There was a lot to be learned from British Vogue‘s Facebook Live with Lisa Eldridge and Vogue‘s Lisa Niven this week, not least her tips for make-up artists starting out in their careers. Below, we share six of the most valuable lessons budding make-up artists can put into practice.
Get as much practice as you can
“Start doing anyone’s face – anyone who will let you put make-up on them. My mum used to let me put make-up on her, my friends, I did school plays… That’s how you learn about what looks good and what doesn’t look good, how to structure a face, about lighting… You learn everything really.”
Test, test, test
“I’d go into modelling agencies and say: ‘if you need anyone to do make-up testing, I’m a make-up artist’. You find your tribe, like the new photographers I’d work with then that are now major photographers – you work your way up. Tests let you really try things out. You don’t get paid, or you don’t get paid a lot, but they are so valuable to do. You don’t want to end up on a shoot when it really counts and you don’t know what to do, or you don’t recognise the light that they’re using or whatever it is. So get a job to pay the rent and then do tests.
Embrace new mediums and social channels
“The first time I saw a tutorial, I knew it was a game changer. Coming from the world of smoke and mirrors where I was using false eyelashes to do mascara ads, and then seeing people – consumers basically – saying: ‘this is how I use this product’, or ‘this product said it did one thing but it didn’t on me’. I knew it would change everything. I looked at that and I said: five years from now, everyone will be their own make-up artist. I think everyone was quite sniffy when I first did YouTube, and they didn’t really understand what I was thinking. But, now they do! The comments just built up and women loved it.”
Remain calm in the face of adversity
“I’ve lost my baggage with my make-up twice. One time was really bad because I arrived on a Sunday morning in Paris and nothing was open. I found one shop eventually, and I went in and said: ‘excuse me, I need to buy every bit of make-up you’ve got!’. I once went to the Toronto Film Festival with Kate Winslet on a private jet and the timings were quite tight. I said: ‘it’s fine, I can do your make-up on the plane’. Which would have been fine in theory, but actually I’d never do that again because we hit some really bad turbulence for about an hour. She was sitting there and I was almost on her lap, with one knee on either side of her, trying to do her make-up. But, I did it!”
Adapt your behaviour to suit your clients
“Honestly, it’s great to be good technically at the make-up – you need that – but its 50 per cent of the job. Particularly if you’re working with celebrities, but really always, you need to be able to mirror the situation. Say I go to do a celebrity and she’s a bit down, or something bad has happened, you have to mirror that situation and give them what they need – make sure they feel comfortable, make them feel you’re taking care of them. Or if they want to have fun and joke with you, then that’s who you are. I never talk about myself if I’m tired, or sick or anything.”
Do your own self-promotion
“When I started out, you had to be with an agent because everything went through agencies – but today is slightly different. You’re able to promote yourself, have your Instagram, have your own website, and you can find your own clients and meet like-minded people and end up shooting for magazines. It’s great. You have to put yourself out there.”