Mua life (also known as being a makeup artist)

Today Adi Alfa considers the wonderful world of the makeup industry. As a makeup artist herself, you’d think she would have a pretty good idea of what the hell it’s all about. And you’d be right.

I’ve noticed in the makeup world that people tend to come up with very fancy names for the act of applying makeup. I assume this is to make them feel cool while doing it.

This annoys me. I’m much more of a simple person.

“Strobing” is just the use of hi-lighter

“Contouring” is just a fancy way of using bronzer

“Buffing” is just a fancy way of saying blend in your f***ing foundation!

Anyway, moving on…

I’m a big fan of people. There are days when I like to sit and people watch. People interest me, I sometimes like to conduct an analysis and pretend I’m a psychologist despite not necessarily ever having spoken to the person.


I have come across many girls in my lifetime; different ages, races and cultures. There are many differences in these girls, but one common thread they all share is makeup ability.

Some girls are damn good it at, others… let’s just say natural ability is void.

The common mistake people make when it comes to makeup is to make the incorrect assumption that they don’t need makeup brushes.

Then they ask why their face looks like the afterthought of a child’s paint by numbers page. Hmmm… Ok, so you’ve tried to blend in your contour with your hands?

Now I’m not going to be mean to people who do not have an artistic flare, but in the nicest possible way, here’s some advice. I’ll describe it as an analogy.

Here goes…

I’m not particularly good at playing football. I mean I could have a go one day for fun and then tick it off my bucket list, but that’s all it would be. I wouldn’t attempt to do it every day because for one – it bores me; and two – because quite frankly I’m not very good at it. If you know you’re not good at something, it’s probably best not to force it.

Now, being a makeup artist, I come across many makeup situations. I am also asked many weird and wonderful makeup questions. Given the fact I work in a makeup store and I freelance, situations vary on the client and location.

Some Examples:

Client 1

Client 1: “I’m looking for a foundation, can you help me match one?”

Me: “Of course, have a seat… What’s your skin type?”

Client 1: “Oily… Definitely oily, so I want an oil-free foundation.”

Me: (inspecting skin and noticing it’s so dehydrated and dry that the skin is flaking off) “Are you sure? Because I see you have dry skin actually.”

Client 1: offering a look that could kill “It’s oily, bitch.”

You often find this happens. They ask for advice and ignore my professional opinion… But it goes on.

I pick up the oil-free foundation and apply it as it drags across the skin.

Client 1: “I think you’re right- I have dry skin!”

Me: drops mic and walks off

Now I’ll move on to another common scenario, this time on set/shoot.

Client 2

The client has given me a brief, the models will come without makeup and you will provide a natural finish. If they are wearing makeup please remove and re-do.

Fine by me, I’m being paid for a service which I will happily deliver!

Model enters wearing heavy foundation and heavy eye makeup.

Me: “Sorry babe I’ll have to take that off. We are going for a natural look today…”

Model: “This is natural.”

Me: “To Kim Kardashian maybe, but not for camera love.”

Model: “If you do it can you do it exactly like this?” holds up a photo of Kim Kardashian

Me: “No.” Drops mic and walks off

Client 3

The third and final client is the “I believe I’m darker than I am” client.

The point of foundation is to match it to your skin tone so perfectly that nobody will know you’re wearing it.

Now I don’t like to brag, but I am the foundation match QUEEN! Hey, whaddayaknow, I do like to brag! So if I see an unmatched foundation client, I’ll be very honest about the situation.

Client 3 tells me they want to look tanned. They are at the stand and trying out “mocha” when they should be looking at “Ivory”.

Me: “Can I help you match the right shade?”

Client 3: “Oh no I’m fine thank you. I know which one I need.”

Me: “Are you sure? I don’t think that one’s your colour! Sit down and I’ll match you…”

Client 3: “Honestly, I buy this one all the time! It’s what I’m wearing now.”

Me: Looks horrified (Customer looks like they are trying to do a bad impersonation of Beyoncé at a fancy dress party)

Me: “Would you like a bronzer to go with that?” Smiling through gritted teeth