This is a topic that’s really been on my mind a lot lately. As a makeup artist, I always want to make a serious effort to show in my photos and videos what makeup can do for you. However, I noticed that I wasn’t actually coming out and saying the full truth, which is: there are some things even the best makeup artist cannot do with makeup.
Honestly, I didn’t want to draw attention to the limitations of makeup, because after all, I’m in the customer service industry! I want to make my clients happy! It is always my goal to deliver an amazing makeup application that makes my clients feel confident. To me, the most important thing is making my clients feel comfortable. That means not applying tons of products on their face if they’re used to a more minimal makeup look. It also means being upfront about the results they can expect to see from a makeup application. There are some things that I just cannot do as a makeup artist, but there are PLENTY of things that I can do!
This quick post will hopefully get the conversation going, so please leave a comment if this content speaks to you! Let’s dive in and talk about four specific things I cannot do as a makeup artist:
Oh boy, do I wish I had this superpower, but the truth is, no one has the ability to make wrinkles disappear. You can choose to get Botox or other fillers, or you can apply filters to your photos, but makeup alone isn’t going to make wrinkles vanish. All you can do is start where you are at to slow down the arrival of wrinkles (but they are inevitable as our skin loses elasticity with age).
Wrinkle prevention is key, which I know doesn’t help those who already have wrinkles.
This starts with skin care (it’s never TOO late to start). I’d rather you use 1-2 products a day consistently vs. 5-10 products inconsistently.
Skincare is like brushing our teeth, we need to take care of our skin everyday.
If you don’t know where to begin with skin care, take my Skin Type Quiz. Spoiler alert, EVERYONE regardless of skin type needs to apply SPF everyday (especially if you want to prevent wrinkles). Read this post about SPF and how to find the right SPF for you >
There are some amazing “instant” skincare products that reduce puffiness or reduce darkness or redness, but a touch of concealer in the right places (and really, the more wrinkles, the less concealer you’ll want to use) can really help to blur the wrinkles a bit.
For the under eye area, try mixing a little bit of eye primer with your concealer to really make sure it the concealer doesn’t budge.
Here’s my favorite eye primer for normal/dry eyelids.
Here’s my favorite eye primer for oily eyelids.
Don’t know where or how to apply under eye concealer? Read this post.
Always set your concealer with a tiny bit of translucent powder! Most of the times, however, your foundation should even out your skin tone enough that the wrinkles “blend in.”
Here’s my fave translucent powder (for all skin types).
We have become acclimatized to see perfect, poreless skin. Filters have become so sophisticated too!
Unfortunately this has given everyone that makeup can make the texture of skin just go away. Sadly this is not the case.
If you struggle with acne or acne scarring, while yes, makeup can help make the skin appear smoother and even out the skin tone, three dimensional scarring cannot be covered up (without prosthetics). (You can click here to read my blog post all about the visible and invisible scars I have from that period in my life).
A lot of people turn to primers to help smooth out the skin — especially silicone-based primers. Silicone based primers leave this smooth, velvet-like pleasant sensation to the skin.
While silicone-based primers can work wonders for people with dry or normal skin, most of the people who reach for silicone-based “smoothing” primers are people with oily and/or acne-prone skin. Unfortunately, this is a recipe for disaster! (This is why it’s SO important to know your skin type and which product formulations work for you and against you).
I personally do not carry a silicone-based primer in my kit anymore because I don’t want to take any chances of makeup slipping off (and many clients think they know their skin type but do not). I do however keep silicone-based foundations in my kit. To see what foundations I keep in my pro kit, click here.
Recommended Reading: A Primer In Makeup Primer
Witch Hazel is an amazing natural tonic that reduces redness and puffiness and also minimizes pores and applying that before your makeup will really help tighten and freshen the skin. Tip! Don’t use daily and make sure it’s alcohol-free!
Rosewater also has similar properties! For instance, if you get a really big, red pimple — it happens to all of us — a few sprays will calm the skin down and tone down the redness. You can apply makeup on top (but sadly, the dimension of the pimple will not go away).
Most beauty marketing uses models with almond shaped eyes. However, you can see in the chart below that there are many different types of eye shapes (and combinations thereof). Also, eyes are sisters, not twins — so one of your eyes may be more hooded than the other, or more downturned than the other. This is NORMAL.
Again, we’ve become acclimatized to see heavily edited photographed as well as filters that “correct” asymmetries that naturally exist.
In my book, I show the different eye shapes and how to determine your eye shape. And of course, in my online course, Makeup For Beginners: Learn Makeup In 5 Days, you’ll learn how to do BASIC eye makeup for YOUR eye shape.
Want To Know Your Eye Shape (and More?)
In my 1:1 makeup coaching program, Create Your Signature Makeup Look, not only will I show you your eye shape, but I make custom face charts (with your eye, face, lip shape — as well as the colors to use (that are in your style profile).
Most of the time, once I explain that everyone’s eye shape is different, we can decide on a makeup application that plays up not only the eye shape my client actually has but also their other unique facial features. After I show them what I’m doing and explain it, they understand and they end up being much happier and they feel more confident than if I just copied something out of a magazine.
Strategic eye makeup can give the illusion of a different eye shape but the techniques and places to apply you eye makeup varies individually.
In the same vein as eye shapes, everyone has a different face shape. Most beauty marketing uses “Oval” faces for the marketing campaigns even though oval face shapes aren’t the most common.
Makeup cannot CHANGE your face shape. Especially not “in real life.” If you’re going to be on camera or film, you can get away with contouring to give the illusion of a different face shape — but that doesn’t look good in natural daylight.
Makeup does allow you to accentuate your gorgeous face shape and add a bit more dimension.
By accentuating your natural features and shading some of the areas that you might want minimizes, this can help slim out or add more dimension to the face. Once you know your face shape (the graphic to the left can help you find yours!) you can choose a hairstyle that works for you. Not only that, you can find celebrities with your same face shape, find out who their makeup artist is, and see what they are doing and using!
There are lots of diagrams on the internet on where to apply blush, bronzer, and highlighter depending on your face shape. Make sure you are referencing one that was actually created by a makeup artist.
Of course, I have these diagrams in my book Be Your Own Makeup Artist. And well, I am a makeup artist (and not trying to sell you any makeup products).
At the end of the day, makeup can highlight your best features and make you feel more confident. The best thing you can do to help that process along is drink your water, moisturize, wear SPF every day (not from your makeup, from a real-life SPF product), wash your face, and use some night cream.
Men, I’m talking to you too! If you can take care of your skin, your makeup application will look a lot better, no matter which look you decide to try!
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Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.