How to Be a Professional Makeup Artist

Have you ever thought about turning your passion into a career? I have.

As you might have already noticed by browsing through my blog, my passion is all about makeup: whether it is makeup applications, products, or trends. Since the first moment I started to play with makeup, I have always wanted to be a makeup artist, but how? What are the steps I should take before I can actually call myself as a professional makeup artist, apart from polishing my makeup skills?


Make-up artist backstage at the Lee Matthews show, Spring/Summer 2007 Australia Fashion Week (Author: Charlie Brewer)

Lucky for me, I had a great opportunity to talk to Roushanah Washington, a freelance makeup artist in the Philadelphia area, about how to become a MUA – makeup artist. The tips she gave me were brilliant yet practical:


It is very important to learn how to apply makeup properly to your costumers or models, especially in terms of hygiene and product safety. You can always go to a makeup school and learn from the people who have years of experience. If you don’t have the time or the financial support, you also can learn from books or the Internet. There are a lot of good, free resources out there on the Internet.


Always practice your skills. Your skills speak more than whether you are self-taught or school-learned. Try to practice applying makeup on as many people as possible. By doing so, you will learn how to work with different skin types, different skin tones, and different ages. Working at makeup counters and helping at photography studios are some of the great ways to gain makeup experiences.


It takes time and effort to build a good reputation. Stay connected with your clients at your makeup counter, the photographers you work with, party planners, and any potential clients. Your name and skills will spread by word of mouth. The new media such as Instagram and other social networks will also help you to market yourself. Post your work to the Internet, and people will follow you.

About Raushanah Washinton:

Time in the makeup industry: since 2008

Favorite makeup look: “no-makeup” makeup

Favorite makeup brand: MAC and Make Up For Ever


What Makeup Brushes Do I Really Need?

Some people say that the best tools for makeup application are their fingers.

True in some cases. But let’s be honest, a good makeup brush makes a big difference. However, there are too many kinds of makeup brushes available out there, and it is just hard to decide which one to choose. What makeup brushes do you really need?

Professional makeup artist Sarah G. Best gave me some great tips in picking makeup brushes, and I would like to share all of them with you guys!

Image courtesy of Teeratas/

Image courtesy of Teeratas/

Synthetic or animal hair?

Makeup brushes can be divided into two categories: animal hair and synthetic hair. The differences between these two categories do not mainly involve ethical issues (however, sometimes it does cause major debates about animal rights, but we are not concentrating on this topic for today), but how these two kinds of materials function.

Animal hair is better to pick up powder products. Like human hair, animal hair has cuticles covered from roots to tips. These natural cuticles and irregular crests on the hair surface can pick up any powder and pigments very easily.

Synthetic hair on the other hand, is often used to apply liquid or cream products, because it doesn’t have any follicles and it has a rather smooth surface for liquid products to glide through. Also, it does not absorb liquid or cream products like natural animal hair do, so you don’t need to worry about wasting products when using it.

** A note from Liuyi: The price for a makeup brush can range from less than one dollar to more than 300 dollars. Usually, animal hair makeup brushes cost more than synthetic hair makeup brushes. But sometimes a good makeup brush does not need to cost you a fortune. Real Techniques makes great yet affordable synthetic brushes.

Must-have makeup brush(es)?

Bobbie Brown Full Coverage Face Brush. It is a soft, synthetic, all-rounder brush for the face. It is great for liquid foundations or tinted moisturizers, but it’s also great for powder because of its shape and the tightly packed bristles.

More tips from Sarah

Brushes should be spot-cleaned everyday, every time you use them. You can buy those spray-on brush cleansers in Sephora. Just spray some cleansers on the bristles, wipe it off with some kitchen towel, and let it dry. Deep clean your brushes every week with baby shampoo and lay flat on a clean towel to keep them in their best conditions.

About Sarah G. Best:

Time in the makeup industry: 10 years

Favorite makeup look: Bridget Bardot’s look

Favorite makeup brand: Nars

Fall 2013 Makeup Trends

Want to discover the hottest fall makeup trend? Philadelphia-based makeup artist Jeanne Casale gives you a sneak peek of this fall’s sexiest color, texture, and product.


No matter what you are rocking this fall, graphic cat eyes or dark groomed brows, Black will always be the baggiest color this fall. Go bold by filling your brows with brow power or brow pencil, or exaggerate your eyes by lining them with black thick strokes.

Add metallic gold to your eyes, the center of your lips, or even to the high points of your cheekbones. Just remember, less is more.

