Cristina Rivera of Albany, NY – Make-up Artist Interview
“You too can be the sought after makeup artist!!” says Albany, New York based makeup artist Cristina Rivera.
Her inspiring, passionate and incredibly information rich artist Q&A is packed with beauty, makeup and skin care advice useful for aspiring artists and “everyday” women.
Q: What surprises you most about working as a makeup artist?
A: I’d have to say its how many people really don’t know the first thing about the proper way to apply makeup. I find myself giving mini consultations as I work. There are so many things that I take for granted as though its common knowledge and I find out, its not.
Q: Tell a little about yourself personally and if you attended school or you are a self taught makeup artist?
A: I’m a self taught makeup artist. I’ve always loved makeup and the instant transformation that happens to people once they’ve been glamified (yes it’s a word, or at least it is now..lol). To see their attitudes change, their posture improve and a little pep in their step. I attended art school and made what I feel is a lateral move into makeup.
It was a little unnerving for me at first to work in someone else’s personal space when I was brought up to respect it. I now find myself most comfortable when I’m up close and personal with someone helping their true fabulousness shine through.
Q: Do you think going to school for make-up artistry is important to excel in the business later on?
A: I can’t say that it’s necessary. There are many self taught makeup artists out there that are determined to keep up to date with the latest techniques and newest innovations. I am one of those artists. Going to school for makeup artistry might help jump start a career but keeping up with it is key. A smoky eye is a smoky eye, but the layering that helps it last longer, or the airbrush that will help you be precise and able to create new designs is something new that needs to be learned. I’m always looking to learn new things, be it by taking a class here and there, reading magazines and trying to replicate my favorite photos. School can only help, but I don’t know that it’s better.
Q: Did you always want 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’ve always been an admirer of RuPaul. I absolutely LOVE the flawless look that is always presented to the public. It was almost unreal to see this tall glamazon walking around, telling jokes, singing etc, all while looking like a barbie doll. It made me want to replicate what I saw. Choosing makeup artistry as a profession happened after working at a makeup counter at Macy’s. I just found such joy in helping the women at the counter with makeovers and educating them. I was in charge of the bridal business at the counter and catered to the stressed out but excited women. They all loved my work, told others and soon women were requesting makeovers by me at the counter. It’s a nice feeling.
Q: What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about your job?
A: I absolutely love watching my client’s reactions when they see themselves in the mirror. Being able to provide that instant gratification…I’d have to say that’s the most exciting part.
Q: Describe your “Classic Approach to Beauty.” how do you define beauty?
A: I’d have to say that bringing someone’s inner beauty out is defining beauty. I like to really look at my clients, talk to them, find out what they like best about themselves and what they like least. I can actually SEE their personality emerge and shine through. Then, I simply enhance their favorite/best features and “ta-da”, they’re beaming. True beauty is the light that’s shines in their eyes when they see themselves and smile.
Q: What individual products and brands you’re “addicted” to at the moment and you use on a daily basis?
A: Here’s one that many makeup artists haven’t heard of YET. They’re called “Shadow Shields”. Invented by Michelle Villanueva it is definitely EVERYONE’S makeup kit must have, even if they don’t know it yet. Forget applying extra powder on cheekbones to catch the fall out from a dark eye shadow.. put these bad boys on, and bye bye raccoon eyes!! Makeup Forever!!
Absolutely LOVE the pigments! I’m in la-la-love with the Mat Velvet mattifying foundation is a Godsend And the blue red lipstick #205 is THE RED for EVERYONE!! I have yet to find someone who CAN’T wear it. AMAZING! Smashbox primer light is also another favorite. I love that it’s so light on the skin.
Q: What are some of the most basic but effective skin care tips in general that you have, that are really important?
A: Have a regimen that you stick to everyday. Makeup only looks as good as the skin it sits on so taking care of your skin is KEY. Make sure that you’re makeup tools are clean! So many people ignore this important factor. Wash your brushes once a week. This will help keep your brushes free of bacteria and it will help keep breakouts to a minimum.
Q: What is the biggest skin care dont’s?
A: Don’t go to sleep with your makeup on! If you want to look as good tomorrow as you did today, wash it off, take care of your skin and sleep on a clean pillow case. Dark eye makeup will stain your skin over time and give you the appearance of dark circles all the time, and who needs help adding to THAT? Not me.
Take a Q-tip and get the extra little bit off. It’s worth the extra effort.. trust me.
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: Can’t say that I have. Thankfully, my makeup sessions go pretty smoothly. (Knock on wood)
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: The most common mistake is using too much product. If you purchase a full coverage foundation, you can count on the fact that it will be full coverage. Too much product can actually ENHANCE skin problems instead of diminishing them.
Blending is essential! Make sure that your foundation matches your skin exactly and when you test it, test it on your face. That is, after all, where you’re going to wear it.
