Busy is a word that I often use to describe my life. Largely because of the wide range of different hats I wear from one day to the next! One of the many feathers in my bow is being that of a professional make-up artist. I am involved in weddings, photography shoots, fantasy make-up and face painting! It is an extension of my artistic skills and I just love it!

Over the past couple of years I have been approached by a range of high schools for some innovative advice to help deal with the problem of their students wearing too much make-up to school. Most schools I know have a ‘no make-up’ policy and enforce this on the students accordingly. With limited or simply no success. My suggestion was to educate rather than punish, and empower the students with choices – and I am appreciative for the opportunity to do so.

In September this year, I visited a high school on the Mornington Peninsula to present a seminar to 90 students (yr 8-9). The main aim was to leave the students with some skills and knowledge about make-up and its application. However, I could see another important issue in need of addressing – self-esteem.

Makeup is designed to highlight features and accentuate qualities, rather than focus on flaws and cover them up – a very important message for young girls starting out in the world of make-up.  I was really surprised that this concept was so foreign to the students.  My presentation began with examples of the misconception media creates as being beautiful. Today’s technology (photo-shop touch ups) allows beauty to be portrayed in ways that are not real, obtainable or realistic, something the girls seem to strive to be albeit unsuccessfully.

Thanks to DOVE for opening our eyes to this unatural portrayal of beauty

In asking the questions as to why the girls wanted to wear make-up to school, the common responses were “to hide”, “to cover up”, “to change how I look”. Unfortunately the negative self-talk about their appearance has already been ingrained at such a young age.

There is the need for a positive emotional level of teaching to be associated to make-up for young girls, including focusing on their features and learning how to highlight them. This simple shift in the language used, techniques taught and examples shown have the potential to influence a young girl in how she sees and feels about herself – thus helping create well-balanced, confident and resilient young woman.

I am hoping to be involved in more opportunities at high schools, supporting the schools and teachers who are committed to taking a pro-active approach to educating young girls not only the correct techniques and knowledge of applying make-up, but also enabling the opportunity to help celebrate their own individual differences and develop their self-esteem.

“Nicky helped us realise how important natural beauty is and taught us that life is more interesting and fun when everyone is unique.  Today, girls know that magazine photos are edited with Photoshop, but not to what extent.  Nicky demonstrated that magazine editors go to extremes to create ‘flawless’ symmetrical faces.  Nicky showed us that makeup is to highlight your good features, not hide the bad.  She gave us some good tips and techniques on how makeup should be applied and how to get the natural look.  She showed us the concealer wheel which was something new that we didn’t know about.  The session went well and we were very thankful to look deeper into makeup. Thank you to Nicky!”
Brenace and Courtney

(Image from Dove Beauty Ad Campaign) 

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