Frequently Asked Questions

I get inquiries weekly on a range of topics related to profesional makeup, especially about High Definition makeup techniques, airbrush makeup, or makeup training and assisting.  I also get consumer inquiries asking questions and advice about makeup and skin care in general.

I enjoy helping both professional artists and consumers with their makeup needs and I am always an open door for information.
In an effort to address some FAQs in a broader manner I have written some articles that I hope you will find helpful to your needs.

Just click on the article title and it will open in a new window.


Formalized Makeup Schools: Pros and Cons


The Differences Between a Seminar and a Workshop


Manners and Matters: Set Ettique for Makeup Interns and Apprentices


How to Determine Temperature and Value in Skin Tones


The Road to Radiance: A Skin Care Primer for the Bride

The Ultimate Winter Lip Care Handbook


Controversial Ingredients in Cosmetics


All About Skin Pre-Foundation Products


A Primer on Sunscreens


The Dark Circled Eye Syndrome


NOTE: These articles are for information only, and are not intended to be any kind of final authority, but rather to help and encourage others to further develop their own research and conclusions. These bulletins are not designed or intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions or to suggest, prescribe, or recommend any course of action to treat any medical conditions, other than to seek the advice of a healthcare professional.

Makeup Questions and Answers

“I am working on my final preparations before my wedding day, however I just found out the makeup artist I wanted to do my makeup won’t be available.  Now I have to do my own makeup for my wedding, and I am really stressed about this.  Do you have any suggestions on how I can apply my makeup to get the best pictures?  Help!”
Amy S., Minot, ND

My strongest recommendation is to pay for a consultation/makeover session with another professional artist.  This is the best alternative in getting good advice and personal instruction so your makeup is correct for both video and still photography and you have confidence in applying it.  Discuss your needs and desires with the artist and ask that the products selected for your makeup application be long lasting, require minimum maintenance, and have continuity under all lighting conditions for the duration of the event.

I recommend using Graftobian High Def Glamour Crème Foundation because it has a proven track record for very natural looking results, and gives long wear and continuity for video and photography.  It blends easily and smoothly on skin and is available in all three undertones so you can really get an exact match.

A wedding is essentially a stage show with photography and video, so you will have some of those same makeup needs to look camera ready.  Avoid any shimmery, iridescent, or even pearlescent products as they will reflect back as shiny or “hot spots” in your photos. Keep your eye color palette selections fairly neutral and simple in technique so you don’t run the risk of it looking “muddy” in your application.

Have the products and methods used precisely charted so that you will have the best chance of success in duplicating the look on your wedding day.  Purchase and use products in a home practice session well in advance of the wedding.  Practice often, until you feel reasonably comfortable in applying the makeup and getting the results you want.

Make certain you check yourself in sunlight so foundation products match your skin tone without a line of demarcation, and color palettes look balanced.  Allow yourself plenty of time on the big day, so that you don’t feel stressed and pressured, especially if you make some mistakes.

“I have an upcoming project where the actors will be videotaped in High Definition video.  Can you assist me in finding make up that will work well for this?  I’ve done some work for television before, but was never required to have make up that was specifically HD formulated.  Does this actually exist?”
Jennie, Detroit, MI

First of all, there is no such thing as “HD” formulated makeup. It’s all about makeup products that have been carefully tested in High Definition for their compatibility in this format and utilizing proper application techniques. Some makeup products will not work because the texture, color saturation, or finish doesn’t render well when you see it in the monitor, especially those with reflective ingredients. This is one of the reasons why you should test any products first before you use them for HDTV work.

What HD means to the makeup artist is that skin is going to broadcast in the way we see skin in real time because the resolution has such ultra high clarity. Therefore skin will be subject to much closer scrutiny, so it is very important that foundation products match skin correctly.

“What is the best way to keep my makeup fresh throughout the wedding day?”
Teresa S.,  Wilmington, NC

Bring along a mini touch-up kit of the four essential items: tissues, blotting papers, additional powder (pressed), and lipstick.  Use tissue to blot any tears or perspiration FIRST.  Then use excellent performing blotting papers, like Nurturing Force Blotting Paperssold in a convenient tear- off roll, over any shiny spots on skin to take up any excess oil that has kicked through the makeup.  Nurturing Force are the best blotting papers I have found, and out-performs any other brand.

If any areas still show shine after blotting, such as the T-Zone (forehead, nose, and chin) after these two steps then use a pressed oil control powder with a brush, not a puff, sparingly in those areas.  This is the best way to maintain makeup throughout your wedding day events so you greatly minimize the chance of powder build-up. Natural Born Cosmetics Oil Control Blotting Powder is fantastic for this, and the only product I use for powder touch-ups in my professional TV work.

I would assign your maid or matron of honor the task of holding on to the kit and keeping tabs on your face for shine and disappearing lip color.  Key times to check makeup for touch-up needs are just before and after the ceremony.

