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Madonna's Makeup Artist Gina Brooke Shares Her Tips on Becoming a Makeup Artist

How to Become a Makeup Artist: Advice From Gina Brooke

Editor's note: The following post is written by our new guest writer, Hourglass Artistic Director Gina Brooke. Whether you're looking to break into the beauty business or simply want to improve your application skills, Gina's advice is bound to help:

When it comes to excelling at beauty, practice makes perfect. Some people do courses, others pick up a makeup brush after years of doing hair, but my start in beauty came via the fashion world. Back then, after having studied design and photography in New York, I thought I would be a fashion designer. At a test shoot with a photographer, I was asked to do the model's makeup. I'd always enjoyed doing my own makeup but, up until then, I hadn't thought of the profession as a career. I was immediately hooked, and did what anyone breaking into a new field would do. I studied. I read. I practiced — on myself and my friends.

See Gina's tips for becoming a makeup expert . . .

Applying makeup to a face is the same as painting on a canvas. Makeup is an art form and there is always room to learn and grow, regardless of where you are in your career. Being open to new ideas — historical, cultural, sartorial — we become better technicians at our craft. A good makeup artist is also an eclectic one, and at shoots it helps to be prepared to execute every look. You never know what an editor or photographer might call for, so stock your kit accordingly. Another key attribute is being a team player, since the industry is about collaboration, with hairstylists, stylists, photographers, directors, musicians, actors and so on. People will book you for talent but also for your personality and your ability to work with others.

Nowadays, makeup artists in training have a wealth of information at their fingertips. Whether it's YouTube, fashion shows, rock concerts, or the endless red carpet events that are broadcast on TV, you can find inspiration anywhere. I also urge you to dip into old movies and study the techniques of golden-age Hollywood artists. Long before retouching, they specialised in corrective makeup styles that could be reinterpreted for today with a lighter hand. What else? Go to art shows, museums, and study colour theory. It's imperative to test as much as possible: on your friends, family and anyone else you can get your hands on. Explore makeup for different age groups, skin types and sensibilities. The best part of the job is seeing how empowered a woman feels when you make her look truly beautiful. Finally, always give 150 percent of your talent, energy and enthusiasm. People will remember you for it.

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