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Discover the importance of undertones and complexion in makeup

Image of Valerie Lawson
  • Written byCarys Thomas
  • Published date 06 December 2022
Image of Valerie Lawson
Valerie Lawson

Are you looking to up your game when it comes to makeup? According to award-winning professional makeup artist and educator, Valerie Lawson, the trick is to build your knowledge of undertones and complexions.

To help students advance their knowledge of the fundamentals of beauty makeup, Valerie has designed two new short courses with a focus on undertones and complexion. We caught up with her to hear about her plans for the courses and find out what makes this such an exciting area of study.

Makeup plays such an important role in the entire fashion and arts ecosystem. I love that I can share my knowledge and experience with others who share my passion for the craft.

— Valerie Lawson, Professional Makeup Artist and Educator

A growing market

If you’ve ever wanted to create a new makeup look, chances are you’ll have turned to social media for tips and tutorials. Social media platforms like Instagram and Tiktok are awash with influencers and makeup artists sharing their tips and techniques with consumers. As a result, beauty trends have never more been accessible and the beauty and health industry is growing rapidly.

“Makeup plays such an important role in the entire fashion and arts ecosystem,” says Valerie, “it helps to bring a final idea or concept to life. In theatre and film, for example, makeup supports storytelling and creates emphasis on passions, expressions and ideas. Makeup allows for self-expression, boosts self-confidence and serves as a source of income.”

Creative beginnings

Valerie first became interested in the beauty industry after visiting her aunt in the United States. When her aunt visited a MAC store and bought some makeup products, she was unsure about all the products and techniques that the makeup artist had used in the store. “I told her to let me try to simplify the steps and products to see if she felt differently,” says Valerie, “and in the end, she loved it.”

“From there, I got into the University of Ghana,” says Valerie, “and I started helping my friends with their makeup whenever they had an event to go to.” Valerie began posting her work on Instagram and was invited to do a photoshoot by a textile company in Ghana. “One of the models booked me for my first bridal client, and it has been uphill since then.”

Valerie went on to launch her own company, CVL Beauty, after spotting a gap in the market for high quality affordable makeup tools and accessories. “After speaking with a few other artists who shared my concern, I decided to start a tools and accessories brand,” she tells us. “CVL Beauty produces quality and affordable makeup tools and accessories that are functional, multi-purpose, and precise.”

Valerie Lawson - MAC Cosmetics Masterclass
Image: Valerie Lawson - MAC Cosmetics Masterclass

The power of makeup

For Valerie, makeup offers a valuable outlet for creative expression and helps to achieve a sense of balance and proportion. “The ability of makeup to hide imperfections and balance out features to create facial harmony makes it such a powerful tool,” she tells us.

“As an artist, I love to see the smiles and expressions of joy and confidence from my clients every time I finish their makeup,” says Valerie. “I love that I can share my knowledge and experience with others who share my passion for the craft.”

Valerie notes that every professional makeup artist should have a good working knowledge of undertones and complexions in order to take their work to the next level. “There is a lack of knowledge and understanding of undertones and complexion,” she says, “and this affects everything from product manufacturing, shade range and application, to lighting, photography and editing.”

“My reason for focusing on this aspect of makeup is that I want participants to be well-educated and knowledgeable so that they are confident to work in any setting that they find themselves in,” she explains.

Image of model make up transformation by Valerie Lawson
Image: Valerie Lawson - CVL Beauty

Short courses

Valerie is running two short courses to cater for both aspiring makeup artists and established makeup professionals.

Understanding Undertones and Complexion for Makeup Short Course:

  • This practical short course is designed for beginners who want to learn makeup as a craft, but it is also suitable for intermediaries who want to expand their knowledge and professionals looking to solidify their expertise.
  • The course helps students advance their knowledge of the fundamentals for beauty makeup, bridal makeup and professional makeup. Valerie will create fresh makeup looks with an emphasis on understanding undertones and variations in complexions.
  • The focus is on correcting hyperpigmentation for deep melanated skin tones, golden brown complexions, and fair or pale skin tones.

Read more about the Understanding Undertones and Complexion for Makeup Short Course.

Understanding Undertones and Complexion for Makeup Professionals Short Course:

  • This intensive short course is designed for makeup professionals who want a better understanding of skin tones and complexions to improve their craft and learn new and advanced techniques.
  • The course is hands-on and focuses on the most relevant areas of makeup artistry in relation to mastering undertones and complexions. Students are encouraged to share their knowledge and skills as they refine old techniques and pick up new ones.
  • “This course will give professionals and beauty tutors or lecturers the knowledge and confidence needed to teach and/or work with any client regardless of their skin complexion or undertones,” says Valerie. “It will also allow them to build mutually beneficial relationships with other professionals and learn how to advance in their careers and businesses.”

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our full range of fashion styling and make up short courses.

At UAL Short Courses, we offer a huge range of short courses for all levels of experience. Check out our upcoming short courses to find out what's coming up.

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