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Makeup artist helps put best face forward

By Cindy Atoji Keene

For makeup artist Kacie Corbelle, the genius of a flawless look lies in cosmetic application. “It really is like painting a picture, but your canvas is the human face,” said Corbelle, a Boston-based professional hair and makeup stylist for online and print promotional materials, runway shows, film and video. In one of her latest photo shoots for the sports wear line Puma, she created a natural, fresh and clean appearance for the models. “A good makeup artist knows how to showcase the brand while still being creative and artistic. It’s also important to have an eye for color and the total image that’s being conveyed,” said Corbelle, a freelancer who also is a wedding beautician, helping brides get camera-ready for their big day.

Q: Can you give an example of how you approach a typical project?
A: ‘What’s the mood that the client is trying to convey? What’s the company’s identity?’ These are just some of the questions I try to answer before setting my parameters for hair and makeup. For a shoot promoting the Boston Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet, for example, the art director explained his vision, and together we created a look for Juliet – the hair was very curly and romantic; the eyes had very white pearlescent shadow and a nice winged eyeliner. I put lots of highlighter on the skin to make it dewy and glowy, with a nice pale pink lip.

Q: What’s the most common flaw that you need to correct?
A: Eyebrows are a big one because they help frame the face. Before I even start, I ask if I can shape the eyebrows a bit if needed. A lot of time, eyebrows are too thin, frayed, or too severe. And then there’s the ‘tadpole’ eyebrow, a little circle that goes into a straight line. I’ll shape, pluck, and also fill in the brow with pencil and powder.

Q: What’s in your make-up kit?
A: I like to try out different new brands, like Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics; they’re 100 vegan and cruelty free. I like their Lip Tar, a highly pigmented liquid lipstick that comes in a rainbow of colors, including purple, green, black and white – I have almost every shade. Because I worked at Mac so long, I also know their products really well. Smashbox has everything from tinted moisturizers to primer. And a new line called Motives is a great minerals-based line.

Q: What are the current fall trends for fall makeup that you’re following?
A: There are some pretty awesome makeup looks for fall. We’re seeing a lot of cat eyes on the runway; also a lot of orange and plum-hued eye shadows, very either shimmery or really softly diffused – nothing too bold, more like a wash of color. Wine-hued lips are also trending, which I love, because they’re so elegant.

Q: This is a very competitive field. How did you become a make-up artist?
A: I was such a tomboy, but in middle school, I opened a drawer and discovered my mom’s cosmetics. My first experiment was with smoky eyes, and then I started doing makeup for my sisters and all my friends. I studied marketing and worked at Mac cosmetics on the weekend, but when the economy tanked, I started freelancing for makeup. I looked up a photographer and offered my services for free, just to get experience. He sent his images to local agencies for critiquing, and they wanted to know who did the hair and makeup. I signed with the agency and the work started coming in.

Q: I’ve read that brushes are really important in makeup application.
A: Brushes an indispensible. I have over 100 brushes – they’re my life. I have a brush belt that I wear. Brushes are important in achieving a good makeup application because they help blend in a way that is flawless. A successful artist would not use cheesy brushes. If you get good brushes they’ll last forever. I have brushes I bought 15 years ago that I still use.

Q: What equipment do you bring with you to a photo shoot?
A: I carry so much stuff that people ask me, “Did you just come back from vacation?” It’s all in two black carry-on roller bags and a backpack packed with hair stuff. My make-up case has six drawers, including one for lipsticks, another for lip gloss, blushes, liquid eyeliners, cream, color bases. Another bag holds brushes, fake eyelashes, foundations, and my lip liners. The easiest way to organize eye shadows is to take them out of their cases and put them into a bigger palette. The key is the least space possible with the most product.

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