<p><em><strong>&nbsp;&ldquo;I was super excited to speak to young students.&nbsp; Some are already working on their own beauty products, some are self-taught makeup artists. When I left the school all I could think of was how can I help them stay motivated in such an environment.&rdquo;</strong></em></p>

 “I was super excited to speak to young students.  Some are already working on their own beauty products, some are self-taught makeup artists. When I left the school all I could think of was how can I help them stay motivated in such an environment.”

<p><strong><em>A selfie with the team at the Luxor Spa in Nigeria.</em></strong></p>

A selfie with the team at the Luxor Spa in Nigeria.

<p><strong><em>Maisie Dunbar, doing what she loves.</em></strong></p>

Maisie Dunbar, doing what she loves.

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<p><em><strong>&nbsp;&ldquo;I was super excited to speak to young students.&nbsp; Some are already working on their own beauty products, some are self-taught makeup artists. When I left the school all I could think of was how can I help them stay motivated in such an environment.&rdquo;</strong></em></p>
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 “I was super excited to speak to young students.  Some are already working on their own beauty products, some are self-taught makeup artists. When I left the school all I could think of was how can I help them stay motivated in such an environment.”

<p><strong><em>A selfie with the team at the Luxor Spa in Nigeria.</em></strong></p>
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A selfie with the team at the Luxor Spa in Nigeria.

<p><strong><em>Maisie Dunbar, doing what she loves.</em></strong></p>
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Maisie Dunbar, doing what she loves.

Next time you need a little pick-me-up, or you start to doubt the power beauty has to transform lives, go follow the work of Global Beauty Ambassador, Maisie Dunbar.  A cosmetologist (who has specialized in nail care), salon owner, product developer, motivational speaker and trainer, Dunbar has been uplifting the professional beauty industry for years with her vibrant, positive presence.  And today she is taking her good energy around the world, especially to her native Africa, where she has made it her mission to help lift men and women out of poverty by leading them to a career in beauty.

Just before she returns to Ghana (and then travels on to Nigeria and Gambia), we spoke to Dunbar, a native Liberian, about how she is offering a promise of a brighter future to so many through her talks, teaching, and training.

“My purpose is to give hope to the hopeless, and it has been an amazing journey," she says on a call from her home base in Silver Springs, MD. “When I visit homes in Africa with no electricity, no running water, and meet people making impossible choices just to survive, I know that I am no different than they are but I have been given opportunities that they haven’t.  And I want to make every place better than it was when I arrived.  I want to help by showing them a way up through a life in beauty.”

Three years ago in Liberia, she found a young man doing nails by the side of the road.  Dunbar approached him, and has since mentored him, so that today he is saving money, and putting plans in place to become a manicurist on cruise ships. “I once saw a guy pull up on his bicycle, at a rest stop, with eyelashes and glue in his back pocket. I watched him do a woman's eyelashes right there—no sanitation whatsoever—and when he was done, he got on his bike and rode away, to his next appointment.  But these are people with real skills and a desire to be better; they just need to have some guidance and fine-tuning.”

To that end, she has worked with a spa in Nigeria to train the staff and management team on best practices. She is also helping create standards and design a curriculum for a cosmetology school in Nigeria.  “I want to duplicate this in each African country where I have contacts. They all need some kind of standards."

Dunbar has been able to put beauty products in the hands of  grateful students, thanks to product donations from Paul Mitchell, Zoya and Kupa.  “I see hope in their eyes when they receive these products which would have otherwise been very hard for them to come by.”

At a workshop in Nigeria,  Dunbar spoke to a room of aspiring beauty professionals, sharing her own career path. She offered to give away an electric nail file to someone who would answer a question and two hands went up. The young girl who received the file started crying… and then the girl who’d also put up her hand, also started crying.

“I asked each of them, ‘why are you crying?’" Dunbar says. "The girl who won the file said she had been there all day, waiting to hear me (I was supposed to go on at 11:00 and it was now 5:30) and that she had borrowed the money to be able to come. This nail file, she said, would completely change how she was able to do nails and service her clients.  And then I asked the girl who didn’t win the file, ‘why are you crying?’ and she said, ‘I’m not a manicurist, I’m a hairstylist, but something told me to put up my hand and if I had won, I was going to give the nail file to her, the girl who did win.’  It was so moving. And if I didn’t commit to making these trips—which are expensive and often hard—I would have missed this moment, this chance to sow a seed of hope into someone’s life.”

Follow Maisie on her travels at @maisiedunbar and read about her beauty beginnings here.