Spotlight on Makeup Artist + Influencer Svetlana Kobaliya

OMA STORIES - Sveta - BW.jpg

Svetlana Kobaliya is a professional Makeup Artist, Hairstylist, Esthetician, and beauty influencer. She first attended college majoring in management and after graduation began work in the engineering and legal fields. Although successful in her day job, deep down she knew that she needed to follow her passion for the beauty industry. Svetlana then took a leap of faith - entering the industry in a roundabout way by applying for an administration position at a day spa (always take those first steps, no matter how far they seem from your ultimate goal, to find your way into the field you love!). It was there that she confirmed she had found herself in the right environment and was determined to continue to pursue her goals and dreams of realizing a career as an artist in the beauty industry.

Svetlana then studied to become an Esthetician, and while specializing in skin care she surrounded herself with knowledge (education is key!) in all things beauty. However, her ultimate dream was to become a Certified Makeup Artist, as her true passion was applying her artistry through makeup on herself and others. “I wanted to learn more and wanted to be validated [in my artistry], that is why I wanted to have the certification. I know that this passion for the industry will not go away for me.” The rest is history!

Through the Online Makeup Academy she was able to fulfill this dream, and add another credential to her ever growing professional resume and educational platform. She has excelled in her talents and continues to inspire others through her artistry in makeup and hair (her YouTube channel includes full makeup tutorials and hairstyling tutorials as well as reviews and inspirational content!).

In her YouTube video below Svetlana explains in detail her experience with our OMA Makeup Artist course and Pro Hairstyling course (she has both courses under her belt!). Her star continues to shine and she has become a sought after beauty influencer (for good reason!) - be sure to follow her Instagram @svetakobaliya + YouTube (video links below!)

“If you really want something, you have to help yourself achieve it. There is nothing like being surrounded by like minded people everyday and going to work doing something you love.” - Svetlana Kobaliya

Svetlana continued her education with the PRO Hairstyling course, reviewing the course kit and styles covered throughout the course!


We’ve loved working with Svetlana and are so excited to see her artistry and platform as an influencer and beauty professional soar to endless heights!



When you’re just starting your career as a makeup artist it may take you more time to finish a makeup look than if you are a skilled professional with several years of experience. This is pretty normal, as with practice you will manage to eventually create the same look in a shorter period of time and figure out ways to increase your productivity, which will quickly become your signature tricks. 

Sometimes you may need to speed up your makeup application for a client depending on the project and time restrictions; imagine the situation when your client has only 30-40 min for her makeup to be complete and she wants the same full glam look she gets from you every time with a perfect application and blending! Or maybe you have booked a bridal party of 6-8 bridesmaids who need to be ready in 5 hours. All of them! What can you do?

You have to find ways that will make your work faster, more efficient, and most importantly without sacrificing the quality. Here are a few professional and time saving tricks to help guide you and make your work more practical as you take on more clients throughout your career:

1.          Remember that if you always have everything from your kit in the same order every time you’re doing a client’s makeup it will make it easier to find a certain brush, pencil, or any other product! Organization is a huge time saver.

  • It is very convenient to have all groups of products in one plastic bag (they are sold online or as a part of a makeup case/bag). Eye shadows in one bag, bronzers, blushes, highlighters, liquid lipsticks, etc. Brushes can be conveniently placed in the brush case in a certain order that you prefer (from first application to last is a great tip!)

2.          To save time for your client to choose a product color/type (lipstick, blushes, foundations, contour, eyeshadow, etc!):

  • Depot all of your products into a palette. They are sold by different companies ( is a favorite of ours!) and you can choose the one that will work best for you. A client that sees all of the available product colors/types at once will make a decision much faster than when you have to open every individual lipstick or other products separately.

3.          Doing eye liner on a client can sometimes be the most difficult process in makeup application, even for skilled makeup artists. Find the easiest and fastest way of doing it, for you and your individual application process and technique. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a gel or liquid eye liner:

  • Eye pencils sometimes are easier and faster to apply. Even when you apply it not so evenly the first time, you can go over it with a flat synthetic brush afterwards making the line smooth and maybe even a bit smoked out. Just drag the brush with the rest of the product left on it outwards prolonging the line and you will get a nice soft wing. Perfect eye liners made with gel or liquid products are really time-consuming and need practice – therefore this trick can really save you and your precious time!

4.          If the look your client is going for is still a sharp and edgy eye liner:

  • Use tape to perfect your angles for the perfect line. Just remember to stick it couple of times on your arm to reduce the tackiness (they also make cosmetic / styling tape - which we highly recommend over traditional tape!), then attach it at the right angle kind of prolonging the lower lash line outwards and it will be much easier for you to draw a perfect wing without taking a lot of extra time for perfection when applied completely freehand. After you’re done remove the tape and apply concealer if the tape budged some of your previous application.

