Jade Armstrong is a Cape Town based makeup artist specializing in airbrush makeup. She has a Level 3 Diploma in Fashion, Theatre and Media Hair and Make-Up Studies from Kohl Makeup Academy. She is available for weddings, matric dance, workshops, events and other occasions. You can find my work on Facebook and Instagram, my handle is @jadearmstrongmua and my website www.jadearmstrongmua.com
Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?
A: As a makeup artist there are so many different places to find inspiration be it Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook etc. I use all of these as tools to help guide my vision but I mainly draw inspiration from other professionals in the industry. This can be the great icons like Pat McGrath or Einat Dan to the less known but equally skilled SJ Van Zyl and Andrea Van Den Houten who taught me makeup and continue to inspire me daily.
Q: Who is your role model?
A: Hands down my biggest role model is SJ Van Zyl. Not only is he a highly skilled makeup artist and photographer but he has an incredible way of handling people so as to always inspire them and push them towards their goals. Even should you butt heads with him he will leave you excited for what’s to come. One of the main reasons he is my role model is because he chose such a cutthroat industry to get into and he built a successful career for himself which he continues to grow and jumps at any opportunity to pursue his ideas and create beautiful things.
Q: What made you decide to become a makeup artist?
A: After high school I didn’t have money to go to university so I worked as a waitress in a sushi restaurant and saved up money to study BSc Computing through UNISA. Once I had saved up enough, my father told me he would pay for my studies for which I am eternally grateful. I quit my waitress job and started studying but quickly realized the broke life wasn’t for me but instead of going back to being a waitress, I wanted to do something a lot more meaningful. I wanted to pursue another passion of mine that I could potentially turn into a career. So I used the money I had saved up to study makeup artistry. This was honestly the best decision I have ever made in my life as I could not be happier working with makeup. I’m still studying through UNISA but it has become more of a part time study
Q: What motivates you to stay in the industry?
A: I love makeup and I’m a very creative person so the opportunity to create is what keeps me going. It’s also extremely rewarding to help others and teach them how to improve their own makeup. Whenever I give someone advice or tips and tricks they are always extremely grateful and it is wonderful to know that I helped that person in some small way. The industry is also endlessly exciting as you get to meet so many different people and interact with tonnes of different personalities. It’s not always bright and shiny and you will get the odd lady that tells you she can go to any makeup counter in Edgars and get her makeup done for free (which she can’t) but those are the encounters you just let go.It’s not worth letting those people bother you.
Q: If you weren’t a MUA, what career path would you have chosen?
A: If I weren’t a MUA I would probably be a waitress, while studying computing. I think if I did that life would maybe have been simpler but I would not have been as happy as I am now. It’s strange to think of what would have been but I do not think I would have felt fulfilled to just waitress – I’m not myself unless I’m working towards something.
Q: What describes your makeup style and what is your “it factor?”
A: I would say my style varies depending on the work. For more creative shoots I have a bit more fun but generally I create an even glowing canvas with sculpting that suits the specific person’s personality and style and brings out their natural beauty. I then make my own artistic choices on top of that. I think my “it factor” would be my ability to read my clients. I never ask a client what they want and give it to them because a client never knows what they want. I know what they want and I give it to them. I’ve never had a disappointed client.
Q: What do you want clients to know from a makeup artist’s perspective?
A: Makeup is not meant to hide or cover or change the way you look. Wearing makeup is like wearing killer red heels. You do it for fun and you do it because it makes you feel confident and powerful. There’s no better way to wear makeup. Now with that PSA out of the way, what I would love my clients to understand is that it is not necessary to wear BB cream to your consultation. You are accomplishing nothing because I will be taking it off anyway. It is not flattering to show me just how badly matched your foundation is and it lengthens the application unnecessarily.
Q: What is the most common thing you get asked?
A: “What foundation do you use or suggest?” I get asked this question so many times I am starting to think foundation is a mystical maze most people cannot find their way through. My best advice would be to first find out what your skin type is and then find a suitable foundation. Do not just use what your favourite influencer uses as they are using something that suits their skin type! E.g. if you use a foundation that is for oily skin and you have dry skin your foundation will flake and you will find yourself upset and confused as to why your makeup does not look like said influencer’s! A good bet is Urban Decay as they have a good shade range and good formulas. I also quite like Inglot’s HD foundation but they do not have a very wide shade range.
