Must Have Makeup Brushes in Your Makeup Kit

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Brushes are the most important thing in your makeup kit. If you have excellent quality brushes but don’t have expensive makeup it is all ok and you can still achieve a great makeup look. On the other hand, if you have poor quality brushes even with the most expensive makeup products it will be a real challenge for you to create a decent makeup look. You will have to try really hard! Luckily, the Online Makeup Academy has taken the guesswork out of finding  the best brushes to begin with in your professional kit, as they have included a full and complete professional brush set in their Essential and Master makeup kits! It’s also very important to know how to correctly use a brush or what product to apply with a certain brush – here we will give you the breakdown of the must have brushes to always have in your kit, and their specific uses!

Many makeup artists may have very expensive brushes in their kit and they will treat them like their “babies”, but brushes don’t necessarily have to be expensive to be of good quality – either way, your best brushes will be the star of your makeup kit, always! You can begin with just a few of the most important tools, and one by one, build upon the brushes, selecting and investing in additions that you will personally use depending on your clientele and techniques as you gain your own individual experience. 


It is true, when you have soft brushes your makeup application will become a dream and will look flawless. Below you will find must have brushes for your kit (as well as some extra brushes that are also always good to have, and of course tips!). These are the basics you can’t work without.

1. The first very important tool (though not a brush) is a beauty sponge. Nowadays we have a huge variety of them on the market and you can find great quality ones even in drugstores! See, when we mentioned about great quality brushes, we don’t mean they have to be super expensive! You can find amazing brushes for under $10. The same with sponges, I love drugstore ones even more than the original. The beauty sponge tool will distribute and blend your foundation so well that it will look flawless on your face, almost like an airbrush.


2. Concealer brush. Or you can find a dual foundation/concealer brush if you do not prefer to apply foundation with fingers on your clients. This would be a small synthetic brush that will allow you to apply concealer onto the areas where you need to lighten the skin: under the eye area, bridge of the nose, forehead, and jaw. You can blend it with a beauty sponge.


3. Powder brush. A fluffy brush that will help you set foundation. Maybe it is a good idea to get a powder brush that is on a smaller side as your clients will have different faces and sometimes large fluffy powder brush will be just too much for someone’s smaller framed face. Additionally, with a smaller brush you will also have more control.


4. Powder contour/blush brush. You can use one brush for 2 products: for sculpting powder and for a blush. Just rub off the excess bronzer on a dry paper towel and then go for the blush. An angled brush will give you more control and will apply a necessary amount of the product exactly to your desired areas.


5. Highlighter brush. You can use this brush first to set the under eye area with powder and later apply a highlighter with it on the highest points of your cheeks, on your cupid’s bow, jaw, etc… So basically you are saving space in your kit making it lighter for you to travel with it. This one is a smaller powder brush, it has to be small so that it is convenient to use it on smaller areas.


6. Eye brow brush. This will be great if again you will have a dual ended brush: an angled thin brush on one side and a spoolie on the other side. It is very convenient as you brush the brows first with a spoolie and then you apply product with the brush. If you applied too much this spoolie will also help you out. You can brush the brows with it to get rid of any excess product.


7. Eye liner brush. Here you can choose the shape that you like the most: thick, thin and tiny, angled. Any one that will make you more confident while applying eye liner will be great!


8. Big fluffy brush. To apply a transition color and to define the crease you will need this brush. It applies eye shadow like a hue which can be built up according to the eye look you are going to create!


9. More dense brush for the crease. To intensify the eye shadow in your crease you will need this brush. It allows you to add eye shadow more precisely into the crease.


10. Shader brush. This brush is designed to pack eye shadow onto the eye lid. It is better to choose a medium sized brush so it will fit to any eye shape even a small one.


11. Pencil brush. You will need this brush to apply highlighter into the inner corner of your eye, or to smudge the color along the lash line.


12. Lipstick brush. The name of this brush says by itself, you will use it to apply lipstick onto your client. Flat and synthetic brush is perfect for this.


