Some things I read really stick with me. I once read an article about a woman who had a disease that made her eyeballs slowly protrude out of her sockets, and now I check my peepers on a daily basis for signs that they are moving. That article terrified me. There are a lot of other examples of articles that have fed into my hypochondriac tendencies, but better I keep those to myself.
Professionally, the articles or posts I’ve read that have stuck with me most are those from makeup artists who traveled to jobs and had their luggage–including their pro kits–lost along the way. They then had to scramble and do a job based off what they had in their purse and could find at local stores. That’s always made me think, What are my absolute essentials? My pro kit is stocked up and so heavy that I sprained both wrists last summer lugging it around, but what do I really need?
I have a few essentials, but the first one that came to mind is MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. This matte fluid concealer is pigmented enough to provide serious coverage, and if you work in thin layers–which you should–it won’t cake up. Because it is so pigmented, you only need a small amount. Two pumps can just about cover an entire face, which is not what concealer is for, but you need some kind of standard of measurement, right?. I use one shade for under eyes and a different shade on the rest of the face on most people, and I’ve found that half a pump of each shade is often enough for many of my clients. If I need to add more, I do, because this stuff is buildable.
With some concealers, I’ve found they are either too thick to use under the eyes or not pigmented enough for the face. But the Pro Longwear Concealer works on both areas. It comes in range of colors, and I’ve never had a problem getting a color match on anyone.
My only issue with this concealers is the packaging. It comes in a tiny glass bottle with a pump, but like with most pumps, you can’t get to all of the product with the pump. And the the pump mechanism doesn’t twist off and allow you to get in there. From what I understand, you have to use pliers to get the pump off if you want to reach the several-applications-worth of product often left after the pump stops pumping. So I have a whole bunch of these almost-goners at my parents’ house, waiting for my father to finally bring home the pliers has says he has. (Could I buy my own pliers and try doing it myself? Sure. But will I? Nope.)
Other than the packaging, MAC Pro Longwear Concealers are perfect. They are an essential both in my pro kit and my personal makeup bag. If you are looking for a good fluid concealer, give this a try. Available at MAC stores, counters and online for $24.
There are professional makeup artists and there are beauty gurus. Sometimes a person is both, but that’s not who I’m referring to here. I’m referring to the beauty gurus who do Instaglam makeup (which they often do on both Instagram and YouTube), primarily on themselves but sometimes on others as well. I’ve been looking through some of their Instagram posts and watching as many of their tutorials as I can handle, and I feel compelled to make sure everyone is aware of what is really going on a lot of the time.
This post is for those of you who follow gurus on Instagram or subscribe to their channels on YouTube. How things look in photos or on camera can be very different than what they look like in real life. Like shockingly different.
This post is also for beginner makeup artists, because after a decade in this industry, it is my duty to make sure you know the difference between beauty guru makeup techniques and professional makeup artist techniques. It’s fine to know how to do both if that’s what you like and you have a clientele who likes beauty guru makeup, but you have to know when to put on your professional makeup artist hat and when to do the typical guru type of makeup.
I’m going to go through some of the techniques and behind the scenes stuff so you know what’s really up. I can’t watch every video or story and comment on every technique, but these are the ones I see most often.
Baking. Baking is a drag makeup technique that calls for copious amounts of a lighter-than-your-skin loose powder to be placed onto areas you want to highlight. It is then left on the skin for 20 minutes to “bake.” This is HEAVY makeup (if you didn’t pick that up when I said “drag makeup.”) Mario Dedivanovic did this for a while on Kim Kardashian, but cautioned that it is not an everyday technique. Here’s the thing about powder: it sticks to texture. Dry patches? It’s grabbing onto them. Pores? It will happily fill them in and announce their presence to the world. Fine lines? Treats them just like it does pores, but has the fun effect of adding years onto your face.
Drag queens can get away with baking because they are performing, so they are far enough away where you can’t see any skin texture. But if you are baking your makeup then sitting outside for a lunch date with your friend at 1:00pm? She’s going to see everything. Unless someone has no visible pores or fine lines–so basically, infants–that much powder is super obvious in person. Most clients who sit in my chair tell me they don’t want their makeup to look caked on, which is why I stay away from baking.
Tip of Nose Highlight. This highlighter craze has gone TOO FAR. This particular trend drives me insane, because it’s really common with beauty gurus, and it is bad. I believe it started because some gurus said it would make the nose look upturned and like, so cute. And I’ve seen some people say they do it because they have a bump on the bridge of their nose, and highlighting the tip makes the bump seem less noticeable in comparison. And others say it makes a flat nose look more narrow, which makes zero sense. Highlighting anything will make it stand out more and look bigger. Do you want the tip of your nose to look bigger or bulbous? I didn’t think so. Plus, part of this trend is to use shimmery highlighter, and shimmer makes things shiny. When did having a shiny nose become desirable?!?! Lastly, shimmer particles fit very nicely into pores, and many people already have visible pores on their nose. Why would you want to point those out? If you insist on doing this technique, fine. Just know that it is obvious and not flattering in person.
Tip of Nose Blush. This shit is baffling. It’s not unusual for a pro makeup artist to use some bronzer or blush across the bridge of the nose when doing a sunkissed or beachy editorial makeup, but tip of the nose? I don’t get it. I’ve always applied makeup to cover red or pink tones on the nose, not bring them out. Blush is meant to meant to mimic the natural flush you get on your cheeks, not your nose. A red or pink nose used to mean someone was sick, crying or had rosacea. I don’t know the reasoning behind this one, and I don’t want to.
Contouring for One Face Shape. If you look up contouring and highlighting tutorials, 90% of them will be for an oval face shape. That’s great if you’re an Oval, but what about the Hearts, Diamonds, Triangles, Rounds, Oblongs and Squares out there? And what about those with features that they are better off not highlighting or contouring? If you are going to venture into the world of highlighting and contouring, you have to first identify your face shape then learn how to contour and highlight for that shape. If you are a Square with prominent cheekbones and you contour like you’re an Oval, you’ll be putting the focus exactly on the areas you don’t want to draw attention to. For more on face shapes and how to sculpt your’s in a flattering way, check out my Shape Up series.
Product Dripping. I don’t know what this technique is called, or if there is even a name for it, but I’ve seen it in several tutorials. This is when the guru takes a liquid production (foundation, luminzer, primer, etc.) that comes in a bottle with a pump or dropper and dispenses product directly onto the face. I’ve been doing makeup professionally since 2008, and I had never seen anyone do this until recently. The pro artists I know will dispense product onto their hand or a palette before applying (as do I). I can’t imagine what the benefit would be of applying it directly from bottle to face. And in many of the tutorials I’ve seen with people who do this, they use a ton of product. When I use Armani Luminous Silk or Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundations, I dispense one pump–sometimes a pump and a half–to do an entire face. I’ve seen gurus use 4-6 pumps on themselves. That is bananas! That’s a crapload of makeup, and it’s completely unnecessary. There is zero chance of that much product not caking up on the skin, especially after powder is applied. And good luck blending! The skin can only absorb so much. It’s also a giant waste of product. Please do not do this.
