Westmore – "The First Name In Makeup Education"

by: Marvin Westmore

Last year in makeup we saw glimmer, sheen, shine, glitter, glitz and a year of extremes. Makeup looks all the way from au naturel to white and pasty; extremes in eye makeup from naked to black rimmed and sometimes smudgy; lip color from nude to vampire red and black.

Marvin Westmore

Marvin Westmore

Clients who are striving to look youthful and be more beautiful have demanded newness and innovation in their products. The cosmetic industry has created products. The cosmetic industry has created products that are multifunctional with value-added properties, utilizing fancy and exotic containers, from the raw look to high-tech to encourage us to buy, buy and buy. Then came the events of September 11, 2001, which rocked us back on our heels and made us take stock of what really matters – life itself.

It’s interesting to note that the advertising industry in general took stock of what the public was feeling and what really matters and did an immediate about-face in its marketing. As the Twin Towers crumbled, the American spirit took a momentary dip and then soared beyond expectations to meet any and all challenges.

Change in value

I’m noticing that the makeup fashions have a minimalist look-a contrived natural look- where less is more. It requires true skill to do this type of makeup because there are no superfluous movies, and every move counts. This is a fresh-faced look that is so natural the makeup almost looks like it is not there. Yes, elements of avant-garde, trendy and outlandish makeup styles, an artistic expression with no basis in reality for the consumer and our clients, will remain. These types of looks have nothing to do with enhancing a woman’s appearance, accentuating her natural beauty and making her attractive.

As a nation, many of our values have changed as a result of 9/11. It appears, based on retail sales, that the general public has decided to become more of a homebody in its habits and general purchases, as well as gravitating toward satisfying comfort food. Fashion-wise we are taking another look at what really is important and what is of a true value. Do our clients want to be beautiful and glamorous or do they really want to be attractive and desirable? As makeup artists it is time to gather our thoughts and hone our skills, and meet these new feelings and thought processes.

Comfort zones

The key to being a successful makeup artist for our clients is not in dictating our concepts of what is fashionable in makeup and then applying it as if it was the only look for them. The key is in finding out our clients’ comfort zones in style, fashion and color and then reaching a compromise between our concepts and knowledge and our clients’ personal fashion awareness. Stop and think a minute. No one, especially you, wants to be dictated to and if that is so, why would your clients accept being dictated to and remain your client? The incident of 9/11 has reawakened our individuality, our independence and the joy of being alive to breathe a breath of fresh air and enjoy a sunrise and a sunset.

The art of makeup does not come in a jar, bottle or tube, but in our hands and our knowledge of the aesthetics of line, form and balance as it relates to the face and facial features, as well as the dimensions of color and color harmonies. This knowledge allows you and me to create any makeup design, especially a contrived, natural look that is attractive, interesting and individual, It’s easy to design and create a cookie cutter makeup look-one fits all!-off the cover of Vogue or WWD, but to create and design individuality for our clients. Your skill as a professional is in creating a look that is based on the clients’ needs to be attractive and desirable; a one-of-a-kind, unique individual that has value-value to themselves and a value to those around them.


How do we find out what our clients truly want and desire? Communication! Communication has three parts to it: observing, listening and speaking.

Observing. I’ve put observing first since we seldom look at our clients except to think how much we can sell them. Instead we need to view them in such a manner as to get clues to who they are and how they feel about themselves. This includes style, type and coloring of clothes, color and style of hair and finally their makeup. What colors of lipstick, blush, eye shadow and foundation is she wearing, as well as what makeup fashion-and from what decade? Has her fashion time clock stopped, thus giving her an outdated look? Is she putting on makeup for the sake of putting makeup on, with no rhyme or reason? Does she wear no makeup because she doesn’t know what to do and doesn’t want to look like a clown, or does she have too much of everything on and looks like a clown? There are many clues to individuals’ concepts of how they see themselves using the power of observation.

Listening. Based on the simple question. “What can I do for you?” we can learn a lot. We need to just stop talking and listen-listen to our clients’ needs and desires. Listen to the responses of the questions we propose, in a guided conversation. Listen and take mental notes.

Speaking. Speaking, not as in the constant chatter of the typical spa reception area, but in guided conversation. A guided conversation should consist of a series of questions that will tell us our client’s fashion awareness, her lifestyle, whether she is single or married and if married does she have children? Is she an indoor or outdoor person? Is she involved in the community of socially?

We also need to determine her color profile and her color awareness. To what colors does she gravitate? What colors does she buy? What colors does she avoid and what colors does she avoid like the plague? All this information will help determine where to go in your makeup color selection.

Communicating with our clients helps us develop a client profile. We can take this information, coupled with our fashion knowledge and skills, and develop a makeup look that suits our client inside and out; a makeup application that will satisfy and uplift her psyche and self-worth while at the same time create a look of irresistible attractiveness and desirability.

In my opinion, in the real world, trying to recapture one’s youth and to look breathlessly beautiful can’t begin to hold a candle to being attractive and desirable, no matter what your age!

Communication is a skill that you can learn.  It’s like riding a bicycle or typing.  If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.― Brian Tracy

Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.― Albert Camus

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” ― Mother Teresa


Comments on: "Succeeding in the Makeup Business" (2)

  1. I realize this blog is rather old, but in the off chance it’s still monitored I just wanted to say the info here is great. None of which seems to go out of style in the trends so often do. It’s wonderful that someone as successful as yourself finds the time and generosity to share your wealth of knowledge.

    That being said, I am 40 year old house wife that has wanted nothing more than to be a makeup artist, raising my kids took priority and I always thought their will be time once my kids are old enough. Well they are old enough and now my hubby had a stroke, so once again I am putting me on hold to help him through his rehab. I am planning on attending Cinema, if I can, at the first of the year. Do you have any realistic advice for a woman my age wanting to break into the business?Or am I just being completely un-realistic?

    All the best to you and yours,
    AJ TUrner

    • AJ – Never give up on your dreams! The truth of the matter is, we all know that life is a journey and sometime we experience a pit stop or two. Those moments allow us to grow as a person, move forward and don’t look back except to reflect. Who and what you are is because of those experiences and no one can take those away. Use them as stepping stones to your future. All my best, Marv

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