The BECCA Academy courses are held on the lower floors of the BECCA Boutique in South Kensington. The teaching area is equipped with well lit workstations, a complete collection of BECCA cosmetics and each student has use of a BECCA professional brush set for the duration of the course. The courses are run as a small group, typically with four students per session, which means the tutor is able to tailor the days according to the specific needs of that group.
The days run from 10am to 5pm for the five days, so it is quite intensive and the course is broken up as follows:
Day 1: An introduction to the course and life as a makeup artist; Skin analysis; Foundation
Day 2: Using colour makeup to create evening and day looks; Eye shapes; Contouring
Day 3: Bridal; False lash application
Day 4: Fashion & editorial
Day 5: Photoshoot day
As I was unable to attend the full week for family reasons, I opted to attend Days 2 and 4. The course was taught by Liza Newman-Kaczor, who has around 20 years of experience working in the beauty industry and has worked on films such as Elizabeth. She has a really friendly, relaxed teaching style and created a very comfortable environment to learn in. I was really pleased that Liza included good skin prep as part of the course, I picked up lots tips about using essential oils and some very useful product recommendations.
We were also lucky enough to have guest tutor Clare Read for the Fashion & Editorial day. Clare has an impressive CV in fashion and editorial makeup, you can see some of the people and publications she's worked with here. We discussed kit essentials with Clare, which is something I will come back to in another post, as it was really fascinating to get an insight into a professional makeup artists kit. I also intend to try out some of the trend work we covered. Clare has already had an influence on my personal makeup application as I've embraced layering different products to achieve a more multi-dimensional look.
|I hope you will forgive the shaky hand but I really wanted to share this stunning eye look that Clare demonstrated|
Typically the days were a mix of the tutor demonstrating a technique or look, then we would practice the techniques on each other. As it was a very relaxed atmosphere, you could ask question or advice throughout. We were encouraged to give each other feedback as we went along too. I actually absorbed a lot of information when I took my turn as a model for the demos, particularly tips about colour placement for my eye shape that have helped with my own application. I did find the practical side a little nerve wracking, as I knew I would from previous experience. It can feel a little alien getting so close up to another person at first but the small group environment made me feel a lot more at ease. Making mistakes was always treated as a positive thing and you do tend to learn just as much from errors as you do from perfect application.
You don't need any previous experience as a makeup artist to attend the course. I think it's suitable for a range of levels, from beginners to those with more practical experience, particularly because of the small group size. It's a good introductory course, covering all aspects of work as a makeup artist, and I think you come out of it with a good sense of whether it's something you wish to pursue as a career. I think it's also a very useful if you already work in a beauty related job and want to add makeup application to your current skills set.
|Re-creation of the Prada AW12 eye look|
Of course, your training doesn't really end once you've completed the course. It's important to apply the techniques you've learned, and both Liza and Clare instilled upon us the importance of practicing on as many different face shapes, eye shapes and colourings as possible. The impression I took away from both tutors was that being a professional MUA was a continuous learning experience and you never truly reach a point where you know everything. The course is certainly very good at dispelling any idea you might have about it being an easy job and just 'playing with makeup'. It's clearly a career that takes a lot of discipline, hard work and talent, if you really want to make it.
I had a great time on the course and although I've never seen myself as a budding makeup artist, I am quietly keen to practice the skills I learned on my friends. The highlight of the two days for me was applying a red lip to someone who doesn't usually wear red and seeing how good it looked. It was also a thrill to work with all the BECCA products under the tutelage of professional artists. I would be lying if I said I hadn't picked up a few new product lemmings!
The Introduction to Makeup Artistry costs £960 for the five day course. On completion of the course students receive a certificate of qualification and discount for any further courses. You will also become a member of the Industry Alliance Program which entitles you to 30% of all BECCA products. BECCA offers other courses at the Academy including an Introduction to Make-up Application, which is an intensive two-day course designed to improve your personal application skills. You can read more details about the courses and course dates on the BECCA website.
Disclosure: I attended the course as a guest of BECCA Cosmetics.