On 9 December, the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) welcomed a class of foreign-exchange make-up students and celebrity make-up artist Liz Martins to its Tottenham Centre in Seven Sisters.

As part of a recurring cultural exchange with the college, around 30 Japanese students were invited to explore the differences and similarities of the English teaching system.

With its industry-standard studio ‘The Salon’ and training workshops on-site, the college was the perfect place to start for our guests, who also benefited from a demonstration with celebrity make-up artist Liz Martins.

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Liz’s portfolio spans 20 years and has seen her working across a range of palettes and genres, including editorial, beauty, advertising and celebrity. Known for her work in fashion (including for fashion royalty Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Eva Herzigova) and music, Liz demonstrated make-up in a western ‘music video’ style for the exchange students and a class of CONEL students, before she opened the floor to questions.

Liz said: “It’s a hard industry to get into and one that takes a lot of work. I started in 1995, back when it was a very small industry. It was the dawn of the celebrity make-up artist – people like Pat McGrath and Mary Greenwell – but very undercurrent. That’s what made me want to get into it.

“I was very into art. I loved to draw and wanted to get into graphic design. It’s hard to find a way to make money out of art. Computers and maths didn’t take me but I had an affinity with fashion.

“I took a short course and started assisting. If you want to get into fashion, it’s imperative you go and assist. I started painting toenails. I hate feet. But it was anything to get on that Fashion Week team.

“From there I started working with the Spice Girls, and then Girls Aloud. Now I work with Rita Ora. In editorial I work with Vogue, which is very different to what’s expected from music. But it all started with assisting.”

Liz’s demonstration explored some of the differences between skin tones, face shape and trends, replicating some of the vibrant styles of this year’s London Fashion Week.

“It’s important to develop your own style and have some fun with make-up. Relax. I try to collect references from everywhere. I took a lot of inspiration from David Bowie’s make-up in the 1970s, but I’ll also read wildlife books and, of course, fashion magazines. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to get creative.”

As part of the visit, students later moved to the MAC flagship store on Carnaby Street where they found out more about the world of beauty.

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CONEL’s Head of School for Hair and Beauty, Ann Atkin, said, “It’s important that students have the opportunity to experience diversity of thought and practice in their studies. Our guests were interested to learn how to apply make-up on unfamiliar skin tones and saw a number of new, western practices. It is also important for our students to exchange ideas and understand the differences in training and client expectations in other countries. External relationships are vital in giving students a greater understanding of the wider industry.”

Your future in hairdressing and beauty

The hairdressing and beauty workforce is projected to grow between now and 2024, creating 1,100 new jobs. In the same period, 35.3% of people working in beauty and related occupations are likely to retire, creating 32,300 job openings.

If you are wondering how much hairdressers and beauty therapists earn, completing a course at CONEL in Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy could land you a starter job in the following careers with these annual salaries:

Clinic/Salon Manager: £22,880
Beauty Therapist: £17,680
Hairdresser and Barber: £16,120
Make-up artist: £17,680
Nail Technician: £17,680

However, it’s the perfect industry for setting yourself up as a freelancer, and when you’re in control – the skies the limit!

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