Dear Lucky Stars: Thank You.

Every single day I think how very fortunate I am because I found my passion and I was able to make a career out of it. My job does not feel like work, it just feels like what I am supposed to be doing. It never gets old because I’m always doing different jobs, meeting interesting people and creating different looks. The worst part of what I do is lugging my kit and chair everywhere, and I don’t even mind that because it burns calories 🙂

This post might be helpful to aspiring makeup artists who are curious about what it’s like to have a career in the industry. Everyone’s take will be different and some might view what I think are advantages as disadvantages. But because I’m so grateful to have what I consider the best job in the world, I want to share what I love.

Why I Love Weddings

Weddings are such a big day and I love being part of that. I may be biased here, but I think one of the most fun parts of the wedding day (for the bride, anyway) is the getting ready time. For many women, getting dolled up is fun–even more so when your friends are there with mimosas in hand. Maybe I’ve been lucky enough to always have great brides, but the atmosphere of the getting ready time, as I know it, is full of fun, laughter and story telling. I really love making a bride happy, knowing that having the makeup look she wants is part of what she has envisioned for her wedding day. I’ve worked with a ton of wonderful brides and have stayed in touch with many of them. I look forward to doing many more weddings. 2012 is already shaping up to be a busy season 🙂

Why I Love Film/Television

In my opinion, there is nothing like the energy of being on set, especially when you get to work with a great cast and crew (a situation I’ve been lucky enough to be in many times). I love doing film and television makeup because I get to create character looks. Usually I am sent a script first, so I can get an idea of the character and picture what I think they’d look like, makeup-wise. Then I talk to the director, because he/she is the person I’m ultimately trying to please. I also have to take into consideration the actor or actress’ skin type, coloring, bone structure, preferences, etc. And I have to be aware of the lighting, wardrobe and makeup continuity. Another big part of film/television work is touchups. The lights (and sometimes nerves) can make the talent “glisten” a little, and onscreen shine is a big no-no. Everything has to look the same for each take and it is the makeup artist’s responsibility to ensure that the makeup does not fade, smudge, or move in any way. Working in film/television can mean longgggg days, but that doesn’t bother me. And yes, seeing the finished result on the big screen, or on tv, is definitely cool. Working on a film/tv show is a teamwork situation, and if you play well with others, it can be a lot of fun.

Why I Love Photoshoots

Photoshoots are where you really get to flex your creative muscles. Sometimes my shoots are more commercial–an ad for a specific product or service, which is less artistically creative (but I still love it). But the shoots I’m referring to here are more of the fashion or beauty variety. I’m talking glossy blue lips, multi-colored eyes, retro-inspired shoots. I once did a Barbie comic book shoot and it was a blast. In these type of shoots, your responsibility is to the photographer. You have to take their vision, add in your ideas and expertise and translate it to a look that works well on the model and in photos. Sometimes you’re doing more than one look, or working on more than one model, so you have to work quickly and be on top of things. And like with film/television, touchups are key. There’s great energy at photoshoots too, especially when you’ve got a talented team of photographer(s), hair stylists, stylists and models to work with. I’ve had some of my most fun days working on photoshoots and I am always planning more.

Why I Love Makeup Lessons

There are women who have no interest in wearing makeup, which is totally fine. I have no interest in camping or skiing and I wouldn’t want anyone to say I should try anyway. I respect that some people just aren’t into makeup, but I have found that most women are. But the biggest “issue” I hear from the women I meet is that they don’t know how to do their makeup. And that’s where I come in! I love helping women figure out what colors and types of products work best on them, and sharing tips, tricks and techniques is one of my favorite things to do. I truly believe that every woman has at least one beautiful feature, and properly applied makeup is a great way to showcase that feature or features. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is when someone gets up from my makeup chair and clearly has more confidence. Some people look at makeup as a superficial thing, but I disagree. As corny as it may sound, I see it as something that reflects the inner beauty, on the outside. I know that teaching women how to apply makeup in a way that works for them is a confidence builder and if that’s superficial, so be it!

Why I Love Teaching Classes

As my mother says, teaching is in my blood. Both she and my father were teachers for a long time, and I did love playing school when I was young 🙂 I’ve learned a lot about makeup over the years, and teaching is a way for me to share what I’ve learned. Whether it’s an informal setting, like a makeup party, or a formal setting, like a beauty school or corporate office, I really enjoy talking about makeup and demonstrating techniques. I don’t think makeup artists should be the only ones who know how to do makeup and I believe that one of the most important parts of what I do is teaching other people how to achieve looks that will work best for them. And I love helping aspiring makeup artists get started. I had help from experienced makeup artists when I first started, so I think it’s important to “pay it forward.”

And that was me keeping this post as short as possible! I love doing makeup, if you can’t tell. It’s as much a part of me as my child-sized wrists or freckled skin. If I won the lottery–which I plan on doing–I would still do makeup. It’s my calling, I have no doubt about it. I get “in the zone” when I am doing makeup (this may be the same zone that I strive for, but rarely reach, when I’m running). When I’m in the zone, I can’t think of anything else except the makeup application. If I’m not feeling well or stressed or someone is breaking my heart (not that I let that nonsense happen anymore), it doesn’t make a difference. Until I’m done doing the makeup, it is impossible for me to think about anything else. And that is definitely a blessing.

So that’s a little glimpse into my makeup-covered world. Thanks for reading.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Ten Tips

I’ve got a busy month ahead of me, so I wanted to get a quick blog post out while I can.  Since I’ll be gone ’til November, just like Wyclef, I thought I’d leave you with a few makeup tricks I’ve picked up or learned over the years.

1) When you’re applying any kind of cream product, let it sit on your hand for a minute so your body heat can break it down. It will apply much more smoothly if it’s warmed up.

2) But do the opposite with your nail polish. Believe it or not, keeping it in the fridge slows down the clumping/gunking up process that often happens. I actually have more nail polish than food in my fridge, but don’t tell my mother.

3) If you like a foundation but find it to be a little too thick, simply mix it with moisturizer before applying. This will make the product lighter, which will also give you less coverage.

4) Rule number 4, I know you heard this before–never pump a mascara wand in and out of the tube.  All that does is allow air in, which will dry the formula out.

5) A little off-white pencil eyeliner will brighten tired eyes when applied to the waterline.

6) When doing a smoky eye or any other heavy eye makeup look, do your eyes first. Wipe away the shadow fallout that will likely occur under your eyes, on your cheeks and/or on your cheekbones with a cotton ball, then apply the rest of your makeup. This way you won’t to have to re-do any foundation or undereye concealer.

7) For long-lasting lip color, outline and fill in your lips with a pencil that’s the same color as your lips or the lipstick you plan to wear. This gives the lipcolor something to grab onto, and when the color starts to fade, you won’t have a telltale outline underneath.

8) If you overdo it with your blush, don’t try to remove it. Just go over it with some translucent powder on a buffing brush.

9) Speaking of blush, unless you’re specifically going for an 80s or similar look, apply blush to the apples of your cheeks and lightly blend up and outwards.  Applying straight across the cheekbones gives a dated look.

10) If you’re worried about, as my friend’s daughter Katha would say, “old-ish” eyes, keep the bottom lashline eyeliner minimal and blended. A harsh line will make your eyes look more…old-ish.

Hope these tips get you through the month! I’ll try to post more if I can, but I’ll be working long days on a movie set and will probably be pretty fried when I get home every night.

Have a beautiful day 🙂