Friends, every week I encourage you to email me if you should find yourself with a burning beauty question. Every week, you do. And I love chatting with you and recommending products.
But some beauty questions have come in often enough that they’ve moved past burning — we’re at full-on inferno status.
This is one:
“What do I say to a makeup artist so I get a great makeover and don’t in the end look like a drag queen/streetwalker/member of the Kardashian family?”
First, a caveat: There is absolutely nothing wrong with looking like a drag queen or streetwalker or member of the Kardashian family. But if you’re looking for a nice, everyday, “no-makeup-makeup” look, you probably won’t be happy with any of those three outcomes.
Here’s what to do and what to ask for.
The first step, of course, is figuring out what you want. Are you going to a store with the intention of buying the products and recreating the look at home? Or is this a special occasion — a wedding or a prom — where you’re seeking a full glam look?
If you’re seeking a look you can recreate at home, I recommend heading to a store like Sephora or Ulta rather than a department store counter. The reason? The makeup artist there will use products from multiple brands, rather than just one. When you limit yourself to one brand, you’re less likely to find the products that work best for you.
Be incredibly clear about what you want, both with yourself and your makeup artist. If you don’t want to look like you’re wearing makeup, but are just seeking to enhance your natural beauty, say that. If you only have five minutes a day to get ready, let them know.
Up front, it’s also incredibly helpful to set an amount you’re willing to spend. As you’ve probably noticed from my column, you can spend A LOT on makeup if you’re so inclined. But you don’t have to. A good makeup artist will work within your budget, whether that’s $50 or $250.
The cost of tools also can add up, so let the artist know what brushes you already own and what you’re willing to invest in. That way, he or she can recommend products that can be applied with the same brush or with your fingers.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to speak up. If you would never wear the shade of lipstick the makeup artist has selected, ask him or her to pick something else.
If you’re seeing a professional makeup artist to prepare for a formal event, you’ll also want to do your homework. Ask friends for recommendations and look at those artists’ work online. Do they have any photos in their portfolios that look similar to what you’re going for? Have they worked on clients your age, or with your skin color? Ask yourself these questions in advance – then book a trial appointment well before the big day.
Take the opportunity to experiment with makeup techniques you haven’t yet mastered. Maybe you’d like to rock a bold, smoky eye or dramatic, winged liner but don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself
Many of us wear more makeup to special events, so unless you specify otherwise, a makeup artist likely will apply A LOT of makeup – which, if you don’t often wear makeup, may be A LOT more makeup than you’re anticipating. Here’s the deal: You don’t get Kim Kardashian’s cheekbones without heavy contouring, and heavy contouring will make you look different. Decide how different you want to look, and communicate that to your makeup artist. Additionally, tell him or her whether you want bold colors or soft neutrals. Make sure they know whether you’ll be out in the heat.
And most of all, speak up if you aren’t happy.
Alison Smith has gotten some of her best beauty tips from drag queens. Got a burning beauty question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.