I’ve always been fascinated by makeup, and had the eagerness to learn more and more about different types of products and how to apply them. As a self-taught makeup artist, I achieved a diploma in professional makeup artistry, in a bid to learn more than what was offered on YouTube and blogs. But I remember walking out of my last class and thinking what a waste of money that was. I felt as though my tutor would have benefitted from a few of my makeup application tips! And so it hit me, I was always going to be my best tutor.
What nobody teaches you about makeup artistry is how to manipulate the products on the market to benefit you. There could be a product on the market that everyone raves about that you don’t like, and a product that’s rarely spoken about that you couldn’t go a day without. That’s just how the industry works. Every makeup artist out there has a different preference in product, technique, application and method. It’s rare to find two makeup artists that apply makeup in the same way using the same products. What I’m trying to say is that there is no right or wrong way in applying makeup to yourself or to your clients. Nobody tells you that, though.
Here are my top makeup artistry tips for beginners.
1. Test Before You Buy
Whether you’re purchasing a primer or a lipstick, test it. This was one of my biggest fails. When I started out as a makeup artist, I spent around £2000 on my makeup kit, purchasing nothing but the most raved about high end products. Brushes, foundations, concealers, brow and contour kits, you name it I bought it. A lot of them are great products, but I developed my own application techniques and preferences in ingredients, and so I ended purchasing a lot more products to suit my preferences. For example, I preferred using powder contour products as appose to cream contour products, shimmered bronzers and appose to matte, and there are a lot of high-end, expensive eyeshadows that are simply crap.
2. Practice Really Does Make Perfect
Journalist and author Malcom Gladwell claims that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. Yup. 10,000 hours. 416.66 days of constant practice. Think about when you started writing, or try to write with your left (or right) hand. It’s the same with a makeup brush, your hands have to get used to holding your brushes and drawing on a 3D canvas, and that takes practice. You’re not going to become the next Mario Dedivanovic or Pat McGrath by not practicing.
3. Confidence is Everything
When I first started practising makeup, I didn’t have much faith in my technical abilities as an artist. I’ve never been a good drawer or very skilled with my hands. One night, I was scrolling through my Instagram in bed, as you do before you fall asleep, and I came across a makeup artist called Tina Kosnik (@Tinapromua), and her makeup just amazed me. So much so that at 00:20am, I got out of bed, switched my light on and dragged my suitcase of makeup onto my bed. I placed my little standing mirror onto my bed and decided to go for something I’ve never attempted before. Costume makeup. I had an image in my mind, and some inspiration from makeup artist Tina Kosnik, and got to work on my clown makeup for Halloween.
An hour later I was surprised at what I’d done. It’s not the most amazing look ever, but I exceeded my own expectations. I was so excited to showcase it, that I set my alarm for 07:00am just to post it, and show it to the world. I was extremely proud of myself. It was the first time that I believed that I could actually do this. I could become a makeup artist and I could be pretty good at it. My confidence in my own abilities came through in my work, and I began to attempt things I never had done with products I had never used, and it was because I was confident in my own skill. I wasn’t nervous, I was excited to see what I can produce. Confidence in your own abilities is what allows you to become creative and risky with your makeup.
4. Get to Know Your Brushes
Brushes don’t have to be used for what they’re made for. I wish somebody told me that.
I looked at reviews and purchased all of my brushes online without ever testing them or feeling them. I know, how can you test a makeup brush? Well I would advise purchasing a large set of brushes on eBay or Amazon (A 24pc set often go for something stupid like £3.00 a set), and get to know the textures and materials you prefer to use. For example, I can’t and refuse to use a soft angled brush for my eyebrows. Or a foundation brush for foundation. Once you know you prefer a firm brush for your brows or a wispy brush for your eyeshadow, you can invest in better quality brushes that are your preference in texture.
Don’t depend on the label of the brush to dictate what that brush should be used for. I use a blusher brush for my highlighter, an eyeshadow brush for my nose contour, a lip brush for my brows, and blusher brush for my powder. Use what ever works for you. If a blending brush works better for you on your cheeks that your eyes, then use it.
5. Experiment With Products
Aside from basic hygiene, there are no rules when it comes to makeup. You can use lipstick for your cheeks or eyeshadow for your lips if you so wish. And I do. I frequently use eyeshadow on my lips as I have done here, to add shimmer or another dimension in colour to my lips. In this photo, I added the same gold eyeshadow that’s on my spotlight eyeshadow look onto the nude lipstick I had already applied; and in my opinion, it lifted my whole look.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with makeup. The same way you can use a brush for an unintended purpose, you can use makeup. Many people use matte eyeshadow for contouring or their eyebrows, or concealer as an eyeshadow primer. There are so many secret benefits in using makeup for a purpose it wasn’t invented for just waiting to be discovered.