Emphasizing All Features. I went over this in my Which Team Are You On? post, but here’s the recap: editorial makeup (and pro makeup in general, up until social media) focused on one feature, but Instaglam makeup does them all up. Full coverage foundation, heavy contour, blinding highlight on several features, cut crease eyeshadow, winged liner, thick brows, false lashes, overdrawn lipliner and matte or intense lipstick colors. It is essentially drag queen makeup, which I love when done well on actual drag queens. But drag queens are men who transform themselves into ultra-feminine women. Women already naturally have some of the features and bone structure drag queens emulate, so putting extra emphasis on those features can backfire and make a woman look masculine. (Fine if that’s your thing, but I have a feeling it’s not what those following beauty gurus are going for.)
So Much Product. With the emphasis on all features, beauty gurus are already using a lot of different makeup products. And the actual amount of product they use is insane to me. Let me break it down.
I’ve already covered drip foundation, and this triangle-of-concealer-under-eyes application makes no sense, as Wayne Goss explains. Every good pro makeup artist I know works in thin layers of concealer and foundation, which allows them to blend easily and use only as much as they need to blur any imperfections and let the skin show through.
The amount of powder used by many gurus–whether or not they are baking–is borderline obscene. Powder is meant to set foundation and minimize shine, using the least amount of product you can. Lots of any kind of powder product is guarantee to cake up on the skin.
You don’t need to use three contour products and a bronzer. If you want to sculpt, a cream contour and a powder contour are the absolute most you would need to use. I’ve seen gurus use concealers, stick foundations or contour sticks, powder contour and bronzer layered over each other. Unnecessary!
If you think layer upon layer of glittery highlight will look like anything other than a stripe of shimmer on your face in natural light, you are mistaken.
Overdrawn lips plus lipstick plus lipgloss plus highlight over and under the liplines? Again, drag makeup. If that’s your goal, proceed.
If you want to use as much product as many of the gurus do, be my guest. But know that a) It’s going to look super heavy in real life and b) Your beauty product spending will increase, as you are using way more product than you need to.
And now for the behind the scenes stuff. Beauty guru tutorials and photos can be very deceiving. I was talking to a friend of a client at a bridal trial recently, and she said she went to a meet and greet for a well-know guru, and could not believe how much makeup she had on. I wasn’t surprised at all! It’s because of those things I just mentioned, as well as:
Lighting. I’ve worked on a several films, commercials and television shows over the years. So I can tell you from experience that lighting makes a huge difference. If a person is lit well, their skin will look smoother, younger and more even toned than it really is. You can absolutely manipulate lighting to be mega-flattering and soft on camera. But beauty gurus don’t have a lighting crew on set! you say. True, but many of them use ring lights, which can make even the most hack blending job look gorgeous on camera. If they did the same makeup in your bathroom that has those yellow lights you hate, things would look at lot different.
Filters. You probably know about Instagram filters, and the editing you can do there. There are also digital filters that many beauty gurus use to make the skin look impossibly smooth and perfect in videos. Don’t feel like reading anymore about this? Then watch Wayne’s video on what he calls live Photoshop.
Editing Out Steps. A full face of makeup–especially the way some of these gurus do it–often takes way more time than the length of the video. Application steps, blending and product absorption time can easily be edited out. Sometimes a guru will tell you that, but other times they keep it to themselves. A winged eyeliner alone can take the length of some of these tutorials, so don’t think that you’re doing anything wrong if you can’t do a full face and lashes in 10 minutes and 19 seconds.
If you are aware of all of these factors and you love guru/Instaglam makeup, then do you, babygirl. I’m not trying to dissuade you from doing looks you like on yourself. I just want you to know the reality of what you see so you don’t think you’re doing it wrong when it looks heavy or unflattering on your own face.
However, if you are a pro makeup artist and you try to do this type makeup on a commercial, film or at a corporate shoot, you’re probably going to get fired. If whatever you are working with is filmed in HD, heavy makeup is going to be magnified and it will not look good. Think back to the last movie or show you watched. Did you see obvious contour? Tons of disco ball highlight? Heavy, dark brows? Nope. You have to know how to do clean makeup if you want to work in on those types of shoots.
I could go on and on about this topic, but I think I’ve covered the basics. If you’ve got questions or comments, you know what to do.
Accountability. You have to have it as an entrepreneur, since you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck. But it’s also a valuable thing to have in your personal life as a motivator to get things done. My 2018 Game Plan post consisted of both personal and business goals, and now six months later–when most New Year’s Resolutions have long since gone to shit–I think it’s time to see how I’m doing. You, my dear, dear reader, are my virtual accountability coach and this is my progress report.
Mask Appeal. My goal was to regularly use face masks. I did really well with this in January, then trailed off a bit in February when I ran low on masks. I got a bunch of mask samples from Sephora in March, but didn’t love any of them. I’ve been using the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm as a mask once a week or so since April, so I’m getting better.
Massage Envy. I’ve been killin’ it with this goal. I do my own facial massage once or twice each week, and my skin has been looking glowy. Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil is my go to for this. If you want to know more about facial massage, check out this tutorial from Lisa Eldridge.
Brush It Off. I’ve also done well with dry brushing, which is good since I slacked off with the body lotion for a while. Dry brushing is quick and easy, but skip it if you’ve got a spray tan or self tanner on, as it will exfoliate off some of your fake tan.
Tame Those Claws. I would give myself a B+ with nail maintenance. I had been filing and buffing almost as much as I should until I got back to RI in April. I even painted them myself one time, which I never do! (By the way, Revlon Nail Polish lasts a good four days without chipping, which I found impressive.) Once wedding season started in April, I slacked off, but writing this post might kick me back into gear…
Get Blogged Down. Knocked this out of the park. I love writing and I love sharing tips, tricks and product reviews (as well as the self indulgent posts like this–no shame). I’ve been stockpiling posts and publishing 1 – 2 times a week for all of 2018. This definitely got more challenging once wedding season started, but I’m making a serious effort to keep it going.
Template Time. I reviewed and revised all of my business templates in January and February, which allows me to efficiently provide clear, updated information to my clients and my team. Score.
Socialize. I’ve taken some social media classes and have learned a lot, much of which I have already put into practice. I do Instagram stories a few times a month so I need to get better with those, but I don’t love them. I’ve also updated all of my social media profiles as well as this here blog. I’m far from a digital marketing maven, but I am improving.
Grow, Girl. I had a plan for expansion that I had been working on for a while, but after three months of trying different potential options, I discovered it’s not going to happen this year. I was super bummed out but I have some other plans in the works. I can’t shake this ambition thing…
Give Thanks. I hit a real rough patch in late January–three big shitty things happened at once–but got through it. (Nothing devastating, thankfully.) I haven’t forgotten how great my life is though, and if you played a drinking game where you took a shot every time I silently said “Thank you!” for something in my life during the day, you would be tore up by noon.