During the event, check again after food consumption, and any time there is high level of activity such as after the receiving line, after dancing, after a lot of kissing and hugging, etc.  Remember, your photographer and videographer will be snapping photos throughout the day, so at minimum, be sure to touch up after these activities.

“I have a combination skin type that is dry in some areas and oily in others.  Should I use a facial powder right before the photographer takes my pictures, or should I apply all makeup right before I walk down the isle?
Denise R.,  Arlington, VA

Unquestionably, you need to apply all your makeup BEFORE you make that walk down the isle, and make sure you use high performing products that will give you long lasting wear.  The trick to durability in your makeup application is how you prepare your skin first and initially apply makeup.

Powder products will not last long on bare skin without some kind of skin preparation or foundation to adhere to. Using a water-based skin primer, such as Natural Born Cosmetics Skin Primer, before you apply your foundation will also further boost the adherence of makeup.  It will help minimize interaction with skin oils in the oily areas that tend to fade makeup.

Even though you have combination skin you will invariably experience an increase in moisture activity due to the level of emotions and excitement that is generated on one of the biggest days of your life.   You most certainly will need to maintain your makeup your makeup throughout the day to keep the moisture and shine under control, as well as keeping your lip color application fresh.

This is crucial for continuity in your pictures, as the photographer will be snapping photos of you at the key moments of your wedding celebration.   Be sure to keep tissues, blotting paper, pressed powder, and lipstick close by for touch ups or assign someone in your wedding party the task of keeping you in check.

“I have acne prone skin and currently experiencing a pretty bad breakout.  How can I cover my blemishes with makeup and have a half way decent looking complexion for my upcoming wedding?”
Sonja B.,  Carrollton, TX

Acne skin is also a sensitive skin condition, and I strongly recommend using a skin care regimen that is suited to helping control breakouts without excessively drying out the skin.  This can be a tricky balance to find, but acne skin can also be flaky in texture if it is too dried out.  Invariably, when hormone activity and stressful emotions interact, breakouts can occur in spite of the topical care you give your skin.  Stay away from makeup foundation products that contain ingredients known to aggravate skin.

Once you have applied your foundation, check to see if any areas still need coverage.  Using a concealing product applied sparingly with a brush on those areas will help give a smoother look to the complexion.  Graftobian’s High Definition Corrector Palette helps to disguise and counteract the discolorations that acne can cause.

A good trick is to use a concealing type product AFTER you have applied your foundation.  Take a small nylon tipped brush and take up a small amount of concealer on the brush.  Wipe away any excess from both sides of the brush, and then apply sparingly to the areas you wish to conceal.   Follow that with additional powder applied sparingly on top of the concealed areas to keep it in place.

I am a beginning makeup artist in the process of building my kit with professional foundation products.  What are some features or brands I should I look for in selecting foundation products? I would appreciate any advice, thank you.
Kara M.
New Orleans, LA

The best advice I can give you is to help you understand the principles and varied formulations available for foundation products.

Foundation is a term that consists of three primary products: base, powder, and concealer. These products are used to give a smoother and cleaner look to the complexion, and often referred to as a “flawless finish”. Thus, the face becomes the “canvas” that will bring the color palette forward with as little distraction as possible from imperfections such as blemishes, discolorations, etc.

You should consider several important factors when choosing a brand of base for your professional use:

**What is the range of skin tone values (light to very dark) offered, and how many steps in-between colors?

**Is it available in all three skin temperatures of warm, neutral, and cool.? (The majority of the population fall into the wam and netural catagory).

**What is the “pigment” to vehicle ratio: meaning the saturation or percentage of available pigment for coverage and long wear?

**Does it have photo reflective ingredients (mica, mineral, silica, etc.) that might interfere with your needs?

**What kind of finish does it give, meaning matte to dewey?

**What kind of texture does it have for the ease of blending it down for the smoothest look?

**What is the vehicle content, meaning what is in the basic vehicle formulation that contains the pigment? (Silicone, castor, wax, water based, etc.)

Keep in mind that liquid base has the lowest percentage of pigment to vehicle ratio, and cream base has the highest. Therefore liquid base will have limited coverage, and cream will have adjustable coverage, depending on how you apply it. Many artists like to have both a liquid and a cream base line in their kits because it allows them to achieve a range of results, from very sheer (translucent) to full coverage (opaque). Most importantly, it must meet the needs you will have in HD makeup should you be working in that medium.

Do you know where I can find instructional videos on makeup? I really can’t afford a school right now and I am thinking of going to some makeup shows to take some free classes they might offer. Do you know of any good makeup type magazines?
Cheryl W., Renton, WA

We sell several excellent instructional books and videos in our store, which you can see by clicking hereYou can also do a search on Amazon under both makeup books and makeup videos and you will find a very large selection to choose from. It can be overwhelming to decide, but if you narrow your choice down to a particular field of study you are interested in that should help you decide.

