Make Up Uncovered with Ana Ospina: A Call for Inclusive Wedding Make Up Artists

Hello you!

To kick off part two of our inclusive wedding make up series, today we are joined by the brilliant and beautiful  Ana Ospina Make Up to share some tips and fascinating insights into the make up world, not just for you a gorgeous ladies looking for an inclusive MUA, but for MUA’s too.

Ana studied at London College of Fashion, is a make up teacher and has over 20 years experience in the make up industry. She knows what she is talking about and has seen the industry evolve over two decades.

Over to you Ana

Make Up – A Look Back

Ross HarveyRoss Harvey Photography 


When I started my make up training at The London College of Fashion over 24 years ago, I never imagined how much the make up world would evolve and just how many make up brands there would now be! However as a newbie MUA, there were limited options available when it came to concealers, foundations and powders.

The cosmetic industry is not a multi-million dollar industry for any reason other than that of supply and demand. So for this reason the call for all skin tones to be catered for, had to be addressed and listened to by the big wigs in the industry. Ana Ospina

Slowly but surely, I started to notice new brands being launched, that had a much wider range when it came to base colours.  It was exciting to see what was emerging with regards to product quality and product range that made life as a make up artist and as a consumer a whole lot better, as the finish of these cosmetics on the skin was so greatly improved.

I can clearly remember the struggle women with very, very fair skins, or those with skin tones deeper then a tan had back then. It seemed we were just all supposed to be natural, beige or at a push a honey tone if we were to wear a foundation that would match.

Most cosmetic ranges had between 6-8 colours all in light to mid shades. The lightest of alabaster skinned women had to deal with shades that were either too pink or too yellow-beige on the skin which looked very obvious when applied. 

Limited Make Up for light, olive and dark skin tones

Wedding and portrait photography by Emma LucyEmma Lucy Photography 

Early into my career, for women with black skin tones there were only really Iman and Fashion Fair as make up options geared to their skin tones.  To be honest, thinking back I found those ranges also either too yellow or too red based and limited in their undertones but at the time that was what we had to work with, which meant the make up always looked ‘made up’ and seemed to sit on the skin.

Being Creative

Nirav Patel PhotographyNirav Patel Photography 

20 years ago, there weren’t really any brands on the market that catered for olive to black skin tones. So if I had a darker skinned client in my make up chair, I would have to make do with a little moisturiser mixed with concealers from pro make up shops that had a wider colour range and a select few products that were available in the department stores.

It left me despairing at the gap in the market when it came to cosmetics for women of colour (olive, tan and black skins were not really considered as a profitable market so only very limited colours were stocked’).

When the likes of Bobbi Brown came along, it was a real relief as an artist to be able to provide for all skin tones and not exclude any potential clients.


Cristina Rossi PhotographyCristina Rossi Photography 


I was part of the Bobbi Brown make up artist team in 1994, the year they launched in Harrods and it was great to be able to have colours available to suit pretty much everyone.

One of my most memorable moments on the counter was when I served the singer, Jocelyn Brown. She was so happy with the way I colour matched her she went on to spend over £1500 on the counter that day with me, which was a lot of money back then and a hell of a lot of make up! All that came from her finally finding a brand that catered to her complexion and colourings.

Thankfully other brands followed and also launched in the UK that did the same, such as MAC and Laura Mercier, finally the make up world woke up to cater to a more diverse client base.


Yolande De Vries Photography Yolande De Vries Photography

I am so pleased with what is now available in the market today, it is a hell of a lot easier to put products together to suit any complexion, so it frustrates me that there are still make up artists out there, that are unable to provide a service to all ethnicities, as all the products are now out there for the new generation of make up artists to use.

This then proves that either the training available in the industry might be lacking in this very key area, or that some make up artists are not themselves seeking the knowledge required in order to deal with all skins.

It does still surprises me when I get an email asking me if I specialise in black skin, or whether I can do oriental make up? I believe if you are a professional make up artist, all those skills should be in place without question, you should be able to work with ALL skin tones and it shouldn’t even be an issue.

It is a necessary question to some though, who maybe through bad experiences with colour matching or who have an overall unease that someone from a different ethnicity might not be able to provide a service, then these questions do arise and understandably so. As a make up artist however, you should be able to cater to every type of skin and shade of skin and carry all the tools and products required to do so and this should be reflected in your portfolio. 


Jackson and Co PhotographyJackson & Co. Photography 

Now as an educator, my aim is to teach my students to work on models from as many different ethnicities, skin tones and ages as possible. That way when they then go out to work as a trained make up artist, they will have to have the knowledge and skills to cater to any and every client and not leave any client feeling that their needs are not being addressed. As a make up artist you should be able to cater to every type of skin and tone.

Skills any great Make Up Artist should have

Kat Hill PhotographyKat Hill Photography 

These are in my opinion the two most important skills to have as a make up artist. 

1) The need to prepare the client/models skin for a make up application with the right products according to the skin type, texture and condition.

This means using the right skincare products & Primers to suit and yet provide longevity to a make up application. As the late MUA Mr Shu Uemura once said:

Beautiful Make Up starts with beautiful skin

2) The techniques required to correct, conceal and even out a complexion in order to create a flawless base on any skin tone from the palest to the darkest of skins.

To mix and blend products to get the right shades required, so that a client skin looks like skin, but perfected.

This is the truest skill of a good make up artist, as without this, the clients face may look for example: ghostly, ashy or too dark, if the products applied on the skin are too light, too cool, too warm or too dark.

Claire Graham Photography Claire Graham Photography  | Claire Pettibone Romantique Collection at Blackburn Bridal 

Colour options are then a preference when it comes to eyeshadow, blush and lip colours and those techniques can also be mastered with practice but first things first a make up artist should work on the basics (you can’t run until you’ve learnt how to walk).

The most admired make up artists, are those that can apply a flawless base so if you ask a pro make up artist what is the hardest look to do, they will probably say a ‘no make up’ make up look for a beauty editorial, which goes to show the skill required to getting a skin looking perfect. And as a paying client who doesn’t want amazing looking skin?

Brides, Trials and Insurance

Jez Dickson Photography Jez Dickson Photography  

For bridal clients, of course a make up trial is essential, but even before booking a trial, ask your chosen artist to provide you with examples of their work on women with a similar skin tone to yourself.

Do your research and voice your concerns when it comes to issues you may have had with regards to colour matching. A good make up artist will explain how they can help you with regards to this and explain they have the products in their kit to do so but of course the true test is the bridal trial.

A good tip is to check if the make up artist is insured for their work. This usually means that the insurance company will ask for some sort of qualification. If they are not insured, it is likely they have little or no training. Anyone can pick up a brush and say they are a make up artist, but do you really want someone who isn’t trained going anywhere near your face when they may not have the skills or hygiene practices in place to keep you and your face away from a bad make up application at best, or a possible infection in a worst cases scenario. 

At the trial ask all the questions and try all the options as it is then when you look in the mirror and love what you see that you will know for sure if the MUA is the one you want around to beautify you on your wedding day.

How insightful is this! Thank you SO much Ana for your honest account of being a professional make up artist. But most importantly for the work you are doing in the industry to train new make up enthusiasts about the importance of being inclusive, skilled and confident with working on all skin tones.

If you would like further information on Ana and her make up empire please visit:

The Talent

All make up in this feature is by Ana Ospina

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