21 year old makeup artist Alex Niven grew up in a small town in Florida called Pensacola and moved to Bristol just over five years ago, where she now works as a full time makeup artist for Mac Cosmetics. She also works freelance part time doing looks for special occasions in her spare time. We had a little chat with her about why she loves her job and what her plans are for the rest of 2016…
Where did you study make up/learn your skills?
I studied Special Effects Makeup at Ashley Down College in Bristol, and have been practicing makeup for years. I learned most of what I know by practicing on myself and other people.
How long have you been working as a makeup artist?
I have been working as a makeup artist for the past 3 years but have always been interested in makeup. I used to (and still do) watch hours and hours of Youtube tutorials and then practice on myself.
Where do you get your inspiration from for different makeup looks?
Instagram is my biggest source of inspiration, I check it daily and love going on the explore page to find new artists to inspire me!
Who are your favourite celebrity makeup artists?
Mario Dedivanovic, Hrush Achemyan, Sonia Ali, and Ariel Tejada.
How long have you known this is what you want to do?
Like I said I have always been interested in makeup and art, my mom is an art teacher and growing up she always encouraged my creativity. I knew I was interested in makeup when I was about 16/17 and started doing it on my friends and they told me I had a talent for it
You have over 5,500 followers on Instagram, did this happen gradually or did you do anything specific to increase your following? (Apart from being amazing at makeup!)
It definitely happened gradually, building up an Instagram following takes a lot of time and effort. Making sure you post regularly and tagging the makeup brands you have used helps to grow your following. People want to see what products you have used and when you reply to their comments you tend to show up on their friends explore page – interacting with your followers and showing support to other makeup artists will help your social media grow massively!
What are the main mistakes you think people make when applying their makeup?
The biggest problem I see is people struggling with their eyebrows. Recently brows have become a huge interest and people tend to over do them (I have been that person – trust me!) Using a small amount of product goes a really long way. I’m all for dramatic and bold makeup, but less is definitely more when it comes to eyebrows.
Do you have any tips/things to avoid?
Try to avoid feeling like you have to follow trends. People get really sucked into trends and sometimes they don’t work for everyone. Personally, I feel like contouring doesn’t really suit my face shape and when I do too much I look like a clown. So I prefer to just use a bit of bronzer to define my cheeks and leave it at that. I’m more of a highlighter girl, definitely!
Which are your favourite Spring/Summer 2016 makeup products?
Anything bright and colorful! Neon greens, yellows, and oranges look good on everyone when used in moderation, even if it is a pop of color on the lower lash line or on the lips. MAC Chromagraphic Pencils are amazing as they come out true to color and last for hours. For something more affordable try a Makeup Geek eyeshadow in a bright color to change up your look.
Which products do you use daily/can’t you live without?
A product that I absolutely cannot do my makeup without is an eyeshadow primer. I have very oily eyelids that are slightly hooded, so when I forget to use one my eyeshadow turns into a mess within a few hours. Urban Decay Primer Potion and MAC Soft Ochre Paint Pot are some of my favourites. And a good highlighter is a must have!
What’s the best thing about being a makeup artist?
Making people feel good about themselves is the main reason I love my job. I love that I am able to be creative and that people trust me to do what I like, but when someone feels confident about themselves because of something you’ve done it really makes you feel good.
What are your next plans for 2016?
My plans for 2016 are to keep progressing as an artist and better my skill. I would love to start doing makeup seminars where people can come and learn as a group – I really enjoy teaching others so that’s also something I would like to start doing!
We wish you all the best of luck, Alex!
If you have a special occasion coming up that you’d like your makeup done professionally for, Alex is your girl.
You can find her on…
Facebook: ‘Alex Niven Makeup’
Youtube: Alex Niven
Or email her on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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