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    Looking Good

    You might think that, as a makeup artist, I’d be unhappy when someone I have been preparing for a big event looks in the mirror to see what I have done and bursts into tears. But actually, it makes me smile, because it means I have done my job well!


    One of the big rewards of what I do is helping bring someone’s inner beauty out. It’s quite a special experience to have someone trust you with their face, for them to let you get up close and personal and touch them in an intimate place, and then share in their delight at the result.


    Being a makeup artist isn’t just about applying foundation and gloss and all that. It requires helping a client feel confident about themselves so that I can draw out and highlight who they are inside, rather than putting something on them to make them something they are not, like a mask. Because, in reality, beauty is more than skin deep.
    I’ve gotten to experience the fun of this transformation with hundreds of clients over the last 13 years, from brides and models to celebrities like Anita Baker, Reginae Carter, SWV, Escape, 702, Dreezy and Lala Anthony. I’ve worked behind the scenes at so many different concerts and award shows (like BET’s Soul Train Awards), weddings and other events.


    Becoming a makeup artist happened almost by accident, as I started out as a hairstylist. When Instagram launched, I’d post photos (@beautybybre) and people would comment on how good my makeup looked. They started asking me to do theirs and almost before I knew it, I was booking sessions for editorial shoots.
    Of course, doing makeup for a public appearance or for someone to be in front of the cameras is a little different to everyday wear. You have to take into account things like lighting and the fact that if they’re moving around a lot they might perspire heavily. That influences some of my go-to products. I’m a big fan of Charlotte Tilbury’s pressed powders. I love them for under the eyes and to contour more fair skin. I also like Patrick Starr’s One/Size setting spray, which will hold down anything. Makeup by Mario’s foundation has a very natural finish, which I like.


    Take it off!
    With so many different products available it can be a challenge to keep up with them, so I like to start with a sample and try it out before spending too much. You have to know how it actually works, so I’ll have a model come in so I can try it out: everyone loves a free makeup session.


    One of the most common questions I get from women is can they sleep in their makeup if they have, say, another event the next day? My advice: don’t do it. Leaving all that product on your face is clogging your pores and congesting your skin. Even if I am just taking a nap, I will wash my face beforehand because I know I am going to have to redo my makeup afterward.


    There is a certain amount of pressure with my job, being responsible for making sure that people look their absolute best, so I try to de-stress away from work. I like to spend time with my family and friends. Living with heart disease, I have to be careful about my health, so I always watch what I eat (I’m a pescatarian) and try to make a point of working out.


    I like getting to share what I have learned about makeup with others because I am only where I am today because other people helped me. Two people in particular come to mind. First, Yvonne McNair, who was managing Liv Warfield, one of Prince’s proteges. Yvonne gave me so many opportunities when I was just starting out.


    When I look back at some of the pictures of my early work, I am disappointed because the makeup seems so terrible, but Yvonne saw something in me that I didn’t see at that time, something she wanted to encourage and support. She opened so many doors and I will always be grateful to her.


    Then there is my husband, Chung. My work has involved a fair amount of travel and he has always picked up the slack, caring for our son when I have to be away. When I was studying cosmetology, he worked nights so he could be around to look after our baby while I was in school. He and Yvonne have been waymakers for me.
    Bre Khounphinith (Bre K) is a professional makeup artist based in Las Vegas. She and her husband, Chung, have one son, Legend.


    It’s quite a special experience to have someone trust you with their face.

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