The 7 best things I learned training to be a makeup artist

Striding through Shepherds Bush on a Monday morning, I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me. I was 30 minutes early (yes I'm a geek, I know) and sat, sweating in the student lounge at London College of Fashion.
Studying Makeup Artistry was a terrifying choice for me. I was originally planning on doing International Relations and actually had a place at a university in London when I abruptly changed my mind.


During my time at London College of Fashion I learned a lot, it changed my entire view of makeup. Apart from my mother, I'd always been surrounded by people who had no interest in makeup, so to journey into an environment where people thought and felt the same way about it as me, was an indescribable feeling.

So whether you're a makeup artist in training, a beauty fanatic, or are just curious about how the pros do it, read on for my the best things I learned at makeup school.

1. The best makeup tools are free!
You can have every sized brush in the world but the most diverse tool comes free and always available. Your hands! Every makeup artist uses their hands. The warmth and control you get by using fingers is unparalleled to any brush or sponge.

2. If you're not keen, don't bother.
Makeup is hard. Regardless of the stigma that surrounds the industry, far more goes into it than we are lead to believe. It takes serious diligence, focus and patience to become a top industry professional. You must be enthusiastic, hard working and most importantly, relentless. You have to force your way in and not take no for an answer.

3. EVERYONE is using way too much product
I've never really loved super heavy makeup. I'll admit there was a brief phase, I'm certain we've all endured this, where I was lead to believe caking on foundation was the norm (the girls at my high school would often sport the chic 'orange' look) but thankfully now I know better . Professional makeup artists use such a small amount of product, and honestly, the effect it creates when used correctly is absolutely radiant. Not only does it look beautiful, it also saves loads of money on restocking your kit.

4. Speed is key
The beauty industry is extremely volatile, you are almost always working within a time limit and often things will continually change. The hair stylist may need to do touch ups, the photographer may not like the look, the model will need to break to eat and drink. You will never have the perfect amount of time to work, so you have to be fast.  Last week I went to hear Val Garland talk at the V&A and she recalled a catwalk show where the makeup had to be done 10 minutes before the show, when the models were already in line up! If you're fast and efficient, your peers in the industry will want to work with you again.

5. Be prepared for ANYTHING
Seriously. Expect the unexpected. You never know what's going to happen backstage or on set so make sure your kit is fully stocked and you can roll with the punches and change up products and looks. Ensure you are flexible and calm at all times.

6. Look after your model
Out of everyone on set, it is mainly your responsibility to be mindful of the model and how they are, as you have the most intimate relationship with them. Be considerate; ask questions to be certain they're comfortable with what you're doing at all times. Take care of their skin, a models face is their income, if you harm or damage that don't expect to get called back on a job with them. 

7. Take risks
Being an artist is all about creativity and experimentation, be daring with your work and push boundaries. Playing it safe will never lead to success. In order to rise up and get noticed in the industry it is imperative that you create work that is force-ably noticeable. For my final looks at London College of Fashion I made sure I chose looks that wouldn't be easy. At the end of the day, where is the fun in 'being on the safe side'?

My time spent studying at London College of Fashion was incredibly enriching and enjoyable. My tutors taught me so many extremely valuable skills and lessons and I cannot thank them enough for the experience I had. Also thank you to my wonderful boyfriend who created this film for me, documenting one of my photo shoots for my final piece.

- Madeleine x

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