my insecurities - rather than as a way to express myself. I would always try to hide underneath it. As I grew to accept my insecurities, I realised the power of makeup and how it can make you feel confident, even if it’s only for a little bit. I wanted to help spread that and I wanted to be part of what made people feel confident.”
What’s your signature makeup style?
“As a makeup artist, lately I’ve been doing a lot more natural, skin-focussed looks. I used to do wild colours and experiment with creative looks but recently I’ve been sticking to looks that show off beautiful skin.”
Getting the natural makeup look right
“I believe less is more. I don’t like to put on heavy foundation or anything like that. While your foundation can be buildable, it should be more on the light to medium coverage range so that it’s not completely concealing every single aspect of you. It’s just helping to bring out your natural features.”
Most used product in your makeup kit...
“Lip balm! I love lip balm. I think it makes such a difference to have hydrated lips. The more hydrated lips are, the more plump they appear.”
One product everyone should own...
“Again, lip balm! I’m currency using a dew balm [editor's note: for an a-beauty option, we recommend Lanolips 101 Ointment]. It’s like a solid highlighter. It’s creamy and you just melt it onto the back of your hand and tap it on to your lips and the high points of your face and it gives a glowy look. It’s got no colour, it’s just shine. I think it looks stunning on everyone and brings a little healthy pop to the face.
“Who doesn’t love a good glow?!”
Rino Imamiya, Australian makeup artist
Women in beauty you admire
“This is a hard one! I’ve grown up watching Youtube: I don’t have any specific women I can think of off the top of my head but I kind of learnt more from Asian artists. As an Asian myself, it was kind of difficult to find someone who could relate to me and actually understood my struggles with makeup.”
Biggest beauty struggle
“The biggest struggle for me is finding techniques that work with my eye shape. A lot of what’s ‘in’ with beauty is centred around Western cultures. It was difficult at first to understand and learn how to change a certain look to suit my eye shape because you can’t really duplicate what works for Western eye shapes and expect the same result.”
Makeup advice for Asian women
“A lot of makeup artists struggle with Asian eyes because they think so much has to change. It’s still an eye and I think people kind of see Asian eyes and think there’s so little space to work with. I’ve found it’s the exact opposite - we have so much lid space between our eyes and our eyebrows; there’s so much room to work with so work with it!”
Makeup technique you’re still mastering
“It’s not exactly a technique, but I need to be more confident in my work. Even if I’m happy with it I still get a little anxious about what others will think and I let that sway how I do my makeup or how I do someone else’s makeup. But on those days when I don’t worry about what others think it tends to turn out the exact way I envisioned it.”
Beauty trend your loving right now
“The natural look. I’m a bit obsessed with it. It’s been around for a bit but I still can’t get over it. I think it’s more empowering to wear a natural look rather than having to put so much eyeshadow, contour and everything on yourself, like what was trending years ago.”
Makeup look you hope you never see again
“Instagram eyebrows! I was a big fan of them when they first came out, but now I think they’re a bit too much. I love the natural look and a more natural brow.”
Favourite a-beauty brands
“I am a big fan of Eye of Horus. I’ve been using Eye of Horus for about 4 years now and I love how they’re cruelty-free and mostly vegan and have really great products. Their mascara is my favourite. I love the look it gives lashes. It’s not clumpy and the black pigment in it is really good. It coats lashes nicely, separates them - I love it.”
The secret to good skin
“I’m still working on myself but don’t pick your pimples! I have the worst habit of picking everything and then I just end up scarring my skin. It’s not good. But then every time I leave my skin alone, my breakouts just go away on its own. So yeah, just don’t touch your skin!”
Top makeup tip...
“Always have a really good base and prep your skin before you put anything on it. I think that affects the overall look of your makeup and how it sits on your skin and how it lasts. Exfoliate and moisturise.”