Jan 24, 2017

Skin Smoothing Apps: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Photo by Arian David Photography

Today I want to talk about skin smoothing apps, primarily facetune and Perfect365. They're everywhere and if you're on social media you've undoubtedly seen them in action.  Ever see someone post a selfie and the face looks blurry and pore-less?  Don't be fooled, they don't have perfect skin and no,  it's not their new foundation. This my friend is the work of a skin smoothing app and I must admit I've used them too! It's easy to fall into the trap of using a skin smoothing app, just take a look around, you'll see them being used everywhere, hell I've even used them on my own face! Unfortunately this sets a bad standard for our industry and will eventually backfire on the very artists that use them. What do you think happens when clients with less than perfect skin are drawn to work that's heavily edited only to experience different results in reality? A whole lotta disappointment...

The Good: Use them on yourself all you want, the only person you have to answer to is you! Remove a pimple, sure, whiten the teeth, why not?  Apps like facetune are great for a quick fix not a complete overhaul. There is a fine line between what looks believable and what does not.  Same goes for clients. I've never upset a client because I removed a blemish but it never sat right with me to blur their face beyond recognition.  Did I do it? Yes. Did I regret it? Yes! Did I feel slightly stupid afterward? Double YES! I had to learn the art of restraint, when to post work and when not to. If it needs to be edited beyond recognition it is probably not worth posting.  In my humble opinion, a certain level of skin smoothing equals false adverting and is no longer representative of an artists skill level.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for professional retouching by professional photographers to enhance an image but again this is an art form and only looks good when it's  done in a believable way.

The Bad: It's not real, repeat after me IT'S NOT REAL! Furthermore it can actually drive business away. I've actually had clients bring this topic up... Never underestimate your clients intelligence, overly edited photos scream "I'm hiding something!". I also personally cannot recommend another artists for a job if I can't properly "see" any of their work.

The Ugly: It sets an impossible standard for women, especially women who have skin issues. Artists themselves are setting their clients up for disappointment by advertising a look that they can't deliver without the use of a skin smoother.  As a result of the wide spread use of these apps, other artists feel pressured to not have ANY "flaws" in their work and therefore jump on the bandwagon. I personally loooove the look of skin that still looks real with makeup on. I am a complete complexion junkie!

Below is an unedited iphone pic of a lovely bride. She has beautiful skin but lets pretend she didn't and I wanted to smooth away her imperfections

So I ran her through facetune...

Does this look familiar?  Every time I see it I cringe. They're usually paired as before & afters to have an even more jarring effect.  I personally do not do before and afters but to each their own. I've had to retrain my eye to what I consider beautiful and this is not it! I'm constantly learning, growing and making mistakes along the way! These days I try to keep my editing to adjusting the lighting in a photo. Remember, a skin smoother should never be the most powerful tool in your kit or the most dominant feature of your makeup application.  Not using one just makes you feel better at the end of the day, ya know?

Until next time,

-Your friendly neighborhood Makeup Artist keeping it real

Dec 7, 2016

Where Makeup Artists Really Shop

photo by Arian David Photography

Many of my clients take an interest in my makeup and often ask me where I shop.  When I do on location weddings people often exclaim "Look at all that makeup, what brand do you use?", "do you have the Kylie lip kits?", "what's your favorite foundation?" or "I bet you love Sephora!" and while I do love Sephora, I don't shop there! This often shocks and surprises people and I feel like such a let down! Here's my client all excited to bond over makeup and here's me about to embark on a rant. I want to relate to my clients in an enthusiastic way, but as a full time working artist I have a different perspective. Let's address the above questions and shed some light on the mind of a professional working artist.

photo by Roc Focus 

Q.  " Look at all that makeup! What brand do you use?".

A.  Most of the brands I use are pro artistry brands that provide exceptional performance and a professional discount. I could never rely on just one brand when there's so many great ones out there! My favorite artistry brands are Viseart, RCMA, Graftobian, Senna, Skindinavia, La Femme & Kett. My full kit took years to build and was built upon trial and error. When I first started out I thought I needed every product under the sun, but as I began to work and found my niche in bridal I realized that I didn't need that neon eyeliner.  I also learned that established pros spend years fine tuning their kits to be compact, functional and ready for any situation, not brimming with overly hyped products they barely use.

Photo by Brian Storey Photography

Q. Do you have the Kylie lip kits?

A. In a world of excess and haul culture people relate to whats being advertised on social media platforms. I realize it's completely normal to think I might be dying over these lip kits but truth be told they are nowhere on my radar and are simply the newest IG craze. I exclusively shop with pro artistry brands that provide a professional discount, excellent customer service, and fast shipping.  Kylie's brand is marketed to fans and enthusiasts, not working artists. If you have them and love them that's great, no judgement here! If you really want me to get excited ask me about Viseart, the highest quality eyeshadow on the market, hand pressed in Paris, swoon!

