I was scrolling on Instagram when I came across a video from Strangerous. I was immediately floored by the precise manner the makeup artist applied her eyeliner using a palette. Each stroke of her thin brush seemed so effortless, but the looks she managed to create were sharp and beautiful.
I learnt that the makeup artist is Afie Rohim, and she’s also the founder of Strangerous, the brand behind the palette she used in the video.
Launched in February, the Mata-Mata Liners Essential Palette is a water-activated palette that features nine vibrant colours—white, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, green, and black. These colours are ones that Afie believes are essentials in makeup.
But not everyone would think that these liners are essential. The makeup looks presented by Strangerous are less commercial and more, well, strange, but that’s what makes the brand stand out.
“I love to create anything colourful and bold,” Afie expressed. “No matter if it’s in fashion design or makeup artistry, I’ve always created my work with colour. It’s the way I live, and I enjoy making bold looks because it makes me happier.”
To be weird and strange
Afie’s interest in makeup dates all the way back to her childhood days. When she was eight, she used to play with her mother’s makeup.
“I used to wear them secretly without her knowing, and she still doesn’t know until now,” she reminisced. (Unless you’re reading this now Auntie!)
But her true passion for makeup and experimentation started during her first year of university, where she was pursuing fashion design. She wanted to express herself using makeup, especially through eye looks.
This paid off during her internship at Anaabu, a clothing brand in Malaysia. The company was looking for a makeup artist for a campaign and ended up asking Afie since she wore makeup almost every day. Afie thus entered the make-up industry, and she’s still a makeup artist at Anaabu today.
Afie’s personal Instagram showcases her talent for the art form. It is unlike the typical makeup looks we see in everyday life, but instead a lot more imaginative and out-there.
However, this kind of makeup doesn’t appeal to everyone.
“There are people who are still judgemental because they think people who are different are weird and strange,” Afie shared. “But it’s actually interesting to be weird and strange.”
Strangerous thus targets likeminded people such as makeup artists and enthusiasts, and people who just want to have fun and create art through makeup.
Making it with makeup
The idea for Strangerous actually came years ago, but Afie didn’t have a clear vision at the time yet, so she did not pursue it.
“I only knew in my heart that I wanted to come up with a makeup brand that focuses on eyeliners, especially colourful ones,” Afie said.
After some time, she was finally ready, and decided to bootstrap Strangerous with her own savings as a makeup artist. It took a year to finalise everything with the palette, from communicating with the factories, designing the palettes, and getting the samples.
Strangerous launched with around 100 palettes for the first batch, but there were a lot of printing defects. Thus, they decided to list 50 pieces on Shopee first, which sold out within three to four weeks. 12 rejected palettes were also listed as a sale item, and they sold within a day.
The success of the first batch surprised Afie, who kept her expectations low.
“This is not my first time creating a business. I used to have a clothing brand that didn’t do well and it left a mark on me because I worked so hard for it,” Afie explained.
Although her clothing brand did not take off, she learnt from that experience not to rush things and that it’s alright to take small steps in the beginning.
Perfecting the liner
While Afie is able to create incredible looks with her palette, not everyone will be able to master it from the get go.
“With enough practice, a person can master a good eyeliner,” the makeup artist assured.
Afie herself has shaky hands but has been practising doing eyeliner since she was 18. In any case, she believes her palette is not meant for perfection, but just for people to create whatever they want.
Since the Mata-Mata Liners are water activated, users have to spray or dip their brushes in water first before using the palette. The shades Ghost, Anxious, Lowkey, and Funeral (white, red, blue, and black respectively) have a creamier consistency than the other powdery shades, but they work similarly.
Strangerous recommends using its own liner brush, nail brushes, or even paintbrushes to apply the liners.
The Strangerous team is currently made up of Afie, her sister Wanie, and a helper, Mal. Afie takes charge of the creative side of things, while her sister handles logistics and communications with the manufacturer. Mal handles quality control and also dabbles in creating music for Strangerous’ videos.
Afie’s sister and Mal aren’t working on Strangerous full time, so Afie does most of the work alone, especially when it comes to social media, checking orders, and shipping.
“I do really want to expand my team more, especially in the social media department, which we’re currently not great at,” Afie admits.
Although Afie isn’t confident on the social media front, Strangerous must be doing something right as the team is developing new products that might be set to launch after Eid Mubarak. She also plans to restock the Essentials Palette after Raya.
“There are quite a lot of things we are looking into, and we can’t wait to share it,” Afie expressed.
Afie couldn’t share the specifications of their plans, but she hinted at the possibility of starting a website for Strangerous. Further down the road, she also dreams of opening a physical outlet full of Strangerous makeup products.
Featured Image Credit: Afie Rohin, founder of Strangerous