follow us on

A Year In Quarantine: Pro Makeup Artists Share How Makeup Helped Them Cope

Never underestimate the power of a swipe of lipstick!

To say that the past year was a rollercoaster ride is an understatement. Amidst uncertainty in an ever-changing world, people have turned to many different means to cope, including exercise, baking, home improvement, entrepreneurship, and more.


One way we METRO ladies have truly learned to cope is through the power of makeup. I as a Beauty Editor have personally have gone through many ups and downs during the quarantine year, and makeup was a friend I could turn to on days when I needed that extra boost. Today, we give you four ladies who inspire us—professional makeup artists and beauty aficionados who have truly discovered themselves more, one lipstick swipe and mascara coat at a time. Keep scrolling!


A Year in Quarantine: How Staying Active Helped Me Cope

RELATED STORY:

A Year in Quarantine: How Staying Active Helped Me Cope

540x540
Yciar Castillo | @yciar_castillo

YCIAR CASTILLO

1. Please tell us about your current projects—what you do professionally, any brand/s you are affiliated with, how you fill your days during the extended quarantine.

I’m the Training Manager of Laura Mercier Philippines. Lately, I’ve been busy with my team thinking of how to make the brand more accessible during this difficult time. We still work from home and report to the office once or twice a week.


2. As a makeup artist, how were you able to express your craft during the past year in quarantine?

Last year, the pandemic drew everything to a halt. Plans that had been laid out ahead of time could not be carried out. I think what I found quite challenging for me was the move to digital. It meant making videos, TikToks, and taking even more selfies than what I’m normally comfortable with. Having said this though, that kept me sane through last year… and it also made me experiment with new things.  So last year was a whole lot of makeup on video and pictures for me.

4. What new makeup/skincare skills and practices were you able to learn during the quarantine?

The biggest lesson for me was changing my entire skincare regimen.  My skin broke out so badly because of mask-wear. I think I tried more than 10 different skincare products out of desperation—I used ones with retinols, cica, rice water… you name it!  And at the end of last year, I realized that really investing in skincare and a good brand works miracles. And also, setting everything with Translucent Setting Powder using a velour puff really does make your makeup more budge proof!  Of course, using a brush is good but when you press the product into your skin, it seals & holds it in.


5. What is your best makeup-related memory from the past year?

During the first three months of lockdown, the Laura Mercier Global Artists & Education Team reached out to all its markets offering online workshops where they taught us new techniques and just had session where they talked makeup.  This was very inspiring for me because I really value every chance I get to learn and grow as an artist… and what better way than learning from fellow makeup professionals who have the same passion?


540x540
Chuchie Ledesma | @chuchieledesma

CHUCHIE LEDESMA
1. Please tell us about your current projects—what you do professionally, any brand/s you are affiliated with, how you fill your days during the extended quarantine.

I am a freelance makeup artist, a training consultant, a managing partner of a writing agency, and a candle brand owner. I am currently working on the next collection for my candle brand and I am also preparing makeup training modules for local companies.


2. As a makeup artist, how were you able to express your craft during the past year in quarantine?

Since most of us couldn’t wear lipsticks because of the mask during the onset of 2020 quarantine, I turned to technology to still be able to wear one. I decided to collaborate with Mabby of Sunlab Creatives and artist, Miguel Blanco, to create an Instagram filter featuring five of my lip arts. Thank goodness for technology, I was still able to still wear lipstick (at least in photos) and share it with the rest of the community. Everyone, including my friends who have always wanted to have their lip arts (with a process that usually takes an hour or two to finish) done by me, was able to enjoy it in a snap.


I also did a couple of collaboration shoots, observing all safety and sanitation protocols, with friends and colleagues from the beauty industry. Shoots were mostly inspired by random things I could think of during this crazy period. The inspiration came from K-pop idols’ microphones, Filipino street food, the ubiquitous dried flowers, the galaxy, and Guillermo del Toro’s monsters.


I did a lot of acrylic painting too, with sunset and seascapes as subjects, on days when I desperately needed to express all my unused creative juices.