Love It or List It. I’m still planning on giving my bedroom in my Newport apartment a makeover. I inherited a plain white comforter from a friend who stayed with me in Charleston the first week of January (she bought it because my apartment was cold due to the unexpected low temps, and I hadn’t brought enough extra blankets with me), and since I want to my updated bedroom to be mostly white, I’m considering this a start.
Overreact Much? As mentioned, I got hit with three shitty things in a row in January. I actually did pretty well reacting to the first one, but lost it when the second, most pervasive issue came up. Then I got sick of myself being so worried and bummed out, so one day I woke up and thought, I’m done being like this. And no lie, about two hours later, things related to that second problem started improving. Then a few days later, I got a big boost with something else related to the second and third problems. Now, I know I’m being cryptic here, but I have to be. The moral of the story though is that either it’s a coincidence that things started improving when I decided to change my mindset–which could be the case–or my mindset somehow helped. It certainly didn’t hurt, so I will try to remember that next time a shitstorm or two makes an appearance in my world.
Listen Up. Uh oh. Not sure I’ve made a lot progress here. I have been trying, but as an entrepreneur who communicates with her clients and team mostly via email and text, sometimes five or six hours go by where I don’t speak a word to anyone. Then when I see someone…I can’t stop! But I am really trying to shut up and be a better listener. I’m more likely to be a listener with clients, but when I see a friend and they ask me about something I feel strongly about (so most things), I tell them everything I’ve been thinking. But, I do ask questions and check in with my friends often, because I want to know what’s going on with them. Still, I could definitely improve here.
Win Big. I made sure to enter the HGTV Dream Home Giveway two times a day (the max amount you can enter) while it was happening. I didn’t win, but I’m okay with that.
I think I’ve done pretty well overall! I’m on a constant quest for self improvement because although there are a lot of things I can’t control (much to my chagrin), there are some things in my life that I can make better. And those seemingly small changes can make a big difference. I’ll keep working on this stuff for the second half of 2018.
I love owning a business. It’s one of my favorite things about my life. It’s given me the freedom I crave, the confidence boost I needed when I started it in my mid 20s, and the opportunity to both give work to others and support myself. I can’t imagine ever working for someone else again! Being an entrepreneur is perfect for me and I have no doubt it’s what I should be doing.
But it can be mad lonely. I’m the sole owner of my company, so it’s been just me from Day One. Before I get too woe-is-me, let me first say that I’ve been lucky enough to have the support of the friends and family who matter to me, and I realize that’s not the case for every entrepreneur. I consider myself especially lucky that my father is a serial entrepreneur (he’s opened six businesses that I can remember), and my brother now runs a business my father opened. They are great resources for me because even though the beauty industry is seemingly very different from the real estate and property management industries they work in, there are similarities with the operational and expansion sides to these businesses. I also have a close friend who works in the beauty industry and owns her own business. It’s been great to have someone who completely understands almost the exact problems I encounter because of our industry and the similarities in our business models.
Even so, until recently, I never felt like I had a community of entrepreneur friends and contacts. I’m grateful for those three people I have, but three people is not the majority of the people in my life. (Like come on, I’m more popular than that.) And that’s where the loneliness comes in. I haven’t been sitting in a room crying for the past ten years, but I’ve felt it. It’s not loneliness in the sense of “I have no one to hang out with,” but more “I don’t have a lot of people I can relate to.”
Being an entrepreneur is career choice, but also a lifestyle choice. If you own a business, chances are your personal life and career life are interwoven. It’s unlikely that as an entrepreneur, you work eight hours, turn it off and go home to your personal life. (I know not all employee jobs are like that, but let me generalize for a minute.) If you broke my typical day into chunks, it would be Work, Personal, Work, Personal, Work, Personal (with the Work times being the longest) and repeat. And that’s seven days a week for me. It’s not the traditional work schedule, and I can tell that some of my friends and relatives (understandably) don’t get it.
It can also be hard to relate to non-entrepreneurs for a lot of other reasons, but you can read my Prep School series for more on that. What I want to talk about now is Hatch Tribe, an amazing group that I joined last year. You know me–I either love something or I hate it–and I love Hatch Tribe.
Let’s start at the beginning, because this isn’t Memento. (I love a good early 2000s movie reference that only 20% of my readers will get.) I moved to Charleston for my first snowbird winter in January of 2017. I became friends with a tall and witty attorney named Mairin, who I’m convinced is my long lost sister. She got me immediately, right down to the way I approach situations due to my entrepreneur status. (Like she gets mad for me when she thinks someone is wasting my time because she knows I’m already running at a time deficit.) At one point last winter, Mairin told me about the Hatch Tribe Speed Meet and Greet event she had seen on their Facebook page. I went to that event, and I was hooked. I went to a few other events while I was there, and attended some virtual events (or watched replays) after I moved back to Rhode Island last spring. Everything was helpful, inspiring and valuable, so I continued to follow Hatch Tribe on Facebook, and joined their Facebook group
This year, Hatch Tribe created the Members Circle. It covers the four big areas that I think are essential for a community of entrepreneurs. You ready for this list format?
Advice. Got a question about social media? Accounting software? Hiring practices? If you can think up a question, someone in the Members Circle can answer you or direct you to someone who can. Every single question gets answered, so no one is left hanging. Do you have any idea how amazing that is? In many other parts of my life, I’ve found that people struggle answering direct questions. (So much so that I once wondered if a new punctuation mark replaced the question mark and I missed the press release.) A lot of the issues we come across as business owners are common issues, so even if someone doesn’t work in the same industry as you, they very well may have encountered the issue you’re facing. Or maybe, using my earlier example, an accountant in the Circle can recommend the best accounting software. I’ve been asking long winded questions in the Members Circle since I joined in February, and I’ve gotten tons of valuable advice. There are even topics that you can follow–like Growth, Marketing and Money, to name a few–so you can see what other people post about those topics. The level of organization in this group makes my soul happy.
Education. You like to learn things to help improve your business, right? OF COURSE YOU DO. Maybe you have access to a ton of classes and the time to attend them in person, but if you don’t, you are going to love this. (And if you do, you’d get more of them in the Members Circle!) Each month in the Members Circle, there’s a new theme and mentor who works in an industry related to that theme. The Mentor of the Month and Hatch Tribe founder, Hilary Johnson, put out helpful 15 minute videos related to the theme, and also do an online masterclass that both connects the previous videos and delves more into the theme. So far I’ve learned a lot about Instagram stories and algorithms, social media content, SEO, perfecting the way we talk about our business to others, the fears that can hold us back in business, the importance of balance and more. If I wasn’t in the Members Circle, these are all things I would have had to research or take classes on myself, if I even thought to do so. But now, it’s offered to me in a way that is always clear and easy to follow, and I can ask followup questions. You find me a better situation than that. You can’t!
