MAKE-UP MAGIC with NICOLE BLAKE

Saturday, November 10, 2018

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There are make-up artists, and there are MUAs (pronounced muahs). You know them: the ones who do it for the likes. Nicole Blake isn't one. Her clients book her for her professionalism and for an escape into a complete glam experience, and we've got the photos to prove. They're #flawless! Since completing her studies at D'Marie School of Make-up Artistry over four years ago, Blake has been perfecting and expanding the BrushedByNicole brand. Under the Dryer talks beauty with her.

Under the Dryer (UTD): How did you stumble upon make-up artistry?

Nicole Blake (NB): As early as age four. I was enrolled in ballet school, where it was mandatory to wear make-up for concerts. Of course, I did not mind. I remember “borrowing” my mother's make-up bag to try on her Chanel eyeshadows and YSL lipsticks; she had all the good stuff! The love for make-up stuck with me from childhood, and, in 2014, I decided to become a professional make-up artist. The rest is history.

UTD: What sets you apart from other make-up artists?

NB: Being the consummate professional at my craft, BrushedbyNicole Beauty speaks luxury. Think about it! When clients visit the studio, they are greeted with the highest level of professionalism. I create an ambiance of comfort and luxury. I also ensure that I cater to all their beauty needs from start to finish.

No product is too good for my clients. This is evidenced by the products I use; only the best brands that the industry has to offer are included in my kit.

I never rush; I always take my time to ensure that I seamlessly blend harsh lines for a flawless finish. I am a stickler for perfection, which is why most people recognise my work easily because of how detailed it is. My Instagram page @brushedbynicole, which is never filtered, showcases just that.

When my clients leave my studio, they feel confident and positive. In fact, I have developed a friendly relationship with most of my clients, especially since I make them feel comfortable.

 

UTD: Tell us about the one-, two-, or three-off situations that you're not very proud of. How have these instances influenced your development over the years?

NB: Honestly, I have never received any negative feedback on my work. But, that has not stopped me from developing as an artist. I am constantly learning about new trends and techniques to incorporate in my work. As a matter of fact, in my quest to improve, I sought the expertise of one of the best in the industry. I recently completed an intense two-day one-on-one session with Charlotte, North Carolina-based celebrity make-up artist Yanneek Brinson, who has worked with Kenya Moore from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, R&B singer Fantasia Barrino, and Shannon Thornton from Power, to name a few. I worked with Atlanta-based model Alexis Marie, brand ambassador for Urban Skin Rx, and the face of Nene Leakes' clothing store Swagg Boutique. The experience surpassed all my expectations.

 

UTD: When did make-up become your primary source of income?

NB: After completing my MBA, I was briefly employed to Sagicor Life Jamaica, where customers and co-workers constantly complimented my make-up skills. It was then that I decided to enrol at the D'Marie Institute for an extensive three-month course. After completing, I would practise on friends and family members until I felt more confident to start offering my services to a wider audience. My love for make-up grew one client at a time. I began to feel a sense of fulfilment that I could actually help make women feel better about themselves. The look on my clients' faces at the end of my service is absolutely priceless to me. My dad, before he died, had put a congratulatory note in the Jamaica Observer after I completed my MBA. His message to me was “We are assured that intrinsically you recognise that all gifts, talents and any other special endowments should not be used for self- aggrandisement, but for the advancement of human kind”. I am doing just that!

 

UTD: What certifies you as a professional make-up artist?

NB: In 2014, I was awarded a City and Guilds Certificate for Make-up Artistry having completed a three-month course with the D'Marie Institute. BrushedbyNicole is a registered brand with the local regulatory institutions. I am keen on the new and emerging trends in my industry and I will continue to seek the necessary training to improve my skills to set my brand apart.

 

UTD: Name-drop a few of your clients…

NB: Tamar McKenzie, Ashley-Ann Foster, Melanie Schwapp, Kimberley Stiff, Nicole McLaren Campbell, Zoe Arscott, Lisa McIntosh-Aris, Dianne Plummer, Naomi Garrick, Kaci Fennell for the Buzzz Magazine cover, December 2014 issue, Lisa Escalona, Brooke Harrison, and Jami Spence.

 

UTD: Share four do's to ensure a 10-15-minute make-up beat is done right.

NB: 1. Moisturise

2. Apply foundation with a beauty blender

3. Apply falsies (false lashes)

4. Set the face using Finishing Powder and Setting Spray

 

UTD: What three items are always in your make-up kit?

NB: 1. Yves Saint Laurent Souffle D'E'clat Face Powder (shades 02 and 04)

2. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream

3. MAC Cosmetics Mineralized Skin Finish Powders

 

UTD: List one do and two dont's when applying make-up.

NB:

DO

Clean your brushes and application tools: beauty blender, regularly. This is not only hygienic, but it prevents breakouts! Please throw them away after one month of use.

Tip: Use 99% alcohol to cleanse brushes daily!

 

DON'T

Never use black to fill in your brows!

Tip: Use lighter strokes to avoid a harsh look. Try using a retractable pencil; it will allow more control while creating hair-like strokes. My favourite eyebrow pencil is MAC's Eyebrow Pencil in the Spiked shade.

 

DON'T

Use one eyeshadow colour; especially a brightly coloured shade. Go for a transition shade, crease colour, and the main lid colour to get a perfect blend.

Tip: For a long-lasting eye look, use an eyeshadow primer.

 

UTD: Your primary focus is bridal make-up. Are there plans to expand on that?

NB: My primary focus at the moment is bridal beauty make-up, but I do throw in event make-up every now and again. Honestly, I am really into beauty make-up; bridal just so happens to fall into that category. I have made steps to incorporate a few additional services that will allow me to be a more rounded make-up artist. I now offer fusion eyelash extension services as well as eyebrow waxing services.

I have recently partnered with Petals and Promises for a live demonstration at their showroom. The event is meant to showcase what my Luxury Bridal Experience entails.

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