I've had some makeup artists take 2.5 hours to achieve a glamour look and i've had other who take 15 to create a masterpiece. The art of makeup is subjective to many variables that can feel overwhelming to the untrained eye.
"What products?" "What goes where?" "WHAT IS THAT FOR?" "Which brush should I use?" "DO I NEED THEM ALL?!?!"
One of the best gifts I've ever received was from my How to be Indie makeup artist for my 18th birthday: A detailed crash course on TV/Film makeup application. Aside from our professional tie, we had a sister like bond. I respected her, her opinions, advice, skill, energy and everything about her. She had a dry, dark, twisted sense of humour and treated me like a human vs as an actress.
I'd start my day in her M/U chair at 630 am and she'd poke and prod at my face until 7:30pm. I'd often be so exhausted from my workload that she'd let me lie down and do my makeup while I was sleeping.
I owe A LOT of what I know from watching her do everything from beauty looks to special effects, sit-com gag designs and everything in between.. most times with an AD (assistant director) yelling in her ear that she needed to speed up the process because they needed me back on set ASAP!
I'd ask her every makeup question under the moon and no matter what time of day or what time crunch we were under, she'd always answer with love (my nick name from her was Litiot ..short for little idiot) and a calming energy that I needed to get through my filming process.
From years of competitive dance and via having girly family members, I always had my own collection of makeup and products. However the more she taught me, the greater my interest became in building my own professional kit. I was in AWE at her overload of girly stuff and I NEEDED to know everything about everything. The more she taught me, the more extensive and detailed my love for creating art became. (And the more impressive my collection grew to be)
I learnt that she wasn't just shlopping on products because she had so many, but that each item had its own purpose, each brush gave a different stroke and each look required special attention to detail. She was my makeup angel and would gift me key items and products that she knew i'd obsess over. She could see the passion I had to learn how designing a look could influence not only the first impression of a person (or character), but enhance the self esteem of a someone based on highlighting and accentuating their natural features.
At the time, I was 18 playing a 14 year old. The human part of me wanted to dabble in darker, smokey looks to match the budding adult in me, but the professional side had to be stuck in pig tails and bright colours....and lip GLOSS vs lip STICK.
My makeup team could tell that although I was living my dream life of being an actress performing for the camera each day, that I was aching to visually express myself as MELINDA. She'd always sneak in a bit of eyeliner or let me do my own mascara just to make me feel like I had a say in how I looked.
I was 18, had boobs, curves, was obsessed with 6 inch stilettos and had a natural instinct for my own unique fashion sense. I could only unleash that beast on weekends but by then I was too drained from my work week and would often stay in resting and memorizing my script for Monday morning. To accentuate and prolong my youth, my network had SPECIFIC visual rules for me and my character:
1-Must wear converse or flat shoes that cut off at my ankle (To avoid displaying long, feminine legs)
2-MUST wear minimizer bra (ouch) while filming to compress my D sized boobs into looking as flat as possible (Breathing was mission impossible)
3- Must wear a vest (preferably jean or fringe) over two layers of shirts to (look boxy) avoid body shape and hide bust
4-MUST wear A line skirts with leggings or If pants, have a long t-shirt or tank top covering crotch area
5- Must have curly hair and wear bright colours/patterns
As you can imagine, I craved creating my own rules for how I wanted to look. However I chose a career where my words, attire and actions are not always depicted by me. FAIR- that is what is expected from an actress.... but DANG did I ever want to just look like ME. My stylists and makeup/hair artists would give me as much pull as the network would allow, but at the end of the day...I was an 18 year old playing a 14 year old and that was my reality.
AGAIN- I feel blessed to have experiences of a life time and was surrounded by a loving cast, crew, network and fans, but i'm sharing my true teenage inner human dialogue- something i'm only now coming to digest.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SURPRISE: MY VERY OWN FULL PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP BRUSH SET complete with a leather holder and waist strap, JUST LIKE REAL MAKEUP ARTISTS! I was overjoyed with excitement and could not have been more grateful to my team for their thoughtful present. They knew how much I loved makeup, the ability to express myself / moods through designing looks and they initiated me into the world beauty with an official right of passage.. the official tools of the trade!
I vowed not only to continuously put my skills to use, but to share my new found knowledge and gifts with all of my friends/family by giving them the experience my make up artists gave to me. Wearing makeup wasn't about looking my "prettiest" or "hottest" it is about highlighting ME in a light that I feel best suits whichever first impression i'm trying to make. How I looked improved how I felt. The inner me was consistent and creative but I had an itch to express inner beauty via outer beauty and now through the help of my team.. I could finally share what I've learnt BECAUSE I HAD MY OWN TOOLS.
Sure- I could have gone to the store and purchased the brush set myself, but I was young and had zero disposable free time to spend on anything other than work. At the time, I didn't need my own kit as my makeup was done for me each day. But just as I became a legal adult...I felt like I was gifted visual freedom. The fact that is was a birthday surprise made it all the more special. I had one of each type of brush I could ever imagine and a team to show me how to use them all and explain their purpose.
My next task was to perform some "Make over Magic" on any willing participants (sisters and friends) until I perfected my art. I always enjoyed the act of designing a face, but after receiving my gift, I felt like a pro. My own canvas was not as exciting after years of painting it, I craved giving makeovers to anyone who would let me because it made me SO happy to share the insights and brushes that I was blessed with ..via my makeup angels.
Now im my twenties, I've now perfected my own iconic look to a 10 minute routine. I could easily take 2 hours to complete a look, but I've realized that there is no need for an excessive amount and that the magic is in the application. Also that there is no right or wrong way of doing your makeup. The goal is to feel your most beautiful and reflect the inner you; to highlight and enhance your favourite features and conceal minor blemishes along the way.
Most recently, I was asked to do my sister's bridal makeup for her big day and I was so honoured to be given such an important job. She trusted that I wouldn't overdo it and distract from her natural beauty and that i'd capture her energy via the look. She is STUNNING from the inside, out and it was a joy to bring that aura to the surface.
My personal iconic look consists of these steps:
Note: the products shown are my personal daily items from my purse kit and not an ad!
1- Moisturize (Varies with each skin type but I personally use coconut oil)
2-Skin Primer (so the product sits on a smooth surface vs penetrating into my pours)
3-Skin Tone Foundation (light application covering the entire face for colour consistency)
4-Cream Concealer cheek bone Contour (I like to stick to creamy based products so that they move with my skin and don't look cakey.. the trick is to use minimal amounts and apply evenly vs a lot)
5-Highlight using lighter than skin tone concealer over and under contour line/ under eyes/on tip of nose/above the lip bow (to accentuate the contour)
6- Light application of blush or bronzer powder (with fan brush) over contour to set the concealer into place and add some colour if desired
7- Eyeshadow application (Browns and Golds are my go to unless creating a specific style)
8- Winged out top lash eyeliner (A thicker line for a more dramatic look if desired)
9-White bottom eyeliner to give appearance of wider socket (or black for sexy & sultry)
10- MASCARA! My favourite part of any look. (My lashes are long and heavy so using the right mascara with the perfect amount of lift, length and volume is key) Im VERY specific with this part. On film sets, its the only part of my look i'll ask to do myself.
11- Fill in eyebrows
12- Lip liner/lip stick/ lip gloss or plumper (if desired)
13- Skin tone finishing power lightly dusted on entire face (minus eyes and lips) to set the look
VOILA, My every day ensemble!
Remember: There is no right or wrong way to achieve a look as long as you're happy with your final product. I will forever continue learning new tips, tricks and techniques and i'm dying to know how YOU create YOUR iconic look! Comment below and lets swap beauty secrets!!!