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Industry Spotlight: Kevin James Bennett

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As a makeup artist, your love of learning is essential. You should have a desire to master the proper techniques, to watch others, learn from their expertise, and soak up as much information about the craft as you possibly can!

One excellent way of doing that is by continuing your education through makeup training and classes. But as QC executive MUA and instructor, Nathan Johnson, says, there’s also a certain level of “real world” learning required, too! And studying industry professionals is one of the easiest and fastest ways anyone can access that education.

When studying influential makeup artists, you’re learning an abundance of useful information, such as:

  • How they paved and shaped the cosmetic world
  • Different makeup trends, techniques, applications, and styles
  • Makeup theories and philosophies you may not have ever heard or considered before
  • Newfound knowledge on beauty and skincare products
  • Business and networking advice from legitimate experts

Part One of our Industry Spotlight series can be found here. Now, let’s continue with the second ‘cosmetic pioneer’ that should be on every makeup artist’s radar: Kevin James Bennett.

Kevin James Bennett Headshot

Meet Kevin James Bennett

With over 30 years in the makeup industry, Kevin James Bennett (a.k.a. KJB) is one of those names you just know. A winner and nominee of multiple Emmy Awards for his contributions to the makeup department, Bennett is best known for his thorough beauty knowledge, his straightforward and educational online presence, and his business-focused approach to his craft. Above all this, his expertise when it comes to makeup and skincare products is unrivaled.

Interestingly, being a makeup artist wasn’t Bennett’s original life plan. At first, he was a stage actor. As is the case with most theater performers, Bennett had to learn how to apply his own makeup – but he admits that it never particularly interested him! It wasn’t until years later, while working in display design at Bloomingdale’s NYC, that Bennett’s destiny became clear. After painting mannequins with real makeup, that “art and cosmetics became entwined”, and Bennett’s love of makeup began to blossom.

This just goes to show you that you never know where life will take you, and it’s NEVER too late to make your dreams a reality! In fact, Bennett himself says that the most important piece of advice he can offer aspiring makeup artists is to “never be afraid to fail”! You can’t learn from your mistakes otherwise, which means you won’t be able to progress. As the old saying goes: you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!

Contributions to the Makeup Industry

In addition to the aforementioned makeup work for TV (for which Bennett was nominated for 5 Emmys and won 2), he has contributed to countless brands, businesses, and product lines over the years, including (but not limited to):

  • Allure
  • Marie Claire
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Behind the Chair
  • Access Hollywood
  • Entertainment Tonight
  • L’Oréal
  • Johnson & Johnson

But Bennett isn’t just a man of the corporations. On the contrary, he offers his impressive skills and consulting services to independent companies, freelance artists, and entrepreneurs as well! “My mission,” Bennett states, “is to deliver intelligent, innovative concepts and solutions to clients.”

From his website alone, you can see the 3 major areas that Bennett focuses on with clients:

  1. Cosmetic Development
  2. Makeup Artistry
  3. Appearances & Education

Cosmetic Development

This is the process of taking an idea for a new makeup or skincare product or line, and developing this from concept to the production line and beyond. Brand and product development, marketing, eCommerce, and social media integration are just some of the many services Bennett offers and advises on here. Most important, he makes sure the products are cutting edge and necessary in the industry; from an ingredient, to formulation, and even to color perspective.

Makeup Artistry

Bennett’s makeup skills are so diverse, he has had a long career working in fashion, advertising, production, red carpet events and galas, television, and so much more!

Appearances & Education

Wanting to share his expertise with others who love the craft, Bennett often appears as a featured speaker/industry expert at trade shows, conferences, classes, etc.  Here, he offers his expertise as an industry expert and educator.

He also utilizes his social media presence to help make others aware of various cosmetic and skincare product information – the good and the bad.

Whether you are new to the industry, or is an industry pro, you’ll be able to learn a lot from his social media pages! He often shares honest reviews about makeup brands, his take on makeup techniques, and opens up education debates on industry news.

Lifelong learning is not optional; it’s mandatory for success in the 21st Century. My daily routine includes reviewing industry news, innovation, and trends, because my clients deserve the most relevant services.

Kevin James Bennett

An Expert’s Opinion…

Here are some really interesting fun facts about KJ Bennett that should be of interest any makeup artist looking to make a long-term career out of their passion.

The importance of complexion

Admittedly “obsessed” with creating flawless skin on his clients, Bennett is a firm believer that no matter how polished the rest of the makeup look is, if the complexion isn’t 100% to your liking, the whole thing will still wind up looking incomplete. Definitely something worth keeping in mind for your own work!