3. How has makeup helped you cope during the pandemic?

Makeup artistry has become one of my creative outlets that helped me survive the craziness of this pandemic. It was also one of my sources of income even with the work from home setup.


4. What new makeup/skincare skills and practices were you able to learn during the quarantine?

I have been learning a lot from watching Jung Saem Mool’s makeup tutorials on Youtube. She’s this famous, Korean makeup artist that has taught me new ways on how to do the “no makeup” makeup look through her detailed, instructional videos.


5. What is your best makeup-related memory from the past year?

The beauty editorials that were inspired by BTS. I made a lot of friends and was able to fangirl through those shoots.


This Filipina Makeup Artist Got Inspired by BTS' Glittery Microphones

RELATED STORY:

This Filipina Makeup Artist Got Inspired by BTS' Glittery Microphones

540x540
Tamara Pineda | @tamarapineda_

TAMARA PINEDA

1. Please tell us about your current projects—what you do professionally, any brand/s you are affiliated with, how you fill your days during the extended quarantine.  

I am a professional makeup artist, and have been fortunate to take on the role of Training Manager and Chief Makeup Artist of NARS Philippines, since 2019. I work directly with the makeup artists in store, although mostly virtual nowadays. We have implemented adaptive training programs for sales and artistry which keeps me busy. The pandemic has changed how we work so I make sure to find the most appropriate, effective and relevant training tools and programs for the team. Other days, I get to exercise my artistry by attending to photoshoots, workshops and host livestreams.


2. As a makeup artist, how were you able to express your craft during the past year in quarantine?

Working for a brand definitely kept me busy and pushed my creativity in creating content on social media and training purposes. I learned to be a one man team–create content, edit and post. NARS has also been hosting live sessions for workshops, new product features and new store launches–pretty exciting activities online. The most challenging are the virtual training sessions–how do you keep the makeup artists engaged, interested and motivated? Those are the things I keep in mind to elevate the NARS experience of customers at our stores, and even online. Going through all these big adjustments definitely makes me grateful to have the support of the entire team, I’m so lucky to have them.

3. How has makeup helped you cope during the pandemic?

The thing that I love about makeup is its power to uplift and brighten someone’s mood. On days where I feel the need for a little confidence boost, I put a on makeup even though I’m just at home. Cliché as it may be, it is real. Makeup doesn’t have to be a full face—a bit of NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer here and there, a pop of NARS Orgasm blush on the cheeks, definitely on fleek brows, some NARS Climax mascara layers and dab of NARS Oil Infused Lip Tint does wonders for the day. I believe that putting on makeup is not for anyone else but for ourselves.


4. What new makeup/skincare skills and practices were you able to learn during the quarantine?

I have definitely taken my skincare routine more seriously through this pandemic because on most days, skincare is all I have on my skin. I’ve also incorporated some gua sha or facial massages into my routine. I’m entering my 30s so I’m really looking more into “anti-aging” methods. And doing some facial massages is so soothing and relaxing. It’s a small part of my routine where I can just focus on myself. As for makeup, there is so much content out there so there is always something new to try. Although I must confess, I am a creature of habit! The pandemic has exposed me to trends online and I do experiment from time to time. Lately I’ve been eyeing looks on TikTok–soap brows, fox eyes, and some makeup hacks are some that I’ve been trying and learning on my own. When these experiments are successful, I pass on the tips to our makeup artists–it’s refreshing to learn new techniques in unconventional ways. As Francois Nars says, “Don’t be too serious, it’s just makeup!”


5. What is your best makeup-related memory from the past year?

My first beauty editorial within the pandemic was definitely unforgettable. We all know how COVID-19 has literally changed our lives–especially for us who use our hands for work. The shoot entailed two major things–one, preparing the tools to ensure the hygiene and safety protocols are in place, and two, preparing myself. The first one was relatively easy to do–I cleaned, sanitized, and even UV sanitized the products and brushes, doubled up on hygiene tools too just to make sure. The second one though-I was a nervous wreck! On my way to the shoot, (yes we had the mandatory tests done), I was a having a panic attack–my heart was racing and I had to calm myself down. I guess, it was the entire uncertainty of the pandemic in general–the fear of how the virus spreads, what the expectations of the models/crew were, and that I hadn’t done makeup in a year!


