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How to be YOUR best Makeup Artist

Have you ever left a makeup job, be it a wedding, occasion, or commercial shoot, and on the drive home you start thinking about what went wrong, what you didn’t like about the makeup you did, how you could have done better?  Before you know it, you’re telling yourself you aren’t a good makeup artist, so-and-so is much better than you, you’re not good enough, in short, that you suck.

I was at a makeup artist’s meetup over the weekend, and this came up in conversation with another artist. We had a discussion around the table, and after reflecting on that conversation, I was prompted to write about it, as I think it’s an important reminder to all artists and creatives.

Getting caught up in “comparitis” is dangerous, especially in these times where everything is on display on Social Media.  We need to remember that everyone else (who we are comparing ourselves to) only shows their “greatest hits” on their social media, we are not seeing the images that they weren’t happy with and decided not to post, and that no matter how awesome we think someone is, you can bet they have their moments when they are unsure too. Rather than focussing on what other artists are doing, You do You, and be YOUR best makeup artist. (and remember that there are other people out there comparing themselves to YOU and thinking that you are better than them!!)



Four tips for feeling good about your work, and yourself…

  1. FOCUS

My mentor taught me “What you focus on expands”, meaning that if you focus on all the negative things, your thinking will remain negative and you will carry that energy with you to future jobs.  Your clients will sense your uncertainty, and they may then feel less confident in your abilities to do the job they have booked you to do.  Think about what you are focusing on.  Rather than just focussing on what went wrong, also think about what you did right, and think about what you can or could control.  Remember these things and feelings when you go into your next job, so your client will feel your positive energy about your abilities.  Focus on being an awesome artist, and you will become more awesome!

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I believe that a big key to becoming successful is your ability to self-critique your work. That’s why I always recommend taking a photo of the makeup you do, so you can look back and reflect on your work, which helps you grow as an artist.  However, It’s human nature to reflect on the negative things and what went wrong, and this doesn’t help us to become our BEST.

When I was learning to be a vocational teacher (I am a qualified Cert IV Trainer and Assessor in Australia) we were taught the “Sandwich” method when giving students feedback on a practical assessment.  I found this worked for me both as a teacher, and as an artist when I self-critique my own work.  What this method suggests is that you “sandwich” the “negative” or “things to improve” between positive feedback at the beginning and end.  So, next time you look at an image of your work, train yourself that the first thing you see will be something positive… LOOK for that first, and acknowledge yourself for doing it well.  THEN, find the things that you will work on improving next time, and lastly, finish with an overall evaluation of what went well with that job and what you like about your work.  Starting or finishing with negative feedback can make students feel bad about their work, and even themselves, but this method helps them walk away from an assessment feeling positive while still knowing there is room for improvement. It’s the same with ourselves.  Try it!


If you take a photo and look at it when you get home, its too late to fix any little things you might have missed when you were busy on the job.  Of course we always ask our client if she is happy and if there is anything she would like us to change, but we all know that sometimes they don’t say what’s really on their mind.  I often find I am more likely to pick up little things when looking at a photo on my phone then when I am actually looking at the client in the chair. Maybe it’s easier to be critical of a photo than a human being?  I’m not sure why.  If you are doing a wedding, for example, try to take a quick snap of each bridesmaid when you are finished, and quickly review those photos before you do their final touch-ups.  (Same with a commercial job and final checks).

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If your client says “OMG I love it” and you are driving home thinking about everything you did wrong and that you suck, there’s an obvious disconnect here! Successful people always take time to give themselves a virtual pat on the back, or high-five for what they have achieved.  Try this next time you are driving home from a job, and you notice you are starting to have those doubts about your ability.  Your client booked you for a reason, and if she genuinely said she loved your work, and thanked you, then you should acknowledge yourself for that!


I hope you enjoyed this post, and it helps you to not only feel good about your work and yourself, but that it makes you a more confident artist, because the more confident we are, the more we are likely to try something new, and step outside our comfort zone, and when we are stretching ourselves like this, we become better artists.


Photo credits:

Image 1 & 2: Alex Buckingham
Image 3: Nicola Lemmon Photography
Makeup by Sue McLaurin

4 thoughts on “How to be YOUR best Makeup Artist”

  1. This was a great read Sue and definitely something I’ve been meaning to work on. Thankyou for continuing to help me become a better artist!


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