Williamsport, Pa. – For many people, putting on make-up is simply part of their normal routine. For Markeisha Valentine, however, make-up is a way to break away from "normal."
"Make-up is not just a fun thing. It's literally an art; I get to be creative and come up with different looks that fit different people. I can make people see something that's not there–like a magician," said Valentine.
Valentine is the owner of LashbyKeisha Beauty Studio, located at the Pajama Factory in Williamsport. Prior to opening her business, Valentine considered working at major beauty retailers, like Ulta or Macy's, but was frustrated by the limited products.
"It's hard to serve clients with darker skin tones at places like Ulta, it's hard to find the right skin tones and brands for their colors," she explained.
Instead, Valentine decided to open LashbyKeisha and make sure she would be able to do make-up on anyone.
“I take pride on being a diverse make-up artist. There’s not that many artists who serve a diverse clientele. I take pride in being able to make-up on anyone. If I’m not comfortable, I’m going to research [the products] to make sure I am comfortable.”
Valentine's education and training also equipped her with a unique set of skills which distinguish her from many other make-up artists.
After high school, Valentine attended the Tom Savini's Special Make-Up Effects program in Pittsburgh, Pa. The 16-month program, covered artistic skills like sculpting, mold-making, airbrushing, eye-painting which are needed in the fields of production of commercials and movies.
Valentine said she rarely has the chance to do special effects make-up, except on special occasions like Halloween, but she uses the knowledge and skills she learned in the program with her beauty clients.
"I get birthdays, weddings, proms, formals, Valentine's day, girls going on a date night, it's a variety of everything. There's no specific client, I get all types of requests," she said.
Even in the pandemic, Valentine remained busy with clients. "I had people who came in to get their make-up done and then just went home to take photos," she said.
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Recently, Valentine teamed up with a local photographer to offer Boudoir Photography Shoots. The sessions are one-hour: 30 minutes of make-up and 30 minutes of photos.
"It's about uplifting women and making them feel confident in their bodies. "People react and say, 'Is that me?'" said Valentine. "Especially after having kids, you forget who you are; you are 'mom, mom, mom' all the time. [During the Boudoir session] you can take one day to be yourself and get back to the person you were before you had kids and feel sexy again."
The sessions were so successful, Valentine said she and Rae plan to offer them once a month.
In addition to make-up, LashbyKeisha offers services like eyelash extensions and, most recently, teeth whitening. The studio is located on the third floor of the Pajama Factory, at 1307 Park Ave. in Williamsport.