What being a makeup artist taught me about beauty

Someone with legs up to my neck, cheeks as chiseled as a sculpture; we were scouring the bustling streets for a model that had not yet arrived.

Me the makeup assistant, the hairdresser, photographer and the head makeup artist, were outside the studio when we let out a sigh of relief. Rampant rushing, briefcases swaying, in the midst of early London, we instantly spotted her.

Makeup has never looked so good. We scour YouTube, research cosmetic reviews, diligently take note of what a beauty influencer has to say, and keep an eye out for the latest Thin Lizzy products they may mention on a video or two. Instagram suggests beauty is one dimensional, filled with audacious eyebrows, contoured complexions, lips that look big next to Angelina Jolie’s, and highlighter that could alert a cat in another town that a person is approaching. Influencers are powerful people with the ability to turn almost anything into a new trend, thanks to their loyal and trusting following. They’re a great tool for marketing companies looking to promote products, find out more here if you’re in need of a boost in sales.

People have so much trust in what beauty influencers say for example, that if you sit a woman down in a chair and wipe off her coveted cosmetics, she will not be shy because her eyebrows are sparse or her contour is smudged. She will nervously complain about her large nose or dry skin.

After taking off a client’s makeup before applying my own, I instantly find some aspect to compliment. In response, I am usually pointed to something negative. A woman can easily find flaws and especially when sat with a bare face. You may believe this only applies to ‘normal’ women. In fact it applies to 90% of females that I have worked with. This kind of situation is common among many makeup artists, no matter how good you are. If you’re an aspiring makeup artist, you definitely might want to do something like list your services on Beauty Booker and you’ll need to make sure that you’re prepared to get this kind of chat from a lot of the women that you work with.

I’ll never forget meeting one of the most beautiful models that I had seen. A magnifying mirror would not be able to find hint of her skin that needed correcting, eyes bright and emerald, there was a resemblance to Adriana Lima. She was however, unable to look edgy and as the team on set tried to bring out this fierce stare, she crumbled. Even people who you conceptualize as incredibly attractive and powerful, may secretly be filled with self doubt.

Beauty is an act. It’s like fashion and with one wrong belt or creased jacket, it can all but fade. Once I had learnt skills that could enhance, in my own eyes I saw the steps that made beauty turn from a play into a performance. Only nowadays people do not want to enhance, they want to change. The more different an artist can make a person look, the more applauded they are for their talent.

Despite knowing how much editing and products it takes, I still exhausted myself with weary over how glamorous I was. See studying makeup was beneficial to my own appearance. How I longed to be alluring with eyes that had wings and creases that smoked.

From doctors to editors and actors; no one is immune from the desire to look a certain way. We all believe we know what beauty is. As I became creative with people from all over the world, I learnt how unique our own opinions are. Society really teaches us what physical traits we should desire. Jennifer Lopez suddenly made us want to squat, Victoria Secret models had us wanting (still wanting) to grow our legs. I didn’t want to be a mermaid until I saw Ariel!

Every year the beauty chair changes and people make requests as if they were updating their wardrobe. It begs the question of how related cosmetics are to how attractive we want to be. Do we simply like following the trends or do we seek some type of flawlessness?

Back to the model my team and I were waiting for, she strolled in and to my alert eyes, before shooting she ate a sandwich. A cheese toasty to be exact and yes she ate every mouthful. We were in a café and it was a strain to disguise my shock. Never had I seen a fashion model eat anything that was not a salad or fruit before working.

As we started talking, I realized she was rather successful and very comfortable in her own shoes. I absolutely admired her. She did not care what cosmetics were being applied, she simply worked her charm and constructed some beautiful imagery.

Five years into the business and that model has cemented into my mind more than most. I cannot say she was the best physically, her body did not have the abs in today’s culture that we want, yet her contentment within was glowing.

People want to know who I have met, what the strangest encounters are and what the best tips are that I can give. People in the beauty industry do not always look done up, I know of people who refuse moisturizer and do not wash their makeup off, then ask for foundation for dewy skin, and the best tips are the boring ones that generally relate to your health.

Makeup has a variety of techniques in addition to requirements. Beauty will forever come under the same umbrella; have fun with your tools and experiment with your appearance, just know that beauty is word we struggle to connote ourselves with and in that we all share a bashful charm.

Guest Blogger, Laura Bradbury is a trained makeup artist with credits on editorial and film. After five years in the industry, her portfolio of work has expanded to modelling and writing. Her blog is about sharing my passions for health, beauty, fashion and life.