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.

Hair Styling Essentials course now available

113 responses to “How to Get 1-ON-1 Makeup Training at Home”

  1. Melissa says:

    Great tips Nathan! 🙂

  2. Brook J says:

    Love this post!

    1. Corrina says:


  3. Samantha Cook says:

    Best courses I’ve ever taken.
    Nathan is very informative and I’m having tons of fun!!

  4. Micaela Rhodes says:

    I love everything about this post because it shows that this school have the tutors that really truly want what’s best for you in your career journey! Learning online it gives you the extra time you need to perfect the look you’re going for which Nathan stated perfectly!

  5. Jaysha Jones says:

    I love QC Makeup Academy , you guys are the absolute best and I am so glad I could get started ! Thanks so much !

  6. Faatin Temple Abdullah says:

    This is really great advice and why I decided to enroll into the QC Makeup Academy to learn the technical skills because you tube can be great but how many videos can you watch before you get overwhelmed. Take that same energy and take the course .

  7. Kristina Gavrilos says:

    So good! thank you!

  8. Kimberley Baker says:

    Love my online make up course so far my kit is amazing and learning so much already

  9. Nadine Owens says:

    This is so true! I love all of the classes I’ve had with Nathan, (watching the videos and then the feedback he gives from completed assignments) he gives me great advice and motivates me to push myself to be my absolute best! I’ve really benefited from his guidance and have seen huge improvements in my work and most of all my confidence!

  10. Karina Nanez says:

    I love QC Makeup Academy, as a student I learned a lot in the past month, and to have the opportunity to develop a career and a my own business are blessings for me. Thank you Nathan and all the beautiful team of Qc Makeup A. .. I’m so happy for my future as a makeup artist.

  11. Josey says:

    I love how Nathan is guiding me through my courses (Master Makeup Artistry, Airbrush Makeup and Portfolio Development)! I have improved a considerable amount to when I started and that’s even after a TAFE course had taught me the basics. Once I’ve finished these courses, I hope I can follow up with the Pro Makeup course!

  12. Courtney Walton says:

    I loved how this article showed that a lot of hard work needs to be put in to get to be your best as possible. Also not only working on yourself but test your skills on others.

  13. Miguel A. says:

    My only weakness right now would be skin tone Need more practice I that one

  14. Hanne Burgeson says:

    Wonderful advice <3

  15. Bonnie says:

    Can’t wait to become a certified master makeup artist!

  16. Maria Laura Daza says:

    A very interesting post.

  17. Nisha Umesh says:

    Amazing course you can do at your own pace…

  18. Catherine Gotuzzo says:

    Hi there! I loved the post, makes me feel happier with my choice of training, and putting time and effort in getting your hands on as many faces as possible is the base line to master the craft!

  19. Jennifer Parr says:

    Love this blog, very helpful info. Love QC Makeup Academy!

  20. Brittney Sladky says:

    Loving all of these articles!

  21. says:

    Love this blog and qc academy

  22. Amanda Villalobos says:

    This blog is so awesome!

  23. Diandra Navara says:

    Its a great perspective on becoming a professional makeup artist

  24. Paige says:

    Very informative

  25. stacey hoare says:

    so helpful thank you !

  26. Annie says:

    Loving QC Makeup Academy so far!

  27. Brielyn Curtis says:

    A very good read. Excited to learn more through this school. I love these articles & all of the informative tips I get from each one.

  28. Elizabeth Garber says:

    This was a helpful article for me as an online student. It gave a different viewpoint I hadn’t heard before.

  29. Brooke says:

    I love this school. It is a really great way to learn. I love how the teachers are patient and kind.

  30. Jerri Gallo says:

    This inspires me to follow my heart but with a conscious effort to always have integrity with what I do.

  31. Sohini Chakrabartti says:

    A great tour of what professionally practising make up is all about… would be really helpful in all my endeavours

  32. Melissa Dakin says:

    Very helpful information!

  33. Cassidy Keessar says:

    Love QC Makeup Academy!

  34. Amanda Villalobos says:

    Enjoyed this so much

  35. Christina Knoche says:

    Great post! So happy I joined QC Makeup Academy!!

  36. Victoria Cryer says:

    Yes this is 100% true. You can only get out of a course what you put in – whether that be online or “brick and mortar”.

  37. Jennifer Locanas says:

    Great post! Absolutely love QC!

  38. Karie Lord says:

    Love all the advice thank you QC!!

  39. Corey says:

    Good read, just got to keep strong

  40. Destiney says:

    Very good info here! Love it!

  41. Marli Irizarry says:

    Great post. Worth the read! 10/10

  42. Edith Santiago says:

    Love QC !!

  43. Reanna leef says:

    Love the blog!! Makes me feel happier on why I have chosen to study makeup . I love QC makeup academy !!!!

  44. stephanie hampton says:

    Amazing this school awesome

  45. Sarah Aston says:

    Great read. Love this blog!!!

  46. Jesselyn Humphreys says:

    Great tips!

  47. Emma says:

    Great read
    Keep up the awesome blogs

  48. Alexandra says:

    Really informative! I usually skip through the blogs but this is great!

  49. georgia says:

    Love this, so helpful 🙂

  50. Carol-Ann Dalton says:

    I’m currently enrolled in both the Makeup Mastery course and the Pro Makeup course. I can’t wait to get started
    I spent s lot of time choosing the right company to learn with and this is by far the best I found. Not even started and already been part of 3 giveaways, how awesome is that? Love it

  51. Jay Chapman says:

    Awesome stuff, really helpful!

