How to get hands-on makeup training at home and online

From the Experts, Your Makeup Career

How to Get 1-ON-1 Makeup Training at Home

In anticipation of QC Makeup Academy’s NYC sweepstakes trip, our tutor—Nathan Johnson—gives advice on how students can make the most of their online makeup courses at home. Read on to find out how you can get hands-on makeup training with Nathan every day!

In less than one month, the QC Goes to NYC contest winner, Whitney Ellis, will arrive for her city experience and a one-on-one private makeup lesson. I’m very excited to have this opportunity with Whitney because I am very passionate about makeup education, but it also got me thinking about how students at home can turn their online makeup learning experience into one that has more of a one-on-one feel. After much thought, I have boiled it down to a few very important points…

Learning to be a makeup artist with online classes

Building on the basics

When I teach makeup, whether in person or online, I focus on techniques rather than looks. The vast majority of online videos teach complete looks, with little focus on the basic techniques behind them. When you learn looks from YouTube, Instagram, or any other media feed, you focus on the final look and not the small techniques that combine to create that look. I’m not saying there isn’t value or inspiration to be found in watching videos of people teaching full looks, but with that sort of learning you always have to go back and watch more videos to learn more looks.

On the other hand, when you learn individual basic techniques, you can look at any makeup and, without the aid of the video, figure out how to combine your repertoire of techniques to create it. That is the difference between being a makeup artist and a makeup copier.

Now, a video teaching a full, bold look will certainly get far more views than one that just teaches the fundamentals of eyeliner, but there is more value than you could ever imagine in focusing on the basics. When you master basic techniques, no matter how mundane they may seem (and let’s face it, how exciting is it to practice the drop shadow 10,000 times?) this detail work will make you a far better artist.

Breaking down the look

No matter how complex a look, it is always only as beautiful as the sum of its individual parts. By rushing the basic techniques, your complex looks will likely be messy, asymmetrical, and lacking in overall professional finish. This practice of the minutia is essential to makeup mastery and it is the very thing most students, both in brick and mortar and online institutions, skip.

Building on makeup skills and professional makeup techniques

Whether you learn in person or online, no one can do your homework for you. You need to put in hundreds (even thousands) of hours to learn and master your craft. The willingness to do that comes down to you. So, the first point to having more of a one-on-one experience at an online makeup school is your own personal practice. When I work with Whitney, we will focus on the basic makeup techniques, in the same way that I hope all of you at home work with me through the videos. By focusing on the precision of basic, classic application techniques, we will be able to watch her more complex looks come to life beautifully.

From practice to potential

The next point that will make your in-home makeup experience rival an institution comes down to your effort. There are two major ways to learn and practice makeup artistry at home. First, the lazy way.

You are a lazy makeup artist if A) You only practice on yourself, or B) You watch the videos, apply the makeup once, and submit a picture of your first attempt at the techniques. If you have just a general interest in makeup, then that is more than acceptable. However, if you want to be considered a professional makeup artist, you will need to do far more than that.

A working professional has earned their title because they have put in hundreds of hours of practice on other people. Now, you may argue that practice is practice—but I will assure you that is simply not the case. Consider this: when you close your eyes, can you still touch the tip of your nose? The lid of your eye? Your chin? Your little toe? Yes, you can touch all of those spots on the first try without scrambling through the air to find them. This is because we have a very complex nervous system that gives us amazing coordination with our own body, even with closed eyes. This is almost like a cheat sheet.

This coordination does not happen to you with bodies that are not your own. If you only want to be good at your own makeup, work on yourself. If you want to be a professional makeup artist, start working on other people today.

Applying makeup to models as a celebrity makeup artist

Becoming the best

Learning how to work on other faces, with varying skin types, eye shapes, etc. is essential. You are on your way to makeup super-stardom if, A) You practice on a tremendous number of people, B) Watch the videos and practice all the basic techniques until they are second nature, and C) Submit images of your work only when you know it is the best you can presently do. This repetitive practice on varying faces is an essential step to make your home study makeup course rival a brick and mortar school.

In her online studies, I have already challenged Whitney to focus her practice on other faces. I have also encouraged her to master the basics through repetition. When she arrives in NYC, we will be able to push her further because of the effort she has already put into her makeup training.

Personal correction is key!

People often criticize online training programs because they say you cannot get hands-on experience. Having taught in both in person and online, I can say that statement is not true. Even in person, I do not make any hands-on adjustments. If I take your brush and correct something, it will never help you to improve your techniques. Whether in person or online, I only tell students what needs to be corrected and how to make those corrections. When you are guided to figure it out on your own, you will master the technique.

Learning advanced makeup skills online with Nathan Johnson

I will work with Whitney, the same way I do with all of my online students, by guiding her with words to perfect her techniques. If you follow the points above, you will get an online makeup artist education that will rival any in-person training.

No teacher can ever help you more than you help yourself, so make sure you practice, work on lots of faces, and give 100% before sending in those images.

Late last year, Nathan attended New York Fashion Week and took careful note of runway trends! Check out Nathan’s rundown of spring 2017’s makeup trends!

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment—his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.

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