Posts Tagged ‘makeup artistry’

January 2, 2014 8:01 am

The Truth about Acne, Part II

With a better idea as to how to outsmart our genes, we can move on to the trickier cause of acne — life. Stress and personal care products can, and will, cause acne flare-ups. In other words, unless you intend to live your life in your apartment avoiding all human contact and never allowing anything to come in contact with your skin, you are likely to encounter acne triggers on a daily basis.

When it comes to triggers, stress is the nastiest offender. We live in a dog-eat-dog world and chronic stress is as normal a part of our daily lives as breathing. Like a chain of dominos, it sends our adrenal glands into super-drive, boosting our sebum production and setting the stage for that uninvited guest, acne. I wish I could suggest a surefire way to prevent stress, but the truth is – it’s impossible. Something will always cause worry or anxiety in our lives and instead of pretending they aren’t there, its better to face our stressors head on.

The best defense against a stress trigger is a healthy lifestyle. If you think I am about to launch into a diatribe about cutting out all the junk, you’re wrong. I would never ask that you eat only healthy food, because that demand would set you up for failure. You can indulge yourself in this extra large, double cheese world, just as long as the good you consume surpasses the bad. It’s easier than you might think to add a vegetable. If you want that burger, have it with a salad instead of fries. Put frozen banana and Greek yogurt puree over your brownie instead of ice cream. The added dose of vitamins and antioxidants will send a pulse of nutrition directly throughout your body and that alone will do a great deal to keep the acne away. Another quick way to head off the stress monster is mind-body synchronization. As cliché as it sounds, deep breathing, yoga, or even a short jog in the park do will wonders not only for your skin, but also for your overall well-being. And, if it hasn’t already been made it crystal clear, the two are intimately connected.

As if genes and lifestyle aren’t enough, the products you choose to use on your skin may be the biggest offenders of all. Some of the most common “healthy” products are actually loaded with ingredients that cause or exacerbate acne. Here are some of the monsters to look out for. Lanolin is a common moisturizing agent, but being a fatty oil derived from sheep’s wool, it quickly coats the skin and blocks the pores. Artificial fragrance and dyes are the most frequently overlooked culprits. Found last on the ingredient list, these little devils ravage the face causing irritation and sensitivity. The end result is a swift boost in the production of protective sebum and you know where that leads.

Insider tip: artificial fragrance and color in skin care products will bring you no benefit. If acne and oily skin are your primary concern, you want to look for products that contain salicylic acid. This power player works fast to reduce swelling and redness, de-clog pores and minimize breakouts. In terms of multi-purpose, that single ingredient takes the cake. There is also a belief that people with oily skin do not need to moisturize and that could not be further from the truth. Water and oil are two completely different things and a balance of both is necessary for optimal skin health.

When it comes to acne, there is rarely a single cause. To successfully treat, clear and prevent breakouts, the cascade of events leading to their development must be controlled. A healthy lifestyle, regular facials and great home-care routine are the only way to keep the spots at bay.

These are just a few basics about the monster we call acne. The better you understand it, the more valuable you will be to your clients.


nathan johnsonWritten by Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment – his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.


December 26, 2013 8:41 am

The Truth about Acne, Part I

As a makeup artist, you will be required to hide breakouts. But you will also be looked to as a skin expert. It is one thing to be able to hide them, but if you can give your clients the information they need to prevent them you can become more than a makeup artist. You can become an invaluable resource.

There comes a moment in almost every person’s life when they wake up to find that acne has taken up residence on their face. It is a dreaded condition that almost all people have experienced to some degree at some point in their lives. One of the greatest misconceptions about this self-esteem destroying disorder is that it only affects adolescents and teenagers. Unfortunately, the increasing number of twenty-somethings who suffer from breakouts, oily skin and other such skin conditions debunk that myth.

Acne has many causes but the most common are genetics, stress and personal care products. The predisposition and behavior of our skin happens on a molecular level and, truth be told, it is something we have little to no control over. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take preventative counter measures to ensure those breakouts never see the light of day.

The most common genetic disorder that causes acne is called retention hyperkeratosis. It is a terribly ugly phrase that simply means you are producing more skin cells than you can shed. When these excess cells combine with the sebum you naturally produce, a pore blocking cement is formed. This cement settles into the pores depriving the follicles of oxygen and creating the ultimate breeding ground for bacteria. As the bacteria thrive, they invite along a few of their best pals–swelling, redness and inflammation. When left untreated, this perfect storm is an express pass to a face covered with pimples. Exfoliation is the only true way to outsmart retention hyperkeratosis. It’s plain logic – if you regularly slough off the excess skin there will be nothing left to mix with the sebum and plug the pores.