The importance of SFX makeup

Even if you’re not an SFX makeup artist, and even if you have no interest in doing SFX makeup in your career, Bennett insists that there are still some SFX products you should consider keeping in your professional makeup kit! For example, he finds that the basics – such as adhesives and molding materials – as well as alcohol activated palettes are way more useful than you think. “The line between makeup and SFX can be blurred very effectively, if you know how to manipulate your products,” Bennett says. Hmm…Perhaps taking an SFX Makeup course could only help your skills further!

The importance of education

For those who are new to the industry and trying to make sure they take the right steps for both themselves and their makeup business, Bennett believes that to be successful, you must be passionate, yet humble. Strive to always do your best, and as part of that, never stop in your quest to learn more about makeup, skincare, and the industry as a whole. No matter how much you know, you’ll never know everything – there’s always more you haven’t discovered yet!

Are there any makeup pioneers that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned for future installments of our Industry Spotlight!

Want to rock the makeup world and leave your mark like KJ Bennett? Start by enrolling today in QC’s leading Master Makeup Artistry course, and become a certified makeup artist!

DeShawn Hatcher doing makeup on female model

Industry Spotlight: DeShawn Hatcher

By | Education, Featured, From the Experts, Makeup Tips and Tricks, Your Makeup Career | No Comments

One of the greatest things any artist can do is continue to learn. Makeup artist classes are essential, but there is also mandatory “real world” learning that everyone interested in working in the beauty world needs. Our “Makeup Artists to Follow” series will introduce you to a new artist who has made an impact on the beauty industry.

Learning about them will give you a free master class in what’s happening with the titans in the industry. You’ll see the birth of trends from the people who actually created them – not the influencers who copied them. You’ll see a diverse array of techniques and styles that will ignite your own creativity, connecting you to the greater makeup community.

The first of these cosmetic pioneers that we’ll take a look at is DeShawn Hatcher.

Meet DeShawn Hatcher

DeShawn Hatcher headshot

As a makeup artist, educator, author, and Guinness World Record holder, DeShawn Hatcher is a true dynamo in the world of beauty. As an artist, she’s worked in every area of makeup, and had many different makeup artist jobs: TV, celebrity, editorial, and runway. She even holds the world record as the Beauty Director for the Cotton Inc. 24 hour fashion show.

With a hefty portfolio of images ranging from crisp and clean, to edgy and editorial, DeShawn’s work is a masterclass in diversity. Her passion is driven by an obsession for people to see the beautiful woman herself, not someone caked in makeup. Anything and everything within DeShawn’s portfolio demonstrates her mastery of creating perfect skin, precise lips, and captivating eyes. With her rich understanding of makeup and diverse use of technique, she’s proven herself to be a force in the world of beauty.

deshawn hatcher makeup example on female model #1

In her book, Assisting Rules”, DeShawn discusses how critical it is to become an assistant to a professional makeup artist, if you can, because it can be a fundamental move in blossoming your own professional MUA career. The book is a step-by-step guide to helping anyone break into the industry who has an interest in fashion, beauty, and print. It’s a must-have; rich with tips, tricks, and secrets that only someone who did it herself would know.

Not only do you get to see the ins and outs of what it’s like in the actual industry, you also get to learn from a pro in action. Just as importantly, it provides the chances for you to network, make connections, and get your name out there. These are opportunities that may be harder to come by if you weren’t assisting a professional makeup artist in your early days within the biz.

DeShawn has also contributed to nearly every major magazine, such as Elle, Vogue, Harper’s, WWD, etc. Her list of achievements is endless, but some notable contributions include:

  • Campaigns for some of the biggest international companies (e.g. MasterCard, Panasonic, Boost Mobile)
  • Runway looks for celebrated designers like Tory Birch, Tommy Hilfiger, Christian Siriano, etc.
  • Makeup for television, on networks such as E!, HBO, NBC, etc.
  • Makeup for Beyoncé, Tom Cruise, Vanessa Williams, and Anette Bening being just a few examples.
DeShawn Hatcher makeup example on female fashion model

As if this wasn’t impressive enough, she also teamed up with Graftobian to create the much-needed, and world’s first, Multicultural Foundation Palette for People of Color (Inclusion).

With a focus on education, DeShawn is often a featured speaker at makeup trade shows, makeup schools, and she writes her own blog. Her Instagram, @deshawnhatcher, is a must-follow. But her blog and her YouTube channel in particular are, in my opinion, some of the best resources for people wanting to learn about the beauty business from a true pro.

DeShawn Hatcher makeup example #3

Want to take your professional MUA career to the next level? Check out Nathan’s 3 tips to boost your success!