I rarely like to go on tangents or express my opinions via social media…but this is something I have felt strongly against for some time now and it just seems to be getting worse and worse… and at this point, it just NEEDS to be addressed. (*Please note that this topic with not have anything to do with the film. However, it’s something happening in which needs to be socially addressed that several of my professional colleagues have discussed with me.) As a hair and makeup artist with 8+ years of experience, I have seen a lot of trends come and go, which is completely normal. But with the accessibility of technology in todays world, it seems that a lot of social media stars have taken it a bit too far. If you were to go up to a True professional makeup artist and ask, “So what are your thoughts on highlight and contouring?” they would immediately go on and ON about how awful this trend has become. I recently started working for a retail company where I travel to different Ulta locations to support the specific brand, and I can’t even count how many times customers have asked me about highlighting and contouring. One woman was getting ready for her wedding and didn’t have a makeup artist so she told me she watched a few youtube videos and tried out the highlight/contouring technique, but ended up looking like a clown. I looked at her and told her, “Um that means you were doing it right.” Although highlighting and contouring are used in the makeup trailers/weddings/photoshoots/etc, there is a time and place for the amount of makeup applied, and most importantly the placement. What most people don’t realize is that these bloggers/youtubers are doing their makeups VERY HEAVILY in order to capture the details on an HD camera with lighting equipment behind their cameras they record with. Aka, everything is a good 5x more dramatic. (We use these techniques mostly for theatre, or if a certain type of camera is not picking up softer features. For instance… a RED camera may pick up blush a completely different way than an ARRI camera…hence our professional experience of knowing when and where it is best to go heavier with our makeups.) If you were to go up to these individuals in person…you would think they had about 5 pounds of makeup on. That’s the truth of it. It’s actually funny because I know a lot of artists who have worked with women wanting this “highlight and contour” look, and they will whip out a picture of these famous instagrammers. When they did the makeups the way they actually are, the client freaked out because of how much makeup was applied. If you’re an everyday woman who finds these youtube tutorials intriguing, PLEASE KNOW that these applications were heavily applied, and that they are not meant for everyday makeups. With that being said, we all highlight and contour…but once again, we have a purpose and know when and where it is appropriate. Now…I will admit, I am totally down to watch some tutorials when the artist actually gives correct info, or explains thoroughly why they are doing “this” or “that” or admits that the amount of makeup is more than your everyday makeup. Or the super cool FX and body paint makeups. Now THOSE are some bad ass makeups. I have many times referred to these gals for inspiration, but I only refer to the ones who are great at explaining the reason behind what they are doing on a professional level. Kudos to you out there! (sorry I’m not one for name dropping. You know who you are.) Lets look at this photo below: I googled, “best makeup ads” and these were the top 6 photos that came up. It was completely unintentional that they were all celebrities. Note: NOT ONE of these look like that crazy highlight/contour, crazy brow look. They are all very soft and elegant makeups- if there were any highlights and contouring, it’s quite subtle. These aren’t just any ads. They are makeup ads…for major, major makeup brands. And even these makeup brands aren’t showcasing these looks…which should hint that these aren’t trends that professionals are taking on. 😉 I mentioned before that even though I don’t advocate highlighting and contouring, I still use it! But only when and IF it’s needed. So please don’t get me wrong in saying that I think this is all crap, because it’s not. What I feel truly needs to be addressed in these videos is why they are contouring. Why the placement, why highlight here or there. What professionals learn in makeup school or cosmetology schools is WHEN WHERE and WHY. 1.When would you do more dramatic highlight and contour?-when lights are extremely bright aka on stage, in film, photoshoots. So basically, if you’re not Kim K who has an entire lighting crew following her around, it’s not flattering with those crazy contours. Trust us…we all can see thats not your real bone structure. It’s actually funny because when I do a heavier makeup for film, I see it in person and think, “WOAH! I went a little to heavy.” and then I see it on the monitor and it looks like the actor isn’t even wearing makeup. That’s what isn’t being explained and I wish someone would take the time to explain this! 2.Where would you contour?-some of these videos just take on some overall basic go-to for highlight and contouring. This technique is not a “one size fits all” hat. What we learn in school is the placement of the face and what we are trying to accomplish. Does this person have a square-face structure and we are trying to accomplish more of an oval shape? Does this person have a flat forehead that needs to have a highlight in the center to create a more round dimension? 3.and why are you contouring here and highlight there? do you have a crooked nose that needs to be corrected? A dimple in your chin that you want to take away? Maybe stronger cheek bones? I really hope this trend comes and goes. It’s killing me. Girls: please know that your face is beautiful!!! and you do not need that much makeup to look good on a day to day basis. Maybe some bronzer or a light contour here or there to enhance your features. But don’t kick yourself for not understanding these in depth high light and contour tutorials. And to all of you aspiring makeup artists PLEASE KNOW that just because you can apply this way, this WILL NOT entitle you to call yourself a makeup artist. 85% of makeup gigs are natural beauty. I’ve been told several times that if you have a light hand, you’ll get more jobs than if you have a heavy hand. I actually sent my portfolio in to one of the biggest makeup agencies in the world and they told me I needed to add more natural, soft beauty makeups. And I will be completely honest: 90% of it was natural beauty already. Which means what I was doing already was “too harsh” and I have a very very very light hand. So…I can’t even imagine how they would respond to anyone with an even heavier hand. I apologize for the tangent. Like I said, it’s really not my style, and if this is your style, then more power to you! But this is something I am really passionate about… Please don’t get into this industry for the wrong reasons. If makeup interests you, pay more attention to the professionals rather than relying on videos on the Internet. Grab some coffee with your mentor! Send them an email! Go buy a book that has credited education. Also, one thing I want to state is that there are still several artists who I admire and actually watch on youtube. So, this is not about every single you tuber out there. This is just an overall tangent about what some of these tutorials have created. If you’re still reading, I appreciate you, and hope I haven’t been too crazy. Tell me your thoughts on this! Comment below and discuss your thoughts and opinions on this topic Thanks for reading, til next time!
Amber Talarico/director of What It Takes
**If you haven’t already, check out our website here to learn about our documentary, What It Takes! A film about the struggles, ups and downs of being a makeup artist or hairstylist at ALL stages! Thank you for your support!