A second major genetic factor is an overactive pilosebaceous unit. In simpler terms, this means that the oil glands within the follicles are producing sebum at an above average rate. Most people think that harsh cleaning or over exfoliating will solve this, but it actually does the complete opposite. Skin that has been stripped will want to protect itself and the only way it can do this is by producing excess oil. It’s a total catch-22, and over-cleansing is definitely not an option. The key to calming oil production comes down to the ingredients in your products. Key players to look for are zinc salt and willow bark. These two powerhouses will help to regulate sebum production giving you the glowy, non-oily skin you have longed for.

Stay tuned! I’ll be going over more causes of acne, and how to overcome them.

nathan johnsonWritten by Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment – his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.

September 29, 2013 10:01 am

Jumpstart Your Makeup Artistry Career!

Makeup artistry career

So you’ve just graduated from QC Makeup Academy and are now faced with the challenge of entering the professional world of makeup artistry. You’ve spent time learning and honing your craft, and now it’s time to get out there and make a name for yourself!

Check Your Attitude

The makeup industry is full of competitive professionals, which is why it’s so important to put your best foot forward from the very start. Put a smile on your face, deck yourself out in a professional outfit, and walk into every client meeting with a great attitude. This will make all the difference. The relationship between a client and their makeup artist can be a very personal one – even if it is brief – and it will leave a lasting impression. Make sure that lasting impression is a good one, and it will lead to rave reviews and referrals.


Talk to any successful makeup artist, and they’ll tell you that networking is the key to their success. The most important thing we want you to remember is how effective word of mouth is. Don’t underestimate the power of a spoken referral from your client to one of their friends. That one rave review might just be the thing that skyrockets your career.

Look into creating a website and linking it to various social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.  If you’re a current student, we go into detail on this subject in the Using Social Media guide found in the Career Center of your Online Student Center.

Design and print a lot of business cards, and take them with you wherever you go. Leave a business card with your clients at the end of every session, and get creative when thinking of possible connections. Approach places like wedding and event venues, wedding planners, and hair salons and ask to leave a stack of your business cards with each. Wedding planners in particular are usually seeking talented makeup artists in their area to keep on call for their brides. Just remember that your business card will be speaking for you, so invest some time and money into making them stand out and ensuring your message is clear.

Ask Advice and Job Shadow

Through your training with QC Makeup Academy we’ve given you all the tools and skills you’ll need to work as a competent professional in the makeup industry, but that doesn’t mean you’re journey will be hiccup free. You’ll still have a lot to learn about the work environment.

The best way to become acquainted with this fast-paced work setting is to grab some advice from a fellow professional. Ask them how they began their career, and even inquire to see if they would be willing to have you shadow or assist them at their next job. You’ll be surprised by how much you learn. Just make sure the advice you get is coming from a seasoned professional who has your best interests in mind; we suggest contacting a makeup artist who works outside of your area (i.e. they’re not in direct competition with you for clients) and who has a few years of experience under their belt.

Stay Current

In this ever-changing, dynamic field it’s important to keep up to speed with top industry news. Subscribe to beauty and fashion magazines, well-known blogs, and any industry related publications. Also make sure to keep your skills and makeup knowledge up to date with continuing education options like our new Pro Makeup Workshop with Nathan Johnson. Never stop looking for inspiration!

In Conclusion…

Starting off in the makeup industry can sometimes be a slow and frustrating process, but once you get your foot solidly in the door you’ll find yourself working in a successful, fun, and rewarding career!

If you’re a current student, don’t forget to check for updates in the Career Center of your Online Student Center – we continually update the information there to ensure you have the best resources at your fingertips. If you’re not already enrolled with us, get in touch with our Support Team. They ‘re always happy to answer any questions you might have about our Academy!


Signs Makeup Artistry Is Right For You!

There’s no doubt that the field of makeup artistry is an exciting place to work. A makeup artist’s career is thrilling as no two work days are ever exactly the same, and immense satisfaction comes from being able to use makeup to transform any client – whether you’re using it to highlight someone’s best features to help them to look their best, or using it to create thrilling characters.

Over the years QC Makeup Academy has helped thousands of students on their journey to becoming talented professionals in the field of makeup artistry. We know what it takes to succeed. Take a read through the list of traits below to see if makeup artistry is for you!

