There are about a million reasons why I love doing makeup; from the creative freedom it gives me all the way to the satisfaction of seeing someone’s face transform into its most perfect self. Yet what I love the most; why I fell in love with makeup, was the simple idea of creating wearable art that can be changed with the swoosh of an eye shadow brush. I suppose it’s this concept, the idea of makeup being art that first made me compare it to painting, and like painting, you’re constantly mixing colors together to get just that perfect shade. This is elementary school 101 folks and yet, apparently there are a lot of makeup artists out there who either don’t believe in mixing OR are too scared to venture outside the light end of the makeup spectrum.
Confused? Let me break it down, what I have found (and heard from many of my model and actor friends) is that there is apparently some colony of small minded makeup artists out there that subscribe to this ridiculous notion that doing makeup on anyone that isn’t white is too hard and/or confusing… MEANING they just won’t do it/never learned how/ you better bring in your own foundation or you’re going on screen with some scary version of what your skin color ACTUALLY is.
In elementary school, when all you had before you was your primary colors and that blank page before you just had to have a huge rainbow on it, what did you do? Throw your hands up and say, “TO HELL WITH IT!! This rainbow will have no orange or purple!!” No, you mixed red and yellow and viola! Orange!! You mixed blue and red and what did you get? Purple! IT’S FREAKING MAGIC!!! No, it’s common sense and these same basic principles can and NEED to be used in regards to makeup.
I know, you’re probably thinking, “Malia, why are you so fired up about this?” It’s simple, as a Caucasian makeup artist who spent A LOT of money training and buying and experimenting with different products to find the best foundations to match any color, I have lost many a job because whomever in charge didn’t believe that I, as a white girl, could match the color of anyone else that isn’t white.
Here’s a very humiliating example; I was the only MUA on a film about a year ago, the cast was primarily white and on the day we had our first non-white cast member come in the producers had hired, you guessed it, a non-white MUA to do their makeup. I was humiliated and it was awkward since neither him nor I expected to see the other. Also, if I had a dollar for every time someone sat in my chair and handed me their own personal foundation in case, “I have a hard time matching their skin” I would be a very, VERY rich woman. This pisses me off why? Because it’s other makeup artists whom have given credence to this idea!! Its other members of my own society who are too lazy to learn THEIR JOB which means I lose jobs! See the problem here?
Here are some tips, there is no “one size fits all” in regards to makeup. We have palettes in our kits for a reason! It’s so we can mix together the perfect shade foundation for each individual that sits in our chair. Skin is either going to have a warm or cool undertone, sometimes it can have both (ooooo tricky!!) then what do you do? Well thankfully for us MUA brands like Makeup Forever have come up with a product called Chromatic Mix and I swear they are the best thing since sliced bread! They are little color drops of red and yellow that you can add to your foundation to either make it warmer or cooler… Hallelujah!!!
As a makeup artist you have one job, get the talent ready and make them as a comfortable as possible. If that means playing the role of therapist, fine, if this means changing every little aspect of what you believe to be a beautiful application, fine, anything to please the talent. What it does NOT mean is make them feel like they are some foreign species with some far out there skin color that is impossible to match therefor requiring them to bring in their own foundation. There are too many resources out there for this to be a problem. Take a class, look it up on the internet, go to a make-up store to actually touch and feel different foundations. Understand that some foundations just don’t work on all skin colors and educate yourself on those products. Do whatever you have to do to become the kind of MUA who anyone would be happy to work with. The more people who are impressed with you, the more people will want to work with MUAs, and that will only result in more respect and jobs for our community.