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  • ben choo

What the early 2000s were like for makeup artists

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Changes are inevitable. A lot of industry is observed to have changed recently in response to the effects of the covid epidemic in order to keep up with the present. Our industry is also the same. Here are some of the changes happened throughout the years :

1. There was no Waze, and Garmin or Papago sat nav devices was just a shaky, unreliable technology, occasionally led to Timbuktu. We used manually drawn maps. It was a fairly straightforward, cartoonish map with simple written directions and designated landmarks. For instance: ..... the house on the 4th tree or turn left after the 2nd speed ramp...Additionally, makeup artists back then would rehearse getting to the client's house using the map instructions one day beforehand. ( I remember that Puncak Jalil was a brand-new neighbourhood at the time, and I got so lost that I arrived at my appointment an hour late. )

2. The traditional Chinese wedding costume, Kua ( 褂 ) wasn't a thing. There are very few bridal shops that carry traditional attire. The majority of brides link the costume with haunting Chinese movies since the ghost bride and other ghost characters from that time wore similar traditional clothing. And another thing was that, at the time, wearing Kua was almost always a sign of pregnancy. Naturally, I have nothing against it, but it makes it simpler to recognise so that we can be more cautious or attentive around them. ( Its design was much more oversized than it is today. Nowadays, brides compete with one another. Some of them dressed as though they were in a movie set in the Qin or Tang dynasties. )

3. There were no "Korean Makeup ". I'm not going to lie: back then, makeup was atrocious. I can still picture how we used to give clients' eyes a wider appearance by applying two layers of thick eyelashes. Big, elaborate hairstyles were in style too. These days, as Korean drama popularity in Malaysia grows. Clients prefer cosmetics done in the Korean fashion.

"Breathable" eye makeup, skin-like foundation, and simpler hairstyles are other popular trends.

4. There weren't a lot of independent makeup artists. There weren't many independent makeup artists back then. Most brides get their wedding makeup done at a bridal shop. Brides had to wait in queue to have their makeup applied, and one makeup artist would have to handle three different brides over the course of a Saturday or Sunday. Today, things are obviously different. With so many more options available, brides can select anybody they want. If one is not free, one has a hundred other options. They desired a more individualised service.

5. There were no social media. Bridal shops are the place to work as a makeup artist if you want to succeed. Facebook and other social media platforms weren't popular back then. People had no way of learning about you or what kind of work you put out. However, they are aware that makeup artists work at bridal shops so they would go to bridal shops should they need a makeup artist. Hence developing your network takes time and effort. Because word-of-mouth advertising is the only method for marketing oneself.

6. Cosmetic brands were not inclusive. There were just three foundation shade options: fair, medium, and tan. Therefore, if you are slightly darker than tan, your foundation will probably not match the colour of your neck. And if you're Indian, sorry and best of luck. Simply put, there is no way to purchase foundation in darker tones or with various undertones. They don't exist, at least in Malaysia. If I remembered correctly Fenty Beauty came out with 40 shades, only then other brands were made aware of the need to be inclusive of people of all skin tones. ( Korean cosmetics brands are still fair, medium and tan boo! )

I've experienced a brief revolution in the makeup and wedding industry as a result of publishing this piece. The majority of the changes are for the better. I feel privileged to have been present to see it happen. Like they say ~ Nothing ever stays the same for an eternity.

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