Thursday, 13 March 2014

Training to become a make-up artist at AOFM London - Masters Certificate in Professional Make-Up Artistry ♥

Today I am here to write a heavily requested post all about my time at AOFM (Academy Of Freelance Makeup). I did begin to blog about my time there and you can see that post here, but I only got as far as weekend number 1…go me! I have had so many tweets an emails from people who are looking to join the academy and many asking when I am going to write about the rest of my time there, so here I am wahooo!! I honestly have been meaning to do this post for ages so apologies for the delays folks, its gonna be a long one so go and grab a cuppa and a few biscuits and enjoy :)

As I did weekend number 1 in a separate post I shall begin from weekend number 2.

Weekend number 2. 

Saturday: Eyebrows, fake lash application and Glamour make up 

Our teacher for this day was a make-up artist called Barbara Carranza, she was absolutely hilarious, such a laugh. She is a Latino lady and had the best stories ever, I actually could have sat and listened to her all day. Her expertise lie in eyebrows and let me tell you expert she is! When she's not teaching at the collage she actually does semi-permanent make-up and she has also designed her own set of tweezers which we all got the option to purchase. Anyway so after listening to her incredible background it was straight in to an eyebrow demo. She began by showing us how to correctly pluck and perfectly map out a brow, heres a little diagram I drew during Barbara's demo…don't judge haha! 

We were then told the best products and brushes to use for brows and also told what colours to use for different skin tones. For example, use a plum colour for brows on people with olive skin tones. Some of the brow products recommended to us were the Benefit Brow-zings, Gosh Eyebrow kit (cheaper version of brow-zings) and a selection of eyeshadows. Then it was on to the scary bit plucking and mapping each others brows. We mapped them out how we thought they should be and then Barbara gave us 1-to-1 when it came to plucking *thank god* It wasn't so much plucking more just taking care of a few stray hairs. Here are the eyebrows I did. 

After lunch It was straight in to another demo, how to apply strip and individual lashes and a Dita Von Tease inspired make-up look. Applying False lashes on someone else was soooooo much easier than I had anticipated, especially the individual lashes. I thought individual lashes were going to be nightmare but apart from being a little fiddly they were actually surprisingly easy. If you do ever do a course at AOFM I can't recommend enough that you purchase Barbara's tweezers, they make applying false lashes a breeze, mine are so battered now from the amount I use them. A kit must have.

 The Dita Von Tease inspired make-up look was really fun to do, below is what I created. 

Sunday: Bridal make-up 

For Bridal make-up we were taught by a lovely make-up artist called Louise. The morning was spent discussing the 'business' side to bridal as this is the area most aspiring make-up artists start off as its where the money is. We spoke about how to get contacts, self promotion, budgets, covering costs, the importance of bridal trials and all of the other logistics that come with bridal make-up. It was then on to make-up chat, there are so many factors that come in to play when you do bridal make-up, things that I would never think of in a million years. We were taught how to do a mini facial and then shown 2 bridal looks which we created after lunch. There is so so soooo much to cover when learning bridal make-up so this day did involve a lot of listening and pages upon pages of note taking. For some reason I can't find any photos on my phone of the looks I created, annoying, sorry about that. We vaguely touched on Asian bridal but that is a very specialised area, I would love to take a course in Asian bridal make-up as it's so amazingly beautiful. 

Weekend Number 3.

Saturday: Catwalk 

Our teacher for catwalk was a Make-up Artist called Yin Lee, Yin has worked on hundreds of fashion shows so really knew the area well. We spent the morning talking about what goes down on fashion shows and how everything comes together and also how to get yourself in to the catwalk make-up scene. I won't lie after hearing a few of Yin's stories we were all feeling a little scared, it sounded very intimidating, but she reassured us it wasn't all that bad lol. It was then straight in to a demo, obviously a catwalk make-up look isn't going to be one you're going to rock everyday to work, Yin's demo was no exception. It was a really bold eye and lip. Below is a photo of what Yin created. 

We had to copy this like for like as obviously when working on a catwalk the models have to look identical. We were also given a short amount of time to create the look as you need to be quick in fashion. Ohhhhhh the pressure. When we were done we stood in a line and Yin walked round checking all of the looks and giving guidance. Below is what I created. 

Not the best, my eyeliner had taken a trip to wonksville, but not bad for a first attempt. 

