Sharon Gjieli got a science degree to become a better makeup artist

Sharon Gjieli is a professional makeup artist who has been working for private clients and various luxury brands for 10 years. She started in the makeup industry as a freshman in college and is pursuing her Masters of Science degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.

Sharon is taking everything she’s learned from her education and applying it to her job as a makeup artist. Not only does she doll people up, but she also helps them to find an everyday personalized look that they feel confident and comfortable in, and teaches them how to replicate that look at home.

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I asked Sharon some questions about her experience as an established makeup artist.

What do you look forward to the most after you have finished someone’s makeup?

I always look forward to the look on my client’s face when they see the finished result. There’s something really empowering about watching people evolve before and after a makeup application, and knowing that I was a part of that amazing experience. There are often times where I find that my client is genuinely shocked at how happy they are with the way they look, and I see their entire body language changing. Knowing I’ve done that for someone is so incredible, and it never gets old.

What is your process for creating a personalized look for each of your clients? Do you have a certain routine?

The first and most important step is finding out exactly what the client wants to look like. Of course it’s important to manage their expectations, but just getting an idea of what they consider beautiful makes it easier for me to make them happy. I also like to ask them what their favorite physical features are about themselves and the whole focus of the makeup application then becomes making those features the focal points. Rather than accentuating what makes us beautiful, we’re focused entirely on our “flaws,” and I hate that word!

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Sometimes, I like to take women out of their comfort zones…but it’s a process, so I never do anything too shocking until I’ve earned their trust. I often hand the client a mirror and have them watch my step-by-step process, and whenever possible, I like to watch them repeat what they’ve just seen on the other side of their face, and I make adjustments when necessary. This way I know that they’ll feel confident trying it at home.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from the makeup products you’ve used throughout the years?

The most important thing I learned was the importance of skincare. I’ve used a variety of makeup products ranging in price and quality, but if the client’s skin isn’t taken care of, makeup can only do so much. For those on a budget, I always recommend investing in skincare, and going cheaper with your makeup. Makeup can always be washed off, but bad skin can’t. I believe that taking care of your skin is essential to your confidence, and that the more comfortable you feel without makeup, the more empowered you’ll feel while wearing it.

Did you ever have to decide between makeup and your education, or did you learn to balance the two?

My undergrad actually took a lot longer than it should have, because balancing the two was extremely difficult when I was younger. Makeup has always been my passion, so I tend to choose makeup over all other things. Only recently did I come to the realization that my education was essential to my vision. Beforehand I thought school took up time that could be spent pursuing my passion. At this point I don’t think I could truly manifest my vision without the education to back it, so it no longer feels like a balancing act between studying and pursuing my makeup career.

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I think your idea for conducting a study on makeup/personal achievement is very smart, how would you go about doing that?

Thank you! It’s something I’m really passionate and excited about. Correlating makeup application to performance improvement is going to be quite difficult. There is already an abundance of studies that show a relationship between makeup application and self-esteem, so while that could be a variable that is measured in the study’s survey, it cannot be the focus of the experiment.

Have you experienced someone’s else’s makeup evolution and watched their performance improve over time?

I’ve experienced the evolution with almost all of my regular clients, but my favorite evolution has been my own. I’ve even discovered that wearing a bright lipstick (especially red) makes me feel more powerful, and I’ve started calling them “power lipsticks” when I talk to my clients. I used to be so insecure about my full lips, especially the scar on my upper lip. But now I find that owning them and flaunting them makes me feel like there’s nothing that can make me feel insecure anymore.

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What do you ask your clients before you start doing their makeup? What do you ask them after?

I always ask my clients what they want to look like. I ask them how they do their own makeup, and what they want to learn how to do.

I try to really get an idea of what they feel will make them more confident. When I finish doing their makeup the first thing I always ask is “how do you feel?” I really want the focus of makeup application to be on feeling good, because I don’t want to perpetuate the notion that without makeup we don’t look good. It’s all about a lifestyle, If you feel good, and if it makes you confident, then I’ve done my job.

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