Support. I’ve been lucky enough to get a lot of support from most of my friends and family in the ten years that I’ve had my business. My immediate family and closest friends have been unwavering in that aspect, and I appreciate that more than they will ever know. But now, with the Members Circle, I also have a group of girlbosses who are truly rooting for me (and I’m rooting for them). Need some examples? Every Friday, Hilary posts something encouraging us to share our wins from the past week. As entrepreneurs, we might not be used to stepping back and saying “I accomplished this” or “My company reached this goal” and taking time to appreciate that. We can do that in the Friday thread, plus give our support to everyone else who posts about their wins. (There’s also a whole “Celebrate” topic, so it’s not just a Friday thing.) Still not convinced? There’s no “Like” button in the Members Circle–because there’s a “Cheer” button. Try to not feel supported when people are cheering you! It’s impossible, like saying “Oh, no thank you” to chips and guacamole. There’s no cattiness in the Tribe–Hilary would shut that shit right down–and no feeling that you are being judged or doing something the wrong way. It’s 100% support, and not because people are trying to sell to you or recruit you. (In fact, there is only one area of the Members Circle where you are even allowed to promote.) If you’re craving support of your entrepreneur life, it don’t get no better. (If I have to get this song in my head, you do too.)
Understanding. It’s real easy to feel misunderstood as an entrepreneur. If some of the people in your life don’t get or don’t like your entrepreneur lifestyle, can you really blame them? It’s not the norm. Only about 7% (depending on your source) of the US population owns their own business. I mean, damn. That’s some kind of rare disease statistic. You might have some people you are close to who aren’t entrepreneurs and get your lifestyle, although you’ve probably had to clue them in along the way. But in the Members Circle, everyone gets it because they are in it too. This one is huge to me, because I’ve spent a lot of time trying to explain to my family and friends why I have to or can’t do something, or why I have to approach certain situations the way I do. And honestly, being in this group of only girlbosses adds another level of understanding. I know some male entrepreneurs and while I’ve gotten great advice from some of them, the level of empathy and the extent to which some truly listen is lacking. I’ve also found some male entrepreneurs to be condescending, and dismissive of my success because it’s in a female dominated industry. (Fuck those guys, though. If you don’t think the beauty industry is gigantic and growing like crazy, put down your golf clubs for a minute and do some research.) In Hatch Tribe, and particularly in the Members Circle, you don’t have to explain yourself. Everyone there is on the same page.
I had a bit of a rough winter in Charleston this past year and Hatch Tribe–both due to the Members Circle and the friends I met through the Tribe that I spent time with–was one of the big things that got me through it. I’ve made some awesome, badass girlboss friends, and even thought I miss my weekly meetups with some of my them now that I’m back in RI, I still feel as connected as I did while I was in Charleston.
I really think if the Members Circle had been around when I first started my business, things would have gone a lot more smoothly for me. There were so many things I had questions about and needed input on in my early years, and I could have used the support and expertise of the Tribe. It’s still immeasurably valuable even as an owner of a ten year old business though, and there are people in the Tribe who have been in business longer than that. So no matter how long you’ve been paying those self employment taxes, the Members Circle can be beneficial to you.
This isn’t a sponsored post and no one asked me or even implied that I should write it. I wanted to because I appreciate Hatch Tribe, particularly the Members Circle, so much. To be fully transparent, there is an incentive for members who refer other people who join, but duh, every good business has some kind of incentive program. It’s not pushed on anyone in the Tribe (I actually had to look it up to remember what the rewards were). So yeah, I have an invite I can send people who are interested, but I’d be just as happy if you joined on your own. I wouldn’t write this post if I didn’t truly love Hatch Tribe. If you are a regular reader, you know I love promoting the things I’m into, and I’m not shy about saying what I don’t like. (Go ahead–try asking me about beauty influencers.)
As far as cost, joining the Members Circle is, I think, affordable for most entrepreneurs. It’s $34.99 (that’s what, a pair of pants from Express?) for a monthly membership, or $349.99 for an annual membership. One business-related class a month alone would likely cost you more than $34.99, plus you can get lots of free advice from people in the Members Circle who want to share what they’ve learned. And you can’t put a price on understanding and support. Plus, the membership fee is a write-off! (I checked with my accountant to confirm that.) Business owners love write-offs, don’t we?
If you’re a girlboss and you’re feeling unsupported or unsure about this whole entrepreneur thing, there’s a big group of us who want to help. So at least check out Hatch Tribe. Hope to see you in the Members Circle!
Chrissy Teigen has rocked some gorgeous makeup looks the past few years. I came across one from the 2016 Grammy Awards that I think is beautiful, classic and perfect to wear as a wedding guest, as it will work with any dress color. As it’s now wedding season pretty much everywhere, you might need this.
Here’s my take on what she had on. Some of this is verified info from Mary Philips, the makeup artist who did this look.
Foundation: Full coverage foundation. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation would work well. See how the center of Chrissy’s face looks highlighted? You can get that effect by using the foundation shade that matches your skin around the edges of your face, and one that is two shades lighter on the center of your face.
Concealer: As needed on the face and under eyes. It’s hard to tell where concealer went without seeing what someone looked like pre-makeup, because a good concealer should cover circles and blemishes and blend into the skin.
Highlighter & Contour: There’s definitely some highlight on those gorgeous cheekbones. Mary used the Physician’s Formula Super BB #InstaReady Contour Trio BB Stick to sculpt Chrissy’s face. This multi-tasking stick has both contour and highlight sections, which I am guessing she applied separately with a brush.
Eyebrows: Taupe brow powder to fill in sparseness/add shape where needed. I can see that the top of the brow was filled in to help with the shape and arch. Go with whatever color matches your brows for this, but don’t load it on. This look is not about the brows.
Eye Makeup: Mary said she used “warm bronzes and heated desert tones” for this eye makeup. I would go with MAC Eyeshadow in Swiss Chocolate for the initial color. This should be soft and very well blended. The shadow is extended past the outer corners of the eyes in a soft, uplifted angle shape. I would use a pencil brush to apply that same shadow at the lower lashline. On the lid, I would top Swiss Chocolate with MAC Bronze. Eyeliner is barely detectable, but I would guess some matte dark brown eyeshadow like Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Rich Brown was applied with a thin brush at the top lashline.
Because of the mostly neutral colors, this look appears natural and understated, but with the right hair and outfit, it looks very elegant. It’s technically an easy-ish look to do, but if you stay with the full coverage foundation, make sure to exfoliate first, and prep your skin with a moisturizer, serum or face oil (or whatever combination of those work for you) first. Full coverage foundation will catch on any dry areas and can cake up if you don’t work in thin layers.
This look is best suited for medium to medium dark skintones. The eyeshadow colors are especially complimentary on brown and green eyes.
If you’ve got questions, I’ve got answers, so comment away,
Once you have gotten educated/licensed and decided which area or areas of makeup artistry you want to focus on, you’ll have to decide if you want to work for yourself or for someone else. If you want to work for yourself, as a freelancer, you will be responsible for finding your own jobs (and jobs for others, if you hire anyone). If you work for a company, the jobs will be provided for you, but you will have certain guidelines to abide by and possibly a specific product line or lines that you are required to use.
There are benefits and disadvantages to both approaches, but there is nothing that says you can’t change directions if you feel that particular setup is not working for you. Some artists who work for other companies have a tremendous degree of freedom and creative choice, and some freelancers may sometimes work as independent contractors for other companies. Initially going down one of the two paths will give you some direction to start with, but it doesn’t mean you career path is set in stone.
