When she was 8 or 9, Amy Capeda snuck into her gran’s makeup cabinet.
Like many little girls, Amy found the cabinet held a strange and alluring power. One dab of green concealer was all it took to tell Amy that makeup wasn’t just fun – it was wonderful.
While plenty of us (including Amy) happily walk around with very little (or zero) on our face, there’s something alluring and – dare we say it – a little transformative about combining your favourite makeup with a killer outfit!
But what if you don’t know where to start? Or no-one ever showed you? And now it feels weird asking? We sat down with Amy, who’s been teaching makeup classes with us for a little over two years in the hope that she could answer all of the questions we feel too silly to ask our mums.
How did you get into the industry?
I was working in another job that I really liked, but the hours were terrible, and I wanted to do something that I enjoyed, and I just kept coming back to makeup. I was always that girl who would do everyone’s makeup for a night out and stuff like that. I did a little bit of research, found out that you could do it as a job, and I was stoked! I went to a local school called CMA and did a Cert IV there, then onto a Diploma in Sydney.
Tell us a bit about the transformative power of makeup.
I remember looking in my grandma’s cabinet, and she had a little green Clinique concealer. I didn’t know what it was or what it did but I put it on, and it made my skin look amazing, so that’s probably when I learned the transformative power of makeup. Everything looked so perfect!
Have you ever been caught up in a makeup fad or fashion, or stuck in a particular style?
Dark eyes. When I was first learning back in 2003, I went through my ‘apprentice hairdresser’ stage (you know how they tend to have really crazy styles when they first start) and I got really into different heavy eyes, particularly smoky looks. I also had an experience where I was so convinced I was making my eyebrows even and perfect that I wound up over-plucking, and, well – let’s just say the result wasn’t pretty!
What sorts of people do you get coming into the class?
We get everyone! Because Youtube is so helpful for tips and techniques, we get a lot of people who are already quite savvy and just want to take their contouring to the next level (contouring is still so huge right now), and we also get some people who have never really touched makeup before and haven’t had anyone in their lives to show them and have never experimented themselves – they might want some guidance on picking foundation or putting together a look for work.
What’s your fave trend for right now?
It’s such a massive industry, and the trends are changing all the time. I really, really like full brows paired with natural glowy skin. I like dramatic makeup, but I definitely prefer to bring out natural beauty with a few simple products rather than overdoing it.
What do people tend to bring into the class?
Some people come in with a massive amount of makeup and others come in with very little. But it does wind up being a big makeup chat where we talk through everything, so that’s fine! People can definitely get a bit spend-happy when it comes to their makeup wardrobes (I know I do), because when you go to a masterclass and see a national makeup artist demonstrating you definitely want to buy and use what they use, but I don’t encourage it – you don’t have to spend a lot to look great.
And what do they walk away with at the end?
They get a little booklet with heaps of great information, like how to work with different eye shapes, which shadows suit particular eye colours and how to look after your brushes. I also talk a lot and answer questions that students ask based on their face shape and product preference – so there are a lot of opportunities to take notes as well.
Most people are surprised by how much they know about their face as well – so don’t discount all the little things! And the thing that I always tell people when I teach is that there are no rules – it doesn’t really matter, don’t be talked into “you need to buy this brush to apply this foundation” or “you need this and this and this”, whenever you go into a store remember that they are there to sell you things more than they are to teach you about makeup. Remember it’s the end result, not so much how you get there. If you’re happy, and it looks good, and you’re not running around covered in frosted blue eyeshadow and the wrong foundation colour, it doesn’t matter. And don’t forget that makeup is fun! If something looks bad, or your winged liner isn’t on point or ‘on fleek’ as they say now, you can just take it off and start again!
Everyone always want to know what I use, but I try to mix it up and share just a few high end products and a few cheaper items as well – it’s really not about buying a lot of product. That said, if you do want to learn to do a smokey eye, then you are going to need good brushes or it’s just not going to happen!
Having said all that, there is something magical about pulling out a Chanel compact and feeling fancy!
Four top tips for success at the mirror:
- When you’re trying on a new foundation, always check the shade in natural light! The lighting in most shops is really bad, and assuming that you look good in fluorescent light doesn’t mean that it will work for you when and where you need it.
- Probably the number one thing I hear from women is that they overpluck their eyebrows when they’re younger and then it doesn’t grow back. I’ve had a client with weak eyelashes who had fantastic results lightly applying castor oil to the area. Always patch-test for allergies, though.
- Exfoliated, well-hydrated skin will always make your makeup look better Invest in skin care just as much as you would in makeup – if not more!
- If you maintain your brows, always brush them up to reveal your fullest brow shape before you start plucking.
And finally…Amy’s Top Three “Holy Grail” Products!
- Lansinoh ($24) This pure lanolin cream is designed for nursing mothers, so you’ll find it in the baby section of the chemist. It’s really great for hydrating lips in Canberra’s dry climate. I get all of my brides to put it on every night the week before their wedding. Obviously avoid it if you’re sensitive to lanolin, though!
- Castor oil ($6 from most chemists) “I’ve had clients succeed thickening lashes and brows by applying it at night before bed”.
- Ombre Blackstar By Terry Cream Eyeshadow ($58) “The colour bronze moon is incredible – it’s a bit of a luxury cult item, but it’s so quick and versatile.”