  1. You love working with your hands and getting messy-creative
  2. You could spend hours experimenting with different makeup and skin care products
  3. You have endless amounts of creativity and imagination
  4. You have confidence in yourself and an outgoing personality
  5. Good communication and interpersonal skills
  6. You are able to take direction and accept criticism
  7. You enjoy interacting closely with others
  8. You have excellent listening skills
  9. You find you are able to see beauty in everything, even where it’s not most obvious
  10. You like to be on time and don’t mind working long, sometimes erratic hours
  11. You are comfortable working independently, but also with others in a team environment
  12. You have a natural knack for knowing how to mix colors and textures

As in any industry, you’ll succeed as long as you work hard and always put your best foot forward. If you’re thinking about starting a career in makeup artistry, contact the School at 1-800-267-1829. Have a chat with one of our student support specialists to see if you’re future lies in makeup artistry! You can also email us at


At QC Makeup Academy we’re always asked questions about beauty products and dilemmas by our students. One of the most common questions has to do with the problems of setting powder. Even young women can find it settling into fine lines, and making them look much older than they are. We decided to put the question to celebrity makeup artist Nathan Johnson. Read his tips below!

QC: As one gets older is less often more with make-up? I am having trouble with “setting” powder being too obtrusive, especially around the fine lines of the eyes. Sometimes I avoid the powder all together there. What am I doing wrong? Please help!

Nathan: This is truly an excellent question. Powder and makeup settling in and around fine lines is an issue that professionals and women at home deal with.

Your question is tricky because with liquid or cream foundation, setting powder is necessary. Without it, your makeup will run, crease, and have a lot less longevity. There are a few things that may be at fault. So let’s look at them one by one until we find the culprit.

First of all, regardless of a woman’s age, when it comes to foundation and setting powders, less is ALWAYS more. Skin is a beautiful thing and you should not hide it. Perfect it, yes. Hide it, no. I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing only the level of coverage that you need. If you have chosen a texture of foundation that is too heavy, it’s going to look even heavier when you set it. Believe it or not, the weight of your powder may be the fault of your foundation or concealer. If you are using cream, have you tried liquid or tinted moisturizer? We usually need a lot less than we think to create the illusion of perfection.

If you find you’re using the right texture of foundation, then setting powder is probably the culprit. Talc powders can grab onto the foundation and force everything into the fine lines giving you the look of an ancient paper maché mask (I’m being a bit dramatic). And the problem only gets worse when your oil starts to come through the makeup.

There is one sure-fire way to combat this. Use a setting powder that is silica or mica based. Setting FX Setting Powder and Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder (pictured at right) are both 100% talc free. Both powders have absolutely no texture, so when you rub them between your fingers they disappear like a fine silk. And, no texture means no settling into fine lines. Put a touch on the end of a fluffy brush and lightly tap it onto your skin. The foundation will grab only what it needs. The formulations are 100% mineral based, non-drying to the skin, and the reflectivity of the mica picks up the light and makes the skin look even more luminous. Is that not awesome?

Solve the problem by following these steps and I have no doubt you will look flawless all day long.

nathan johnson
Written by Nathan Johnson
Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment – his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog


Image via

April 29, 2013 2:33 pm

The Do’s and Don’ts of Lip Liner

Lip liner has had its fair share of hits and misses over the last couple decades. Just like fashion, makeup has trends that come in and out of style. A dark bold liner with a pale lipstick is definitely a trend we have seen come and go… personally, I’m very glad to see it go! Today I’m going to talk about my current uses for lip liner and ways to wear it that are modern and current.

The Do's and Don'ts of Lip Liner

First up…

Choose a lip liner in the same color as your lipstick and apply it all over the lip. This will help in multiple ways. One, it will prevent the lipstick from bleeding onto the skin around the lips. Two, it will help create a super long-lasting color. This is especially helpful with bright, bold colors. Here is an example of matching lip liners to lipsticks (they don’t have to be dead on and they don’t have t o be the same brand or shade!).

Lipstick: Image

Lip Liner: Image


Lip liner is a great way to neutralize the lip. It creates a colorless base that you can then add color to. You might want to do this if you or your client have naturally red lips and you would like to create a pale, nude lip. Sometimes when you apply a nude lipstick onto an already naturally red lip you get an odd, muddy color. To avoid this, take a lip liner that is a shade or two lighter than the lips and fill in the lips with it, then go ahead and apply the light nude lipstick over top.

