Makeup Training 101: What Is Makeup Theory? - QC Makeup Academy

If you’re a practicing makeup artist, you know the importance of the theory behind every application.

Or, if you’re just starting out in the beauty industry, let us enlighten you on how learning makeup theory can change the game!

Every client has a different skin type and tone, and a unique face shape. This means that you, the trusted makeup artist, have to choose the right products. But how do you know which ones will best match your client’s skin?

That’s where your makeup training comes in handy – without learning the theory behind makeup artistry, you’re losing a lot of credibility in your work!

Read on to find out the top reasons makeup theory counts!

Makeup for different face shapes

What is it?

Makeup theory is pretty easy to explain, but much less-so to actually learn.

Your makeup applications work with your client’s skin to produce a finished product, right? Right. Now how can you be sure that this finish is going to stay for as long as possible? You need to pick the appropriate products that will complement your client.

Not only is it about knowing different types of products and being able to match them to skin types, you also need to be well-versed in color theory. A knowledge of undertones helps you enhance your client’s natural beauty, and then add to it. Before choosing your shades and colors, you need to do a careful assessment!

When you learn about the theory, your makeup techniques become more flawless than ever. Plus, you lessen the risk of having an unhappy customer! When you know about how skin works, and how to work with different conditions, you can give clients an experience that’s 10x better than the average makeup appointment.

Choosing the right makeup shade and skin tone

Why do you need it?

In addition to understanding your client’s skin, makeup theory also helps to improve your technique. Consider this: you have a client with an oval face shape, and she wants her face to appear shorter than it really is. How are you going to work this magic?

You guessed it: by using your theory work! Mapping out face shapes will help you know exactly where to apply products to give a desired effect.

We know – contouring isn’t just for makeup artists. But when you’re working on a face other than your own, you need to know where to position the contour to create a chiseled look, rather than leaving a dark streak across your client’s face!

Think about eye shapes, as well. You may have large, round eyes and can make your smoky eye look perfect, but you also need to practice on other shapes. Take hooded eyes, for example. A smoky eye is tough to master on a hooded eye shape – and the technique is very different!

Without your theory training, you won’t be able to give your clients a makeup look catered to their facial type and shape.

How to use it:

Knowing makeup theory off by heart comes with experience, so start looking for models! Practice what you’ve learned with different skin types, tones, face shapes, and age groups. This is a start to being able to work on any customer that comes through the door!

Professional makeup techniques for hooded eyes

Here are a few tricks to keep in mind:

Knowing how to create looks on different faces will help you distinguish yourself as a true pro. If you’re trying to copy looks that you’ve been inspired by, you’ll quickly realize that they do not look the same! You need to adapt your technique and placement to suit your client’s skin.

And when in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask your client! They know their skin best, and can give you insights on what has worked for them in the past. Plus, you can give them some great tips and tricks to make their beauty routine that much better!

Ready for more? Find out the difference between learning makeup from YouTubers vs. a makeup school!

Author Katie Deck

More posts by Katie Deck

Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Gemma Mannering says:

    Makeup theory is so much more important than a lot of people may think and it takes so much time to really memorise and learn everything to make you an amazing artist. You need to learn colour theory and how each colour blends together, skin tones and the different face and eye shapes. This can help you choose the perfect undertones in foundations, powders and eyeshadows too match their skin to make it look more natural or make the colours pop which you will only know this if you practice and learn all the theory that is in these courses

  • Jummai says:

    I’d love to learn all of this

  • Jordan Garcia says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article because it reinforces the idea that makeup application is NOT a one-size-fits-all type of thing. We all have different combinations of skin type, facial structure, eye shape, etc., and I think it’s really good to try and work with as many different clients as you can. I’m still fairly new and haven’t worked on many people, but I truly get why this is so important!

    Thanks Katie for sharing!

    • Sarah-Lynn Seguin says:

      Great insight, Jordan! 🙂 This is one of the biggest reasons why we try to iterate that proper makeup training is a whole different ballgame than learning from social media influencers, for example. It’s critical to understand the different skin types, facial structures, skin tones, ages, etc. that you’ll encounter in the working world, as no two clients will ever be the same. Proper makeup theory is a key foundation for any professional MUA’s skill-set and knowledge of the craft. We think it’s wonderful that you’re taking the time to learn all of this, so you can apply it to your own career endeavors in the future! xx

      All the best,
      The QC Team

  • I am really grateful to read this post about makeup training as it make easy for me to write blog on makeup training. I was looking for a good post of makeup training and here I found this post. It is so helpful to write blog on makeup training so that most people can learn. This post show how to use makeup, and tricks and I am happy to see your post. It would be great if you have add some of video so that people could learn from watching video. It was good post though and help me a lot for my post. Thank you for your post. Loved it!

    • Sloane Seguin says:

      Hi Rakesh,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to not only read our article, but for leaving such a wonderful comment! x

      If you’re interested in checking out some videos of making applications, tutorials, and learning theory, we welcome you to check out QC Makeup Academy on YouTube:

      We hope this helps! x

      All the best,
      The QC Team

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