Gabrielle Rivera is a QC Makeup Academy graduate and professional makeup artist. To see more of her work, visit her Instagram here. Today, she draws on her professional expertise to share 5 of the best ways that one can break into the world of Special Effects makeup and begin learning how to do it.

1. Education

One of the most important things I learned when beginning my journey into the world of SFX makeup is how vital the right makeup education is!

I fully understand that the era we live in is one driven by social media and YouTube. However, when working with Special FX makeup, you have to know how to properly apply, mix, create, and work with these specialized products. To be able to do this correctly is a game changer for your business – and such techniques can only be taught in proper online makeup classes.

Unlike regular, everyday makeup tools and products, SFX makeup products can contain chemicals that are potentially harmful to the skin. This is why proper training is required, in order to know how to safely use and apply such products.

For example: when working with various types of paints, you would need to know which items are safe to put around your client’s eyes and/or mouth, and which ones are NOT. To not know your stuff can quite literally mean that you’re putting your client’s health and safety at risk, which we know if something you’d never want!

Similarly, it’s also critical to know what specific ingredients are in the SFX makeup products you’re using. This way, you can avoid your clients experiencing negative reactions, such as skin allergies.

If you want to become serious about growing your skills in Special FX makeup, one of the most beneficial things you can do for both yourself and your craft is to enroll in a makeup school that provides specialty classes. QC Makeup Academy is a great example, as they specifically offer a Special FX online makeup class! Not only does this course teach you the proper care and handling of SFX products, it also shows you first-hand how to apply these products and use the tools professionally!

2. Tutorials

Aside from taking online makeup classes and obtaining a professional certification, tutorials can be a simple way for you to start learning about the Special FX world.

There’s so much information available to you online, and countless artists that you can learn from. When I first got into SFX makeup, two of my personal favorite YouTube accounts to watch were (and still are, to this day):

  1. GlamandGore (Mykie) and
  2. Ellimacs Sfx Makeup

What I love most about these two makeup vloggers is that they’re both professionally trained! They teach viewers how to properly use, apply, and safely remove Special FX makeup products. Through watching their videos, you can also learn how to create certain SFX products from scratch! There are even tutorials teaching you how to use simple, everyday products in order to create gory and whimsical SFX looks. Pretty cool!

Keep in mind that watching online tutorials can’t replace the education you’d receive from real online makeup classes. But that being said, it’s definitely a start!

3. Practice, practice, and even more practice!

No amount of education and tutorials are going to help you improve your skills in SFX makeup if you aren’t actually practicing and obtaining real-world experience. The whole point of the education you gain from online makeup classes, or through watching YouTube tutorials, is to help you hone your skills through practice.

Pro tip: Doing makeup on just yourself won’t cut it, either. You need to also practice on as many models as you can, too! This is the only way you can get used to different skin textures, shades, types, etc.

MUA pouring airbrush paint into airbrush machine

My professional advice is to practice on models of all types. Here are some ways you can practice your Special FX makeup on as many different faces as possible:

  • Work with both male and female models
  • Work with clients who have facial hair, as well as those who don’t
  • Actively trying to work with clients that have differing skin types

Pushing yourself to practice on as wide of a clientele as possible will help you see just how versatile the makeup products are. Likewise, this real-world experience will help you learn how to use the products and tools – not just properly, but professionally as well!

4. Purchasing the right tools and makeup products

A question that I get frequently asked is, “What are the best products to buy to create Special FX looks?”

For beginners, my advice is always: learn how to do SFX makeup by first using the basics. It’s the best foundation to build off of. The more experience you get, the more prepared you’ll be to move onto more advanced makeup products and tools.

Often times, up-and-coming SFX makeup artists or enthusiasts want to purchase the most expensive products and tools right from the get-go. The problem is, they don’t know how to actually use them properly or safely! Making this error can result in you not only wasting a LOT of product and money, you can once again be putting the client (and her skin) at risk by your lack of knowledge.

Special FX makeup takes a lot of practice to get it right. Sometimes, trial and error is required in order to figure out the best products and tools needed to create a look. (Which, again, is why an education and online makeup classes are so important!)

At first, many people who want to get into SFX makeup may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by all of the types of products and tools available. However, many Special FX techniques – even the more complicated ones – can be created using simple cosmetics!

makeup special effect with brush

If you’re ready to begin working with Special FX makeup, you can start by using basic SFX products such as:

  • Paints
  • Liquid latex
  • Scar wax
  • Spirit gum and other adhesives

Something that can easily help you gather your tools and build your kit is to purchase a Special FX makeup kit! QC Makeup Academy offers a Special FX Essentials kit that comes with all of the basics, plus so much more!

5. Networking

The last – but JUST as critical – thing you can do to prepare yourself for the professional world of SFX makeup artistry is to network yourself! Not only does it help you get to know other important people within the industry, networking is yet another irreplaceable way to gain knowledge about the craft!

Networking provides you with opportunities to connect with other artists. It’s a fantastic way to improve your skills, because you’re constantly being shown new tips and tricks of the trade. There’s nothing like learning hands-on from others!

Networking is also a great business move, too, as it can potentially advance your career. By meeting others within the industry, you open yourself up to possibilities you may not have had available to you before. For example, meeting the right people could possibly lead to you getting the chance to learn what it’s like to work on or behind the scenes of a movie set!

There are many ways that you can enter the world of Special FX makeup, and learn the ropes. But again, the single most effective way to become a pro is to enroll in online makeup classes and be taught by experts in the field. If you’re looking to dive into the world of SFX, but aren’t sure how or where to start, check out QC Makeup Academy today!

Serious about being a professional SFX artist? Don’t weigh down your SFX makeup kit with these 5 awful products!

Author Sarah-Lynn Seguin

More posts by Sarah-Lynn Seguin

Leave a Reply