I love nothing more than planing what beautifully-packaged pieces of makeup magic I’m going to purchase on payday and I know I’m not alone.
Having recently installed a beauty station in my spare room, complete with an illuminated Hollywood-style mirror from Ikea, I’ve been practising and perfecting some new makeup looks in my free time.
My friends are always asking me on a night out how I did my eyes and where did those cheekbones come from, so I thought the next step would be to actually learn how to apply makeup on to someone else’s face so I could practise what I preach!
I found a three-day makeup course online via the Scottish Beauty School’s website, which outlined the course content:
- Plan and produce specific makeup looks
- Adapting looks appropriate to face shapes
- Makeup using various techniques
- Use of basic corrective makeup
- Changing the look into bridal and evening makeup
- Smoky Eye Look and Party Lashes
- Health and Safety
- Underpinning knowledge of skin structure
The great thing about this course was that the certificate achieved allowed you to get insurance if you did want to have makeup as a career option, either as a freelancer or working in a salon.
The course was a Christmas gift to myself and part of my new year’s resolutions list to learn a new skill. The majority of attendees on the course, however, paid for the course using an ILA fund or were there because their employer had paid for them to do the course.
The attendees were a mix of students already employed in the beauty industry, either working in a salon, self-employed or mobile beauticians. I felt a bit apprehensive on the first day to say I was there just to develop my skills, but the other girls didn’t seem to mind.
Over the next three days our lecturer, professional makeup artist Elaine Coburn, demonstrated a series of techniques and looks that we then got a chance to recreate on each other. I was better at some of the tasks than others, but practise makes perfect, right?!
Day one was quite nerve-racking and it was hard to get used to being “back at school”. In a professional setting, courses are quite different to being back at a place of education – you definitely feel the clear student/teacher dynamic in the way you’re spoken to, which isn’t wrong, but it did take me a day to get used to it. We all took notes as she carried out her first demonstration on how to create a blank canvas using foundation and powder, making it look so easy when, of course, it isn’t.
Then it was our turn and that’s when the hard work really started. The lecturer did a walk round of the room as we were all trying to remember how she did this and that, what brushes were used etc, and at times this could be quite off-putting. Being watched by someone inevitably leads you to make mistakes and that was almost always the case on day one! Her knowledge and help was great, though, and if you were going down the wrong route she was able to offer suggestions to get you back on track.
What I did think was tricky on day one was working on other students. While the majority of the class were lovely and easy to talk to, there were some girls that were very specific about what they would allow you to do on them and a few others had problematic skin. Part of me thought it was great, as that’s a likely scenario you would come across in real life, but another part of me wished we had silent models with perfect skin that were a true blank canvas for us to start out on!
The other issue with working on your fellow students is that half of your time in class is spent being a model for someone else. I didn’t mind this at all and was more than happy for my partner to choose any makeup she liked, but I did think that if we all had models then we would’ve had longer to practise and perfect the techniques.
We ended day one with a focus on eye makeup and I felt a bit more in my comfort zone as that’s the one area I’ve applied makeup to on other people before. The lecturer showed us a pretty daytime look that could’ve worked for bridal makeup and then we got to recreate this on one of our classmates. I was quite happy with the look I created, using nudes on the eyes and lips, but my model had excellent skin so it made it slightly easier.
Day two started with the Instagram-famous contouring and how we could avoid looking like a hideous Kardashian gone wrong. I’d only ever contoured my own face, and I use that term very loosely, but I found it surprisingly easy to work with the shading and highlighting makeup provided. Hardest part was the nose, where I felt like I verged on making my model look like she had soot on her face! Again, I had a great model for this look with clearly defined cheekbones so that did help.
The afternoon was back on to eye makeup and this time we were going smoky. My afternoon model wanted black and gold so I tried my best, but probably should’ve gone with what I would’ve done myself and picked out colours that were easier to blend.
Some of the makeup at this stage proved difficult to work with and I’d say that was a recurring theme on the course. The kit provided beside each bed was full of budget products (I don’t even remember the brand) and while you can scrimp on some things, you can’t do that with all and expect to achieve great results. To be fair to Elaine she brought along a lot of top cosmetic products from her own kit, including Mac, L’Oreal, Revlon, Morphe and Sleek, but having a better standard of kit beside us would’ve helped greatly.
I wasn’t overly-happy with this look and then I had to apply the dreaded party lashes on top! I’d never applied these on myself never mind anyone else, so this was extremely difficult to get the hang of under watchful eyes. I kept dropping the lashes from the tweezers and applying them too far down the model’s lashes, so in the end I had to accept that this was something to try another day! More time on techniques like this would’ve been useful for me, though some of the girls got the hang of this straightaway.
On to the final day, where we started off with a vintage 1940s look, followed by a creative afternoon trying cut creases, glitter and strip lashes. I had a difficult model (she was lovely, but her eyebrows needed some help) for the ’40s look, so I wasn’t enthused by my completed makeup attempt. During this look I also learned that applying red lip liner on another face is way harder than it looks and something I need to practise to avoid making my models look like a clown.
The last look was one of my favourites and I enjoyed using strong purple eyeshadows to create a cut crease on the eyelids. I then ruined it all with application of some hideous glitter and strip lashes that refused to curve to the eyelid. How I wish I’d taken a photo of the eyeshadow sans glitter and lashes!
And that was us done. I sat nervously at the end, waiting to see if I’d passed the course in spite of my disastrous eyelash application attempts, but I’m pleased to say my certificate was there waiting for me.
I found the course a great starting point for anyone thinking of going into makeup professionally, but I’d say more practise and maybe an advanced course would be needed after this one in order to feel totally confident about your work.
If you’ve been on this course I’d love to hear about your experience and what you’ve gone on to do afterwards, we all have to start somewhere!