Lipstick: Image

Lip Liner: Image

The finished result, the perfect nude pout…

The Perfect Nude Lip


Use liner to subtly enhance the lips to make them appear slightly larger. To keep this look modern and chic you want to avoid over-lining. Use a lip liner that matches your lip color and line on top of or just outside of the natural lip line. This will make the lips appear larger, but not unnaturally so. Either fill in the lip with the liner or pop on a lipstick of your choice

Lip liner is a small detail in your look that can really add that polished, professionally applied looking finish. Lips will be that much more precise and defined, whether it be a nude lip or a bold lip. Hope that helped you guys out!

brittany hall
Written by Brittany Hall
Makeup by Brittany
Visit Brittany on Twitter and Facebook

Brittany Hall has established herself as a freelance makeup artist, with over five years experience in the industry. She’s also an established blogger – on “Makeup by Brittany”, she blogs about fashion, beauty, home decor, and makeup. She brings her flair to the QC blog with regular posts about her experience in the beauty biz.


April 4, 2013 2:45 pm

How To – Day to Night Makeup Looks

Women don’t just work hard; they live and play hard as well. Daily life is busier and more hectic than ever. Work, romance, and fun flow one into another, so it only makes sense that we have a makeup plan that can transition with us.

The idea of changing makeup seems like way too much work for most women. But it is our job as artists to teach our clients the tricks that make transitioning far less of a task. Since most women wear the basics during the day (foundation, liner, and mascara), I am going to cover some quick tricks that will change any makeup look from daytime to party-ready in a flash.

Foundation Touch-up

Using the pinky finger, or a small synthetic brush, reapply the perfect shade of foundation to areas where it has worn away. Under the eyes and around the nose are two places to pay attention to. People touch, tug, and wipe their noses constantly, and this tiny fix will do wonders.


Most people develop a bit of shine during the day. So tone it down by dusting a light touch of powder over the entire face. If you don’t want to take a powder brush everywhere with you, cotton balls do an amazing job. Now remember, I said a light dusting. The goal is to tone down the shine…so less is more.


If eyeliner and mascara are left over from the morning, don’t reapply. Lets dress up the lids by applying a soft, sultry shade, one that will immediately jazz up the eye. Go from the lash line right up to the crease. Lining the lower lid will add depth and definition. Use an angle brush or a pencil to add the color. If you want an extra pop, liquid eyeliner is really your best bet. Use it only on your upper lid…and if you want to get the cat eye, pull it just beyond the outer corner and flick it up.


To make the mouth pop at night, depth and drama are key. The easiest way to get the look is to apply a shade of lipstick or gloss that is two shades deeper than the color you wear for the day.

These day-to-night tricks are really simple, but you will see that the finish is a universally flattering, slightly more dramatic version of the daytime look. The perfect combination of depth and darkness will guarantee you a flawless face that will look great in any nighttime lighting.

Here’s a tip. Have your client assemble a small make-up bag that fits in her purse or desk drawer. Then she will always have everything she needs to make the day-to-party transition.

nathan johnsonWritten by Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment – his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.


March 31, 2013 2:23 pm

Get the Look: Sun-Kissed, Dewy Skin

Get The Look

Makeup trends are constantly changing and evolving. There are always different looks that are more popular during different times. For a long time, having perfectly matte porcelain skin was the it look. Now, trends tend to be turning more towards a dewy, sun-kissed look. This look is flattering on all skin types and all ages. Dewy skin is a sign of youth, so achieving this look on a more mature client is ideal. There are a few different ways to achieve this look. Here are a few…

First off, getting that sun-kissed glow…

Adding a little warmth flatters any skin tone, if done properly. Achieving that sun-kissed look is just a few steps away. Lucky are those with naturally sun-kissed skin, but for those of us who need some help to achieve the look, we can do so by using a few simple products. Using a self-tanner is always a great way to achieve a safe sun-kissed glow, but if you are looking for a quick fix, try a liquid bronzer or bronzing gel. Apply it before any makeup and be sure to apply the product all the way down your neck (if applying on a client, use a foundation brush for your application). A product like this can be used on any skin tone, even extremely pale skin – just be sure to blend! Look for a “bronzer gel” or “liquid bronzer,” like this product from Clarins called “Self-Tanning Instant Gel.”

Next up, adding a dewy sheen to the skin…

Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer

Personally, I love the Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer! Use this product on its own or mix with a foundation. If you decide to use this product on its own, I suggest setting with a matte powder or bronzer to take down a bit of the sheen.

Illuminating Primer

There are tons of illuminating primers out there. This is a great one by Fresh called Twilight Fresh Faced Glow. Apply before foundation for that lit from within glow coming from underneath the foundation.

