What’s in My Cosmetic Bag: Yisell Santos

After earning a degree in Advertising Design and Graphic Arts, Yisell decided to take art to a new level and work with a 3 Dimensional canvas. With over 8 years experience and advanced makeup skills, Yisell is quick, comfortable with any talent and can take on any project with ease.  Some highlights of her work can be seen in Catalogs such as Ferragamo, Lacoste and Miz Mooz, Productions such as WEtv and TBN, and Commercials such as VEVO and Identity Guard. Read on for our exclusive Q&A with Yisell. Oh, and make sure to wish her a happy birthday!

What’s in my Cosmetic Bag?

Well, some of my current faves are:

Laura Mercier Lip Glace, CARGO blush, Dior Show mascara, FACEatelier foundation.

What’s in my personal cosmetics bag isn’t much different from my Pro Kit (except there’s lots less stuff). I have brushes, lipsticks, eyeliners, bronzers, foundation, eyeshadows and lipgloss. I gotta have my lipgloss.

Q&A With Makeup Artist and Hair Stylst: Yisell Santos

What made you become a makeup artist?

I went to College (and even earned my degree) in Advertising Design & Graphic Arts. I wanted to work for Disney and be a colorist for their films and/or children’s books but I found that it entailed a lot of hours of computer work. Right after I finished college, I started thinking of what I could do that still involved color but didn’t involve sitting behind a desk all day. Then a co-worker suggested I’d do makeup. I didn’t even know that could be a career! She lent me a makeup book she had picked up (which was Kevyn Aucoins Making Faces). After reading from cover to cover, I knew this is what I wanted to do!

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

98% of the time I’ll get a rundown of the expected look and prepare my kit for that look, but then I’ll arrive on set and some things have changed. I’ve learned that you need to be prepared for anything and that means bringing that funky colored eyeshadow palette.

What type of work excites you the most?

I love doing catalog work. Nothing better than making someone pretty and then looking at clothes all day.

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

There is so much talent out there for me to just name 1 or 2 but I love looking at work from Kathy Aragon, Roshar, Chris Milone, Lottie, Billy B, Dick Page, Anthony Gordon… goodness I could go on for days!

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

Best: Bright lipsticks from Fuschia to Orange.
Worst: Over done eyebrows: plucked too thin and very dark.

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?

Whether its cheekbones or lips, I always work to enhance the client’s best features. Everyone has a different skin tone/texture, bone structure etc. so I feel that there isn’t one “look” for everyone. What looks good on client A, might not work for client B.


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

I read lots of magazines and blogs. I also love comparing notes with other artists.

What was your first job as a makeup artist?

My first print job was an Ad for Cancos Tile & Stone.

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

Yes, I’ve met lots of celebrities. My first time I wanted to jump and scream with excitement. I couldn’t believe I was there, but like a true pro I kept my composure and acted naturally and very professional.

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

That it’s glamorous and we just play in makeup all day. Many people don’t realize that its long hours of hard work, sometimes working 10 – 14 hour days. When on location I’ve crawled on dirt, climbed on rocks, dealt with cold winds in the woods in the middle of the night…but the end result is always so worth it.

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

Network and build your book with CLEAN makeup on every skin tone imaginable. Remember clean work is what gets you hired. Practice, practice, practice on everyone! This will not happen overnight so patience is key. It takes YEARS to start getting constant work. The jobs you want WILL come, I promise you. Test anytime you can, assist anytime you can and never give up. Even when it seems like it’s impossible, never give up.

Makeup and Hair by Yisell Santos

Connect with Yisell Santos

View more of Yisell’s work on her portfolio: www.yisellsantos.com
Follow Carmen on Twitter: @Yisell
Like Carmen on Facebook: YisellBMakeup

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