Yukiko Takeda, 37, is chief makeup artist for Watosa, a skincare line created by famous beauty guru Sablo Watanabe. For the past 15 years, Yukiko has been making women look and feel so beautiful that over 80 percent of her first-time clients turn into hardcore fans who need their fix of “Yukiko magic” on a regular basis. Part counselor and part life guide, her exquisitely customized makeup work reflects each woman’s potential in the best possible light. Yukiko inspires women not only with her professionalism but also with her private life: After years of all-work-and-no-play, she recently found her perfect match in the bespoke tailor Yosuke, a 25-year-old ikemen (handsome guy), whose style suits her more than any other man’s ever has.

All women are actresses — and with great makeup, they can all be stars. Of course, the fame might only last for 15 minutes, but luckily the makeup stays on a lot longer.

Movies, good food, fashion all contain hints to what makes people happy. When I see a face, I want to know what that person loves, what she does every day, so I can tailor her looks to her lifestyle. Beauty comes from the inside, and my job is to make a woman’s aura visible through make-up.

They say Japanese women are three steps behind men, but that is just how it looks from the outside. Actually, women are way ahead of the guys! We gently control them, and they either don’t even notice it or they don’t mind: A man is happy to take orders from a woman who is fun to be around, especially if she is beautifully packaged.

In love, first impressions last forever. One day my future husband came to our shop to see his sister, who works here. He is tall, gorgeous and really nice. It was love at first sight for me. But for him, I was just an older woman, the boss of his sister. I wanted to see him again so I invited him and his sister to a fashion show. I still didn’t think of him as love potential because I felt he was beyond me, both in terms of age and looks.

Fear is a great motivator. My friends told me to make a move immediately or he would just see me as a friend and might even bring in his young girlfriends so I could make them more attractive. That scared me into action mode. I kept hearing my friend’s warning: “You’re older so he won’t ask you out. You must show him that you like him.”

When one is falling in love, all shame disappears. I wanted to see him so much that I couldn’t help calling or mailing him. Although he always replied, he rarely contacted me on his own. Yet I kept inviting him, and by the third month, we were meeting every other day. Still, we were just friends, and I was getting worried that we would stay that way forever.

Confidence is something everyone wants and needs more of. No matter how beautiful, successful and happy a woman is, she still has some feelings of inferiority and that is why she comes to us — for reassurance and pointers.

All women are mothers, even if we don’t have kids. We are all born with a mother’s heart and the special genes that make us love taking care of others, naturally.

Invest in your erotic capital and enjoy the interest. Everyone loves being in the presence of beauty. Without modeling yourself on others, you can transform yourself into a more wonderful creature.

Sometimes life can be just like a sappy soap opera. On April 1, under the cherry blossoms he said: “Please go out with me. Of course, I’d like to marry you, so if you say yes to dating, it means you accept my marriage proposal.” This was almost too much for me. Here is the most handsome, nicest guy I have ever met, and even before our first real date, he asks me to marry him. We had not even kissed yet and I was already engaged. We didn’t sleep together that night. I know it sounds old-fashioned but that is the great thing about our romance: we’re old school, and we graduated with honors.

Makeup is not a coverup. There is no need to hide under colors, but it is best to enhance one’s charm points.

Men are visual, yet they don’t care about details like nail color or eye shadow. Still, they want to be close to a woman who does care, one who makes the effort to look great and be great. When guys see a woman who is happy with herself, they feel attracted to her.

If you both work, you can be partners and rivals, too. Our jobs are so important for us. We both customize and create order-made beauty for each of our clients. We are craft workers who are crazy about quality, so our personalities are very similar. We love beauty and don’t care about money much.

With or without children, life is just as good. He said that if he wanted a baby, he wouldn’t have asked me to marry him. Considering my age, he was thinking about this issue for the three months that we were just going out as friends. He decided that if he had to choose life with me and without kids, he would much prefer that than being with another woman and having children. The funny thing is that before meeting him, I had never wanted to have a child, but now I do! Since I love him so much, I want his kids, to keep his DNA. I wouldn’t think of the kids as mine, but as his. I’m not sure if we can have any but I hope so.

In love, the bigger the age gap, the better. Dating someone 12 years younger is fun. We laugh a lot, as sometimes we have little idea what the other is talking about, whether it be about music or computers.

What you do is what you are. Have confidence in yourself: Even if you haven’t reached your goal, you’re on your way.

Judit Kawaguchi loves to listen. She is a volunteer counselor and a TV reporter on NHK’s “Out & About.” Learn more at: http://juditfan.blog58.fc2.com/

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