Elizabeth Tolley – Make-up, Beauty, Skin Care Interview
Enjoy an information rich and educational interview with Charlotte, North Caroline based professional makeup artist Elizabeth Tolley.
Whether you are a model, an everyday woman, a teenager, a working or an aspiring makeup artist you will find a wealth of ready to use beauty and skin care advice in the following excellent Q&A.
Q: What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about your job?
A: Travel. I love working with new people and seeing new places. All of these new experiences take me in different directions with my work.
Q: Tell a little about yourself personally and if you attended school or you are a self taught makeup artist?
A: I am for the most part, a self taught makeup artist. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some amazing talents along the way that continue to teach and inspire me. Creatively, I feed of of art, music, fashion and gain energy from collaborating with others. I am also very visual so I am easily influenced by everything I come in contact with.
Q: Do you think going to school for make-up artistry is important to excel in the business later on?
A: I think going to school for makeup artistry can be very beneficial if you are looking to specialize in film or special fx. There are many shams on the internet for promises for work and kit start up that don’t deliver. Just do research if you are going to invest. You may also find many text books online with amazing techniques guidelines if you aren’t near schools for makeup or desire to teach yourself.
Q: Did you always wanted to be an artist, or did you stumble upon your talent by chance? Who or what inspired you to become a makeup artist?
A: I stumbled on all of this by chance. Makeup wasn’t really a career for me but I found myself some years back with a great day job and the company let 50 employees go. Strange events pulled me into this field after that. That lay off was a huge favor :)
Q: What surprises you most about working as a makeup artist?
A: How much more confident women feel when having makeup done and the boost to their self esteem….that’s my favorite part and it always surprises and excites me.
Q: Describe your “Classic Approach to Beauty.” how do you define beauty?
A: My “Classic Approach to Beauty” is very clean and simple in application. Sometimes, I follow guidelines of symmetry which is always best for photography, but I believe first it is most important to consider each individual and how to make the most of their features.
Q: What individual products and brands you’re “addicted” to at the moment and you use on a daily basis?
A: Smashbox – Anti-shine and Studio finish face primers – amazing for film / stage / and event work
Benefit Cosmetics – F Y Eye- shadow primer that NO One can crease
She Laq – waterproof sealant for makeup
Laura Mercier – Has the best tinted moisturizer and foundations on the market. I love the tint for the high SPF and Coverage.
I use almost all MAC and some Nars for the color in my kit. I can’t beat the color pigment in MAC color. And Nars makes some truly beautiful shades of blush and lip color as well. Dior Show is still one of my favorite mascaras.
Q: What are some of the most basic but effective skin care tips in general that you have, that are really important?
A: Always use moisturizer. In addition to SPF, make sure you look for sunblock as well in a moisturizer and watch for cleansers and masques that overly dry out the skin. I think women start to try wrinkle creams prematurely because their skin is so dehydrated on the surface. Last but not least, drink LOTS of water! :)
Q: What is the biggest skin care dont’s?
A: Don’t sleep in your makeup! Clients always shock me with this one. Don’t use face scrubs in the middle of a break out. Don’t forget to re-apply sunblock outside every three hours :)
Q: Have you had an extreme, crazy or bad experience with a skin care product or during a makeup session? If so, what happened?
A: Some eye makeup removers irritate sensitive eyes. Redness, puffy eyes, and itching often follow. I always try to ask if someone is sensitive and if so try gently eye cream as an alternate remover.
Q: What do you find to be the most common mistakes women make with makeup? What’s the worst thing a woman can do to her skin?
A: I think many common mistakes women make are layering heavy products. From mascara to foundation, always make sure to blend– you can achieve coverage without the product building up too fast. Think of applying product in terms of baby steps.
This will keep you from replacing cosmetics too fast and will give you a more natural look. I’ll say it again, I think the worst thing people can do to their skin is tan, the face in particular. There are so many good self tanners on the market now. Origins face tanner is very good as well as many of Neutrogena’s tanners. Always test a small patch first for color and exchange it if needed.
Q: What do you think are best/worst trends in the makeup / skin care industry right now?
A: I think the best is strong eye brows. The brows frame the eyes and entire face. I think the worst trends are using shimmer products all over the face at once. If the eyes are very shiny, I’d like to see women keep the skin a more natural texture, etc.
Q: Do teenage girls needs to splurge on high-priced makeup products, or are drugstore items are just as satisfactory?