Brian Storey Photography

Q. Where do you shop?

A. Camera Ready Cosmetics is by far the best place to shop if you are a working artists that wants to purchase most of what you need in one place. They house a mixture of artistry and consumer brands all in one place. They offer an excellent professional discount, stellar customer service and fast and inexpensive shipping.  For lashes my favorite site to use is Madame Madeline, they tote the best prices on a variety of brands (Red Cherry is my fav) and always have great promo codes. For disposables I use Qosmedix, otherwise I would  be spending a small fortune on mascara wands! I absolutely adore their silicone mascara wands and the variety of disposables they carry.  Other great places for makeup artists to shop include Frends Beauty, Namies Beauty Center, and Nigels. It would be a painstaking task to build a kit without these pro discounts.

 Photo by Arian David Photography

Q. "whats your favorite foundation?"

A. Pictured above is my RCMA foundation palette.from Camera Ready Cosmetics. It was Invented in 1963 by renowned makeup artist Vincent Kehoe and until recently has been a well kept industry secret. It has a unique wax base and is 50% pigment, the highest pigment on the market! Most foundations are only 18% - 23% pigment. With these palettes on hand I'm prepared to work on global skin tones, and provide sheer to full coverage that looks like a second skin. RCMA is made in strictly controlled conditions and is hand poured. It's one of the best foundations on the market! I love having this for all my clients even though they don't know what the heck it is! 

While you wont catch at Sephora you will see that that my kit is full of high quality brands. Some you will recognize and some you wont! But that's the magic of being a makeup artist, were supposed to have some industry secrets. Until next time - xoxo

Oct 18, 2016

PRO VS. FAUX: What Makes a Professional Makeup Artist?

There's more confusion today then ever about what makes a professional makeup artist or "MUA" and who should hold the title. With the increasing popularity of social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, it seems like everyone's an MUA. Many of my clients want to know what makes a Professional MUA and who should hold the title. As you will find out it's not all glitz and glam, there's a lot more to being a professional working makeup artist than having a large following; let's break it down.

State Laws & Professional Licensing: I cannot stress this enough, if you've always dreamed of becoming a makeup artist the first thing you need to do is get educated on state law. State laws are going to dictate to a large degree whether or not you can slap the title behind your name, or need a license first. In New York State which is where I live, a Cosmetology or Esthetics license is legally required in order to do makeup on other people in exchange for money. If you're caught operating without a license you will face up to $2,500 in fines and possibly become ineligible to get your license in the future. In addition many problems stem from illegally operating MUA's. Here are some of the issues that arise and the problems they create.

Health & Safety: This is probably the biggest issue and the reason the law came into place in NY.  Without proper education on the topics of universal precautions, contraindications, skin conditions, & sanitation how can one keep their clients safe? All of the sudden it's a lot more complex than just makeup. Not knowing the basic precautions perpetuates the image of "the dirty makeup artist" and hurts our industry. Licensed or not, be a clean makeup artist.

Operating "off" the Books: This goes hand in hand with licensing. If you're operating illegally there's no way your business is on the books, and no way you can receive insurance, which serves to protect you if anything ever did go wrong with a client. you have now skipped all the steps and jumped right to the finish line. Tell me how risking trouble with the IRS sets the framework  for a successful business?

Undercutting the Industry: Both legal and illegally operating artists can be guilty of this. The person is interested in makeup but lacks industry knowledge, experience or maybe doesn't have a full kit.  They should likely be practicing on friends and family or mentoring with an artist, but they want to be an MUA now and YouTube showed them how! Because they're dying to have a client, they go out and charge rock bottom prices. Once you charge $20 for a full face you will not likely get that client out of the mind set that makeup should ever cost more than $20, nor will you be able to making a living or build that kit.

Now lets get back to what makes a professional working artist and who should hold the title. We already established that you must be operating within your state laws whether that means you need a license or not. It cannot be skipped over or you will never get to the fun part of  owning that title!

Working on Clients for Money: Once you're operating within your state laws the second piece of being a MUA is working on clients as your main source of income. Many people have become famous for doing beautiful makeup only on themselves, some are quite skilled and inspiring, but in order to call your self an MUA you must be working on clients! Clients of all ages, skin types & ethnicity. This is the work that get's you paid! This can be in print, fashion, film or bridal. Whatever your flavor is, you must be taking clients and getting paid. Work within your state laws and work on real clients, that is what makes a true professional makeup artist.

For people who read this with some discomfort I'm assuming it's because you're claiming the title without doing the work? The intention is not to be condescending or discredit skill. I want ALL artists to be the best they can be, and I want ALL clients to be SERVED the best they can. I am certainly not perfect, I've made many mistakes along the way but I am always open to learn. I hope this inspires you to  push yourself and raise the bar. I love my community of artists in Rochester, NY and there are soooo many talented ones! The best part is that there's enough work to go around. I want all of us to make it, but I want us to make it the right way, I respect those that respect the industry.

With Love - Tierney