  52. Ashleigh says:

    Love this! So much useful info.. usually just skip on the blogs but feel to keep reading more after finding out just how informative they really are! Thank you so much

  53. Leah Wright says:

    I need to try that purple eye makeup look at the end of the blog post thanks! xox

  54. Angela says:

    Very informative!!! I need to keep reading the blogs. Very helpful, thank you!!!

  55. Gabrielle Nowakowski says:

    This is very helpful to read. Thank you

  56. Michele S Clauser says:

    So thrilled to actually get to learn Special Effects from home since there are no schools anywhere near me. This gives me the chance to actually learn at home and at my own pace.

  57. Danae says:

    I love these posts! So informative!

  58. Emily B. says:

    Love QC makeup and this post!

  59. turfa tehmeed says:

    As a student of QC, this is really interesting and informative.

  60. Taylor says:


  61. Stacey says:

    Love this blog!!!!

  62. Bethany O'Blenis says:

    As a student of the master makeup Crouse I’m so happy to be taking the Crouse and I’m learning so much this is such a great blog

  63. Samantha Roberts says:

    Very helpful. Thank you

  64. Mikala Sousa says:

    Interesting article and a good read!

  65. Larissa says:

    I have just begun my QC journey… So far I am super impressed, thank you Nathan Johnson for your realistic, supportive course!

  66. Christian mullins says:

    Very helpful! So excited to learn more about the program

  67. Tc says:

    Such a great article!

  68. Kaylee Stripe says:

    Love qc makeup academy!!!

  69. Brooklyn morris says:

    QC Makeup Academy provides incredible information that makes it easy to learn and grow through out the program!

  70. Maria Venuti says:

    Great article! I definitely made the right choice in choosing to study with QC Makeup Academy 🙂

  71. Tamika says:

    I love this information and I definitely love the courses I’ve completed so far! I’m now a freelance MUA but atill learning new techniques as I go!

  72. Jessica says:

    Great tips!!

  73. Nancy Mayer says:

    Just enrolled. Can’t wait to see what this new experience brings!

  74. Robyn Arias says:

    Great tips! I really need to practice on more people.

  75. Samantha An says:

    so helpful and amazing! glad to have a blog that i can reference to for future questions!

  76. Kayla Martens says:

    Great article! Definitely glad that I decided to get my certificate through QC!

  77. Nicole White says:

    Love this post!!!

  78. Emma Baxter says:

    Great advice! Love this post!

  79. Sofi Lynch says:

    I agree 100% iv always used makeup and most of the way through this course . I’m still learning. Most of all getting good brushes and blend blend lol

  80. Melissa Logan says:

    Fantastic article!
    It’s such a privilege getting my hands on such valuable information and experiential knowledge…I’m just so thankful!
    I’ve just joined QC Makeup Academy and it’s one of the best decisions in my life!
    Thanks again.

  81. Tara Wilkinson says:

    Great advise. Thank you

  82. Sarah Taylor says:

    Such good advice Nathan! I love reading your blog posts

  83. Heather Stutts says:

    These are awesome tips! Great job Nathan!

  84. Christine says:

    I am loving this course!

  85. Christina vanbavel says:

    Thank you so much for all the tips and helpful info!!

  86. Bethan says:

    I’m so excited to get going on my course now!!

  87. Angelina Lau says:

    Having so much fun in the course! great advice

  88. Angelina Lau says:

    Having so much fun in the course! great advice! 😀

  89. Nika Sadaraka says:

    Awesome advice! 🙂 definitely one video to save in the album to refer to later on!

    Loving studying with QC!! Xo

  90. Annette says:

    Such great in depth tips! Thank you so much… as I continue to do your courses I’ll be sure to keep all these things in mind. I don’t want to miss a thing!

  91. Kelsey says:

    These tips are amazing! I can not wait to get started! Thank you Nathan!

  92. Chelsea clifford says:

    Just enrolled ! 🙂 can’t wait to start my courses

  93. Brittany Plock says:

    Great tips! This is a great post. 🙂

  94. Brittany Plock says:

    Awesome tips 🙂

  95. Keani harris says:

    This is so imformative. Cant wait ti start and become a mua!

  96. Rihi says:

    Love this thanks so much!!

  97. Dylan Wilson says:

    So informative

  98. Marijane Savage says:

    I love reading these blog posts. They are so informative!

  99. Melissa says:

    Re-reading this post made me learn so much more than the first time around!! Fabulous tips Nathan! You’ve given me a lot to think about. 🙂

  100. Luz Maria Rivera says:

    Great useful tips 🙂

  101. Ashlei Miller says:

    I just enrolled in the academy and am beyond excited to improve my makeup skills. My overall goal is to start my own business partnering with my photographer.

  102. Sarah monck says:

    Just started my coruse im so excited

  103. Brianna Kaufman says:

    Just joined. I’m excited to learn more and new things with makeup.

  104. Shauna Fletcher says:

    I have learned so much from these courses. Thank you.

  105. Wendy Fahey says:

    Great advice.

  106. Lauren says:

    Love these articles!

  107. Hanne Burgeson says:

    Great tips Nathan, thank you for this! 🙂

  108. Aileen Rico says:

    This is such a helpful post. I’m enrolled in the Master Make Up Artistry and just received my course materials yesterday. I can’t wait to start.

  109. Eboni says:

    Great post. I’m the Master Make up Course and I’m really want to continue on to the Special FX!

  110. Tess says:

    So excited to start!!

  111. Angel Allen says:

    This article was exactly the boost I needed. I just received my makeup kit today and cannot wait to get started. Models anyone!!

  112. Tara says:

    This is great I love what I have learned so far and even started my own youtube channel..

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