5.          If your client is looking for a smokey eye but you are short on time:

  • Use cream eye shadow. You can take a soft brown color or even a color with shimmer to it and apply all over the lid, blend the edges with a synthetic brush, maybe apply a tiny bit of lighter eye shadow onto the center of the eye lid to add dimension, highlight the brow bone and inner corner, and your smokey eyes are done! It will definitely take much less time than to create smokey eyes by blending all these eye shadows in the crease creating a definition and ombré effect, and achieves a very similar application when complete.

6.          Applying mascara onto the natural lashes after false lashes are applied will save you time as well.

  • You will skip the step where you apply mascara first and then apply falsies. Second, after you applied falsies you need to press natural lashes into them to make your lashes more natural looking. This way, if you apply mascara after the falsies are on you will save time twice.

7.          If for any reason you have to go darker with eye makeup and you have already finished the look:

  • To save it from eye shadow fall out use Shadow Shields. Using a tissue in this case and press it every time you apply darker eye shadow will be very inconvenient and time consuming. Also, these shields can be used as a tape for the perfect wing we were discussing about above.

8.          If your client wants a look with glitter:

  • Do not apply loose glitter as it will be all over the client’s face and it will require additional time to clean any fall out. Instead, use a pressed glitter or a glitter in a tube (like a glitter eye liner). They will apply perfectly onto the eye lid without any fall out and will stay all day and night!

9.          Good light will save you a lot of time as you will see how you apply and blend products onto a client’s face right away, without the need to ask her to come “into the light” for you to see if everything looks good.

  • The top time saving tip? Invest in a good (and portable) lighting system. Especially if you work on site and do not know what the light will be in every job that you will have.

10.      Also working in a more comfortable position means that you will save energy and will be working faster than if you would need to bend all the time to the client’s face, you will soon get tired and even exhausted, your back will hurt, your hands may get shaky and makeup application can turn into something really hard to accomplish.

  • Get yourself a makeup chair (we actually recommend portable chairs from Ikea or other stores as they will be more comfortable and sturdier than a traditional director’s style chair). When a client’s face is on the level of your face it will make your work more pleasant and thus much faster (and you will feel so much better at the end of the day!). Always remember to take care of yourself, too!


Top Makeup Misconceptions

OMA STORIES - Makeup Misconceptions.jpg

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!

Drugstore 'Dupe' Makeup Kit

OMA STORIES - Drugstore Dupe Makeup Kit.jpg

We all know that makeup can be expensive, and as a professional Makeup Artist, you may need to buy products more often (foundation, powder, mascara) while others less often (eye shadows/palettes, lipsticks, brow products); however we also know that either way, as a professional who is running their own business, it is always a positive benefit to save money whenever and wherever you can!

How to save money?

1) You can keep in close contact for sales from time to time when you can get high end makeup products at 30-50% off or even more (Sephora has an amazing sale section, especially after the holidays!).

2) Utilize those PRO cards! Remember, you will always receive up to 40% off brand name makeup products from our partners, once you have completed our Online Makeup Academy course(s).

3) Recently (and this may be the most interesting to follow), you can locate that “coveted new makeup product” (the style that was just released and is hot and on trend!) through a drugstore makeup ‘dupe'. Makeup aficionados have recently honed in on the fact that multiple drugstore brands will produce “makeup dupes (duplicates)”- that’s how they started to call it- of the high-end products, which do the same job, or sometimes can be even better than some expensive products.

Today, we have a lot of inexpensive brands that produce amazing quality products at great prices. Think it over, can you justify paying much more for a product if there is one that is available that is similar and is the same color, texture and looks and feels the same way? Depending on your need, budget, and reason for purchase – it may make the most sense to go for the comparable product that is less expensive.

The concept of makeup dupes have recently become so popular that you will see a lot of makeup artists (or aspiring artists!) and beauty influencers making it their goal to find duplicate substitutes of a current hot product. There are even newly created groups on social media discussing makeup products, drugstore brands, and their hits or misses. As well as asking for reviews to see if a specific more expensive product is actually worth the money, or if there is in fact a dupe instead for the high-end product. Especially once a new product is released, you will almost instantly find information pertaining to what dupe can be used instead of this new release. This makes it great for the average makeup lover, but pretty tough for high end brands to compete with, right? Let's use this to our advantage!

