I am a Makeup Artist – Not a Makeup Worshiper

I have been doing makeup since I was allowed to put on mascara when I was 13! I have studied it, loved it, messed it up, and for a time wouldn’t leave the house without it.  I had very low self esteem growing up and as soon as I could cover my face with foundation and the magic that hid my freckles and imperfections I did just that. I experimented with different colors, angles, brushes, techniques.  I read books, watched videos, and practiced. I got better and better at the art. What didn’t get better was my actual self-esteem.

You see, I thought that if I “looked pretty” and everyone could see how “pretty” I was they would like me and then I’d like myself.  You can see where this is going…right? Didn’t work! Why? Because I was relying on something that I take off every night to somehow change my outlook on life and my self-worth.  I really believed that the 30 to 45 minutes (that I used to spend on makeup) every morning would make people like me better. And of course – I depended on that in order to like myself.  

I think it is GREAT that people have tutorials and information on the latest makeup trend.  I think that contouring is SO COOL and lipstick that won’t come off is AMAZING! I know that I make people feel good when I apply their makeup and they love it.  It makes ME feel good when they smile into the mirror when I’m done. But do I think I have made their LIFE better because of one great makeup application? That somehow all those insecurity issues will leave and never come back because they now have false lashes?  That with my makeup brush and a little instruction they will see themselves how I see them – as beautiful BEFORE the makeup? No.

Sometimes, they don’t smile.  It isn’t because the makeup wasn’t applied correctly but because they still see the same person looking back into the mirror.  If we as artists aren’t paying attention – and don’t do our “due diligence” clients may have the idea that once we are done that a miracle will happen, and they will look like whatever supermodel or star they love – even if they have a different face shape or eye color.  I know because it happened to me. My first “professional” makeover was such a disappointment because I was still me – with lots of makeup on. You must remember to be honest with your client and do what is good for their face and features and explain it to them every step of the way.

If you think you can save the world with just the right amount of highlighting it isn’t going to happen.  If that isn’t what you want – that’s ok too! Being good at what you do and loving it is perfect! But if you are like me, I look at every encounter with someone as an opportunity not only to help them feel pretty on the “outside” but to at least hear from me what makes them beautiful – before I even touch their face with a brush.  No, we aren’t social workers – by trade – but if someone sits in your chair over and over – you are going to get to know them and the things they go through. When they “bare” their naked face to you and know you are a professional – they may feel very exposed and nervous. You must recognize that if you are to build lasting relationships with your clients.  You may not want things to be “personal” but because of what we do – it is!

So yes – I love makeup.  I don’t wear it every day, I do leave the house without it, I think it is fun and I LOVE doing it but my self-worth and what I try and teach others – comes from something much deeper than something that is removed with a makeup wipe.  It is learning to love yourself – even the “not so good parts” because that is what makes you who you are. We can always improve but it won’t come by worshiping makeup or the next big trend.

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