Top Tops from Make-Up Artist Paula Brennan

By Gemma Creagh - Last update

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We chat about everything from making over Kate Middleton to recycling that old foundation with experienced make-up artist Paula Brennan. Paula trained as a Beauty Therapist in 1988 in Coogan Bergin College and Clinic of Beauty Therapy. On completion of her C.I.D.E.S.C.O. Diploma she began working there. In 1995, she joined a new, exciting company, Graham Anthony Ltd, working with Decleor, Gatineau, Royal Effem, and Carita skincare & Make-up – all up-and-coming, innovative brands.

Paula worked her way up to the role of national trainer,  traveling all across Ireland, Paris, Parma (Italy) and England. She also assisted in the set-up of the Day Spa and trained the therapists on skincare and make-up brands. In 2010 she began her work with the City of Dublin ETB, where she now delivers Beauty Therapy training.

What first interested you in the field of beauty?

I was looking for something that involved working with people and I always had a love of fashion but I can’t sew. I liked the idea of Skincare and Make-up.

What’s the part of your job that you love the most?

In teaching, I love the ‘Lightbulb’ moment when someone understands what they have been doing wrong or something they have always done but they don’t know why they do it.

Is there any part you’re not fond of?

It can be difficult to explain to a client that the look, colour, shape that they want will not suit them. Especially when they are determined to stick with a specific look/image.

Who is your inspiration as a make-up Artist?

That would have to be Anne Morrissey from The International Make-up Academy in Dublin. She is an inspiration and is always ‘on point’.

What is fashionable at the moment and what’s a complete no-no?

According to Cosmopolitan and Harpers Bazar, a more natural, dewy make-up is in for the Spring/Summer season which will carry through for the rest of the year. This is ‘in’ when teamed with black eyeliner and glitter highlighter.

What’s not in anymore is excessive contouring & highlighting  – although I feel it got a bad press due to misuse.

If you could only have two pieces of makeup in your bag what would they be?

Definitely a good lip balm. The one I am using this year – and loving – is AGE Smart Lip Renewal by Dermalogica. It is anti-aging and protecting, add a little bit of lip pencil before application and you have a lovely, natural coloured balm.

Secondly a nice BB Cream. You can achieve a beautiful, natural glow and still protect the skin as well as gently camouflage for any imperfections. La Roche-Posay BB Blur can be pricey but consider it as a treat, a small amount goes a long way.

What is the most common mistake people make with regards to skincare?

Hydration, hydration, hydration!! Hydration is the biggest mistake people make. Drinking water is essential to the body but unfortunately drinking water is not enough to hydrate the skin. Moisture needs to be applied topically in the form of Serums. A serum will penetrate into the skin and replace the lost moisture which will, in turn, fill in any superficial lines making the skin appear more youthful.

Serums need to be patted into the skin not rubbed in. A moisturiser is then applied on top of the serum to seal the moisture in. Serums can be as cheap or as expensive as your pocket will allow. Aldi has some great, award-winning serum to get started with and it won’t break the bank.

What advice would you have for anyone starting out as a Make Up Artist?

Try and get as much experience as possible. Work with others before going out on your own and remember: mistakes are a great way to learn. Build your kit up slowly. Record every look you do and keep and reference file with tips, inspiration, and ideas.

Any pro tips to share?

Never throw out foundations, even if they are the wrong colour. Too light or too dark, they can still be used as contouring.

Who would you love to makeover?

Kate Middleton, she has beautiful skin and a natural dewy look. She has beautiful eyes and good strong natural eyebrows.

Take the 10-Week training programme ‘An introduction to Skin Care and Make-up Application’ for as little as €120 at Pobalscoil Neasáin.

Gemma Creagh

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