Makbul was born in Mumbai, where she grew up. Her mother is a Malayali. She studied at National College. She began her career in modeling and went on to appear in advertisements and TV shows. She appeared in the reality show MTV Scooty Teen Diva in 2009. She then appeared in the teen musical series Ishaan: Sapno Ko Awaaz De. She was next part of the second season of the TV serial Kitani Mohabbat Hai, after which she played the role of Lavanya Kashyap in the serial Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?; and Riya Mukherjee, an important role in the 4 Lions Films criminal investigation series, Arjun. She subsequently participated in Femina Miss India and won the title Femina Miss Beautiful Smile 2012. In 2014, she made her feature film debut in the Telugu film Dikkulu Choodaku Ramayya, changing her screen name to Sana Makbul. She has signed and started filming for the Tamil film, Rangoon, a romantic drama directed by Rajkumar Periasamy.