What’s in My Cosmetic Bag: Dana Delaney

With almost ten years in the makeup industry, Dana Delaney is a leader among LA-based makeup artists. While it is often her strikingly inventive and original work that garnishes immediate attention, Dana’s talent also resides principally in her capacity for revealing the natural beauty of her subject. Her work has been featured in publications such as, First For Women Magazine, Your Wedding Day Magazine, UK publications Marquis Magazine, and A Magazine, as well as the book, The Business of Professional Modeling. Most recently Dana had the distinct pleasure of working with the Hollywood Bowl production of Hairspray.

What’s in My Cosmetic Bag?

Products I use pretty much on every shoot: NARS The Multiple Copacabana, Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation, CHANEL Hydramax Serum, Kevyn Aucoin Brow Pencils, MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Cream Liner, Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, and of course the Beauty Blender.

Q&A With Dana Delaney

What made you become a makeup artist?

I was always in awe of my Mom who to me personally was the best makeup artist I knew just by transforming herself. I would sit and watch her every morning getting ready for work. But I kind of got into makeup by accident. I would always enjoy doing my own makeup as well as friends at slumber parties and such. When I was 18 and graduating high school I knew I didn’t want to go to college, I hated school so I needed a job. A local department store was hiring for a beauty consultant at Clinique and I got the job. At that point I thought that was what a makeup artist was. I had no idea that anything else existed outside of counter culture. That was until I picked up a book by a man named Kevyn Aucoin. That changed everything.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging is dealing with different types of personalities. One day you can be working with the sweetest client ever and the next you could be working with a photographer that doesn’t speak at all. It’s difficult working with people, especially creative people and artists. But you just have to learn how to have multiple personalities while still being yourself if that makes sense. Haha!

What type of work excites you the most?

Honestly what excited me the most is when a client or photographer says “Do what you want, I trust you.” I feel most comfortable when I am able to express myself freely and also when I can bring out creativity on the spot. Some of my best work has come from shoots that weren’t necessarily planned out and dissected.

Which makeup artist(s) do you look up to?

Two of my major mentors have been Roshar and Victoria Stiles who are both dear friends. They have been the kindest and most rewarding as far as relationships go and have also been there pretty much since the beginning of my career. I also look up a great deal to Kathy Aragon whom is another great friend of mine and an extremely talented artist.

Matin Maulawizada is another. I’ve talked to him a few times via Facebook and he’s one of the nicest people and I really respect him as a person and an artist. It would be a great honor to assist him some day.

All of these artists I’ve listed are just genuinely good people. It’s important to find mentors that respect you and that are polite. I’ve had a few artists be rude to me or blow me off in the past and I never want to be that person. Find people that are good at heart and it will reflect in your own path.

In your opinion, what is the best trend in beauty today? What’s the worst?

I don’t really like to follow trends because they always go out of style. Be yourself and do what you love because that never goes out of style. That being said, I’m always a champion of a bold lip. It’s a signature in my own personal style and I enjoy doing it for jobs as well. The worst trend…I wasn’t a huge fan of the jeweled eyebrows at Chanel’s Fall show. But I’m not so sure that was meant to be a trend. It’s just not my personal taste.

You must work with all types of clients, with different face shapes, complexions, etc. How do you enhance an individual’s facial features? Is there a “look” that works for everyone?

The skin is the most important on any face. You HAVE to perfect the skin before anything else. If the skin is glowing and radiant then you really don’t have much else to do. There is one look that works for everyone and that’s called confidence. Nothing is more beautiful. It’s corny but true.

How do you keep up to date with today’s trends and techniques?

I’m a huge fan of beauty blogs. There are so many great ones these days! I also occasionally watch youtube channels. Lisa Eldridge and Pixiwoo are good ones. Mostly I’m inspired by my friends, who are always creating. It’s fun to come up with your own ideas and techniques.

What was your first job as a makeup artist?

My first job where I actually considered myself to be a makeup artist was probably with MAC Cosmetics. I worked for the company for 5 years and really grew a lot with them. I met some wonderful people and I can honestly say that MAC changed my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without that company.

Have you met anyone famous? What was it like your first time?

I think my idea of famous is different from anyone elses. My husband is a dj/producer so I’ve met plenty of people in that world that are famous. But generally I try not to be affected by it because it’s weird. I like meeting people and forming my own opinions. I don’t want to be influenced just because they are famous. I want to be genuine.

Has the current economic climate affected your industry?

To an extent yes but honestly I don’t think it’s so much the economic climate. I just think that more and more people have access to careers that 10 years ago no one knew about. Ten years ago I grew up in a tiny town in Virginia where maybe 2 out of 10 of my friends had internet and no one had a cell phone. Today there is so much easy access to things and so much exposure that everything is fair game. You can be anything you want.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest misconception people have about the beauty/fashion industry?

That it’s a glamorous and easy job and that it’s not work. It is one of the hardest jobs, especially if you are a freelance artist working for yourself. You never stop working, never stop hustling and you are always looking for the next job. Ok ok there is some glamour in it but that only comes once the job is done and you see the end result.

What tips or advice do you have for aspiring makeup artists?

Never stop learning and be persistent. Just because someone says no once doesn’t mean that NO will always be the answer. Also don’t forget to build and nurture your relationships and always be nice to people. You have no idea who you might be meeting or what they may become.

Makeup by Dana Delaney


Connect with Dana Delaney

View more of Dana’s work from her portfolio: danadelaneymakeup.com

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