Q: What are your pet peeves?
2A: Clients coming to consultations with BB cream on despite my otherwise advice, especially models. Models coming to shoots with sunburn or cold sores. I cannot use my brushes on cold sores otherwise I have to dunk them in Isopropyl Alcohol which damages the brush hair. I can get heavily sued if I give a client herpes simplex from a brush so I have to take extreme precautions and it ends up ruining the photos anyway. Stylists with a god complex. Girls with 10k bought followers on Instagram asking you to do their makeup for free because it will give you “exposure” (to the 50 people that like their photos maybe). Generally anyone that doesn’t realise that makeup is my profession and how I put food in my mouth. I cannot use exposure to pay for my milk at Pick n’ Pay. Hagglers – you would not ask your doctor to give you discount because you’ll “give him so much business in the future.” He would laugh at you, so why are creatives treated this way? Especially when it’s big companies that ask for discount. Anyone that works with me that does not credit me when they post the photos, it’s extremely ungrateful and rude. I do not haul my heavy kit out to location and use my products up for my health. Other makeup artists that do not follow proper hygiene procedures or know how to actually apply makeup. “Professional” makeup artists that cannot match foundation!Nobody wants to look like an oompa loompa! I could go on.
Q: Do you believe that kit price equals skill?
A: Kit price does not at all equal skill. A good makeup artist will be able to create beautiful looks using minimal products at low cost. If you don’t know what you are doing – no amount of money can make up for that. If you want to become a makeup artist the best thing you can do is study. I thought I knew it all before I studied but oh was I wrong. I’m not saying that you can’t be a good makeup artist if you are self taught – there are many out there. But studying makeup gives you a huge boost. Otherwise, if we are talking products it all depends on what works and what you are most comfortable with. For example, there are some cheap foundations that outperform some expensive ones and vice versa. The point is to test everything.
Q: Favourite brand to work with?
A: I think of the brands that I have worked with I have most enjoyed working with Urban Decay. I promoted their All Nighter foundation at the V&A and I was incredibly impressed with the formula. They have good products and their brand is so fun and everyone is friendly. It was just such a good experience.
Q: What is Jade Armstrong’s personal favourite brand?
It is incredibly hard to choose a favourite brand as every brand has products that work and products that don’t work. I think of the products that I have been able to try that we have available in South Africa I would choose Inglot. My favs are their HD lip tint, it is still by far the longest wear formula I have come across which is incredibly useful to me as a makeup artist as I do not need to touch up lipstick using this product. Their HD foundation is a good formula and suits different skin types unless you’re extremely dry. Their brow gels and eye liners are by far my favourite as they are 100% smudge proof and waterproof. It just makes things a lot easier when you can happily wipe a hand over the brows or the lips for example and nothing moves or comes off.
Q: Skincare VS makeup which would you choose?
A: Easily skincare. Natural beauty is only achieved with skincare. A lot of clients do not understand that there is nothing makeup can do about a textured skin. I can easily cover pigmentation or an uneven skin tone but there is nothing I can do for acne texture or scarring. There are also many skin problems that people are uncomfortable with that makeup may or may not cover that can be removed with a proper skincare regime. Not only will you naturally look beautiful without makeup but your makeup application will improve tenfold with good skin.
Q: Tool you can’t go without.
A: My Inglot 42T brush. I cannot do brows without it. It gives me the thinnest most hairlike strokes to create realistic, natural looking brows. I also cannot go without my mixing palette which I also got from Inglot. I use it for every single application.
Q: Have you worked with any celebs?
A: I have. In fact, a most memorable experience for me was working on set with Christi Panagio. Andrea always does her makeup but I was there for some touch ups. She is so incredibly sweet and such a beautiful human being. She really makes you remember that celebs are just other humans too.
Q: Tell us about the TV show you worked on.
A: Die Skatties is an incredible concept by SJ Van Zyl. It’s a makeover show that is all about celebrating women and their natural beauty inside and outside. Season 2 takes strong women that have made success for themselves and celebrates this with a full day of hair, makeup and wardrobe to turn them into a modern image of one of yesteryear’s icons.
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Also check out our previous spotlighter Melanie Jacobs from Hadassah
Until Next Time
Peace and Love