As a benefit to our Online Makeup Academy followers and students, we have decided to embrace this trend and provide a makeup dupe list of our Professional Makeup Kit that we offer as an added bonus for our students. This way – if you have received our kit, and you are looking for an alternative replacement, you will be able to replenish without worrying about the cost (we provide you with the brand name products, but we realize that not everyone can afford this or would like to replace the same product within their kit!). You may even want to substitute and/or create a brand new kit with the comparable versions (the “dupes”) of the products that we include in our exclusive brand name professional makeup kit, which will save you money in the long run.

This list will also help our students who choose to sign up for the course without the option of our Professional Makeup Kit (maybe we are unable to ship to your location, or you have other reasons for opting out of our brand name kit). With this comprehensive list, you will know exactly what product you can substitute with to create the foundation of the professional makeup kit that is right for you.

First and foremost, our course provides knowledge and education, the specific tools (makeup products) can be different depending on your needs (we provide the makeup kit selected from our instructors as an added bonus!) You can achieve the same great look by using these suggested drugstore products. It’s all about your education, practice and technique. Our goal is to deliver top notch industry education, value, and tools (including cosmetics), but which brand of cosmetics you select, are not crucial – it will be dependent upon what works best for you and your clients. Your skills, practice, and dedication to your client satisfaction are what will always matter the most. This is what we hope our students will take away, and the backbone of what our online course provides you with. 

Here are the list of ‘Drugstore Dupe’ Makeup Kit products which you can substitute with our brand name exclusive Online Makeup Academy Professional Makeup Kit:


1. First of all, you have to have a variety of foundations in your kit. Or at least you can have lighter and darker shades and then mix them together to create a custom color for your client (this is what we provide directly in our kit with the Make Up For Ever HD Foundations + MUFE 11 Foundation Palette).
Here, as a drugstore duplicate, we recommend getting MAYBELLINE Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation $8 each:

Truffle 362

Classic Tan 335

Classic Ivory 120

Natural Beige 220

122 copy.jpg

You can purchase the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation here:

This foundation will substitute our Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation and will be a great alternative option.

2. As for concealers a great option will be MAYBELLINE Fit Me Concealer, $7 each:




221 copy.jpg

You can purchase the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer here:

This concealer will substitute our Make Up For Ever 11 Foundation Palette.

3. Eyeshadow - there are a lot of great quality but inexpensive eyeshadows available on the market, but we would love to recommend BH COSMETICS Neutral Eyes 28 Color Eyeshadow Palette, $14.

333A copy.jpg

You can purchase BH Cosmetics Neutral Eyes 28 Color Eyeshadow Palette here:

4. For color corrector, we recommend BH COSMETICS brand 6 Pc Color Concealer & Corrector Palette, $7.

2 copy.jpg

You can purchase here:

5. Drugstore mascaras sometimes are even better than high-end ones. We highly recommend L’Oreal® Paris Voluminous Original Mascara, $8.

444A copy.jpg

You can purchase here:

This concealer will substitute our Make Up For Ever Excessive Lash Arresting Volume Mascara.

6. Best drugstore eye liner to substitute Inglot gel liner will be RIMMEL LONDON ScandalEyes Gel Eyeliner, $6.

555A copy.jpg

You can purchase here:

This eyeliner will substitute our Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel #77.

7. To set your makeup we recommend using NYX Professional Makeup Studio Finishing Powder, $10.

666A copy.jpg

You can purchase here:

This powder will substitute the Inglot setting Powder found within our kit.

8. For lips, we recommend the BH Nude Lips - 28 Color Lipstick Palette, $13.

1BH copy.jpg

You can purchase here:

9. Blush and Contour we recommend using ULTA Complete Face 3-in-1 Palette, $14.

3 copy.jpg

You can purchase here:

10. For excellent quality yet affordable brushes, we recommend the SHANY Ombre Pro 10 Piece Essential Brush Set with Travel Pouch, $15.

4 copy.jpg

You can purchase here:

11. Last, but not least, the Mixing Plate with Spatula, $7.

5d copy.jpg

You can purchase here:

So your TOTAL for the whole kit is $147, not bad, right?! The money saved can apply to continued education, new products to increase your kit's benefits, or more color options to offer to a wide variety of clients.

With your clients, the best thing that we recommend is to use a mix of brands in your kit. All brands do different things well, they all have hits and misses. You must choose products that work best for you and the type of client you are working with. It will take time for you to familiarize yourself with what works best for you and for each individual job. Some clients may think that the more expensive product the more benefits it will bring them and it will look better. Of course, using luxurious brands can make a client feel pampered (so maybe splurge on one or two products eventually to have in your kit, if you’d like!), but as we would like to continuously emphasize; the products are not what makes the difference but your skills do! Any client will recognize this once you have made them feel their best through your talent and artistry!