Featured Make-up Artist: Leah James



"I found myself doing three different jobs whilst doing makeovers over the weekend and I was so busy, I then decided to hand in my notice at all jobs and become a freelancer. It's the best decision I have made to date. I am currently building a brand new makeup studio and beauty therapy room from home where I work for myself and clients can come to me for all their Glamour & Beauty needs."

Leah has been through some rough patches in her life, but she has come out the other end doing what she loves, where she has found her passion. She was so open to sharing some of the tips she has come across after her many years in the industry, and we think you will find her interview very informative. One look at her photos show how well she applies make-up in a complementary sense to the models' clothing, pose and surroundings. They all work together in a way that communicates meaning.

Leah is so down to earth and accepts criticism when she receives it. We were so happy when she approached us, and we can't wait for you to read her interview!


Can you tell us what makes you a good fit for this particular makeup artist position with the competition being so tough?

I believe I stand out from other competitors because, no matter what type of work, shoots, weddings, glamour or stage work you can see how much passion I have for makeup. I am constantly looking for new products, new applications, tips and tricks and I am always happy to share, because I truly believe there is no right or wrong way of creating looks. It's always about finding a style and a way to make it work for each individual. person.

Why did you choose this profession?

When my clients come to me and have that amazing reaction to seeing the desired look in the mirror that I have given them, that is priceless to me. Body & inner confidence is so important. It helps all of us grow and be a better person. I wanted a job that was creative, fun & something that would make anyone feel better after a bad day. Putting a smile on someone's face is a lovely gift to have.


What are the biggest challenges makeup artists have to face?

I would say competition between other artists, there are many who are lovely, caring & share the same passion as you, but then there are some who will try to bring you down. But there truly is no need for it, there are so many clients out there who want our help and service. The same applies to photo shoots, there are so many photographers, shoots, shows; it's better to work with extra hands rather than cutting them off in spite.

If a customer asks for a style that you are sure would not suit them, how do you convince the customer to go otherwise?

I would simply explain and suggest what style I think would best suit them, and their skin type, shape and tone.


How do you prepare dry and oily skin for foundation makeup application?

I always give my clients a skin consultation before any events that they may have coming up and recommend a few tips & products to help with skin preparation before the appointment. There are many different ways to prepare both skin types, but after struggling with acne & exzema my self I have seen many dermatologists and tried many products & medications. What I have found best for all skin types is that the products and tools needed are:

  • Facial sponge

  • Muslim cloth

  • Cleansing facial butter (Top range: Elemis pro-collegen cleaning butter. Lower range: Body shop Camomile cleansing butter)

  • Cleaning water/toner or water

The steps I take are as follows:

  1. Use lukewarm water to wet the face and with the palm of your hands, use a cleansing butter of your choice and rub over face (eyes included). You should be gentle, and this is great for taking off waterproof mascara and removing makeup/dirt as well

  2. Then use the Muslim cloth to remove it.

  3. Repeat step one for a second time to, now clean the skin after all dirt is removed. (For the same reason we shampoo hair twice before conditioning it)

  4. Rinse with water and use facial sponges to wipe clean with your choice of cleansing water, toner or just normal water.

  5. Pat dry and place a good Serum on. Leave to soak in, then you're ready for your foundation primer and makeover.

This process helps minimise products used on skin, time and money. My clients love it.


Do you have any experience in cosmetic retails?

Yes I am a fully qualified hair and Beauty therapist which is how I know so much about skin. And yes I have over 8 years of experience with cosmetics retail from salons, spas and department stores such as Body Shop.

Tell us about your experience as a makeup artist?

Being a makeup artist truly helps me be my self, enjoy life and enjoy my job. A few years ago, I took some time out from the beauty industry to travel and get away from many things that were building up at home. When I came back I had a mental break down and many anxiety panic attacks. This made me realise how much I was always stressing about what I was doing with my life. So I looked for a new job and found a makeup artist position working at the Body Shop. This made me realise how much I missed makeup, customer care & contact and helping people feel good about themselves from the moment they wake up to the end of the day. Two years later I found myself doing three different jobs whilst doing makeovers over the weekend and I was so busy, I then decided to hand in my notice at all jobs and become a freelancer. It's the best decision I have made to date. I am currently building a brand new makeup studio and beauty therapy room from home where I work for myself and clients can come to me for all their Glamour & Beauty needs.


Do you apply makeup for special events? Name some you have covered?

I have provided makeup for local Theater groups such as Mini players, Carmarthen Youth and Vintage Town Fayre. I have also provided my services for a Charity event night at the Oldwalls in Gower, and provide raffle prizes for many charity-sponsored events locally too.

What is the difference between applying makeup for a TV shoot and applying makeup for a live appearance party?

You do have to go a little heavier and stronger than you normally would, especially under strong/bright lighting. And makeup must be HD ready.


How often do you clean your makeup tools such as brushes and combs? How does it affect the wear and tear of your tools and how do you feel about the associated expense?

I sanatize my brushes with a spray in between clients and deep clean then once a week. If you find the right cleaning product and look after your tools they can last amazingly. Yes it's an expensive job but it's as expensive as you make it depending on your products and your style.

How do you determine a client’s undertone before you decide what makeup technique to use?

I always ask what their skin routine is and what products they are currently using. Get to know their coverage type and safety blanket as I like to call it. That will help me decide which brand or technique style to use. I have many different foundation options - manually or with airbrush, cream, liquid or powder.


Do you have any tips for aspiring makeup artists?

Believe in your self and your work. Take the good feedback and the bad feedback. Learn that everyone has different style and everyone has a different finished image in their minds.

Booking information:

Instagram: @leahjames_86mua

Facebook: Leah James Make-up Artistry & Beauty

Email: leahjames_86@yahoo.co.uk



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