Shawn Towne

We bring you interview with the amazing make-up artist Shawn Town.

Shawn Towne is a global educator for Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, the first makeup that is actually good for the skin. He is working as a makeup artist for over 26 years and through his business he worked with celebrities as Luke Wilson and Eartha Kitt. His amazing work can be found in fashion magazines, runway shows, televisions commercials etc.

In this interview he will reveal to us about his challenges in life and his favorite and worse part of his job.

W: Why did you choose this particular profession? When did you know that this career is created just for you?

I grew up with a very beautiful Grandmother who never left the house without a full face of makeup and a Mother who loved dramatic makeup. I was always fascinated to watch them do their own makeup and I spent most of my teenage years doing makeup on all of my friends. I knew by the time I graduated from high school that this was what I wanted to do. I’ve never done anything else.

W: What was your first job and what has been the biggest challenge you faced in your career?

My first job as a makeup artist was with a modeling agency in San Antonio, Texas. I did makeup for composite or zed cards for models. Being young and inexperienced I didn’t really understand the natural look so I put red lipstick and black eyeliner on everybody. The biggest challenge I ever faced was learning to give up what I wanted to create and do what the photographer or art director wanted me to do. That seems to be a common challenge for young makeup artists because we are visionaries. We want to create our own style but sometimes the required style looks nothing like what we want. Thus our listening skills and ability to conform are very valuable.

W: What was the best advice that you get from another professional makeup artist?

I’ve been very blessed to have been mentored by many amazing artists and I’ve gotten so many jewels of advice over the years so I can’t choose one but some key pieces are:
i. Never go too heavy on foundation and always blend well. A smooth natural looking complexion is the basis of all beauty.
ii. Choose carefully the tools you use. One wrong brush can mean the difference between blended and messy.
iii. Always have good lighting. An illuminated face is your best pallet to work on.

W: How long does it take for a person to become a professional makeup artist?

a. There is no standard. I meet so many talented artists that never get the opportunity to work as professionals and I’ve met many professionals who shouldn’t be called professionals. Unfortunately it is still about who you know and about being in the right place at the right time. My advice to anyone who wants to be a professional is to take as many pictures of your work as possible and keep a portfolio to show. Have a website or a facebook page. Always document your work so potential clients and employers can see your talent.

W: What techniques and preparative cosmetics do you use during the make-up?

Primers are such a important part of good makeup. They smooth the texture of the skin and create a polymer that makeup will adhere to. Many of them even have skincare benefits. My favorite is Smooth Affair Primer by jane iredale.

Shawn in Dubai

W: Which information should stylist share with his client? What advice do you often give to clients when they come to the salon?

Full disclosure and nothing less is my standpoint. We do the entire application with the client facing the mirror from start to finish. We invite to client to ask as many questions as she wants and we review the process with her at the end. I teach all the artists I meet to chart what they have done on a diagram that the client can take home with them. There is nothing more frustrating to a client than to get home with a bag full of makeup products that she doesn’t know how to use. It is our responsibility to teach them how to recreate the look we have given them.

W: You live and work in the United States. What are the criteria for women in America when it comes to makeup, and what for women in Europe?

Well the criteria are constantly changing. Decades ago, women were concerned with nothing less than luster, texture and coverage. Today there’s a deeper, more evolved understanding of makeup and what it can do. Skincare and makeup are now hybrid products and sun protection has become higher priority than ever before. And while a consumer of the 1990s may have been satisfied with long lasting coverage and smooth consistency, the latest generation of consumers isn’t all that impressed unless you can do it without adding synthetic preservatives, fragrances, petroleum and dyes. And don’t forget that women of today, both American and European want skincare benefits such as anti-oxidant protection, vitamins and certified organic botanicals.

W: Who are some of your most favorite clients so far?

Well I owe a debt of gratitude to Mariel Hemmingway who allowed me to do her makeup for a magazine editorial back in 1997. She was very kind to me and her picture in my portfolio was my first celebrity image, which got me a lot of work in the following years. But I must say that the most life changing influence in my career has been Jane Iredale herself. She isn’t a client; she is the owner of the company I work for. I’ve had the honor of knowing her personally for over 6 years. I was introduced to her products back in 2003 and since then, I’ve never wanted to use anything else. Through example, she is changing the world’s standards of makeup. Her transparency, her vision and her humanitarianism have inspired me in more ways than I can possibly name.

W: What’s the best and worst part of your job?

The best part of my job is knowing that I play a valuable role in such a wonderful organization. I get to teach professionals how to create beauty with products that don’t hurt people, animals or the environment. I get to travel the world and meet others who share Jane’s vision. I can’t think of anything I would enjoy more. The worst part of my job is trying to eat healthy on the road. Sometimes you just can’t find a kale salad or almond milk smoothie when you want one.

W: What three makeup item should no woman leave home without?

a. A good mineral powder like PurePressed Base for touch ups and sun protection.
b. A hydrating lip product such as PureMoist Lip Color. Remember a good lip color can be used on the lips, cheeks and even eyes.
c. A soft eye defining pencil, preferably not too dark so that it can be used on the eyes, brows and smudged into the corner or crease for a shadow.

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