So this past month I have hardly posted because I have been so busy doing a make up course! I want to be come a Freelance Make Up Artist and as much as I like watching YouTube videos, I wanted to see what the techniques used by the professionals were. I enrolled to do the Total Pro Creative Specialist Course at The Academy Of Freelance Makeup (AOFM) and had been looking forward to doing this course for two years so I was really looking forward to it.
The first day we had an introduction by the head of school telling us the background of the school and starting us off with the basics including types of brushes, makeup artist hygiene, skin care, foundation and concealing. We were given our shiny new set of AOFM brushes in a pouch and the look we created that day was smoky eyes.
During the two-week make up section we covered:
Week 1 – Basics/ Smoky Eyes – Bridal – Eyebrows/Glamour/evening – Catwalk/ Fahsion – Contour/highlight/ Glowy Skin – Photography and Make Up
Week 2 – Decades – Male/Mature/Ethnic – Body Painting – Textures (glitters, dimantes etc) – Avant-Garde – Photoshoot day
Each day we would have a different teacher and one or two of the schools own assistants (MUA’s themselves) in the classroom. They were really easy to talk to and you were easily able to ask for help.
The structure of the day was that the teacher would spend the morning teaching and doing a demo, we would have lunch and in the afternoon/evening we would practice on each other. Sometimes we were able to practice in the morning but that depended on the teacher. In the afternoons we would work in pairs doing the days make up look on each other. We had to swap our partners every day in order to work on as many faces, skin types and skin colours as possible and this was really useful.
At the end of each of doing each of our looks in the evening, we would get in a circle and critique each other’s looks. It was a bit daunting at first but you have to use it as a tool to improve. We would first say what we thought about what we had done, then we would hear the others feedback. I found it really useful in helping me to improve and see which things I could pick up easily and which I needed to improve upon.
I thought that most of the girls would have done make up before but found that in my class there were many girls who were beginners. My class was also quite an international class (girls form all over the world!) which I loved and the girls (who I am still in touch with) were awesome.
The Make Up Artists who taught us were amazing and had some incredible portfolios so it was fantastic to learn from them and learn different techniques. It was interesting to see how three teachers could have different techniques for doing the same thing. You just had to pick whichever one you felt most comfortable with and find your own style of doing things – I guess that’s what art is all about.
My favourite lessons were catwalk, body painting and avant-garde. We worked with various products – we had a new one to work with each day from brand like MAC, Bobbi Brown, NARS, Makeup Forever, Chanel, Shu Umera and many more.
We had a Shopping Day at the end of the two weeks. It was great but can be overwhelming as you have only just learnt about the products and still are not sure what to pick and what you might need.
I wish we had thoroughly gone through kit list before in class and looked at places we could buy things or the alternatives to different products we could buy (e.g. Maybelline gel liner instead of Mac gel liner – in class I found the Maybelline one to be much better) but we didn’t have time. They did give us great guidance sheet on what to get so you just have to take time to read it yourself.
When you get the kit list, I would strongly advise looking at it and in the short time you have after a course day, going to one of the stores like MAC or Benefit with the list to scout what you would like to get on the shopping day.
You don’t have to buy anything on the day but they had special discounts especially for us on the day, which most would want to take advantage of. If you do, it’s definitely better to come with a list. I would say to save up to £500 for that day (you may not spend even close to this amount, however, I found that you could spend that much in MAC alone if you were to get everything they recommended to get from there. If you can think of an alternative for some items in your kit and where you might get them – only getting what you need to have now like foundations, concealers, basic eye palette, you can save a bit and add other items to your kit later). Also, buying palettes might be better than buying individual items if you are just starting out, for example, a Mac lip palette or eyeshadow palette. I spent around £300 that day and got the rest of the items from Boots. Overall, you might want to set aside £500-800 for a brand new makeup kit.
The end of the two weeks was topped off with a Photoshoot Day. It was amazing. I had been so nervous about it before but turned out great. The class was split so that four students did their shoots in the morning or afternoon of Saturday or Sunday. We worked with an actual working model, hair stylist and clothes stylist. We did a beauty look and fashion look and had planned the looks before using a mood board which we brought in on the day to show talk over with the stylists. It wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be and the model I worked with was lovely. At the end of the shoot we were given a CD with low resolution images of all our shots (if you want portfolio worthy prints you would have to pay extra to get high quality retouched images – around £50 per photo).
Overall, I would say the make up course was fantastic. There were some things I think could still have been included to make it brilliant for example I would have loved to go more in-depth into the business side of things – how to set up and start out. We did get a guidance sheet on it but I would have preferred to talk it over. Also, the brush set we were given was a full range but could be better quality as a few of ours had fallen apart by the end. If you just want to do the makeup course I would recommend it.
Opting to do the Total Creative Pro course however, I also did Hair Styling for one week, then Nails and Airbrushing (three days each).
Week 3 – Hair: Hair Basics/ Blow dry – Wet and Dry sets- Thermal Styling and Extensions – Bridal/ Braiding – Period Styles – Fashion Styling
Hair was great. We learnt to do various styles from and spent most of the days doing practical work which I really liked as you got time to do things many times. We would work on each other after the teacher did a demo and for those of us who had short hair or hair you couldn’t do a lot with there were extra dolls heads to practice with. We worked mainly with KMS products but others were recommended. At the end of the week we had a shopping morning. I didn’t think it was as good as the makeup one – there wasn’t a variety of products to choose but you still get a discount on products. I would also like to add hair to my services so I would get a hair kit also at some point.
Week 4a – Nails: Basics/Manicure – Pedicure/Nail Art – Gels / Nail Art
I absolutely loved Nails and I am seriously considering doing it even more. A los of other schools don’t offer nails but I thought it was fantastic and our teacher was so lovely. We even managed to get over our fear of doing a pedicure (wasn’t so bad after all). We use Jessica products which were great quality and learnt how to do a File and polish, Manicure, pedicure, gel nails and nail art.
Week 4b – Airbrushing: Basics/Foundation – Contouring/ Highlighting – Eye makeup/full face
Airbrushing was very interesting and much more difficult than you would think. However the teacher was very knowledgeable and he helped us to really get to grips with the techniques. We did the basic techniques and even learnt to do contouring, highlighting, eyeshadow and (if you were brave) eyebrows. I wish the airbrushing course was a little longer as I feel that you just need a lot more practice to get the hang of it.
The course is quite intense. It’s 6 days a week and you learn so much in that space of time. It can be expensive (The shopping days, retouching of photos, lunch and travel adds another £1000 I’d say onto the overall price) but if you have planned for it you should be fine. Lateness is heavily frowned upon so you have to get there early but as there is nowhere to wait inside, we’d wait outside in the mornings or in Costa across the road. There are no lunch facilities either so you do have to buy/bring your own lunch during the course, however there are many places around to get food like Pret, Eat, Wasabi, Tesco’s and McDonald’s (I’d also recommend Soho Joe’s).
It’s intensive but worth it. I learnt so much during the course and met some amazing people. I would definitely recommend it and I know that I have a great basis upon which I can start a career. They provide Masterclasses and even alert you to jobs where you can assist afterwards – I was able to do one the week after finishing my course so it’s that great.