Image courtesy of  imagerymajestic/

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/


Yes you have guessed it. Metallic is back. Previously in the makeup industry, artists used to avoid using metallic on mature women, especially on their eyes. Because of its special light-reflecting surface, metallic colors could accentuate the wrinkles and fine lines on mature skin. But not this fall! With the arrival of new technologies, the cosmetic companies have developed a new metallic that has a sheerer texture, which mature women can also wear.

Hottest Fall Beauty Products

Estee Lauder Pure Color Gelée Powder EyeShodow 

About Jeanne Casale:

Time in the makeup industry: 15 years

Favorite makeup brand: Too Faced

Is Mineral Makeup Suitable For You?

Since Cleopatra, mineral makeup has been around for centuries. Ancient Grecians used pigmented minerals as their eye, lip, and face makeup. But only in the last few years has mineral makeup become a hot topic in the world of cosmetics. Personally speaking, I think the rising for mineral makeup in recent years has a lot to do with their marketing strategies in social media. I am sure that a lot of you may have heard the “swirl, tap, buff” technique from BareMinerals, or how pure, soothing and nourishing mineral makeups are from all sorts of media outlets. But are these claims really true? Makeup artist Candace Thomson answered some of my questions about mineral makeup.

Image courtesy of  jackthumm/

Image courtesy of jackthumm/

1. What is mineral makeup?

Traditional mineral makeup does not contain any synthetic ingredients. It is made only of finely ground natural minerals found on earth. Mineral foundation especially, is often considered as pure and soothing for the skin because it eliminates preservatives, fragrances, and other irritants.

2. What are the pros and cons of mineral makeup?

Pros: Mineral makeup is less intensive than traditional makeup, because it contains less or no harsh chemical irritants. So a lot of people with sensitive skin opt to choose mineral foundations for their faces. Also, because of the special formulations (titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide) in mineral makeup, it provides certain degree of sun production. The natural yet glowy finish it provides is another reason why people like to use mineral foundation.

Cons: Some people can have severe allergy reactions to the minerals used in the product. The mineral particles in the product can also clog pores, which can cause white heads and other skin irritations.

3. What type of skin is best suited for mineral makeup?

People with sensitive and normal skin in general are best suited for using mineral makeup. People with oily skin should try to avoid mineral makeup because the particles in the product may make oily skin appear oilier.

4. What is your favorite brand for mineral makeup?

Korres. The reason I like this brand for mineral makeup is that the ingredients in their products are derived from natural sources.


About Candace Thomson:

Time in the makeup industry: 10 months

Favorite makeup look: smoky, cat eye

Favorite makeup brand: Urban Decay

Top Ten Makeup Essentials

Picture this: you are stranded on a deserted island. What 10 makeup products would you wish to have with you? Some may answer “none”. Because a knife, a piece of flint, and fresh water might come a lot handier than a lipstick.

However, all the makeupholics out there (that includes you!) may answer this question differently. There are some beauty products you just cannot live without, even on a deserted island!

Image courtesy of  Stuart Miles/

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Here is the list of top 10 makeup essentials for makeup artist Cortenay Uhle:

1. Primer

** A note from Liuyi: If you have a problematic skin which gives you obvious pores, redness on the cheeks, or oiliness during the day, an additional primer underneath the foundation may be a solution for you. Simply choose a correct type of primer that deals with your skin problem, and then follow up with your favorite foundation or tinted moisturizer.

2. Setting Spray

** Liuyi’s favorite brand: Skindinavia (

3. Brow Pencil
4. Foundation
5. Concealer

** Liuyi’s favorite brand: Laura Mercier (

6. Dusting/Setting Powder
7. Lip Primer
8. Fan Brush

** A note from Liuyi: fan brushes are perfect for dusting off eye shadow fallouts underneath the eyes, because of its shape and stiffness.

9. White Lip Pencil
10. Highlighter

** A note from Liuyi: a great application of highlighter can bring out your features drastically. Choose a highlighter (liquid or power, depends on what type of skin you have) that is one shade or two lighter than you foundation. After your foundation, apply it on the high points of your face: cheek bones, the bridge of your nose, and the Cupid’s bow. Your skin would be glowing and your face would look more contoured. Avoid too much highlighter though, as you’ll look like you have a super oily skin.

About Cortenay Uhle:

Time in the makeup industry: more than 10 years

Favorite makeup look: Smokey Eye

Favorite makeup brand: Sephora