Those are the basic brushes you will need in your kit to apply makeup on your clients. Of course you may choose more to make your work easier and faster but these are the main brushes it is almost impossible to work without. To find your own set of perfect brushes, read a lot of reviews, try them out and see what works best and is most convenient for you (each artist’s preferences will vary)!

If you decide to invest in additional brushes that will help you improve your makeup game you should consider these additional useful tools:

1. Flat definer brush. It makes smoking out the lower lash line so much easier and more precise. It allows you to get to the lash line as close as possible, making your smokey eyes perfect!


2. Synthetic brush. This brush will help you to apply cream products onto the eye lid: cream eye shadows, gloss, etc, as well as blend it out to create a nice effect. Cream eye shadows are often used as a base for your powder eye shadows.


3. Pointy crease brush. You will need one to apply eye shadows into the crease the most precisely, usually with the darkest color. It can be any size you are comfortable with. Keep in mind you will have to be experienced to work with this brush, as your application must be very neat.


4. Super tiny crease brush. You might want to use it to blend the eye shadow edges into the skin, to hide all the sharp lines and make the transition of an eye shadow into the skin invisible.


Here is some additional insight on brush care: 

If you want your brushes to serve you the best, and always look like new, you have to really take good care of them! Product build up can ruin your brushes while dirty brushes used on your clients can ruin your reputation! Wash your brushes thoroughly and regularly, at least once a week (the ones you use for yourself!), 2 times a week for the ones you use on your clients! Clean brushes apply products in the best possible way!

In between washes you can and must use a special brush cleanser which disinfects as well as conditions them. MAC Cosmetics offers a great brush cleanser/sanitizer. You also have to sanitize and cleanse each brush in between your clients if you have them one after another or don’t have enough time for a deep clean! Keep in mind, this solution also needs time to dry so it is better for a makeup artist to have duplicate brushes in their kit; you will apply makeup with one set while another one will be drying!

If you need to clean your brush the quickest and most effective way (and please note that this is only if you are working with this brush on the same client) you may remove powder products by using Vera Mona cleanser or its dupe. It is a kind of sponge that lets you get rid of the color on your brushes and then take another one without mixing them.

Choosing the right brush for a certain application in the beginning of your career is hard but as you become more experienced you will not even pay attention to what brush to use for what, it will pop automatically in your head and become second nature. With experience and practice, you will learn, and be skilled enough to multitask your brushes in order to keep your kit most streamlined.

Top Makeup Misconceptions

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We are always hearing about new makeup tips or makeup products that are worth trying from all the mass media sources: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc… it can be overwhelming! Are they all worth it? Should you really follow all of these tips or use every single product that is recommended?

Sometimes media confuses us by convincing us that most famous makeup artists are using a certain product or technique when they’ve actually never actually practiced it! For example, once social media claimed that Mario Dedivanovic was using Banana Powder by Ben Nye on Kim K for under the eye area and the truth is that he actually never did! You know what happened anyways? The moment that everyone saw this article they swept this powder from the shelves in a second to try to achieve the same look. The same can go for makeup tips and techniques, sometimes we are blindly following trends because we read or heard somewhere about them without even understanding why and the basis of the technique, especially when it doesn’t do any good for our appearance! Since all of us have different face and eye shapes some techniques or products will be good for one and a disaster for another; this is something you should always take into account when following your favorite tips and buying into the hype!

Here are some makeup misconceptions – remember always stop and think before applying!:

1.      We think that to get a better coverage out of foundation we have to layer a thick layer of it at once. The truth? It will look extremely cakey! It is much better when you are needing to obtain coverage, you instead apply a thin layer of a product, wait for it to melt into the skin, then apply another layer and check if it is enough and your complexion is evened out the way you want it to. This is how you will get perfect coverage without looking like you are wearing a ton of foundation.

2.      Using your fingers for blending your foundation instead of a brush or sponge. You can’t blend it perfectly with your fingers as sometimes you will press harder, sometimes more lightly. You will also be using way too much product with your fingers! Use a brush or a beauty sponge to blend out the foundation. These tools will help you blend the foundation seamlessly so that it will look like “no makeup” on your skin.

