#BizTalk – Makeup Trends and the Pro Artist

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now you visibly contour…
Β© TL Pascoe for L’Allure des Mots
Makeup Hair by Tania D. Russell
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…now you don’t
G. Vitti for Runner’s World Magazine
Makeup Hair by Tania D. Russell
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On Sonia Roselli’s fantastic blogazine Glossible, I read an article she wrote entitled “The One Makeup Trend That Needs to Die”. It was all about the current Highlighting/Contouring obsession and how most of the online discussion is getting it wrong. As you might imagine, the post caused quite a firestorm. Most pros shouted “AMEN!” and most non-pros shouted “Girl is you crazy?!” and what Blog Comments section would be complete without a few unwarranted insults from people who obviously had nothing real to contribute to the conversation thrown in for good measure 😐

I’m not here to talk about Highlighting and Contouring. The topic is just DONE as far as I am concerned. D-O-N-E. There are too many tutorials and Instagram selfie posts, too many articles, too many counter articles, too many products, just too many everything. Everything that can be said has been said, and at this point people are either going to take heed or they are not.

D-O-N-E.

What I am here to talk about is makeup trends and the Pro artist. The one comment that really struck my interest in the Comments of Sonia’s article was this (name ommitted to protect the guilty):

on 4 September, 2014 at 04:20 Reply
You obviously don’t know how to highlight and contour correctly. The girl in the photo that has no highlighting/contouring needs some contouring on her nose. As do you.

This comment really got my goat and I actually made my comment in response to hers. Clearly this falls into the “unwarranted insults from people who obviously had nothing real to contribute to the conversation” category. But furthermore, as I thought about this statement, I realized this is what happens when you learn trends as opposed to learning makeup. I think one of the many reasons a lot of the online makeup I see does not resonate with me is because much of it is just regurgitating the trend du jour, one size fits all makeup. As a makeup artist, you can like whatever you personally like and that’s fine, but what you like is not necessarily what you are going to do on a job. Not only are there about 1 billion ways to go about highlighting and contouring, but what, when, where, why, and how is a factor on every single face on every single job. I can assure you that if I did all this internet contouring on a shoot for one of my lifestyle clients (PBTeen, BCBGeneration, Wal Mart, etc.) I would lose the client and be shown the door, no question. Likewise the multi-colored cut-crease eye with the “ombre” brow, or the hyper-pigmented pastel colored lip. None of that. My executing any of those looks for any of my Lifestyle clients would be an indicator that I have lost my mind and I need to go home and take a seat. That type of makeup is just not appropriate for that type of job. On the flipside, I did a special event TV show recently where I worked on one of the legendary Queens of gospel music. She liked what I initially did to her, but she did ask me to “glam it up” more. Taking into account my client – who is a gorgeous full-grown woman, not a “young thing” – and the medium in which I was working (hi-def TV) I bumped everything up. This was still not the time for an every color in the rainbow makeup statement, however I did bump up the lashes, increase the amount of my highlight and contour, etc. It was appropriate for that client on that job, it looked very good on camera (put the shimmer and glitter down), and everyone was happy. And there are about 1 million other technical questions that go into play when deciding how to approach a makeup:

– is this going to be seen live or photographed? (or even more intense, both, which is why Red Carpet makeup is tricky)

– if this is to be photographed how is it being LIT? (hint: lighting is everything)

– is it going to be still photography or motion photography?

Etcetera, etcetera, and so on. So NO, you cannot just make a blanket statement like “she needs some contouring on her nose”. There are just entirely too many factors at play to make a unilateral statement like that.

As a professionals our job is to determine and execute what is the best look for our client/talent within the context of the job we are working on. It is that last part that separates makeup enthusiasts from working professional artists. If I’m a fan of makeup taking pictures for my blog or shooting a YouTube video, I can do whatever I want. And that’s awesome and these people are expressing their creativity and that’s great. That is very different, however, from what a professional has to do on a job. On a job you have to make someone happy. Be it a bride or private client, or a commercial client who has hired you, or a celebrity, your job as a professional is to use your talents and skills to fulfill your clients needs. Depending on the job or the client, copying trend du jour in all likelihood will not get it done.

One other thing about trends: As one progresses in their career as an artist, our job increasingly becomes creating, defining and articulating trends, and not just copying them. I have a couple of editorial clients where we’ve been shooting together long enough that they don’t even give me a particular direction. I go look at the clothes and design my look from there. Even if a client gives me a general direction, that’s all they are giving me is a general direction. I take it from there and design an original look to fit the situation. Why? Because that’s what they hired me for. If they had to tell me what to do, I wouldn’t be there, they’d go find someone else. Goodness knows I do NOT mean that I never take inspiration. I have about 1,000,001 ideas swirling in my head from the images I saw of this past New York Fashion Week (I’m writing this right after the SS15 showing). However as opposed to a literal recreation of a look, I will file those inspirations into my makeup memory bank and they will manifest themselves in my original makeup designs. If your makeup business entails working with consumers such as brides, private clients, etc., THEY are looking to YOU to tell them not only what’s on trend, but how to make that trend work for them. Knowing how to interpret trend is important because a 45 year old lawyer isn’t checking for the same makeup looks as a 19 year old college student. But before you say “Well, I only want to work on clients who like style X”, think about which of those two women – the 45 year old or the 19 year old – actually has the money to pay you for your makeup services. Exactly.

So do I follow trends? Of course. I follow the upcoming trends – like those that we will see during Fashion Month (New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks), and the trends that are active amongst consumers, like ombre brows 😐 . I am not saying that any one look is wrong or right (well, ombre brows… ) but I am saying that as makeup professionals we cannot just blindly follow the herd. In fact, we should be leading the pack.

© 2014 – 2016, Tania. All rights reserved.

6 Comments

  1. September 12, 2014 / 3:48 pm

    Thank you!!! I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one that thinks this level is ridiculous for everyday life! I guess some “artists” don’t understand how shadows work xD xx

  2. September 12, 2014 / 4:18 pm

    Agreed I’m always amazed when I see people wearing that much makeup but thats their face so they can do what they want. For Pros, however, here is an extremely small percentage of jobs where you can do that kind of makeup successfully and have a client be happy with it. So professionals need to recognize the difference.

    Thanks for leaving a comment, ma’am πŸ™‚

  3. September 13, 2014 / 3:08 am

    great article..like you , if i showed up to a commercial job and started doing that extreme contouring and highlighting, my client would quickly replace me. Thanks for the read.

  4. September 13, 2014 / 11:16 am

    Yep. Clients would be escorting us to the door lol

    Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  5. September 14, 2014 / 7:44 am

    This is such a great article on so many levels, Tania.

    I train a 5 day Makeup Academy in which on the first day I tell the artists, “As of today you do not DO makeup because you are a makeup ARTIST.”

    So much of this copycat syndrome isn’t about building a career as a makeup artist but being able to say “I do makeup.” I, too, can appreciate the work but also can filter that it has a place and in many ways a community that it speaks to.

    One thing for sure, it’s going to be an interesting segment to watch grow or die!

    Rudy Miles
    beautybyrudy

  6. September 14, 2014 / 10:39 am

    Yes yes and more YES! I could not agree more! And I also agree it will be interesting to see what happens with all of this over the next, say, 5 years…

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

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