Liquid Illuminator

Liquid illuminators are a more concentrated formula. That means they are almost opaque in their finish. That being said, you want to be more careful with your application. A liquid illuminator is perfect for mixing with foundations or applied sparingly to certain areas of the face. Lightly tap and blend with your fingertips onto the tops of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, or anywhere you want to highlight. Usually these products come in a few different shades. Choosing an appropriate shade for your skin tone is important. For example, this Illamasqua illuminator comes in three shades: “Glimmer – Golden Tan,” “Odyssey – White Pearl” and “Poised – Pale Pink.” A darker or olive complexion would benefit from the golden tan shade while a more porcelain skin would complement the white pearl shade.

Any of these three products is a great way to add light reflection and an illuminating finish to your look. Like I said, mixing a liquid illuminator with your foundation is a great option, and using an illuminating primer as the base for your foundation will do the trick as well.

Follow up with a bronzer and blush to finish the look and ta-dah! Beautiful, dewy, sun-kissed skin!

brittany hallWritten by Brittany Hall
Makeup by Brittany
Visit Brittany on Twitter and Facebook

Brittany Hall has established herself as a freelance makeup artist, with over five years experience in the industry. She’s also an established blogger – on “Makeup by Brittany”, she blogs about fashion, beauty, home decor, and makeup. She brings her flair to the QC blog with regular posts about her experience in the beauty biz.


Image 1 via
All other images via


March 27, 2013 6:46 pm

Bronze, Blush, and Highlight

Bronze, blush, and highlight – the three key staples to a flawless complexion. Once you have perfected and neutralized (removed any redness, dark circles and spots) the skin with foundation and concealer it’s time to bring back the color and definition. Sometimes after we apply foundation we feel a little washed out or pale. Bronzer, blush, and highlighter are perfect ways to brighten up the face!

There are no rules for the order of application. I prefer to apply bronzer, blush, then highlighter – in that order – but you may have another method and that’s okay too! I find that applying bronzer first allows you to see the face shape better and identify where you need to apply the other two products.

When applying bronzer you want to focus on the hollows of the cheeks, the top of the forehead, and underneath the jaw bone. This is a gentle contour for the face and helps the face appear thinner and more sculpted.

When applying blush, focus on the apples of the cheeks blending back towards the ear, basically right above where you have applied the bronzer. Use small circular buffing motions to apply the blush. This will help with an even application of product and a natural finish.

Lastly, highlighter should be applied where you want to highlight certain areas of the face. Applying highlighter to the tops of the cheek bones helps to accentuate the contouring you have already done. With the darker bronzer in the hollow of the cheekbone (drawing it in) and a bright highlight on the top of the cheekbone (drawing it out) you’re really able to make cheekbones appear more pronounced. You can also apply highlighter along the bridge of the nose up into a V on the forehead, as well as temples, centre of the chin, cupids bow (just above the upper lip), and brow bone!

Here is a diagram I drew to give you a visual on these application tips!

bronze blush and highlight

Model: Siobhan Bolton / Makeup: Brittany Hall

brittany hallWritten by Brittany Hall
Makeup by Brittany
Visit Brittany on Twitter and Facebook

Brittany Hall has established herself as a freelance makeup artist, with over five years experience in the industry. She’s also an established blogger – on “Makeup by Brittany”, she blogs about fashion, beauty, home decor, and makeup. She brings her flair to the QC blog with regular posts about her experience in the beauty biz.


When you’re just starting out, the pay can be unpredictable, and the world of makeup artistry is no different. It can be difficult to secure regular work – and get a paycheck for it! So what can you expect from a makeup artist salary?

The answer is – it depends. Here are a few factors that can affect makeup artist salary:


Makeup artists in large urban centers have more opportunity to earn a higher living, compared to their rural counterparts. They have a larger pool of potential clients, more access to high paying industries (like film and editorial), and generally a wealthier client base. However, with more opportunity comes more competition – definitely something to consider.


Makeup artists often start as freelancers, and while it takes some time to fill up your schedule with new clients, this field offers the most freedom. The potential earnings are the lowest in the industry – about $30,000 annually, on average – but it’s a great way to make connections and get your name out there, especially when you’re starting out.


A huge opportunity for makeup artists is to work at a beauty counter or under a major cosmetic label. It might not offer the creative freedom of freelance work, but it does offer a consistent salary, with the possibility of benefits as well. The average annual income for a makeup artist in this field is $35,000.

TV and Stage

If you live in an area with a thriving television or theatrical scene, a career as a makeup artist on the set of a television show or theater company could be a very lucrative option. In this field, you have the potential to earn anywhere between $45,000 and $75,000, depending on your experience and skill level. If you’re interested in this career path, QC Makeup Academy offers a Master Makeup Artistry course that teaches makeup for theater, live stage performance, and television.

The possibilities are practically limitless. There is a lot of money to be made in makeup artistry, and a field that’s suitable for any MUA.

Image via