Makeup shows do offer some free classes, but keep in mind that these are generally lecture and demonstration type of classes with little to no hand-on personal experience. Some of these classes may also be product driven so you will learn more about how to use a product and some techniques in application for it. Some hands-on workshops may be offered but generally you must pay an additional price to attend.

There are two makeup related industry magazines on the market. One is On Makeup Magazine put out by the Powder Group, and with a strong bent towards beauty and fashion work. The other is Makeup Artist Magazine, which has a strong bent towards film, television and makeup special effects. Both of these magazines sponsor makeup shows around the country that feature celebrity makeup artists and classes for attendees.

I am an aspiring makeup artist and I feel I have some talent to work in Television makeup which is a dream of mine. I want to get my makeup artist’s license so I can work in the film and TV industry. Do you offer classes that will help me get my license? I live in Maryland and I appreciate any information you can give. Carole H., Baltimore, MD

The state of Maryland has discontinued licensing for freelance makeup artists, and as of this writing Virginia and Washington, DC do not have licensing requirements for freelance makeup artists either. Cosmetology licensing is required if you want to cut, color, or perm hair for the public in a salon. Licensing is also required for estheticians who do skin care in public salons or spas.

I don’t offer any classes that are designed to facilitate any kind of cosmetic state licensing; I only offer specialty workshops for makeup career enhancement. If you still want to take classes somewhere else that have an emphasis on what the state of Maryland required for licensing then it would be good idea to talk with another makeup artist who had a license from Maryland, and ask them about their experience and what the state required. You can also inquire directly with the State of Maryland Cosmetology Board.

Many novice makeup artists have the mistaken idea that a state license will “qualify” or guarantee them a better position for jobs within the film and television production community. Makeup for this industry is done by both freelance and union makeup artists who have professional experience for this kind of work, and are tightly networked with other artists with the same level of experience.

The industry has a kind of “exempt status” from any state cosmetology regulations because film and TV production is viewed as a unique and “closed” environment that doesn’t involve interaction with the public. Also, a makeup license is not any kind of a guarantee of an artist’s competency to work in the production industry. It merely demonstrates that a makeup artist has had a minimum number of “contact” hours in some kind of situation that involves makeup. They aren’t required to take any kind of competency test, they only have to certify that they have had those contact hours in order to apply and pay for the license.

Bottom line is that it won’t hurt for you to have a license especially if you are working with the public, such as in bridal makeup, but it has no power to elevate a makeup career in film or television production.

My face always looks red or has a ruddy looking overtone to it. Sometimes I have strong red patching in certain areas that flare up, especially when I am stressed. What can I do with makeup to minimize this condition?
Janine W., Littleton, CO

First of all I would strongly suggest that you see a dermatologist so that you have the proper diagnosis of your red patching condition. You might be struggling with breakouts of either eczema or rosacea, and both can be triggered by stress and hormonal activity, but your doctor is the best solution for medical treatment.

Chronic redness in skin is a sure sign of sensitivity so it needs a little extra help and care, especially with protection from sunburn. I always suggest these important tips below to help minimize the effects of redness in the complexion:

  • Always use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15. This will help keep sun’s rays from further aggravating sensitive red skin.
  • Use a foundation with an undertone on the neutral or warm side. This will visually smooth out any redness in the complexion.  Use a cream or stick version rather than a liquid because it has a higher percentage of pigment for smoother coverage.  Avoid any powders that have pink undertone to them, and stick with a translucent colorless powder, such as Natural Born Cosmetics Translucent Loose Powder.
  • Avoid using blush.  Instead, use a bronzer to highlight your cheekbones and high point areas of the face with a light touch.  The bronze hues will further play down redness in the complexion
  • Avoid using eye shadows and lip colors that have pink or red tones, or have a cool undertone.  Stay with colors that are warm or have a yellow undertone.

Hi Suzanne, I really appreciate all the advice you give to people, I am always learning new things when I visit your site to read the things you write. I have a question: I am having a problem getting my cream foundation to blend down properly. Because my skin is on the dry side I like to use a silicone primer underneath my makeup because it makes my skin look smoother, What could be the problem? Thank you so much for your help in this.
Nicole H., San Clemente, CA

The problem is definitely the primer. While silicone primers provide great slip on the skin they can also inhibit some cream foundations from drying down on the skin properly. Creme foundations that contain waxes and certain emollients just aren’t compatible with silicone, and if used it will prevent the makeup from blending or adhering properly. This is also true for silicone based moisturizers under cream makeup.

Waterbased primers, such as Natural Born Cosmetics Foundation Primer, work the best under cream based makeups because the skin absorbs down the primer and creates a bond with it for a smoother surface. For the best blending and optimal coverage from your cream foundation you need a skin surface that will allow the foundation to dry down on it properly. By switching to a water based primer you will get the best performance from your cream foundation.