3.      Choosing the right foundation shade on the back of your arm. The color of your arm will always differ from your face! So the truth is you have to even out your complexion with reference to your neck and chest. If they are all different colors you should match everything to your chest (if you are wearing something with a low neckline) and to your neck in all other cases. You will always test on your jaw line to see if it works. Yes, this is the toughest part but is key in helping you find and match the right shade of foundation.

4.      Setting a foundation with powder otherwise it will melt away! It is not true at all. Sometimes women have dry skin and powder after foundation will make their skin look patchy and even drier and they will feel tightness throughout the day making it not comfortable to wear. Use powder only if you feel like you have to use it, for example, if your skin is oily or to get rid of tackiness, or use it only on some areas (like T-zone); you can leave other parts of your face free from powder. Another benefit of not using powder? It will give you a glowing skin effect that is so popular right now.

5.      Highlighting the tip of your nose will make it look slimmer and more glamorous. The truth? This may look good in those social media selfies (if you like the look) but it will look very weird and it will elongate your nose in real life. Add highlighter only to the bridge of your nose!

6.      Thinking that smokey eyes/defined lower eye lid will make your eyes smaller. Or applying eye pencil into the waterline will make them smaller. The truth? This is actually the opposite - “smokey eyes” is a makeup technique which actually makes your eyes bigger and more defined, but you have to do it the right way! Do not leave any harsh lines unblended; every eye shadow has to be blended perfectly into each other making the transition into your skin seamless in order to add more definition to your eyes. As soon as you perfect smokey eyes technique you will use it most of the time as it is the easiest and fastest way to enhance your eyes.

7.      Believing that thick eye liner will make your eyes bigger. The truth? Dark color pulls your eyes back meaning it may make them appear smaller. If you want to accentuate your eyes draw a thin/medium line, not the thick one!

8.      Thinking that eye shadows cannot be the same color with your eye color. This is a misconception. The truth is choosing different hues of the same color of your eyes can make your eyes pop the same as the usage of contrasting colors! You just have to experiment and find the right ones.

9.      We were told for years that you cannot use shimmery eye shadows on elderly women. This is so not true! Shimmery eye shadows chosen wisely will look beautifully refined (as well as on all other ladies)! Just remember that shimmer should not be chunky, instead the shimmer should provide subtle highlight and be finely ground, this is the key to making it look great!

10.  Over-lining your lips will make them look fuller. The truth? If you over-line your lips too much they will look unnatural! To create an illusion of bigger lips try an ombré technique by applying a lighter shade in the center of your lips that will diffuse into the darker one in the corners of your lips. Also you can use highlighter on your cupid’s bow and use wisely a contouring shade right above and below your lips to create an illusion of a shade. These tricks instead will definitely help your lips appear to look bigger.

11.  Choosing High Definition (HD) powder for your face will make you look flawless in pictures. The truth is powders with silica (and this is the main ingredient in these types of powders) will help blur imperfections on your face giving an airbrushed effect but at the same time even the smallest amount of powder with silica will cause a tremendous flashback. This doesn’t mean you cannot use HD powders at all, as they have amazing benefits in terms of makeup making your skin look flawless. You can wear them on a daily basis or for a photo shoot either in a studio, for example, where they use special equipment to diffuse the light without it being too harsh causing a flashback or if you or your client is going to a photo shoot taking place outside at daytime. There will be plenty of natural light and a flash will not cause the flashback and the dreaded white spots in the photo on your face. However, if you are going to any event where photographers will mostly use flash photography and it will be inside or in the evening you may look like a ghost with white traces of powder all over your face! The key is knowing what kind of light will be used on the event, so you may choose the right product to avoid. Keep in mind, silica is not the only culprit for flashback - titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide (which usually are a part of makeup that has SPF) can have the same effect as silica, but usually are not as extreme. A lot of primers or foundations contain SPF so if you know that you or your client will go to the event that will have mostly flash photography just don’t use these kinds of products. If your client insists on using some products with SPF you may lessen its flashback effect by applying a colored powder on top of the foundation. Otherwise you will end up with not flattering white spots on your face when being photographed.

