Nobody thinks twice about going to a salon to have their hair or nails done. A lot of people don’t realize there is a market for makeup and spray tanning in salons as well.
From special occasions like weddings and graduations to makeovers to help someone feel their best and most beautiful, there are countless reasons for someone to get their makeup done in a salon.
Laura Nadeau is a professional traveling makeup artist who splits her time between New York City and Virginia, and also runs the mobile makeup and spray tanning service Lo and Co. We talked to Laura to find out what opportunities are out there for makeup and spray tanning in salons, how to accomplish some recent looks that are particularly challenging, and what’s particularly in right now.
Where do you get your makeup inspiration?
I get inspiration from street style, red carpet, runway and nature. However, my true inspiration comes form each individual and their face. I can do many beautiful looks on a woman, but I’m looking for a look in which she will feel special. I ask questions to find out their “makeup personality” and go from there.
I always start with basic corrective makeup and then tailor my work to suit the individual. Sometimes, you need to show them something they didn’t even know that they liked; but when you are in a time-sensitive environment, it’s best to stick to your go-to looks. I carry my iPad with me and have loads of images on my Pinterest account so I can show each client what I’m talking about . Miscommunication happens all the time, so I like to get a verbal and visual confirmation.
If someone is going to a salon for makeup services, especially for important events like weddings or photo shoots, will makeup artists provide some kind of trial to make sure the client is getting what he or she wants?
If it is an important situation, why wouldn’t you have a trial? It’s not fair to the makeup artist to expect her to a “perfect” job without a prior consult and trial. Conversely, if a MUA doesn’t offer a trial or contract, or have a price structure, run away – because they aren’t professional and they don’t do many weddings!
What sort of preparations does someone need to do before getting a professional makeup job?
Skip the facial – that can stir up breakouts, and foundation covers your skin anyway – and GROOM YOUR BROWS one to two days prior. I’m always amazed at how many people show up with crazy brows and I don’t have time to do a full brow session on a busy day. A little cleanup is expected, but some clients come in with three months of growth.
Clean, bare skin is great. However, if someone has makeup on, it’s nice to see how they apply it. Taking off loads of eye makeup will irritate the eye, but foundation generally wears off by the time someone sits in my chair and is easy to remove.
What are some makeup techniques that might make for a striking photograph if someone were shooting in black and white?
B&W photography needs depth and dimension to really pop. This is a great time to play up bone structure with facial contouring (not everyday, like the Kardashians!). Build up your natural features like brows and (fake) lashes, do a dramatic eyeliner, and define your lip with a lipstick. It won’t look like much makeup when photographed, which is kind of the point for a portrait.
How can a makeup artist compensate for the bright lights that are sometimes used during a photo shoot?
The brighter the light, the more diffused the makeup will look; so you need to make everything bolder, thicker or darker. This is tricky, because if you are used to doing makeup that looks good in natural light, you have a tendency to go too light.
Since I do a lot of bridal makeup that needs to look good in person and on-camera, I have to work on going bolder for photo shoot makeup, especially editorial looks; and I try to place the client/model in the lighting after a first layer of makeup, then see what I need to pump up. I will take a quick photo with my phone, or ideally have the photographer snap a shot. It is a photo shoot, so it only matters how the makeup translates on camera.
One also has to consider the lighting setup. What is the color temperature of the lights? Is the lighting from one source only? Is there a key light? These are what pros are for, since it takes years of experience to understand how makeup looks and reads under a variety of lights.
What are some makeup styles that are in right now that are hard to achieve – which could warrant a trip to the salon?
Contouring, false lashes and smokey eyes, and a cat or winged-out liner. It’s not only that they are difficult to do, but it is impossible to look at your own face from different angles and perspectives to see if the technique looks good.
You also offer on-site makeup and spray tan services. What are some situations where this could come in handy?
It’s wonderful for the client if they don’t have to travel, especially for weddings or photo shoots. However, a tight space that can get hot and stuffy doesn’t work. Spray tanning is great because you don’t have to move around with the tacky solution; but once again, you need proper air flow and decent lighting. I can bring lighting and I have a pop up tent for spray tanning, but not every artist does.
On-site is great if you have the right set up for makeup. Dark rooms with no windows are difficult. Natural lighting is the best; if it looks good in that scary light where you can see every pore, it will look good photographed. Also, always face the light (sit facing the window or light source).
For someone looking into getting into doing makeup professionally, how should they go about building a portfolio? What are the most essential skills to master?
I have taught a MUA class at a beauty school, and the biggest hurdle is trying to communicate that doing makeup is not about doing what you want to do on your own face. Sure, it’s important to hone your technique, but that comes with experience. What I can’t teach is how to listen to your client, art director, or photographer and decipher what they want. It is rare to be told to “do what you want” and it is a double-edged sword. People may not know what they want, but they always know what they DON’T want.
Also, the makeup industry doesn’t have much demand for new makeup artists. It’s difficult to make steady money doing makeup, and it takes someone who has a lot of hustle. You can’t make a living doing your friends’ and families’ makeup; this is a business. The hardest part is finding the people that want to find you. You have a website, great – but the internet is glutted with information, and it takes a lot of time, energy, and money to get noticed.
To Find Out About More Opportunities For Hair & Makeup Professionals, Check Out Our Courses!