A: Not necessarily. I think some of the best drug store brands are Rimmell, and Loreal. If shopping for foundation, however, I recommend getting matched during the day so you can see the shade in sunlight. MAC makes many foundations for all skin types that are very affordable. When shopping for foundation, remember to tell the artist what type of coverage you would like and what type of skin you have. Laura Mercier also makes a wonderful line of tinted moisturizers for oily and normal skin. These are the products I suggest investing in.
Q: What feature(s) do you love to accentuate?
A: The skin. Eyes, cheeks, and lips will follow depending on the person, but I believe that everyone’s skin should be as flawless as possible.
Q: What are your steps for the perfect, flawless, natural look?
A: Natural, matching shade of makeup. Then, if you are not sure about color pallet for the rest of the face, remember that soft tones work best. Bronzer can be beautiful added to a soft pink or peach blush to brighten the eyes. My personal opinion on natural lips is to select a shade in the same color family as your natural lip color. If you have brown lips, try a lighter shade of brown or peach. The same goes for pink. And select a very soft lip pencil that will define but not make the lip color darker than you would like.
Q: What is a really quick way to change a day look to a special occasion or nighttime face?
A: Go for the eyes at evening. A soft pair of false lashes, black or gray eyeliner. MAC clear lipglass is very wet looking. You can add it over almost any day shade and it will be glossy enough for evening.
Q: What are the differences between applying makeup on models and on real women?
A: I think the main difference is the amount of drama on models for the camera or film. I usually go much lighter in application on real women unless I already know the client is comfortable with a certain amount of makeup. It’s always easier to add more shadow, etc than it is to remove it.
Q: In terms of eyeliner, if you had to choose between a pencil, liquid, or creme/gel based, which one would you choose? Why?
A: I use all for different things, but for clients recommend a gel/ cream based eyeliner. These formulas are usually very long wearing, but mainly because they are so versatile for a “smokey”, smudged, soft, or liquid look. You get a little more bang for your buck.
Q: Lip gloss or Lipstick. Which product is best? Why?
A: I love both. Definitely lipstick for evening, or if you choose to wear a shade of red. Always use a lip pencil with both. It doesn’t necessarily have to be darker than the lip color.
Q: What should a client consider before deciding to try permanent makeup? What is the difference between permanent and semi-permanent makeup?
A: I, personally do not promote permanent makeup. Mainly because, once tattoo-ed on, you no longer have the choice to change it. I have also seen the ink change shades over time to some very unflattering colors.
Semi-permanent makeup is very long wearing formulas, you may need a special remover to take off. i.e. severely waterproof liquid liners or long wear lip colors.
Q: What brand/type of concealer is your favorite for covering up the after effects of a late night out i.e. under-eye circles, blemishes?
A: Blemishes – Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. Under eye circles – MAC Cosmetics Moisturecover. I use the 2 different formulas because the Camouflage is full coverage and a bit thicker for blemishes and Moisturecover is a light weight formula that smooths the appearance of texture under the eye while concealing.
Q: How about airbrush spray makeup trend? Are these products better or easier to use than standard sponge or finger application? If yes when would you recommend using them?
A: I would only airbrush for a major event or special fx makeup. Most daily wear is best with a more natural formula of foundation and the right brush for application. Sponges absorb too much product and hold bacteria. Fingertips don’t always blend that well.
For liquid, check out MAC Brush #187. For Cream, #191. For Powder, #180. Brushes are an investment, but most artistry cosmetic lines have a great guarantee on their brushes and they make a world of difference in blending the makeup. Just remember to clean them once per week. Check out Cinema Secrets Brush Cleanser!! It’s my favorite.
Q: What do your clients think of you? What are some individual testimonials?
A: My clients tell me I am very fun and easy to get along with. What means the most to me as well is when they refer friends and family and continue to talk about what a great time they had and how great they felt about themselves after having makeup done. That’s what it’s all about for me. I want them to LOVE it.
Q: Would you share some of your future goals, your life motto, any words of wisdom that get you by in life and professional career?
A: Future goals are to continue to grow my business, I never stop learning. Words of wisdom would be not to take yourself too seriously. I think that happens too much in this industry. Have fun with it and let the work speak for itself.
Q: What tips and advice do you have for aspiring makeup artists just starting out?
A: Working under a mentor can be great experience. Check out some online resources and build lasting relationships with photographers to build your portfolio. Never stop trying new things and learning.
Visit Elizabeth’s makeup artist homepage and MySpace profile!