London Make up Masterclass | A Call for Inclusive Make up Artists

Can you recommend a make up artist that can work with black and Asian skin tones?

A question I am asked frequently as the editor of a wedding blog that encourages diversity.

At first I thought this was a bit of a contrived question to ask.

You would naturally assume that all professional make up artists have the skill set and toolkit to work with an array of skin tones, right? But, invariably many brides, grooms (yes they ask me too) colleagues and also peers discover this is not the case. For a number of different reasons.

But skin is skin right?

Wrong. Understanding the differences in pigment undertone, melanin, along with product application and knowledge, all play a part in being able to master the art of working with skin tones from the most porcelain, to the deepest ebony. So when I discovered make up application on darker tones is not taught at all (or given less time to) in make up Colleges, it creates a discrepancy and indeed an inequality.

The knock on effect is that many readers feel frustrated when they have difficulty in finding inclusive make up artists. Something I have covered on Nu Bride here and here  and recently here.

Every time I have to get my make-up done professionally, it brings up a feeling of dread. Thoughts of all those times I went to a make-up counter with my girlfriends and they all bought make-up or got a make over except for me because they never had a foundation for my dark skin tone. Real bride Heather.

Photo by Katch Silva  |  Jo Trimmer

When I worked as a performance artist, the same problem Heather recounts reared its head there too. Mind you, that was nearly two decades ago, so accessibility to products is a LOT better to what it was then. But I would often watch my peers with lighter skin tones being suitably beautified, while I was invariably asked by the make-up artist on set to supply my own, because they did not have products in their kit for my skin tone. As such I mostly ended doing my own make up, which at the time I just accepted as the norm.

Fast-forward to a photo-shoot I was invited to take part in, I was surprised that the very same thing was still happening decades later:

“I am sorry, but I won’t be able to do your make up today, because I don’t have make up for your skin tone.”

Aside from the fact it was highly embarrassing for both me and the artist, I was not accepting this response anymore. I could not accept in 2015 this was the norm . I could not accept with the array of leading and emerging make up brands including giants like L’Oreal, Make up Atelier, Mac, Bobbi Brown, Iman, Illamasqua, who cater to a wide variety of ALL skin tones, that this was still even a ‘thing’.

SO I decided to use this as an opportunity to educate and do something to help bridge the gap and am delighted to be hosting a make up masterclass: master the art of make up for darker skin tones with multi-award winning  make up artist and beauty expert, Joyce Connor.

The Barriers

Photo John Nassari , Nu Bride Bridal Beauty Shoot

But in preparing for this masterclass it did make me pose the question,  what is causing this barrier to an industry that should be bursting with inclusive make up artists who are confident with application on the palest porcelain to the deepest ebony? Because I know there are some epic inclusive MUA’s out there, but there are nowhere near enough in the UK. We need more, especially after searching through a number of wedding directories and seeing little and more often than not NO diversity in nearly 700 of the portfolios (all in the name of research!).

Does the responsibility lie with make up schools themselves failing to offer training on a variety of skin tones? Confidence? Lack of exposure with working with different clientele? Or does it lie with make up artists not seeking out, or having access to further training to invest in their professional development?

I often share with my diversity consultancy clients, it’s been consistently reported by Forbes that if your business is not diverse you are 35% more likely to be outperformed by your peers, diversity is a business necessity for many reasons. With consumers  more likely to engage with a product or service if they see themselves represented in the marketing, I can see why it’s so important for many to see ‘themselves’ represented in a make up artists portfolio before even making an enquiry.

The Details

I would love to invite all progressive and equality minded MUA’s to join us at this masterclass. So when I am asked to recommend MUA’s I have even more excellent MUA’s to refer to my fantastic readers.

The masterclass is for anyone who values professional development, excelling in their business, developing confidence, and widening skills on working with asian/ mixed / darker skin and learn about the differences in melanin, products and differences in application.

I’ll be doing a keynote session and talking about the importance of diversity in business and diversifying portfolios and Joyce will be leading the day with live demos, application, mixing colours to correct pigmentation and more.

To master the art of make up for black and darker skin tones join Nu Bride and multi-award-winning make up and skin care expert Joyce Connor for a one day masterclass in the heart of Marylebone on the 16th August 2017.

This interactive masterclass will include:

  • Live demo
  • Application and understanding the differences with melanin
  • Hands on experience with models
  • Product recommendations for your kit
  • Mixing colours to correct skin pigmentation
  • How to create a diverse portfolio and attract new client

Delicious lunch and VIP good bags are also included.

Grab Your Ticket



The Talent

Unless otherwise stated: All make up by Joyce Connor 






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One Response to “London Make up Masterclass | A Call for Inclusive Make up Artists”

  1. Aram
    July 20, 2017 at 9:14 pm #

    Make up is definitely very important especially for black and darker skin tones. Thank you for sharing. Greeting from Miami!