Q: What do you think are best/worst trends in the makeup / skin care industry right now?
A: I love the playful bright colors for spring and summer. It’s bringing fun back into makeup for the everyday look. Blue, bright pinks, purple and orange. Makeup should be fun, not taken so seriously. Bright colors kind of make that happen. Worst trends…I’d have to say the pin-up look. Yes, it is sexy, fun and a blast to do. It’s just not realistic for most people. It has a tendency to look very heavy, time consuming and untouchable. That kind of look is just for show and that’s it.
Q: Do teenage girls needs to splurge on high-priced makeup products, or are drugstore items are just as satisfactory?
A: Well, I guess that depends on the girl. Need? No. Want? Probably. The thing is, the drugstore brands are coming out with intense pigments as well so teenage girls can get similar looks to what they would have with the more expensive brands. And when you stop and think, the makers of Max Factor are also the makers of Smashbox. So being careful about your selections can save you a pretty penny and still get you the look you want.
Q: What feature(s) do you love to accentuate?
A: Definitely the eyes. They truly are where I see the joy in my clients and so decorating them is my favorite.
Q: What are your steps for the perfect, flawless, natural look?
A: Primer, pore minimizer (if necessary) liquid foundation applied one section of the face at a time, illuminator high on the cheek bones, finishing powder, bronzer & blush combo (gives a more natural look), mascara and a flesh toned lip color. If eyeshadow is desired, a cream soft eyeshadow in peach or apricot.
Q: What is a really quick way to change a day look to a special occasion or nighttime face?
A: Eyeshadow and eyeliner. Darkening the eyes says night time every time. Add some eyeshadow to the outer corners of your eyes and line the rims of your eyes with liner. Touch up your gloss and off you go.
Q: What are the differences between applying makeup on models and on real women?
A: When applying makeup on models, layers (no matter how many are needed) is common and expected. Perfection is the goal so retouching is minimal.
Depending on the look one is going for, the makeup can be heavier. With real women, I try to have their true selves shine through. I don’t want them to feel as though they don’t look like themselves. They are the ones who decide what look they want and can be the judge of when they feel you’ve achieved it.
Q: In terms of eyeliner, if you had to choose between a pencil, liquid, or cream/gel based, which one would you choose? Why?
A: I have to say, my favorite is liquid. I love the felt tip ones, because when you’re rushing through a shoot to get many women done on time, it’s the easiest to use and gives great definition. Gel based is fantastic as well, since it goes on so smoothly. I use pencil for the inner rims of the eyes. It gives a sharp intense eye.
Q: Lip gloss or Lipstick. Which product is best? Why?
A: It would depend on the desired look. Sometimes I use both. It helps with the longevity of the products. Less touching up. Someone once told me that lip gloss is for younger girls and lipstick is for older gals. I disagree. I think that makeup is makeup and if applied properly, you can get a killer look!
Q: What should a client consider before deciding to try permanent makeup? What is the difference between permanent and semi-permanent makeup?
A: I guess they would have to be prepared to have the same look forever in order to consider permanent makeup. Semi-permanent makeup is best in order to change things up a bit.
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: I absolutely love Trisha Sawyer’s “Eye Slept”. It’s a white cream that you dab under the eyes to look well rested. It brightens the eyes right up. As for blemishes, I’m partial to Makeup forever concealer palette, and Laura Mercier.
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: Well, the thing about the airbrush spray, is its flawlessness. It applies makeup to the skin in such small amounts and so strategically that it’s never over done. It’s definitely the better way to get a flawless finish while using less product. As for ease of use, I’d say that with practice, it would become second nature. It’s a matter of being willing to have the patience and take the time to learn the proper makeup application.
Q: What do your clients think of you? What are some individual testimonials?
A: Thankfully, I’ve got nothing but good feed back. I’ve actually dedicated a page of my website to testimonials. I invite you to visit my page to see them www.GlowingFaces.net
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: Words I live by, “don’t cry over spilled milk”. I put my all into everything I do. If something doesn’t go as I’ve planned, I try to learn from it, so that next time, I will do it better. I always put 110% into everything I do. I don’t do half way on anything that is going to have my name on it. It’s just not the reputation I want to have. I recently worked on Henry N. Jackson’s “Real” sized Fall 2009-2010 Fashion Show in NYC. It was such an amazing experience and I look forward to doing more fashion shows.
Q: What tips and advice do you have for aspiring makeup artists just starting out?
A: Don’t give up. It might not be easy, but if you ask questions, listen and practice what you learn, you will do well. If someone else can’t see themselves achieving their goals, they might try to squash yours. Don’t let them. Makeup artistry is a competitive field where only the best do very well for themselves. Keep a positive attitude and let your personality shine through. People will remember the makeup artist with the great personality and incredible talent. You too can be the sought after makeup artist!!