The Key To The Longevity Of A Makeup Artist’s Career, According to Mark Qua

Mark Qua at the Full Spectrum Masterclass. Photo by Excel Panlaque

If there’s anything that Mark Qua knows how to do, it’s how to make things last. At the first Full Spectrum masterclass, Qua shows us how to have long-lasting makeup for wedding day, and a career that lasts even longer.

For makeup artist Mark Qua, the perfect bridal look can be described in one word: “glowing.” And that is exactly what he achieved for his celebrity muse Mariel Padilla during the first edition of the Full Spectrum Masterclass with fellow leading makeup artists Anthea Bueno and Jelly Eugenio.

At the masterclass, Qua demonstrated a step-by-step tutorial for a day-to-night wedding makeup look, and within an hour, Padilla was transformed into a glowing bride. During his session, participants not only learned how to create a glowing bridal look but also the techniques for doing long-lasting makeup. Aside from these, Qua also shared his tips for doing makeup with clients who have microbladed eyebrows and eyelash extensions, as well as giving skin a natural finish.

Mark Qua with his longtime celebrity muse, Mariel Padilla. Photo by Excel Panlaque

The result is an effortless look with a natural glow, dewy skin, and a natural flush. According to Qua, the makeup is inspired by the fresh look of a natural morning glow. “Yung mukha kang bagong gising na ikaw pa rin papakasalan ng groom mo,” he describes. (The kind of look that even when you just woke up, you’re still the one the groom would marry.)

On makeup that lasts long

Qua prides himself on his bridal looks, where even when his clients can’t hold back their tears, their makeup stays on. “The greatest technique that I’ve learned in doing bridal looks is how to make your makeup last longer,” he says. “Kailangan lahat ng gagamitin mo for brides is subok na okay na products, kasi kailangan. It’s a whole day event.” (Every product that you use for brides needs to be tried and tested because it needs to last a whole day event.)

Throughout his experience, it’s not just using long-wear products that make the difference. It also lies in the skincare, skin preparation, and properly setting the makeup. During the masterclass, Qua stresses the importance of letting skincare products absorb into the skin. For his session on bridal looks, his skincare routine consists of a facial mist, cleanser, serums, and moisturizer. After letting these products absorb into the skin, he uses sunblock and an illuminating primer to prepare the skin for makeup application. His skin preparation varies according to his client’s skin type, but his tip remains consistent: master the skin first.

Mark Qua demonstrates his bridal look techniques on Mariel Padilla. Photo by Excel Panlaque

In between applying the different layers of makeup, he also uses loose powder and finishing powder to set the products and lock in the moisture. This, Qua says, defines how many touch-ups you’ll be doing for the rest of the day. According to him, as long as you set your products right, your makeup will only require minimal touch-ups.

On the longevity of his career

It’s not just Qua’s makeup that lasts long. With almost 16 years in the industry, he has made a name for himself in the makeup scene, working with celebrities and even becoming the lead makeup artist for Laura Mercier. From doing makeup for fashion brands to weddings, it seems that Qua holds the secret to the longevity of a makeup artist’s career.

It’s nothing surprising; in fact, it’s the secret to thriving in any career and industry. Like Qua’s makeup techniques, the key to a successful career is a good base. That is, making sure that you’re a good makeup artist first. “If you’re doing a great job of being a makeup artist, people will talk. People will refer you, especially brides,” he says. “They will talk and rave about you, and sila na mismo yung mag-promote sa’yo kahit di ka na mag-promote sa social media.” (They will talk and rave about you, and they will promote you even if you don’t promote on social media.)

Mark Qua teaches a masterclass on bridal makeup at The Full Spectrum Masterclass. Photo by Excel Panlaque

As much as good words travel fast, the same goes for bad ones. In a small industry, Qua stresses the importance of being a good professional. “Kailangan mo maging mabait sa industry kasi maliit lang yung mundo, and ‘pag work, work. Kapag nag-commit ka, do it. You only have one name, ‘pag nasira yun, ang hirap makabalik.” he says. (You need to be nice in the industry because it’s a small world, and if it’s work, work. If you committed, do it. You only have one name, and if it’s ruined, it’s hard to bounce back.)

Certainly, Qua has taken good care of his. And through the Full Spectrum Masterclass, he has inspired others to do the same. Just like Bueno, Qua felt nervous about the masterclass but was more than thrilled to impart his knowledge. “Sobrang saya, challenging, nakakakaba at first, pero I think it’s time to share what I know with my experience in doing makeup. Para siyang giving back to the community of makeup artists, para mas marami pang gumaling,” he says. (It’s joyful, challenging, and it made me nervous at first, but I think it’s time to share what I know with my experience in doing makeup. It’s giving back to the community of makeup artists so that more people can improve.)

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