Are you thinking about becoming a makeup artist? Or perhaps you already are one? Nathan Johnson, executive makeup artist at QC Makeup Academy and celebrity MUA, has some advice for you! Here are the 4 biggest DON’TS that Nathan wants you to know…

1. Don’t stop learning.

Makeup is a career that changes with lightning speed. Trends can change as fast as the weather. In order to be successful, an artist needs to be well-versed in makeup on two levels:

  1. Classic makeup: This is your arsenal of timeless techniques that can be used together to create a multitude of looks, meeting the needs of any client in any working medium.
  2. Trendy makeup: By having your fingers on the pulse of what is fresh and new will allow us to have fresh and current techniques that you can deliver upon request. Trends come and go, yes, but it is of value to know what they are because makeup and fashion are cyclical. When a trend goes, one thing you can count on is its return…or, in many cases, its reinvention!

The value of always learning what’s new while practicing what’s classic will keep your skills top notch and your applications current.

Classic and trendy makeup looks

2. Don’t have a bad attitude.

Professional makeup is a highly competitive field and I can tell you from personal experience, an artist with a great attitude and positive nature will book more jobs than someone with more skill and a sour attitude. No one wants to be stuck with a catty monster all day.

Here’s a note: All of my very successful makeup peers (some are considered the most famous and celebrated) are among the kindest and most generous people I have met. If you would like to walk in those footsteps, emulate the attitudes as well as the skill level. Practice kindness as often as you practice makeup.

3. Don’t be covetous of your knowledge.

So many people think they should keep their makeup secrets themselves. They believe it will guarantee that they will never lose their clients and will always have an edge on their competition. It won’t.

Teach freely to both your clients and other artists. This will make you a much stronger artist (those who teach develop stronger skills themselves), and it will build you a dedicated following. No one can do what you do, the same way you do it. By sharing generously, you will become beloved by both your peers and clients. If you take on this attitude, you’ll quickly find that people start sharing all of their secret gems with you. Everyone loves a generous soul and this will only help you grow. And remember, if you don’t teach them the internet will!

4. Do not make your social media feeds public if you plan to share religious, political or controversial views

Yes, we are all entitled to our opinions, and I celebrate that diversity and freedom. But if you have a major world view or moral stance that causes conflict when discussed, it is best left off of platforms where potential employers or co-workers can find it.

I have used this example before but it illustrates my point. Several years ago, a student wrote me an impassioned letter asking to assist me on an upcoming project. Her devotion was so strong, I extended an invitation for her to join me on a celebrity charity event, having never met her or seen her work in person. After sending the email, I visited her Facebook page. There, post after post attacked a cause that is very near to my heart. To me, her comments were offensive and in direct opposition of my core beliefs. I quickly sent another message telling her why we would not be working together.

It is important to have an opinion about controversial subjects, but share them only with close friends and family members. If you don’t want to feel limited in your expression, create a second account that you use for professional purposes.

Interested in learning more about the do’s and don’ts of professional makeup artistry? Download the Course Decision Guide to determine which of QC’s online makeup courses is best for you!

Nathan Johnson

Author Nathan Johnson

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