For some chica’s finding what you love develops at a young age. For others it happens spontaneously. That was the case for makeup artist Nydia Emily Figueroa. A woman who after learning her true passion has dedicated herself to changing people’s lives one face at a time. Iconic Chica had the chance at an exclusive interview with the artist and she shares personal experiences and insights on how to look good while still being you.
Iconic Chica: With so many different skin tones, how do you find the one that works for you?
Nydia Figueroa: I’m very huge on color theory, meaning what painters use… Like colors that complement each other. A lot of the Latinas [for example] have a yellow undertone to their skin, so I would pick something that’s yellow based personally. Same thing with rosy skin tones. If I use yellow on a rosy skin tone they look sick. By their undertone is how I determine the colors I use. A lot of the light with the darker skin tones is in the center of the face… It’s all about playing on the theory of light and how the light hits your face. If you do one color on someone’s face, they’re gonna look one dimensional. It’s not gonna look real because it’s not the way the light hits their face. The light hits their face in the center of their face and then it goes out like a starburst.
IC: When it comes to eye and lip colors, is there something we should follow or stay away from?
NF: It’s all in the character of the person, honestly. I don’t feel there’s a specific rule to that, but generally speaking if you do a bolder lip you should definitely do something softer in the eyes, only because you don’t want to confuse people. You want to be able to have a focus feature. You don’t want them to compete against each other.
IC: What are the makeup essentials?
NF: Every woman should get a really good concealer, especially for days you don’t get that much sleep, a mascara, and a gloss.
IC: Are there any specific rules for teenage makeup?
NF: It’s all about placement. A little concealer under their eyes and a powder… You don’t need much. I personally think less is more when it comes to teenagers.
What’s in trend is not heavy makeup. What you see in the cover of these magazines and what you see on the red carpet from your favorite celebrities is not a heavy makeup look. It’s a very light weight, fresh, polished look. I want them to get away from the social media makeup and really see what’s going on, you know in the public eye and in fashion.
IC: How long have you been a makeup artist and when you discover your love for the art of makeup?
NF: I’ve been a makeup artist for eight years and the way that I discovered this is I found this Barnes & Noble gift card on the floor at the park. I don’t really go to Barnes & Noble. I said let me make a trip. Let me buy a book. And I’m not a huge book reader so I’m walking down the aisles and I see this book, it was called Plastic Surgery without the Surgery and it was by Eve Pearl and I said this is so cool and I’m looking through the book and I see before and after’s… I was just blown away on how cool, you could do this with make up! So I bought the book. This is way before YouTube came out and Instagram and these tutorials. All you had was books and people to learn how to do makeup. I got home and I got the makeup and I just started to do makeup on everyone that was in sight, my mom, my cousin, like everybody and I just fell in love with it. It happened so fast.
I started going to the MAC counter for the first time and I just started buying the makeup and experimenting and I somehow got a job at MAC. A couple of months later, after I started learning makeup, it just happens that I walked in and I got recruited. I started working for MAC at a small counter. I learned everything there. I made a lot of mistakes. I had a lot of help. I had a lot of support with the staff that was there and I just grew as an artist as the years passed by.
IC: What is what you love most about being a makeup artist?
Honestly, the biggest thing to take away from this is changing someone’s life. It sounds crazy but you change someone’s mood, you change someone’s life. I've been in situations where I've cried after doing someone’s makeup because I’ll do their makeup and they’ll tell me, “I had this bad day,” or “I have cancer.” Like I had a customer once, she came in and she was very angry… Slowly I started gaining her trust and at the end she loved the makeup and then her daughter came to me and she’s like, “this is the first time I see my mom smile in months. She went through chemotherapy and she’s been miserable and I haven’t seen her smile in about three months.” I started crying and I was like, I actually helped this woman.
You can request Nydia Emily Figueroa and follow her work on Instagram @FacesByNydia and @VenomDoll.