Eric Allen

Freelance Makeup Artist

Los Angeles, CA

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Originally from?

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. I have been called the original valley boy as I remember when the valley was filled with strawberry fields and orange trees.

 

How long have you been involved with the professional beauty industry?

I started in the beauty industry on October 1st in 1989

 

What was your first job in professional beauty?

I started as a customer service rep for Sebastian International at the same time I was an assistant to the Trucco Artistic Team. I cleaned brushes, ran errands for Geri Cusenza, made face charts; I would do anything to be close to the action.

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You’ve worked with a lot of hair stylists on set and on the job. What do you think is the single most important shared trait that the most successful stylists have?

I believe the best hair stylist see the person in front of them and not simply an idea in their head or a concept they want to convey. The most successful hair artists are inspired by the model or client thus nothing is forced or contrived.

 

What is the one key to being a successful makeup artist??

I think the key to being a successful makeup artist is to find your niche. Mastering your technique, learning from contemporaries and mentors, and making yourself available to any job that is afforded to you is a given. What is it that sets you apart from the rest? Who do you know that may help you in the industry that others don’t know? What other areas of makeup other than the salon and bridal requests can you make your mark? Also, one has to allow himself/herself to fail. I can’t tell you how much I have learned from my failures that have made me a better makeup artist today.

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What does your typical day on set look like?

I have been fortunate to not have typical days on sets. Sometimes I am doing a hair campaign, sometimes a music video or a fashion shoot in the mountains. I think what is consistent is that they are long days, 12 plus hours and I pig out on craft services.

 

What do you love about your job?

What excites me about my job is the nurturing of a creative idea. There are so many cooks for one dish and miraculously one cohesive image is achieved. I love the feeling of being an integral part of a creative team; even the smallest job can be triumphant.

 

Do you feel that salons should retail makeup? Why or why not?

Salons, like no other business in the beauty industry, have the best position to retail makeup. Makeup is about enhancement, transformation, and new experiences. The salon provides these same principals when someone comes to change their hairstyle. New hair color leads to new lip color, freshly cut bangs leads to attention to the brows. The possibilities are endless. Salon owners and operators have a captive audience to offer cosmetics to.

 

How important is “trend” to your job?

I think it’s more important to keep abreast of trends rather than copy them outright. Trends are important because they keep a fresh outlook to design but they also can stagnant creativity when complacency rears its ugly head. Ombre in hair color for example is a trend that was fresh and new and now is a staple technique.

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How do you stay on top of makeup trends?

I try not to look at makeup trends per se but I look at societal trends. Gourmet foods, new car colors, texture within architecture, what my goddaughters are wearing. It’s funny how a look “outside the box” correlates with what’s happening in fashion. Life influences fashion and vice-versa.

 

The great Eric prediction…what’s coming around the corner in way of trends?

I made a trip to Colombia with my dear friend and I cannot tell you how inspired I was by the vivid color and the vast beauty of artisanal creation. I think things that have a handcrafted nature will be the new “thing” as a contrast to all the technology that has enveloped us. That means in hair we will see more weaves and braids; hair that is time consuming and works of art. Makeup will be more detailed almost the way it was in the sixties but much more subtle.

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I’m somebody who wants to do your job. What’s the most important thing to know and why?

I think you have to prepare yourself for change and don’t let your expectations lead you. Let your determination, humility, and hard work lead you. My job did not happen overnight. I worked hard learning from the best, studying design, working for free, doing jobs I did not want to do. Like with anything worthwhile you start at the bottom and work your way up to the top. Ask questions and offer your services to those you admire in the industry. Whatever you do be on time! I am always a half an hour early for my jobs. Time is money in this industry. Being late equal being unemployed as a freelance artist.

 

I’ve finished cosmetology school and I really want to get more into the makeup side of the business. What’s my next step?

Start working. Build your portfolio. Work with photographers on a trade for picture basis. Take your pictures to agencies; sometimes they will tell you what needs to be done to make them better. Assist as many makeup artists as you can. One can always learn something new. Take as many classes as you can. Practice, Practice not on yourself, but always on someone else. The instagram “artists” may be famous but I bet they can’t do makeup on someone else as well.

 

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I keep myself motivated by doing things outside the beauty industry so I miss it when I go back to it. But to be honest my job is pretty fabulous, I wouldn’t want to leave it.

 

Best decade for makeup and overall style? Why?

When you say style I would say the thirties. I think the faces done in the thirties were elegant, glamorous, sultry, feminine, and sexy. Women looked alluring and sophisticated. I like the idea of a mysterious looking women. No other era achieved that mystique.

 

Who would you consider to be your artistic mentor?

I have three: My prep school art teacher who allowed me to discover my love of water color, Jocelyn Zayco who gave me the artistic principals I have today, and all the students I have passed on those principals to when I teach, as I learn something new from new eyes everytime.

 

Personal mantra?

“I know when to be as strong as an oak yet flexible as a reed.”

 

Three things every woman must have in her purse now?

A mascara you like

Tinted lip balm

Orange cream blush