Sunday: Black and white photography, lighting, TV, film and music videos

Our teacher for today was a lady called Barbara (different to the previous Barbara). I forgot to mention before, every lesson begins with the teacher showing you their portfolios. When it comes to black and white photography the rules of make-up kind of go out of the window. It's amazing how the colours change when you turn the picture black and white. We spoke about the best products to use and the colours that are still bold on a grey scale. We also covered lighting, an extremely important factor. We were shown how you can manipulate the lighting to make it work in your favour, such as creating natural highlights and contours with just light. We were also taught about the effects lighting has on make-up.

We then went on to learn about the make-up for TV, film and music videos. This was so interesting, again there are so many factors that you would never think of. We also touched on how to get in to the film industry, the working hours, money and how to create a Tv and film portfolio. 

Before we broke for lunch Barbara did a demo of a make-up look she would do for a black and white photo-shoot. When we arrived back from lunch we were greeted by a table full of Makeup Forever products, some of the coolest colours I had ever seen. We had to create our own look for a black and white photo-shoot. We were told to take pictures of all the make-up and then turn the photos black and white to see what colours worked best. Below is the look I created. 

That evening we were set 2 assignments that were due in for the following week, the first one was to collect a selection of tear sheets from various fashion magazines, we had to find a fashion editorial, beauty editorial, a no make-up make-up look and a catwalk make-up look. The second thing we needed to do was to create 2 mood boards for our professional photo-shoot, the looks we were set for our photo-shoot were a natural beauty look and an editorial look. 

My mood boards, I used autumn and winter as inspiration for my final editorial look. 

Weekend number 4. 

Saturday: Period make-up and eyebrow blocking 

We had a lady called Lina who taught us on this day. I was really looking forward to learning about make-up through the ages. We covered every iconic era and gained some background knowledge on the first make-up brands to come about and what people used to use, it was so fun to see how far make-up has come through the years. Lina then did a 1960s make-up demo, the classic cut crease and big bottom lashes. We then had to recreate the look Lina did. After we did that look we were shown how to block out eyebrows, this is literally the process of covering up existing eyebrows. We were then able to have a play around with special FX wax and spirit gum and drew on whatever kind of crazy brows we wanted. Again I can seem to find any pictures so apologies for that. 

Sunday: Body painting

This was tooooo much fun, we were taught by an incredibly tautened lady called Carolyn who has done some amazing work. The whole morning was taken up watching Carolyn do a detailed demo whilst showing us easier little things to do such as flowers, roses and butterflies. After lunch we were allowed to just play around with the body paints.  We began by just doing flowers and butterflies on each others arms and then she set us a task of painting a shirt on each other. I got some funny looks on the train home let me tell you. 

This is what I created…. LOL JOKES!!!! This is what Lina did on one of the girls. How amazing!! Below this picture is a little collage of what we did. 

Weekend number 5. 

Saturday: Male, mature and ethnic make-up 

For this area we had a lady teach us called Brianne she was really lovely. We covered in depth about all 3 areas of make-up, with male make-up its more a case of 'grooming'. We covered all the different types of colours and products to use of differing skin types and tones. We had 4 demos in total on this day, although we didn't have any male students Brianne just showed us the products and techniques you would use on males on one of the girls in our class, she did the same with the mature make-up showed us the best tips and products to use. There was dark skinned girl in the class below so Brianne demoed a look on her so we could see the different shades of corrector and concealers to use. We then had an oriental make-up demo, she showed us the best ways to do a liner and again the correct tones to use to correct and conceal. After lunch Brianne put a load of looks in to a hat and we had to pick one out and recreate it. It was fun to be put on the spot and let your creativity flow, I picked out a 1950s inspired look so I worked along the lines of Marilyn Monroe. 

Sunday: Avant Garde

Avant Garde make-up is all about being completely crazy, literally doing whatever you like. For this class we were taught by a man called Phillipe, oh my god he was so funny, absolutely mad!! The first half of the day we were shown how do to face charts which was really fun. Literally the wackier your face chart the more Phillipe loved it. The second half of the day we were allowed to just do whatever we wanted, there was some super crazy looks being created. 

Weekend number 6.