If you want to work for yourself, it’s up to you to be organized, disciplined and responsible. When you work for yourself, you don’t get sick days, paid vacation time, or someone to cover for you when you are unavailable. A freelancer makeup artist’s schedule is typically wildly unpredictable, which makes planning things in your personal life difficult. It is hard (and frankly unwise) to turn down a job because you want to go to the beach for a day when you don’t know when your next job will come in.
If you have some business experience, you will find that knowledge very helpful if you decide to work for yourself. You will be responsible for your own advertising, marketing, billing, ordering products, client communication, etc., so any experience in these areas will be beneficial. If you don’t have any business experience, try to find someone you know who can help you with the basics. Or consider taking a business class for entrepreneurs.
Another huge part of being a successful freelancer is keeping yourself motivated. No one can fire you if you decide to sleep until 11:00am every day and take off three days every week, but you will never build your business by doing that. You have to hold yourself accountable and get things done, and especially when you are starting out and don’t have a client base, it can be difficult to stay motivated. But it is critical to your success, so whatever inspires you to work hard—maybe it’s motivational quotes, books by successful entrepreneurs, or goals you want to accomplish—keep them at the forefront of your business. Working for yourself has its challenges, but it can be extremely gratifying. It also gives you the most creative choice and allows you to run your business the way you want to. This is a good path for makeup artists who are independent, motivated and organized.
If you want to work for someone, you have several avenues to explore. You can work at a salon or spa, for a cosmetics company, as an independent contractor for one or more companies, or at a makeup counter. Depending on the position and the company, there are varying degrees of scheduling freedom and travel available. With some of these jobs, you may have a regular schedule and possibly some benefits. You may also be collaborating or working with a team, which is a plus for those who work best with others.
Keep in mind that working for someone else also comes with certain rules and guidelines. The owner/your manager has the ultimate say, which can stifle creativity in some cases. Depending on the company, you may have to use only their products. This is great if you love every single product they make—especially if they give an employee discount, which many companies do!—but if you don’t like the line you are working with, it can make your job difficult.
Most the successful makeup artists who have been in the industry for a while end up as freelancers. Some started that way, while others worked for someone else until they felt ready to make the move. Don’t force yourself to do what goes against your nature and personality type, but also be open to making a change if you realize the situation you are in does not work for you.
Best of luck with your adventures in makeup artistry!
If you’re a business owner or freelancer and you’re ignoring all social media platforms, it’s going to be hard to survive. (Not impossible, but very difficult.) Like it or not, a strong online presence is necessary for your company. 89% of consumers do online research before buying a product or booking a service. You can’t ignore that number.
My company website has great SEO and I keep the site updated, but one of my goals for this year has been to improve the Allison Barbera Beauty Instagram, our two Facebook pages and this here blog. I’ve been taking classes and consulted with some great companies who specialize in digital marketing, because there is only so much this tech-challenged boss can figure out on her own.
I understand why there is an emphasis on digital marketing and specifically on social media because it can be a great way to reach a lot of people, but if I’m being real with you, I don’t love it.
Let me explain. I’m approaching this all from a small business owner standpoint, so some of this doesn’t apply to some people/companies you may follow (and this post has nothing to do with people’s personal accounts). I’m all for social media as a marketing tool used to promote books, shows, podcasts, tours, etc. My issue is with our society’s focus on social media and the deception of some people’s professional online presence.
I’ve got two main issues with social media, and I am ready to vent.
What About The Business? I am not negating the importance of social media, but I think some people forget that you also have to be good at running your business. A ton of Facebook likes or a beautifully curated Instagram feed doesn’t mean a business provides great services and/or products. A person or company could have 21 million followers but if they can’t answer an email and make it to client appointments on time, are they worth hiring? (By the way, you know a lot of people buy followers, comments and likes, right? Keep that in mind before you get impressed by what you see.) I would love to see some of the focus shifted back to how good a company is at the work they do instead of how pretty their feed is or how much they tweet.
The cool thing about online presence for a business is that you can make it as good as you have time (or money) for. But that’s not the entirety of a business. How is everything inside the business? Is it organized? Are there systems? Are employees being paid on time? Are taxes being done? Are client calls and emails responded to promptly? Are followups sent? How are those invoices coming along? Has an attorney reviewed all legal documents? What are they doing to improve the business? Are there plans for growth? I don’t care if a Facebook post has 1.3 million likes–if a business is not doing what people hire them to do, they are not a good business. Put that in your feed and Like it.
Show Me Your Credentials. There are social media influencers in all industries. If someone is true working professional and expert in their field, then more power to them! My problem is with those–and we see this a ton in the beauty industry–who pass themselves off as professionals when they are not. Speaking again about the beauty industry, I’ve seen influencers who do hair/makeup on themselves that I know would look horrible in person. But through the magic of filters and retouching, they make it look good (or what many of their followers consider to be good). They often have no training, no professional license and no experience doing hair or makeup on anyone else. But they can Facetune the hell out of their photos and videos, then buy some followers to get their fan base going. New followers see these people with a huge amount of followers, so they assume the influencer knows what they are doing/talking about. But so often, they don’t and people think that what they are seeing/watching/reading is expert advice. Nope! They’ve been duped.
In case you’re wondering, I’m not jealous or hating on anyone. Even with a team of 17 people, my company still turns down work weekly. We get that work from a decade of providing excellent service that has lead to five star reviews and a pipeline of client referrals that #cantstopwontstop. We have fantastic SEO, thanks in part to my website creators but also because people click on our site after putting in certain search terms and find what they need, which is key for high rankings in a Google search. So I’m not sitting over here, upset that my company isn’t getting business but my competitors with better social media are. We are doing very well, and I do consistently post on Instagram, Facebook and right here, dawg.
The thing is, it really doesn’t matter that I think too much emphasis is put on social media. I would never hurt my company by being a dinosaur and refusing to utilize social media. I’ll continue to post consistently and try to stay on top of things. I’m aware of what I could be doing better, which I will continue to try to improve. But if I have one hour to work on something, I am answering current and potential clients before I post a story on Instagram. Because if I don’t answer that new potential client then, but I post a story then answer the client hours later when I have time again, they very well may have booked with another company. (This could be specific to my industry, as a bride is 8x more likely to book wedding services with a vendor who responds within 15 minutes than one who responds four hours later, but I’ve found it to be the case with corporate and commercial inquiries too.)
I don’t care what anyone says–I’m not willing to give up decent chunks of revenue and hurt our reputation as the most responsive beauty services company in RI because there might be 300 people out there who want to view a behind the scenes story. I will get them their story later, after actual real time clients have been responded to. My clients come first, but I don’t ignore social media. I prioritize clients and time sensitive issues, but it would be ridiculous to use that as a reason to ignore the social media platforms my client base uses.
