How this Special Needs Teacher Uses Makeup to Teach!

By Ahmed Wafi

Sarah Azureen successfully incorporates makeup illustration into her curriculum, helping special needs students hone their creativity.

For many, makeup is a daily routine. Massaging primer followed by some foundation and simple touch-ups to look livelier before heading out for the adventures ahead. For others, makeup is a side hustle and for some, it’s something much more. For 27-year-old Sarah Azureen, it’s a deep passion she uses to bring art to life.

Inspired by pop culture, films, buildings and even emojis, Sarah treats her face as a canvas to produce some rather stunning art that is bound to catch your eye. Check out her personification of the famous Among Us mobile game!

The young makeup illustrator first picked up a brush when she was 14 after seeing Natalie Portman on TV donning a smokey eye look. Clearly inspired, Sarah immediately decided to look up makeup videos on YouTube to learn more.

“I headed over to YouTube right after seeing that and found myself watching countless makeup tutorial videos by Michelle Phan (a famous Beauty Guru) in a single day! I started to gain interest in special effects and experimented with the equipment I had at home before slowly venturing into face art after my late father bought me my first-ever face paint palette. It was nice to have his support and since then, I’ve never stopped creating face art,” she recalls how it all started.

Over 10 years on, Sarah has developed her skills as her passion grew, producing some stunning looks that artists far and wide appreciate. If you check out her Instagram page, you’ll find a wide array of different looks, some of which are the stuff of nightmares, ideal for your Halloween party.

When asked about crowd reaction for some of her work, she says “It’s usually always positive feedback from my audience although some say my looks can be a bit too scary but for me, getting any sort of reaction is a good thing.”

When she’s not drawing fancy artwork on her face, Sarah is teaching arts at a special needs institution for teenagers in Petaling Jaya. Having taken up the role in 2018, Sarah admits that being a teacher wasn’t something on her bucket list.

“I didn’t expect myself to be a teacher, let alone a special needs teacher as my education background is in multimedia design. I was offered this position as an arts and special effects makeup teacher for teenagers with special needs back in 2018 and being me, I love to challenge myself to try new things to see what it would lead to and I’ve never been happier!” Sarah exclaims.

And in being surrounded by lively teenagers briming with hope, she finds even more inspiration for her art! “I get inspiration from the things they like such as their favourite characters, colours, and general interests. It lets them know that I listen to them and appreciate their thoughts. I once did a look inspired by KLCC as one of my students is very fond of the building,” she explains.

She makes the most of makeup by applying it in her teaching curriculum, encouraging students to experiment with different colours, palettes and brushes to observe their behaviour and get a better understanding of their comprehension and motor skills.

“It is definitely a fun experience in understanding their perception in makeup. Most of my students are male and it’s very interesting to see how they react to people wearing makeup. I found that some of my students really appreciate the arts and even observe beauty consultants in cosmetic stores,” Sarah explains.

One of the highlights of her career as a makeup illustrator is being recognised by the guru that reeled her into the arts. Michelle Phan noticed her works on social media and gave her kudos for a stunning look she did!

As for being a teacher, getting positive feedback from parents never fails to put a smile on her face but what she loves more is to see her students improve and grow under her tutelage.

As she dives deeper into her passion and makes a name for herself in the world of makeup, she inches closer to her dream of releasing her own cosmetics brand. “My dream is to have a team of special needs makeup artists that will show how talented they are and how every child is unique in their own way,” she says.

Check out more of Sarah’s works by clicking here.

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