Saturday: textures

For this we were taught by the amazingly talented Michelle Webb. This was my kinda class, textures to me meant one thing GLITTER!! wahoo!! Again like everyday we were shown a detailed demo of a look using an incredible amount of textures, and then in the afternoon we were allowed to go nuts. I think this is the most fun I have seen a group of girls have glitter and feathers flying all over the place. Here is a look I created. It was my favourite look to create, even if it was incredibly time consuming and fiddly. 

 Sunday: Professional Photo-shoot day

I was literally so incredibly nervous about this day, I had a sleepless night the lot. When we got there it was straight in to action, there was a model sat down at our station and we had to crack on. Look number one was a no make-up, make-up look, so the focus being all on the skin, once you had done the make-up it was down to hair where you told the hair stylist what you wanted. I wanted a messy up-do on my model. You then had to wait until the photographer was free and then it was go go go. Here is the photo from my natural beauty shot. 

After the first look was done it was straight back to the make-up chair to begin look number 2, the look I created was a bronze eye and a bold red lip matching my editorial mood board. Again once the make-up was done it was back down to hair and then this time after the hair to a stylist, you chose an outfit for your model and the accessorises to accompany the outfit. Then back up to the photographer. Here is my second look. 

After the Shoot is all done you are given a disc with the unedited photos from your shoot, the photographer sits you down and explains how you go about getting the edited versions at an added cost. The above pictures are edited. I paid £100 for my photos, you pick one from each look but you get them in 3 different finishes so in total you receive 6 photos. 

I had a lot more fun than I thought I would during my photo-shoot it wasn't as scary as I thought it was going to be. After the Shoot you are all given some champagne and chocolates while you wait to be called downstairs to hear you fate haha. Once downstairs you have a chat with the people who overlooked your shoot. They give you their feedback and you have a general little chit chat about whats next, and then……you are awarded with your certificate!!! Best feeling everrrrrrr!! 

I didn't mention it above but on the morning of the day we studied period make-up we had our shopping trip. We shopped form half 9 till 12.30pm and then came back to the collage for a lunch that was provided for us. The shops we went in to were MAC, Benefit and Bare minerals, we were due to go to Shu Uemura but it had closed down…annoying!! We received 35% discount in MAC which is where we all spent most of our money, we also signed up for our MAC PRO discount cards, yaaaay!! In benefit we received 20% and in Bare minerals 25% We were also given Pro discount cards from Bare Minerals which was a nice little surprise as none of us knew we were getting those. Would you like to see the results of my shopping trip :) ……

I had the best time ever at AOFM, I learnt so much and made some amazing friends. If your like me and decided a little later in life you want a complete career overhaul I couldn't recommend checking out AOFM enough. It really does give you the best start towards your dream job as a make-up artist, you get to use a million different high end brands so you get an excellent product understanding. It also offers an aftercare programme second to none. Only yesterday I was attending a FREE Charlotte Tilbury masterclass. Masterclasses are run frequently. They are also always offering assisting jobs via Facebook and Twitter for AOFM grads and chances to work during fashion week for London, Milan and New York.

Okay so thats all guys I hope its helped, I think I have covered everything but if you feel I have missed anything or been vague please feel free to either Email me at or Tweet me over at @Tiffsbeautyboxx, I am more than happy to help with any questions and queries you may have. I also have a Facebook page and if you could give that a little like I would be over the moon, I'm just trying to get myself out there so all help is greatly appreciated, the link for my Facebook page is here :) Thank you for reading lovelies.

Lots of love xxx


  1. This sounds much does it cost? x

    1. Thanks for reading!! My course was around £2700 :) xxxx

  2. wow that's awesome! :)
    how much was it? all the makeup courses I looked at were well expensive!

    1. Thank you for reading lovely! This was actually quite expensive not as much as some but not as cheap as others it cost me around £2700 xxx

  3. wow that sounds amazing!! im a self taught freelance MUA but wish I had the money to do something like this. well done :)

  4. Wow. Interesting! To be become the best makeup artist, you still need to learn from others.:)

  5. Hello, I have a few questions: Did you have housing? How does one go about finding a place to stay? It appears it's only on weekends (?) so did you work Mon- Fri.? How was the transportation to the college?
    Where is an appropriate place to stay? Did you get a job in this field? Do you still recommend this college?
    Thanks any information you can share. I really enjoyed your blog/ information!!!

  6. I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he enjoyed it as well!