The most important tool to always remember? Practice, don't worry, and have fun! Continued practice and experimentation will always make perfect. If you make mistakes, you will always learn from them and it will help you to continue to improve your craft. Some techniques will work for you while they may not work for others; makeup is an artistry and each individual artist will have their own different forms of expression!

What Is Better: Online Makeup School Vs. In Person Beauty School?

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If you are thinking about makeup artistry as your full-time job sooner or later you will come to the point that you have to invest in your education. You can be a self-taught Makeup Artist of course, but becoming a Certified Makeup Artist will likely increase your chances of being hired, as you will have the background of a professional education, which is a great benefit in every profession.

You may think that if you buy all expensive makeup products including brushes and watch YouTube videos you will be knowledgeable enough to do other people’s faces, but in most cases, you will be wrong. The artistry of makeup application on a professional level is much more complex. You have to know the basics, the important foundation of any artist; what brush to use for a certain product, how to apply a specific makeup product depending on the look you are going to create, etc. Some people are able to learn everything by themselves but it will take them much more time and effort as they will not know where to start, what aspects to learn, etc. Other people need somebody to teach them and to guide them on their way.

Attending a professional makeup school will be your best option in this situation. Makeup Artistry is not a licensed profession in most of the states in the USA which makes it easier to get into, but 9 of 10 clients will ask you if you are educated. Having a Certificate from a well-known and prestigious Makeup School will be to your benefit when you begin to book those jobs.

It is only since a couple of decades ago when makeup schools started to establish everywhere, especially in big cities, so it may be hard to make a decision which one to choose. Do your research!

Every school will offer you different courses and specialize in different aspects of makeup artistry education due to the fact that there is no particular curriculum to follow, as you are getting a certificate, not a license, after completion. Some schools will offer you makeup basics and classic makeup looks only, while others will also teach you how to create makeup looks for editorial photo shoots, how to be creative with your looks, what to take into account while doing other people’s makeup, makeup for movies, or give you advice on how to find clients and how to expand your business, etc. You will have to stop and think what is most important to you, and to be sure of your career goals which will help guide you in which course to choose before enrolling.

Choosing the right school may get more complicated if you work at the moment or you are going to school as in person classes and a regulated schedule may not work for you, or perhaps there are no schools in your area that actually teach makeup artistry. A huge benefit to this is the option of selecting online makeup courses. You may think that learning professional makeup application online is not an option at all, that it is impossible to learn how to do someone’s face by watching videos; the truth is that it is possible and it may be sometimes even a better option than in person makeup school.

Here are some benefits (and comparisons to attending online vs. an in person makeup school):

1. Accessibility. You can access the course whenever you want or have time on learning and practicing. You can do it even on the go on your tablet or smartphone. While at in person makeup school you will be taught only according to the schedule which sometimes may not be suitable for you. You may get nervous that you had to get a vacation to take these classes instead of going to the ocean, or you left your work earlier to make it to the class and are always in a hurry trying to be on time, and in this case it is hard to concentrate on learning something new as you will be distracted.

2. Ability to stop, pause or replay videos anytime you need. It is one of the best benefits of the online makeup course as if you didn’t get something you have the opportunity to always go back and see it again. While at in person school if you put off the class by any reason or just didn’t understand something, or was distracted by something, as some people may find it hard to concentrate their attention during the whole class which may take 4-5 hours, it is harder to catch up, you will have to ask your instructor to repeat and it may make you feel uncomfortable in front of other students asking anything.

3. You complete assignments at your own pace. It is much easier for everyone to complete lessons with their own speed not having to look at other students and compare yourself to them. You are doing everything in accordance with yourself. At in person makeup school everyone will have to keep up with the group and the schedule which may bring pressure as well as some material may not be well understood.

