In today’s society, the makeup industry isn’t always seen as an aspirational career option. In my experience, a lot of people don’t see being a makeup artist as a job that can be both rewarding financially and personally. However, I completely disagree with these views and think that this industry, that I know and love, is hugely relevant in the creative world and in other industries. Its importance is underrated, and the talent of professional makeup artists is not appreciated enough. 

I’ve had to overcome my own stereotypes, as I’m a young girl with blonde hair, wearing makeup and working on a makeup counter. People with blonde hair are already seen as lacking intelligence and sometimes ditsy, but these aren’t character traits that I see in myself. I think it’s so important to break these stereotypes of not only makeup artists, but of people who love and enjoy using makeup to express themselves. 

On a more personal level, makeup can be used to hide insecurities and to create confidence in a person. Working on a counter, I was surprised at how many young girls I got coming in with their mums and asking for a heavy-duty concealer. A lot of them were hitting puberty and so having hormonal breakouts or suffering with acne. A couple of times, they told me that they were being picked on for their bad skin.  It was so fulfilling to me to be able to teach them how to use a couple of products that would allow them to walk into school proudly and more confidently.

I started wearing makeup at a very young age, partly out of interest and partly to cover up what I considered to be bad skin. I once had a breakout so big, that I refused to go into school. It’s because of this reason that I think it ridiculous that many schools ban makeup. At my school, teachers would often hand out makeup wipes to girls who were wearing it.

Besides the more personal need for makeup, there is also a commercial need for this industry. I fully believe that makeup is just as relevant as fashion, yet a career in fashion can be often seen as far more impressive. It is a creative outlet; think of makeup as paint and the face as a canvas. Makeup can represent so many moods, time periods and characters. 

Both fashion and makeup create a statement. Whether it is a bold look with bright red lips or a natural look in nude colours. I feel like the way people wear makeup, and the way artists use it commercially can say so much about the brand that they represent or the emotions that they are trying to evoke. 

I think that the talent that makeup artists have are just as impressive as those that a traditional artist has. It takes a lot of skill and practice to be able to create a makeup look that meets the needs of a client, especially as every person has a different face. While this seems like an obvious comment to make, it means that you cannot do the same look on one person as you have on another because each person’s features are shaped differently and therefore require different techniques or looks. To be able to adapt your style client by client is certainly a huge skill. 

“ Treat your makeup like jewellery for the face. Play with colours, shape, structure - it can transform you. ”
– Francois Nars

When I speak about this industry, the stereotype may be to assume I speak only on a woman’s behalf. There are men who are makeup artists and men who wear makeup. It astounds me how we are only just getting men as spokes-models for brands such as CoverGirl and Maybelline, when men have worn makeup for years. Maybe it is a niche market for those who wear full glam, but men on photo shoots and appearing on television commonly use makeup to make themselves feel more confident in their complexion. 

I think that it’s incredibly old fashioned to assume that to enjoy makeup a person is likely to be gay or a drag queen or a woman. Shock! But male celebrities, like Justin Bieber and David Beckham wear makeup. It’s definitely time to break these stereotypes. 

An artist that I really admire is Grayson Perry. He is not only known for his art, but for his cross dressing and a huge element of this is the makeup that he chooses to use. I think this is a great example of a person using fashion and makeup in harmony to himself.

After working in the makeup industry and generally enjoying it as a hobby, I am always frustrated by people that don’t see it’s potential and true worth. It is not just culturally expressive, but makeup in commercial uses can exude feelings and create art. I am a true believer that if you feel like you look good on the outside, it can help you feel good on the inside. I think that this is true of any gender. 

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Written by Emma Videan, 10 months ago
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