I took deep calming breaths, got myself out the door and I started doing my thing. Once I set up my space, picked up that makeup brush, it was a release. It felt so good to do makeup again. In hindsight, I forgot what I was so worried about in the first place. I was happy to see everyone at the shoot, and was honored to execute the concept for the brand. The past year was full on uncertainty but in that moment, I was reassured once again that I was right where I needed to be.  


540x540
Mila Gulfan | @milagulfan

MILA GULFAN

1. Please tell us about your current projects—what you do professionally, any brand/s you are affiliated with, how you fill your days during the extended quarantine.

I am a freelance make up artist by trade, and I have worked with clients for various collaborations such as pageants, weddings, photo and video shoots. When the pandemic happened and we were put on lockdown, that was when I started my brand, PROxKIT. It is an online shop offering makeup supplies and tools, whose aim was to help fellow make up artists and beauty enthusiasts to keep their make up kits clean and hygienic.


PROxKIT is the brainchild of a rush of so much emphasis on cleanliness during the onset of the pandemic, together with my desire to offer ways to enforce this in the makeup artistry industry. I also made sure to receive a Health Grade Sanitation training and certification for makeup artists from Sanitation Conversation (@sanitationconversation) to prepare myself for when work resumes. To make the most of my time, I also enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FITNYC) Beauty Industry Essential online program to advance my knowledge in the beauty and cosmetic industry.


2.  As a makeup artist, how were you able to express your craft during the past year in quarantine?

I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that I turned to social media more as a platform for showing my craft. Since we couldn't go out and our movements were restricted, I chose to showcase my work on TikTok (@milagulfan) as well, apart from Instagram (@milagulfan) and YouTube (@milagulfan) where I usually posted pre-lockdown. I also happened to discover a renewed passion for photography and videography, and it helped me get in touch more with my creative side. Now since a lot of us turned to social media I then realized the challenge of capturing my target audience, and so apart from being creative I also got to practice how to make my material more eye-catching, making it stand out and reach more.

540x540
Rabiya Mateo | @milagulfan

3. How has makeup helped you cope during the pandemic?

Makeup has and always will be, my sanctuary. Despite the majority of our faces being covered under a mask for the past year already, I always remember why I chose this type of art form as a profession. It makes me happy, so much so that I am always focused whenever I design makeup face charts at home or when I’m painting the face of a client. It brings me joy and purpose knowing that despite everything that’s happening, people appreciate my work and it gives them confidence during their extra special moments such as an intimate wedding ceremony, a coronation night perhaps, or even an event online.


4. What new makeup/skincare skills and practices were you able to learn during the quarantine?

A lot of the beautiful faces I've had the pleasure to work with have been suffering with maskne, and so in terms of skincare, I had to fine-tune my kit to include light-weight and milder formulations. I had to stock up on alcohol-free toners and non-comedogenic primers for those with sensitive skin. Because social distancing is the new norm, I had to make sure that the makeup will require less touch-ups as possible.


When it came to makeup skills per se, I knew I had to up my game and make sure that the makeup I applied stayed put, even under a face mask. I had to refrain from using my favorite dewy foundations and stick with more matte finish products. Long-wearing lip tints became a favorite of mine since it hardly moves under the face mask while still providing moisture to the lips. I also did an experiment and tried out different setting sprays to observe which is the most effective in keeping the makeup transfer-proof.  Lastly, I found a mask guard that keeps your lipstick from rubbing to your face mask and I have been providing this to all my clients.

5. What is your best makeup-related memory from the past year?

I am a fan of empowered women in our country and during the past year I was able to meet and have the privilege of doing the make up for Rabiya Mateo (for Miss Universe Philippines 2020 shoot), Max Collins (for fashion designer Chris Nick shoot), and Kelley Day (for Miss Eco International Philippines 2020). During the start of the pandemic, I never thought that I would be able to have these great memories because of makeup.