4. Online makeup course is usually much less expensive. While in person makeup school course tuition may include the price of materials, room, books, photoshoot opportunities, etc. you also have to take into account your lunch or travel expenses, which in all can total to a huge amount of money. Online makeup courses are available completely online, you can download any necessary paper materials, and save money traveling.

5. One on one instruction with your teacher/tutor. Some of us will understand the information that instructor is sharing with them from the beginning while others need more explanation as well as time to absorb this information. Everyone comes to the school at their own level of knowledge and experience which may be inconvenient for some students. So it will bring you more comfort if you can ask questions one on one to your instructor, as you may be intimidated for any reason to ask them in the group. Taking an online course won’t mean that you will be all by yourself, your teacher will always be there for you, and you will definitely be able to communicate or share your thoughts with other students or ask questions, as these courses usually provide room for communication under lessons videos where you can chat.

6. Practice on a model may be more convenient when you have a one on one session with them while completing home assignments and you have enough time which is not limited by the class schedule. Or maybe you would like to excel in the course, and you would need more than one client to master a certain makeup look which is not possible during the classes at “in person’ makeup school. No one has the opportunity to wait for every student to complete a certain look in person, as you are learning as a group, not on an individual one on one basis.

These are some of the true benefits of choosing an online makeup course; you may find even more for yourself when researching what is right for you! Ultimately, you will have to decide what is the best method of education for you and your way of learning – in person education if available to you, may be a benefit if you have the free time, flexible schedule, and money to invest and prefer having a regulated schedule of learning that requires you to attend classes. Online courses offer the same benefits as an in person school and education but ultimately will offer more flexibility, at times closer communication with your instructors, and the benefit of learning no matter your location throughout the world!

How to work with your client: Top Do's and Don'ts!

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Let’s be honest, no one is perfect! We gain our experience through hits and misses, trial and error, we learn our lessons, and it is ok! I wish there was somebody right beside me every time I did a client’s makeup when I first started working as a freelance Makeup Artist, who told me what to do and what not to; but this is real life, and I’ve learnt a lot through my own experiences, practice, and by being very observant, reading and asking! Sometimes a client’s face can say it all (and sometimes you have to ask)! Your main goal is to always make your client happy and never frustrated; especially on her special day!

Being a Makeup Artist is a hard job as you always have different faces, different skin types, different expectations and different tempers in your chair. You have to be able to deal with all of them to become a really good artist! To achieve this you will need to constantly practice and try to improve your game by cruising the web to find answers and connecting with fellow artists from around the world, learning creative tips and tricks, or by randomly playing with makeup and trying/inventing new techniques. Some techniques or tricks will work on one client but they won’t work on another; you will need to perfect these techniques and "see it to believe it" (ie: practice!) before glamming them up!

In this article I will share with you my top do’s and don’ts while working with a client that I have collected personally from experience. This list will prove especially helpful if you are new in this profession as it will save you time and will help you a lot to avoid some critical “newbie” mistakes:

1.     Listen to your client! Always ask your client to show you a makeup look that she is into, as you have to see what exactly she means by “soft and natural”. Each client interprets a look in a different light. For some girls it will be a really soft makeup look using 1-2 eye shadows, a tiny bit of contouring, a thin eyeliner with a small wing and a nude lipstick, while for another one it will be Kim Kardashian’s full glam look with Kylie Jenner’s over lined lips! You have to be on the same page. This way you will do your job professionally and your client will be happy after once you are complete!

2.     Never do your client’s makeup in bad lighting. It is very easy to be tricked this way. You will see that makeup is perfectly blended and applied well but the minute your client steps outside in the daylight or in a better lit atmosphere, you will see that it is a disaster! Invest in a ring light or any other light you can take with you on location, this is a crucial tool of the trade and will help with your client’s makeup application always! Also, you always have to ask your client about the event she is going to attend as if it is in the open air (you will probably need more light foundation, you will use less contouring as daylight will make makeup accentuate skin’s imperfections even more and you will want her to look fresh and light) or if it is inside (then you can go a bit heavier with makeup).

