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.
Want to listen to instead? I recorded a podcast episode on this topic, which you can hear below!
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. Prevention is key, which I know doesn’t help those who already have wrinkles. You should always take care of your skin though, which means wear an SPF (and re-apply often), moisturize, wash your face, and of course, drink plenty of water!
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 crease. Set with a tiny bit of translucent power. Most of the times, however, your foundation should even out your skin tone enough that the wrinkles “blend in.”
I totally understand when my clients want me to cover the texture on their skin with makeup. I have acne scarring that I wish I could erase some days, too! (You can click here to read my blog post all about the visible and invisible scars I have from that period in my life). However, changing the texture of your skin or removing texture altogether is beyond the scope of what everyday “easy” makeup can do, no matter how good the makeup artist is.
There’s are lots of products that can smooth out the texture of the skin (think silicone-based primers) and even some moisturizers and concealers that can also help to fill in deep pores. However, silicone-anything doesn’t work well on oily skin and you’ll find your makeup melting off. 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. Rosewater also has similar properties! For instance, if you get a really big, red pimple — it happens to all of us — I can blend it in and make it less noticeable, but makeup isn’t going to change the fact that it’s there.
A lot of the eye looks in ads and marketing photos are shown on almond-shaped eyes. This eye shape is beautiful but it is NOT the most common. Almond eyes can showcase a lot of different blending techniques, which makes them great for showcasing shadows.
I would say only 10-15% of my clients have this eye shape. For the rest of my clients, I like to explain that a makeup look on an almond-shaped eye isn’t going to look the same on them but that I can achieve a look that has the similar effect for their eye shape. Of course, I am in the customer service industry so at the end of the day, I will deliver what the client ultimately wants.
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.
No matter what, I won’t be able to change a square face into an oval face. It’s just not going to happen! If you’re going to be on camera or film, you can get away with a little bit more contouring, but if you want your makeup to appear natural, you’re a little more limited in what you can do.
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!
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!
P.S. I wrote a book!! It’s called “Be Your Own Makeup Artist” and it contains everything you need to know to feel confident and knowledgeable about achieving a beautiful makeup look on your own! All of the information is 100% unbiased and unsponsored and it is based on my years of professional experience.
I’m Natalie, an American born makeup artist & makeup educator based in Wiesbaden, Germany. I truly believe that makeup, when applied well, can transform us in so many ways. My page is a space for inspiration, education, and advice. Thanks for being here & I’d love to connect with you!