Likes, follows, re-tweets, etc. are great, because they give you exposure. They certainly may evolve into clients/customers, and my company has benefited from that. All I’m saying is please don’t equate pretty pictures, likes or follows with expertise, excellent service or high quality products. Anyone with the knowledge or budget to pay a good social media company can make it look like they do well or know what they are talking about. But a true pro will sniff them out, and an annoyed pro will write a blog post about it…
There are companies who do a fantastic job running their company and their social media and to them, I give mad props. That’s an impressive accomplishment and one day in the near future I hope I’ll have the budget for a social media coordinator so that AB Beauty can knock it out of the park there too. But we will continue to provide excellent service not only the day of a job but before and after the services have been performed. Maybe we won’t have 100,000 followers, but if my team is happy, the business is growing and clients are still taking the time to leave us 5 star reviews, what does it matter?
I had to write about this because I have both heard about and experienced lackluster service from businesses who have beautiful and consistent social media. (I’m talking within and outside of the beauty industry.) As an entrepreneur and as a consumer, I’m not impressed by a person or company’s social media game if they can’t answer an email, return a call or provide great service. You can filter the hell out of that Instagram post, but if you dropped the ball on a time sensitive the project I hired you for but I saw two Facebook posts and an Instagram story while you seemingly ignored my question, you’re dead to me. (I know posts can be scheduled so it doesn’t mean someone is actively ignoring me, but it can feel that way.)
I want to be clear that I’m not knocking companies who provide social media services. I know a few who are awesome at what they do, and I recognize that social media has an important place in a small business’s marketing plan. I’m just saying, let’s not forget that a beautiful feed doesn’t mean a business is good, and a lot of followers doesn’t mean an influencer is an expert.
So you’ve read Part 1 and you’re feeling good about your lipstick knowledge base. Great! Now you’re ready for Lipstick 202. Get that (lip) pencil out and take some notes.
It’s time to talk about color choices. Remember that time your friend was wearing a lipstick than looked so good on her, then you tried and it made you look sallow, tired and dull-skinned? That doesn’t mean you can’t wear lipstick, boo. It just means it wasn’t the right color for you, which could be due to several factors. Such as:
Your Brow Color. Those face framing arches have their own color, and if that color (or the warmth or coolness of it) is different than the lip color you choose, it can look off.
Your Hair Color. If you are someone who has tried a myriad of hair colors over the years, you already know that makeup looks different when your hair is lighter or darker than its natural color (does anyone even know their natural color anymore?). So that lipstick that makes you look sexy-vampy as a blonde can make you look like a straight out vampire when you’re raven-haired.
The Rest of Your Makeup. Especially with a bold or bright lip color, the rest of your makeup has to be complimentary. A gray smokey eye might look perfect with a nude or light pink lip, but if you add an orange-red lip, it all goes to shit. The general rule is (and I’ll admit this can be broken if you do it right) that you should put the focus on one feature at a time. So if you want to do a watermelon pink lip, this isn’t the time to also do a glossy eye, electric blue winged liner and thick brow. (For what not to do, see: Instagram beauty influencers.)
Your Skin Undertone. In the most basic sense, there are three skin undertones: warm, cool and neutral. Within those undertones, your skin can be more yellow, pink, beige, golden or peach. If your skin undertone isn’t the same as or complimentary to a lipstick undertone, sometimes it can work, depending on your hair, brows, the rest of your makeup and your outfit. But other times, it will look way off. When you are starting out with lipstick, it might be easiest to figure out your undertone then stay with lipsticks that have that undertone. This might need to be a blog post of its own…
Your Natural Lip Color. We all have a natural lip color. Lips contain a small amount of melanocytes (the cells that produce pigment and give our skin color) compared to the rest of the body, so blood vessels show through and give us a pink, red, brown or purple toned lip color, depending on our physiology. Consider it Nature’s Lipstick. But when you put a man-made lipstick over whatchu already got, that underlying color is going to change the way the lipstick looks. If your NL is a reddish pink or brown and you put a sheer or shimmery pale pink over that, the pale pink won’t be so pale or pink anymore. You can cancel out your natural lip color with the tiniest bit of foundation or concealer over your lips, but give that practice run or two before you debut it to the world.
The Top You Are Wearing. Go grab a bold or bright lipstick you have as well as a white shirt and a black shirt. I’ll wait…. Okay, thanks. Now put on a black shirt and look at the lipstick. How does it look? Perfect or scary? Take a note of that, and repeat with a white shirt. Friggin’ game changer, right? The color that is closest to your face makes a big difference as to how your makeup looks (that’s why I ask brides to wear a shirt similar to the color of their wedding gown to their makeup trial). Play around different shirt and lipstick colors to see if there are combinations that work with each lipstick color. Sometimes there won’t be. Not every lipstick is for you. Think of it like dating, except easier and you don’t need to enlist your best friend’s help to decode texts your lipstick sent.
Contrast. This is a real basic rule, but something to keep in mind–lighter colors are more of a contrast on dark skin, and dark colors are more of a contrast on light skin. A deep wine lip color is going to be way more obvious on someone who wears the lightest foundation shade than the darkest, and that pale pink lipstick from before–even if it’s applied after your NL has been cancelled out–is going to be more obvious on a darker skintone. So if you try that lipstick that looked fly on your friend but it doesn’t pop as much on you (or it pops too much, and not in a good way) it might be because of the contrast.
Your Hair Style. Ok, so your brow color, hair color, the rest of your makeup, skin undertone, NL, skin and lip color contrast and clothing are all working beautifully together, but somethin’ ain’t right. Is your hair pulled away from your face? Take it down. Is your hair down? Put it up. Your hair style is part of your overall look and sometimes it needs to be tweaked to work with everything else. For example, I have dark brown, almost black hair with blue ends. My eyebrows are black and my eyes are hazel, veering towards the green side most days. If I go for a dark berry, burgundy or oxblood lip color and my hair is down, things can get Elvira-y real quick. But pull my hair up into a top knot? The Halloween feel disappears. If you have short hair, this up or down thing won’t be an option, but for the rest of us, keep it in mind as you dabble in the lipstick arts.
Here are some very general lip color choices that work on a different eye and hair color combinations. Take the eight factors above into consideration too, but this can be a good starting point if you don’t have any lipsticks, or any lipsticks that look right even after trying different hair styles and clothing colors.
Brown Eyes & Brown Hair: Deep pink, fuschia, coppery tones.
Brown Eyes & Blonde Hair: Peachy nude, deep pink, mid-tone pink.
Brown Eyes & Red Hair: Peachy nude, pinky nude, sheer wine tones.
Blue Eyes & Blonde Hair: Petal pink, orange red, oxblood.
Blue Eyes & Brown Hair: Deep red, blue toned pink, petal pink.
Blue Eyes & Red Hair: Peachy nude, coppery tones, orange red.
Green Eyes & Red Hair: Peachy nude, coppery tones, orange red.
If you’re more of a visual learner, I found a few good articles with pictures to show you how different lip colors can look on different people.
This Buzzfeed article does a good job showing four different skintones and coloring, although I wish they threw a redhead in the mix. It’s partly a review of certain lipsticks, but the pictures alone tell the story of how different the same lipstick can look on varying skintones and coloring.
There is some bad makeup and heavy editing in some of these pictures, but this article shows several different colors on different skintones.