3.     Always make sure that foundation is of the right color. You have to make sure that her face, neck and chest are of the same color. If you see that her face and neck are much lighter than the chest (especially if she wears an open dress) you have to take foundation that will be the same color as her chest and bring it down to the neck as well. If only her face is lighter, then use foundation that matches both neck and chest only on the face!

4.     Contouring is great, I love it! However, it is a great technique only when it is applied onto the right areas, properly blended and not visible. It is an illusion of shades and lights but not something that you are meant to clearly see! It is so easy to go overboard with it, especially on older clients. Take contouring shades that are not too warm as shades are cool not warm. Here comes the rule that we all know: less is more. Start with less contouring, you can always add if necessary.

5.     When highlighting do not chose a concealer that is too light, as if you take one that is 2-3 shades lighter it will look as though your client sunbathed in sunglasses! Also you have to apply it correctly: from the tear duct down to the nostril and up to the end of the eye (in a triangle shape). This way you will cover dark circles as well as brighten the whole under eye area.

6.     Brows are extremely important, they frame our faces. Do not neglect to fill them in especially if your client is wearing a full face makeup, without brows she will look strange and her face will be washed off. However, don’t be fooled by the new trend on Instagram for brows, brows have to look natural and not like you just painted them all with one color. Your inner part of the brow has to be much lighter than the tail. In this case, it is better to use a brow pencil or powder! You can always add extra product if you need your brows to be more bold for some reason. Today, bolder brows are a trend but always ask your client if she is ok with you making her brows a bit thicker because she may not be into it at all!

7.     Never experiment with something new on a client’s special day. You can do it on a trial, that’s what they are about; for example, choosing bolder colors on the eyes, or lips, or trying more dramatic eyeliner (of course if it is something that your client was looking for but never tried and would like to see if it suits her or not). Keep in mind, if it is an emotional day and she wants something she never wore before, it will be better to talk her out of it in a polite way as she may regret it and you will not have time to fix everything. She will have pictures of this event for the rest of her life and she doesn’t want to remember bitterness of this day instead of happiness! For this type of special day, it is always best to convince your client to choose a makeup look which will enhance her face features, looking more like herself.

8.     Make sure that the makeup that you create for your client will photograph well. It means that when they will be photographed with a flash there will not be any flashback (it is caused by SPF in moisturizer or foundation, or loose powder that has silica [it’s not the same as silicon or silicone]). Make sure your products are free of these ingredients, if possible (and test out the makeup look with photos as well)!

9.     Always hydrate your client’s face, under eye area and lips before putting on makeup! This way you will prevent foundation and concealer from being patchy, it will blend easier, as well as bold lip colors will look great on soft lips rather than on chapped ones. I would say skip the bold colors on the lips of your client if they are too dry.

10.  Highlighter has to be applied on certain areas to make your client glow from within rather than greasy! If you put highlighter on the tip of the long nose you will make it look even longer; if you apply too much highlighter onto the forehead it may look as though your client is sweaty! Stay away from chunky highlighters, they look unnatural on a face and may photograph unevenly making some spots on your face white.

11.  If your client has watery eyes opt for cream eye shadows, or waterproof eye shadow sticks, which will stay put much longer. You can also apply individual lashes on her or maybe it is a great idea to skip false lashes at all as the glue will be dissolved by tears.

12.  Do not bake! Baking makes your skin imperfections look more visible, as well as your older clients will see their wrinkles much better after baking! Do not do it, especially on under the eye area! You want your client to look younger not older after you’ve done your work! I would say use less powder. Apply just the right amount to set foundation but not to make the skin texture visible.

13.  Always ask your client if she is happy with her makeup. If you see any hesitation on her face insist on her telling you what you can change to make her 100% happy! Listen to her. And do exactly what she wants, not what you think would be better! (Though as the professional and artist it is always okay to kindly suggest options to your client).