Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Back To My Roots

Prior to moving to Mexico I spent the better part of the last 30 years working in the cosmetic industry in one capacity or another. For the last ten years I worked in retail and I can honestly say that I don’t miss that for a second! During that time, however, I also worked as a makeup artist and I actually do miss that part of my work.

While I worked for Estee Lauder we did the makeup for a lot of fashion shows, during my tenure with Lancome I did quite a few stage presentations and while working with Shiseido I did mostly little seminars about sun protection, but also some involving makeup lessons.


The Hudson Bay Company West Vancouver

Todd used to have a bad habit of sending me a barbershop quartet on Valentine’s Day

Then during my last few years in Vancouver I worked as a cosmetic department manager for a large Canadian drug store chain. There we did makeup for a number of events and also took bookings for makeup for special occasions for our clients. Privately I have done weddings and makeup for photography.

Lately I’ve been finding myself doing this again and I really enjoy it in this setting where I  am not under the watchful eye of some large corporation who is waiting for this season’s sales projections, special event plans and staffing budget. While I was being questioned about my margins not being up to corporate expectations, in a demographic that was improperly researched to begin with before the store was built, I sort of lost the joy I used to find in doing transformations through makeup.

Revisiting my cosmetic roots sort of began last April during our annual camping week with 30 girls from Mexico City, A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words. Todd and I set up a little makeshift makeup and photography studio at the camp and we painted and photographed the girls. It was received with great enthusiasm and each girl had her makeup done and got her own portrait. For me it was a lot of work after not having done anything like that for years, but I also thoroughly enjoyed it, and realized that I actually missed that aspect of my profession.


Makeup at Camp Connie

A couple of months ago I again did the makeup for photographs for a website that Todd will be constructing for a friend here in San Miguel. That has sort of been set on the back burner at the moment as the friend has been out of town for a couple of months, but again, it nudged that part of me that misses the creative side of my work. 

shan 1

Yesterday I did a little makeup lesson for our friend Emma Salazar, from the bibliotheca, the public library, here in San Miguel de Allende. Emma is a tireless worker who coordinates events and fundraising for the bibliotheca, including the weekly Home Tours. She is also beautiful and vivacious and a great model! 


I also enjoy my watercolour painting, but this is a different and more interactive way to express my art. I guess it’s just a little something that’s been missing in my life since I quit working and I hope to be able to more of it in the future.



  1. Shannon, in a small town like SMA, word of a new artist travels rapidly! Not to mention all the bodas happening weekly in town, and multiple "special" occasions going on, I feel sure your skills will be in demand.. Congrats on a potentially lucrative career, actually doing something you love! We should all be that lucky!

    1. That would be really wonderful Dan, and you never know.

  2. "During that time, however, I also worked as a makeup artist and I actually do miss that part of my work."

    That sentence had me excited. I had visions of you helping clowns into their makeup for a family-owned circus. Or, maybe, better yet, for Cirque du Soleil. And then I find out it was just girl stuff.

    I must confess, though, department store cosmetic counters have always baffled me. Their contents look as arcane as Mayan hieroglyphics. But clowns I get.

  3. Gee, you can come and "do" me up anytime. I never wear makeup as I never got into the habit of it, being allergic to almost anything that I ever put on my face. Pre hypo-allergenic stuff. Now I just can't be bothered, not really a "girly girl" lol. My sister got all those genes I guess. After having a couple of "free" makeup sessions at home parties and feeling like it was plastered on an inch thick and that I was underneath a mask I was forever turned off I think.
    You can imagine how I stick out like a sore thumb down here lol, no makeup oh my!!!

    1. LOL, that's true Brenda, most Mexican women never leave the house without their makeup. I don't think I put makeup on more that half a dozen times in the first five years that I lived here, and I admit that I don't do it all that much now. I do enjoy working as a makeup artist though, it's just another way of expressing my creativity.

  4. LOL, I've actually never done clown face, but I definitely could. Do you know anyone that needs a clown face?