Makeup 101: What is Light Shaping and Why Every MUA Must Learn it?


This is going to get geeky. Most makeup artists undergo a heavy training under the harsh light of a beauty school or a basic ring light at home. It doesn't matter where you did your heavy lifting, you probably noticed that when your model steps out of the light - your work seems a lot different: contour may transfer as stain, eyeshadow too heavy and overall the model too old. If you think that it cannot be avoided - honey, somebody has been whispering lies: most editorial artists know how to produce light friendly looks with no fuss. Some, like Jordan Liberty, can even do a perfect look in 20 minutes.


Video credit: @jordanliberty


Now after that echoing sound of your jaw dropping to the floor, let’s move on to some juicy science bits, don’t worry it’s not boring - on the contrary, actually, rather fascinating.

So, what is Light Shaping?

Actually, this is a technique how to execute makeup that would adjust to different light source, angle or tone, e.g. cold harsh studio light vs. warm summer evening light.

Why is it necessary to learn Light Shaping?

It literally breaks or makes a look. If you know this technique, you are more likely to swim out gloriously out of any task: be it editorial, bridal, red carpet or a client getting dolled up for her birthday. You will be able to produce gorgeous, lightweight looks that will look great in person and on camera at any time.



Now that we got that out of the way, let’s move on to the technique itself that follows some basic thumb rules to maximise the result.



Video credit: @jordanliberty


Learned by heart?! Then you are ready for the technique itself. Jordan pays extra attention to prep, which is rather controversial, but works for every look. And you can’t be a success without breaking or making a rule or two.


#1 Prep


Usually, a makeup artist will set the look with powder after it's finished so that it does not separate from the skin. That works for a period of time, but eventually the oil in the skin will break apart the products on it and ruin your look. To avoid that, Jordan sets moisturiser with loose powder first and never powders the finished look. How? Put your moisturiser in place, let it sit for a few minutes, then lightly powder and finish with a setting spray. This way you will lock the oil in the skin and prevent it from breaking through.

Now if you are really oily? Don’t sweat (pun intended). Powder twice during the prep and use powder on the T zone then finish, but leave the cheeks bare - they will break oil eventually, but that will create natural dewiness.

For flaky skin models - use exfoliating wipes that are much more gentle than scrubs and do two layers of moisturiser ten minutes apart with a glass of water to drink. Will do wonders.


#2 Base


Avoid foundation - if your model has good enough skin, do all the work with concealers in different tones. They can act as a makeshift foundation with all the coverage you need and color correctors at the same time. First, look at your model and see what needs fixing - use warmer concealers for under eyes and yellowish tones for pimples and other blemishes. Act as a retoucher in real life and if you do not know how to retouch, take a basic class, it will teach you how to evaluate the look and see if it needs fixing. Utilise different size brushes - the smaller the area you are working on, the smaller the brush. If foundation is absolutely necessary - don’t overdo it, use light layers and don’t do an extra layer just in case.

#3 Shape


Shape the models face using different highlighters and blushes. Highlighters work for cheeks and making them seem more protruded - apply darker tones in the hollow and lighter ones on the cheek. The product itself is light reflective, so it will pick up light sources as they change and leave you with a constantly gorgeous effect no matter the conditions.

After you are done, tie everything in with putting a tad of blush on the temple and cheeks, to warm and contour the look a little bit more. Key thing to remember here - no setting powders afterwards, they will only flatten your look and make your model seem older than they are.

And that is that! Seems easy, enough?! Try it - it definitely takes practise, but once mastered, gives breathtakingly beautiful results. Go ahead, shape your way into success!

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  • I really like Ur way to provide knowledge about make up I wanna to join Ur other class

    Sareeta paudel
  • So pleased to find makeuplovers community and tips r so helpful. Thanks.


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