My Makeup Idols

In my world, the true celebrities are the makeup artists whose talent and creativity inspires me. They create looks that are beautiful, or interesting, or iconic (sometimes all three). I appreciate that kind of talent in many different artistic fields, but of course the work done by other makeup artists is easiest for me to relate to.

Below is a list of the makeup artists I love:

Samantha Chapman & Nicola Haste, aka the Pixiwoos. Sam and Nic are two sisters from England, and besides working as freelance makeup artists, they do makeup tutorials on YouTube (on the Pixiwoo and Pixiwoo Madness channels), and teach classes. Sam also has a makeup brush line, Real Techniques, (the brushes are awesome). I have watched every single one of their Pixiwoo and Pixiwoo Madness videos and I consider them to be my makeup instructors. I have learned more from them than I did in any of my formal makeup training. I think they Pixiwoos tutorials are an excellent resource for makeup artists, but also for makeup “civilians.” Their tutorials are clear, easy to follow and full of great product recommendations. Several of the products in my kit are products I first heard of from Sam or Nic. Both of the sisters are immensely talented, and after watching 500+ videos, I feel like I know them! I don’t have television, so I consider their videos my education and my entertainment 🙂 I am thrilled that they have had so much success over the past few years and I look forward to watching and learning from their next 500 videos.

Lisa Eldridge is another British makeup artist I watch on YouTube. She is well known in the industry, and has been doing runway and editorial looks since the 80s. She makes makeup artistry look effortless, and her poise and humble personality makes her shine. Lisa creates gorgeous looks and recommends products in all different price ranges. She is a true professional, and I have gotten many helpful tips from her.

Charlotte Tilbury is from–guess where?–England. I heard of her a while back and have always loved her work and when she did a tutorial on Lisa Eldridge’s channel, I got to see how she does it. Charlotte has her own channel now too, which makes me happy. She does makeup quite differently than I do, which I love, because watching her inspires me to try different methods. Every brush stroke, every color choice, every shadow placement works perfectly. She has so much talent and experience, that it almost seems like she is winging it, but it always looks amazing! She’s not pretentious, which makes her even easier to learn from.

Kevyn Aucoin was one of the best. You can’t be a makeup artist and not be familiar with his work. He truly knew how to transform a face, and if you have ever looked at any of his gorgeous makeup books, you know what I mean. Although he could transform people so that you wouldn’t recognize them (Google “Lisa Marie Presley as Marilyn Monroe”), he was also a huge proponent of bringing out a woman’s natural beauty. You can clearly see that in his work with non-celebrities/models. He had an eye for seeing which features would look best enhanced, and he brought that out in a way that no one else could. His death in 2002 was a huge loss for the beauty industry.

Billy B is the only one of my makeup idols who I have seen in person. I took a class with him several years ago at a Powder Group event in New York. It was not a demo or hands-on workshop, it was a lecture–although it felt like more of talk from a friend. Billy told us about how he started, gave some valuable insider tips and answered questions. He was extremely inspiring, and especially at the start of my career, that was what I needed. I emailed him on Facebook after the class to thank him, and he sent me a very nice response (I was starstruck!). He seems like a genuine person and his work speaks for itself. Love him.

Pat McGrath was one of the first makeup artists I paid attention to. I don’t remember how or when I “discovered” Pat, but before her, the only MUA name I knew was Kevyn Aucoin. Once I knew who Pat was, I started seeing her work everywhere. She does runway and editorial and as far as I am concerned, she kills it every time. Pat is from England-another one!–and had no formal makeup training, like many of the successful artists in the industry. She seems very down to the earth, which a quality I admire in people. For years, I had a quote taped up on my wall from a magazine article Pat was interviewed for. “I believe in black in clothes, color in makeup.” I agree!

Alex Box is the creative director of cosmetics company, Illamasqua. She is insanely talented and her work is beyond unique. She went to school to study Fine Art, and I think that every look she creates is a masterpiece. Alex does not create your typical makeup looks. Everything is so different, so strangely beautiful and so inspiring. She is a makeup genius, and of course, is from England. I might as well just move there.

Dany Sanz is the founder of Make Up For Ever, one of my favorite cosmetic companies. She got her start in the 1970s, as a painter for film sets. She made the transition into makeup and used her skills to transform cabaret performers, drag queens and eventually, the cast of Cirque Du Soleil. Dany created Make Up For Ever because the products she was using were not meeting her needs. As I see it, MUFE is an extension of Dany’s artistry. There are products that can create the looks that Dany is known for–dramatic, colorful, bold–but there are many products that work for the everyday woman. Because Dany has been in the industry for so long–as an artist, instructor and founder of MUFE–her work and her products reflect the fact that she really knows what she is doing.

There are other artists whose work I admire–even people I know and work with personally–and I look forward to discovering more artists as I continue my career in makeup artistry. I love that there are so many different ways of approaching makeup and creating looks, and I don’t think I will ever get bored learning about them.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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