These two girls with totally different hair, eye and skin colors have an Instagram account dedicated to showing how different lipsticks look on each of them! I love this idea.
I think you’re now ready to find the right shades for your coloring, and figure out which shades look better with certain shirt/dress colors and the different hair styles you rock. The right color lipstick can emphasize your eye color, brighten up your face and make you sing “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me” to yourself. (Here’s the video if you’re feeling nostalgic for 2005.)
Lipstick: the shoes of the makeup world. Bear with me here. Adding lipstick can transform your entire makeup look, just like wearing stilettos as opposed to ballet flats changes the whole feel of an outfit. There’s a reason lipstick tubes are called “bullets.” They are an Image Weapon. (I know there’s a better line there, but that’s the best I could do.)
Many women I come across are scared to try anything other than a very sheer lip color or a tinted lip balm. And a lot of fear comes from lack of knowledge, right? So I’ve created a non-alphabetical Lipstick Dictionary for you (it makes more sense this way). It contains information about all of the lipstick terms you may have heard, and some you need to know about.
Lipstick.A wax and oil based pigmented product that comes in a tube and is designed to enhance or change lip color. Lipsticks come in a variety of textures, finishes and colors.
Lip Balm:Waxed based product intended to heal and hydrate the lips. Can come in stick, pot or tube form. If your lips are dry, even the highest quality lipstick will look bad, so you’ve got to keep your lips hydrated. I’ve found that balms that are too waxy might fill in the cracks that can happen when lips are dry, but they don’t heal past that surface level. And balms that are too oily have the similar effect of making lips feel smooth but not really healing the dryness or dehydration. Glossier Balm Dotcom, which seems to be the perfect texture of wax and oil ingredients, is my all time favorite and the only balm I recommend. Apply this lip magic first thing in the morning, so it has time (at least 15 minutes) to absorb. Whether or not you wear lip color, you should be getting balmed up every day.
Lip Gloss.A liquid/gel hybrid that is applied straight from a tube or with a wand or brush applicator to give the lips a shiny finish. Some glosses are tinted, others are highly pigmented. Glosses tend to fade quickly as the lips absorb them, but thicker glosses–you know, the sticky ones that your hair gets stuck in–have more staying power due to their consistency, which takes lips longer to absorb. Glosses were big in the late 90s up until around 2010, then matte formulations got trendy (again). Glosses are starting to make a comeback, and us 90s girls are ready for it.
Lip Stain.A water based liquid or gel that deposits color onto the lips, often for extended periods of time. Lip stain can be drying, especially if it’s a longwear formulation, so make sure to prep with lip balm first. You can also make your own lip stain by applying a lipstick (after your lip primer has absorbed) then blotting it several times on a tissue.
Lip Tint.See “lip stain.”
Lip Primer:A lightweight product, usually in a cream formulation, that is applied prior to lip color to make it last longer. If you want to make your lipstick stay on all day, apply a lip primer like Too Faced Lip Insurance after your balm has absorbed. Give it a few minutes to dry before your next step. This is a great time to do your mascara, sculpt those cheekbones or do some other part of your makeup that takes you a minute or two. If you put your lipstick on before your primer has fully absorbed, it’s not going to work. So just do what I say!
Lip Liner:A pigmented pencil or thin crayon used to add definition to the lips and give lip color something to adhere to. If you want to add some extra staying power to your lip color and shape your lips, lip liner is the way to do it. Make sure it’s sharpened, then outline your lips. I do this in four quadrants (look at the one thing I retained from Geometry class coming through!). I start with the lower left half of the bottom lip, tracing over the bottom of the natural lipline to the center of the bottom lip. Repeat on the other side. Then on the top lip, one quadrant first followed by the other. But the work doesn’t stop there! It’s important that you then fill in your lips with the liner. That’s right, color between the lines. This gives your lip color something to adhere to so it stays on better, and it prevents the visual announcement of “Hey, I have lip liner on!” that happens when lip color fades and only the telltale outlines stay.
Lip Scrub:A physical exfoliant that removes the dead skin cells on the surface of your lips that could otherwise latch onto your lipstick and cause it to apply unevenly. If your get dry lips and lip balm doesn’t completely heal them, you should consider exfoliating your lips once a week. You can go with a homemade lip scrub or a pre-made one, but since you will definitely be ingesting some of the scrub, I suggest keeping it natural.
Undertones.The subdued or secondary colors found in most shades of colors. You know your primary colors, right? Red, green and blue. But in makeup, most of the shades you come across are a mixture of colors. Undertones play a big part in lipsticks, which you might be aware of. Ever heard anyone refer to a lipstick as an “orange red” or a “pinky nude?” Sure you have. Knowing the colors that work for you in general can help you find a good lipstick match. For example, someone with blue eyes might like how they look in a pink shirt because pink and blue are complimentary and when the right colors are on or close to the face, they will bring out eye color. So if you start to be aware of lipstick undertones (they are often listed in the lipstick color description on a website), it might help you figure out what works for you.
FINISHES/TEXTURES (Because this one really calls for its own section)
Cream.The original lipstick finish of modern times that isn’t completely matte but isn’t a satin, metallic or frost either. Cream textures glide on easily but aren’t sparkly or only lightly pigmented. This texture works on everyone and is a comfortable formulation to wear. However, it is more like to bleed over the lip line, so if you encounter that problem, try using a lip primer and/or lip liner under it.
Matte.A texture and effect that is flat and contains no shimmer, glitter or other light reflecting particles. Matte lipsticks are highly pigmented, which makes them more bold/obvious. They can be drying, so make sure to stay on your lip balm and lip scrub game if you like matte lipsticks.
Satin.Halfway between a cream and a matte finish. Satin lipsticks provide a slight sheen without any shimmer of frosts or metallics or the stickiness of some lip glosses.
Frost.A finish that has highly a reflective iridescent shimmer. A frost finish gives any lipstick an icy, opalescent effect. Frost lipsticks were very popular in the 1970s, and then again in the late 1990s, as all makeup trends come back around. That’s beauty industry gospel.
Metallic.Another highly reflective finish, but with gold, silver or copper light reflecting particles that create a foiled effect. If you are going to wear a metallic lipstick, I recommend making it the focus of your look by keeping the rest of your look clean/minimal.
Hopefully I’ve helped decode some of the mysteries of lipstick and its associates. In Part 2, I’ll tell you about colors and application techniques so you can pucker up with confidence.
There are many directions you can go in as a makeup artist. You can specialize in the fashion industry/runway makeup, film and/or television, red carpet/celebrity events, theatre, bridal/events, special effects, editorial, or corporate work. You will most likely work in a few fields, especially at the beginning of your career. Doing so will give you experience with different types of makeup applications, and will allow you to build your income while you are starting out.
At the same time, having some focus will give you direction and allow you to plan your next career steps more easily. Many of the fields overlap (for example, most special effects makeup is for film, and red carpet/celebrity events and bridal makeup have similarities), so even if you have a general idea of what you want to do, that will help you.
