From infomercial to makeup art.

I can’t remember exactly when, but I was flicking through the channels when the word ‘Airbrush’ caught my eye. I switched to that channel to see an infomercial for airbrush makeup.

Watching it, I realized that first of all I already knew how to airbrush and that a lot of the principles of painting and makeup are similar: cleaning the surface, using a primer, color matching, using the color wheel, finding complementary colors, setting.

So, I decided to explore further, because although makeup may not be the first interest for a straight male like me, I figured with the amount of money made in cosmetics, makeup artistry could be an interesting  diversification from my airbrush art.

I decided to take classes from renowned Denver airbrush makeup artist Davida Simon at The Makeup Room.  She taught me the basics of makeup application and tied it in with the airbrush I was already so familiar with. Having no further experience to show for, I signed up for a number of photoshoots to create a portfolio and with that under my arm I decided to get some real experience by working in a makeup retail store.

artist at workI got hired by bareMinerals and worked there for a year and a half, before the retail hours conflicted too much with having  kids vacations and family time over the weekends and I had to leave, although the job was actually really fun to do.

Having also done a few bridal makeup sessions I started realizing that although I love the airbrush for my artwork, most foundations, even if they’re made for airbrush are often a little too thick and not easy to reduce (thin out) as well as paint does. Clogged nozzles, spluttering foundation, having to clean the airbrush out while a bride is impatiently waiting just didn’t seem worth it.

Instead I was finding that with the right brushes and products  I could get a flawless result, without the hassle of the airbrush. Don’t get me wrong, when all goes your way, the airbrushed foundation does look fantastic, but it isn’t necessary to get a flawless result.

However, the most important lesson I learned working with all these women, was how insecure many women are about their looks. Working for bareMinerals you work with a product that doesn’t clog pores, doesn’t contain parabens and other junk, so we often received our customers directly from dermatologists. Some ladies with severe skin issues would come in and be embarrassed to take their think layers of concealer off, but once I had shown them how to use the right products in moderation to complete a ‘normal’ look they had never achieved before, you could see the change in confidence, in demeanor, a smile that wasn’t there before appeared and they would walk with a much lighter and happier step out into the mall. The same counted for the high school girls with bad acne or the ones with bad skin due to the use of cheapo cosmetics. Another joy was to be able to educate fourteen year old girls who came in with their mother on the importance of skin care and sunscreen over makeup.

We judge women all the time on appearance, compare them to unfair images that have been heavily Photoshopped.  In my opinion, women are the harshest judges of other women and usually the harshest judge is you. A lot of women who sat down in my chair started by saying: “I’m sorry, I look awful today.” And most of them looked all-right to me… We men are so blissfully unaware of makeup, that when a woman wears a ‘natural look’, we believe that they’re not wearing any cosmetics, ha! And even funnier, we’re unaware that the manliest of man, who appears in a magazine or on TV is wearing at minimum a foundation.

For those of you still in awe with the amazing complexion of fashion models: Some of the worst skin I’ve seen is on models, who, for their work are forced to cake on products that look great on camera, but ruin their skin. And what the camera still picked up, Photoshop can remove…

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