Makeup artist tips & tricks

We’re not ashamed to say that there’s nothing we love more than talking about lashes and makeup. We recently cornered one of our photo shoot makeup artists, Michelle Coursey, and forced her to tell us all about her life as a MUA – the tips, tricks and big names she’s worked with! Here’s what she had to say:

How long have you been doing what you do?

I did my first shoot in 2003, so I’ve been a makeup artist for 14(!) years.

What drew you to makeup artistry?

I originally wanted to be an actor, but realized that I didn’t want that lifestyle (too much rejection!) but I also didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day, so I decided to become a makeup artist after I came across a book about the business side of it all. I wanted to do something creative and different.

What’s the best part of your job?

Getting to meet awesome, interesting people and being creative every day.

Any names you can drop who you’ve done makeup for?

Julia Stiles, Adriana Lima, Petra Nemcova, Sigourney Weaver, Jerry Seinfeld, Cara Buono, Melissa Gilbert, Emma Stone, Haim, Gail Simmons, Nicole Miller, Callie Thorne, Italia Ricci.

Being a MUA, what’s does your daily makeup routine look like?

Personally, I do at least foundation, concealer, powder, mascara, brow gel and blush. If I have more time I’ll do eye shadow, liner and/or lipstick.

And what’s your go-to special occasion look?

I love a red lip with a cat eye or a smoky eye.

What are your favorite iENVY lashes for certain occasions?

The Classic Knot Free Short Flares are great for everyday, the Au Naturale 01 would be great for a wedding or if you’re having your headshot taken, and the Blooming 03 would be great for a slightly more dramatic look for a wedding or party.

What are five makeup tips you always give your clients?

  1. Take care of your skin! Cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize. If your skin doesn’t look good your makeup will never look as good as it can.
  2. Spend money on good brushes. You don’t need a ton and they make a huge difference in application. And wash your brushes! They’ll last longer and won’t spread germs all over your face if you take care of them.
  3. Curl your lashes. It really opens up your eyes and gives your mascara more oomph.
  4. Concealer is your friend. This is the one thing you should really spend money on. If you have dark circles you really need to find a peachy-pinky color to counteract the blue under the eyes. Don’t go for a lighter color; you’ll just get reverse raccoon eyes.
  5. Lining your eyes using dark brown eye shadow and a flat brush is a great way to get a natural liner look and make your lashes (natural or false) pop!

What would you say are some of the biggest misconceptions people who have never worn false lashes have about them?

They assume that all false lashes are completely unnatural and will make them look overly done up.

Are there any strange things in your makeup kit that people might be surprised by?

I use Beauty Blender sponges that are bright pink and egg shaped; I’ve had people ask me why I’m carrying around clown noses! I also use a French ointment called Homeoplasmine for chapped lips, but it’s really made for nursing mothers to use on their nipples!

What are the top things every woman should have in their makeup bag?

A foundation and concealer that perfectly matches your skin, lash curler, mascara, blush, a clear brow gel, natural pink and red lipstick, and translucent setting powder.

Any insider tips for someone thinking about incorporating false lashes into their daily routine?

Remember that false lashes can look really natural; consider using individuals for every day. It’s usually a good idea to put on mascara, then apply lashes, then after the glue has dried apply a bit more mascara to blend your real lashes and the false lashes together.

What are some current makeup trends that you are totally onboard with?

I love that full brows are back. Thank God for Cara Delevingne helping bring that trend back. I love that girls are embracing their beautiful brows and not over plucking like women did in the 90s.

How have you seen things change over the years in the makeup world?

There are SO many more makeup artists out there. I once heard someone say there used to be 20 makeup artists in all of NYC and now there are 20 on every block, which seems accurate.