Makeup school and high-end products aside, there are some practices and key points that I'd love to share:
A makeup artist should be able to thrive with just the basics.
Take away the complicated brushes and practice with your hands - on yourself, of course. Make sure your hands are clean and clean them in between products. You will find out that your strokes will improve and so will your dexterity. A good makeup artist can apply makeup without the use of a sophisticated brush, especially on emergency cases. Try using both right and left hands.
A makeup artist is always early or on time.
I worked in a call center before and when they say that be there at 9 pm it meant be there at 8:30 so that you could set up your post. The same way it is with a shoot or a client. Arrive at least 15 minutes before the call time so that you could set up your station. Wash your hands, gargle mouthwash, and make sure everything is clean. Retouch your own makeup if you must, so that when the model/client comes, you're all set and ready.
A makeup artist can work with various brands and could mix and match.
This is what I loved about my makeup school, because they exposed us to various brands. Various brands have different techniques on how their products can be optimized. Whenever we have activities, there would be a brand sponsor, which required us to use their stuff, and this helped us understand more about their products and how they're supposed to be used. I'm proud to say that I can work with brands A to Z and some 1, 2, and 3. We were taught how to manipulate our Kryolans while we discover around how to maximize our MACs and Paul and Joes. Use high end products. Use cheap brands. Use even China brands found in Divisoria. Practice, practice, and practice.
A makeup artist is up-to-date
The digital age shows what are the trends to follow. Don't keep your style stagnant. Learn new things by researching online, reading books, or asking around your network. There's always the Internet and magazines. You can always pick up a new thing or two from another makeup artist. Ask counters to alert you when they have workshops conducted by their makeup artists. And if you can, enroll in a class. On your own, practice.
A makeup artist is professional.
This means always being early, knowing where you should stand, and doing your job well. When a client inquires with another makeup artist, do not contact the client and offer your services for free or for a big discount. Wait for the client to contact you. Walang agawan at sulutan ng raket please. Walang bastusan ng kapwa makeup artist.
A makeup artist is wise.
Makeup artists should know their rights. Makeup artists should also know what gigs to accept and where to do pro-bono. Do not just do pro bono or else your services can be abused. Don't also keep hoarding makeup stuff. Think 5x before buying an item, especially if it's out of whim.
A makeup artist is a perfectionist.
"You are your worst critic." This is what my makeup teacher, Bo, would tell us. Never settle for "pwede na" (It's okay). Always aim for perfection. Check color harmony, color matching, contouring, and most of all, BLENDING. Blend like your life depended on it.
A makeup artist should have passion for what he or she does.
Again, if you think makeup artistry is the fast track to a very rich lifestyle, I have to tell you this, "Are you kidding me?" If you don't have the passion, patience, perseverance, and time to practice for it, you will not survive in this industry. The industry is a tough one, it really is, and the people who have thrived well here are those who have really passion for their jobs, not just the pay. Of course, we do love the pay when it pays, but the point is, whether it be makeup artistry or another, if you don't have the passion for it, better not.