1. Don’t waste your money on expensive products
In the first 2 years of my career, I was so focused on building the most perfect kit and buying the most expensive products, thinking that it would help me be a better makeup artist. In reality, you don’t need expensive products to create a beautiful looks. Products are just tools, while you are the actual artist. Focus on learning and practicing so you can be a better artist, because eventually you will be able to create any look without thinking about brands or pricing. You will start caring more about how the product feels, and how it looks.
2. Work for a Makeup Brand
I know this may be a surprise for a lot of you. I honestly can say that without the first 3 years of working with Mac Cosmetics, I would never have gotten where I am today. I started without knowing anything about makeup or owning any makeup products. Working for MAC allowed me to get an amazing education, real life practice on different face shapes, colors, and personalities. It teaches you how to multitask and be ready for whatever comes your way. And the biggest thing, it will help you build your kit because you get free products and amazing discounts. Who doesn’t want that!
3. Find a Mentor
This is a huge one - find a mentor in your area that inspires you and someone who is already at the stage in their career that you want to get to. Ask them questions, let them know that if they ever need an extra hand on a job that you are available to assist (paid or unpaid). They already went through all the steps, learned from their mistakes, so why not learn from them directly rather than making the same mistakes yourself? Also they will give you straight forward feedback so you know what you can work on to improve yourself. I do not like sugarcoating, and prefer to be told like it is because in the real world that is how it’s going to be.
4. Figure out the kind of makeup artist you like to be
I meet a lot of artists that want to be versatile because they feel like the more options they can offer to client, the more money they can make. They are not wrong because I did the same, I wanted to do beauty, editorial, bridal, fashion and special effects. Took me 4 out of 5 years of my career to realize that was a mistake and I wish i knew this when I first started out. I don’t want to do special effects, I don’t enjoy doing bridal, and recently I learned that I don’t love doing runway makeup. What I love is making clients feel beautiful for their events and creating beautiful fashion campaigns, and getting to a platform where I can bring aspiring artists with me so I can share them my knowledge and help them achieve their goal. That makes me happy.
5. Don’t just focus on testing editorial shoots
Listen, when we first start out, we always want to do the most creative makeup because that’s what we think it’s gonna book us a Tom Ford or Dior shoot. Honestly though, if you scroll through magazines, most of the time. the models just look beautiful and not with a triple winged liner or a bunch of paint splashes on the face. There are time when I am at a major shoot, I just put moisturizer on the skin, tiny bit of mascara, lip balm, comb the brows and that’s it. Out of the 5 years of my career, I’ve only been on one shoot that we did wild makeup for and it was a bold color liner. hopefully you get the point. You should focus on building a portfolio that showcases your makeup, and not with a bunch of stuff that distracts the audience from it. This is just my opinion.
6. Locations, locations
Your location is a huge factor in this industry. If you tell yourself that you want to work in fashion but you don't want to leave Colorado because you have a pet, a car, a nice apartment or a boyfriend/girlfriend then please leave my blog now, because nothing I say is going to help you advance in your career. Before I started makeup, I asked a friend where is the best place to be if I want to work in fashion. She said NYC. One week later, I packed my backpack and moved here. Definitely a huge risk that could make or break you, BUT you have to take risks sometimes. Dive right into the deep end or you will never know what’s out there. If I got a job at my local Macy’s in Shrewsbury, MA, I don’t think I would be sitting here typing this. There is nothing wrong at working at a tiny Macy’s but if you tell yourself you want “this or that” then you are going to have to make sacrifices, take risks and get out of your comfort zone.
7. Take Photos of your Work
Listen to me, when I say take photos, it doesn’t have to be a photoshoot. When you finish a makeup, take photos of it. We are so lucky that we are in an era that our phone can produce incredible images. Not only can it go into your portfolio, you can see your own work better. See if there is any area that needs improvement, or areas that you’ve done really well. I recommend every makeup artist should take a beginner photography class because it will help you so much understanding the basics of camera, compositions, and lighting. Hit me up if you want a class. I charge $99999999999
7. Say yes to everything
You have to pay your dues. I said yes to everything for the first few years. I worked for free but I gained knowledge, I mopped the floor on a set but I gained resources, I did coffee run for artists that I assisted but I built relationships. I know it sounds crappy but all those free jobs let me to huge opportunities. Put your pride aside, even if you know how to do something, just be quiet, and learn it again. If you want to be a know it all or complain about the pay not being good enough while you are just starting out, the chance of you being successful in this field is going to be tricky. Even now, I will still mop the floor and do coffee runs
8. Don’t stress out about little things
We are not curing cancer, so don’t let little things stress you out. Theres always going to be people that don’t like your work no matter how beautiful you think it is. There are all kinds of people in this industry, people that want you to be successful and also some that don’t feel the same. You, yourself have to be honest, kind and respectful. To me that is the key to success. Focus on you, and forget about all the other distractions because when you become successful, all those people will suddenly turn around and support you.
9. Take an art class
I never payed attention in art class, I was awful, hated it but now I regret that so much. Makeup is an art in a different form and on a different canvas. You have to understand color theory, shadows and highlights. You can do a beautiful makeup even if you are not good at drawing or painting BUT it is a huge bonus if you do because it will take you to the next level of artistry. I have been thinking to start taking art class to learn the fundamentals of it.
10. Focus on your client and not yourself
This industry is not about you, and what you want. You will be successful if you start listening and give your client what they want because in the end, if they are happy, they will always be loyal to you and call you back again and again. I come across artists daily that feel they have already mastered the craft, they have to do everything their way, and if the client is not happy, it’s the client’s fault. Let me tell you that is a huge no, no. I can assure you that if you act that way, it’s going to hold you back in your career.
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Thank you Neda for helping me edit this article!