If you are interested in the fashion industry/runway, you will need to live in or near one of the major fashion centers of the world. New York, London, Milan and Paris are the four biggest cities for runway, but you will find runway on a smaller scale in any large city. But if you want to make runway your main focus, choosing one of the major fashion centers will be most beneficial to you.
To get started in the fashion industry/runway, you must first assist an artist who creates the looks for the shows. This is matter of networking, perseverance and patience! Do your research to find out which makeup artists you would like to assist, and learn as much about their style, past work and clients as you can. Keep in mind that runway shows are very fast paced, so you must learn to work quickly and, while you are assisting, be able to duplicate the look that has been created by the lead makeup artist. The fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris are one week long each, and are held twice a year. While there is prep work that goes into the shows, doing runway only will probably not provide you with enough income for the year, so you will most likely need to supplement your income with other jobs (perhaps working some of the smaller fashion weeks for other cities, or doing editorial work).
Film and/or television makeup is a popular career choice for makeup artists. While Los Angeles and New York tend to host films and television shows regularly, they are not the only areas where you can work. Because of tax breaks for the film industry, places like New Orleans, Louisiana, Atalanta, Georgia and Boston, Massachusetts have become popular places for film work.
To get in to the film/television industry, most artists start out working on small (usually unpaid) student films and independent films. This is how you learn set etiquette, script breakdowns, look continuity, how to interact with directors and different departments and how to network. After you gain experience and make the right connections—which is how you will get new jobs at first—you might want to consider joining the union for makeup artists in the area you work in. Most big films and television shows are union production, so this is something you’ll likely need to do.
If you work in film/television, be prepared for long days. It’s not unusual to work a 14 hour day on set. If you work in television, depending on which show you work on, you may work at one location every day. Working in the film industry typically requires more travel, both in the sense of traveling for different films and during the actual filming (it is unlikely that every single scene will be filmed at one location).
If you form a relationship with a celebrity, you may be able to break into the world of red carpet/celebrity events. It is important to really understand how to do makeup for photography and film in this industry, as your client could potentially be photographed and filmed at the same event. You have to learn to collaborate with their hair stylist and wardrobe stylist, and be ready to change direction if a hair style or outfit changes after you have planned out a look.
Doing makeup for red carpet/celebrity events requires that you are up to date on the current makeup trends. It also requires a degree of creativity, as celebrities will often debut a new look at an event. It is important that you know your client’s likes and dislikes well, but you also want to present new ideas to them.
Theatre makeup definitely requires specific training, as the type of makeup that is often used is not traditional makeup. Doing makeup for theatre requires that you understand lighting, costumes, characters and scripts. Because theatre productions often include large numbers of actors appearing onstage at the same time, usually the lead artist creates the looks for the entire cast, but they only work with one or two of the lead actors. It would be difficult (and probably not cost effective for production) to hire one makeup artist for every single actor, which is why the actors in smaller productions usually learn to do the makeup themselves.
Working in theatre is lively and fast-paced, but keep in mind that it may not be something you can do full-time at the beginning of your career. If you want to focus on theatre, you should definitely assist a makeup artist who is experienced in that field. Living in a city with a prominent theatre scene, like New York or London, is probably the best choice for you.
Weddings are a huge industry in the U.S., and the majority of brides get their makeup professionally done. You can do bridal makeup anywhere, but there are certain cities that have a lot of weddings. This changes each year, but the U.S. cities that usually make the “The Popular Wedding Destination” lists are Boston, MA, New York, NY, Las Vegas, NV, Miami, FL, Charleston, SC and Napa Valley, CA. Doing bridal makeup in these areas gives you access to more work, but also more competition.
Bridal and other event makeup requires you to work closely with the client to create a customized look for them. Along with the normal factors in any makeup application—skin type, skin tone, eye color and hair color–you have to take their dress, hair style and any cultural factors into consideration. Unless you are working for a salon or beauty services company and someone else does the administrative work, bridal makeup in particular is not just about showing up that day. You have to keep contracts, invoices, schedules and other details organized and you must be good with consistent communication and followup.
Breaking into the bridal industry is easier than breaking into runway or film, as you don’t necessarily have to assist anyone first and you don’t have to start with unpaid jobs or join a union. If you have the technical skills and business sense, you can start building your contacts from people you know. Think of how many women you know who get engaged each year—they could potentially all be clients! It takes a while to build a clientele and reputation, but it is generally a quicker process than building your career in other areas of makeup artistry.
Special effects makeup is most frequently done for films and television, but there is also some need for it in other areas. Special effects makeup is much different than beauty makeup, so you will need some training from a school, course or mentor. If you are interested in this kind of makeup, you will probably find the most work and resources—at least when you are starting out—in California. Because special effects makeup is primarily a subcategory of film and television, your way in will be the same as explained for that industry.
Editorial makeup—makeup for print work—is what many people think of when they think of makeup artists. The makeup you see in magazine spreads is typically done by experienced makeup artists who often work for an agency. The bulk of editorial work is based out of New York, but it is a job that allows for a lot of travel, as magazine shoots are done in different locations.
As with anything that is being photographed, with editorial makeup, you must understand lighting, wardrobe, hair styles and locations. For these types of shoots, it is vital that you understand the vision of the client, art director and photographer. You must be ready to make adjustments as you go, as sometimes the visions will change. If you are working with actress instead or a model, you must take their preferences into consideration as well (as long as they line up with everyone else’s).
To get started in editorial (really in any area, but especially editorial) you will need a portfolio. You can build your portfolio by doing test shoots, aka trade shoots, with a team of photographers, hair stylists and models. In these shoots, you will learn how to collaborate with your team, how to do makeup for photography and how to work with different personalities. After the shoot, you will receive images for your portfolio. Test/trades shoots are unpaid, but building a portfolio is essential and therefore valuable.
There are opportunities for corporate work in any area that has businesses. Real estate companies, insurance companies, universities, hospitals and other organizations sometimes hire makeup artists to work on company commercials, promotional photoshoots, business card photos and events. Corporate work can consist of doing makeup for 50 employees being filmed for short segments, or for the owners of a company being photographed for their website, or for instructional videos to be seen by company employees. As a makeup artist doing corporate work, you will usually be responsible for hair grooming too. This doesn’t mean cutting, coloring or even full hair styling, but just making sure that the person’s hair looks presentable on camera.
Doing corporate work sometimes means that you have to work quickly to get through large numbers of people. It also means that you have to style and dress yourself in a way that is business-appropriate. Makeup artists are creative people, and this is often also reflected in hair styles and clothing choices. At a runway show or editorial shoot, you can let your individuality show through, but when you are with corporate clients, it is to go with more of a conservative look.
Corporate jobs are usually 8 hours or less, and tend to happen more on weekdays than weekends. It can take 30-60 days to get paid for corporate work, which is something you will want to take into account when doing your budgeting. Once they find a makeup artist they like, corporate clients will often use the same person every time, so it is important to form and maintain good relationships.
You don’t have to decide right away what you want to do, but hopefully this overview has helped you narrow down your interests a bit. You will have to do research, make connections and build a portfolio for any of these fields, but focusing on two or three areas that interest you will help you while you are starting out in your career.