The incredibly talented makeup artist, Taylor LeBlanc, first caught my attention after her makeup look was reposted by Anastasia Beverly Hills on Instagram. I clicked through to her profile (@irritayted) and discovered her amazing makeup artistry and knew I wanted to chat with her. I sent her a message and we had a little chat about makeup artistry, social media, and her favorite beauty products.
Miranda Feneberger: Thanks so much for talking to us Taylor! When did you start doing makeup professionally?
Taylor LeBlanc: I actually didn’t get super serious with my artistry until I began my journey with Sephora nearly 2 years ago. Before working for Sephora, I freelanced here and there usually during prom and wedding season, but never as frequently and as serious as what I’m doing now.
MF: Did you always want to be a makeup artist?
TL: I wouldn’t say I knew I always wanted to be a makeup artist, but I definitely knew that it was a path I wanted to travel down at some point in my life. I’ve always loved makeup and applying it on myself. I considered going to school for makeup artistry once I finished high school, but ended up deciding against it because I didn’t think I could make any money. It ended up finding it’s way into my life, so I’d like to think this is what I was meant to be doing all along.
MF: Has your artistry changed at all since you started working at Sephora?
TL: My artistry has changed and improved tremendously since starting my position at Sephora. When I started, I was afraid of color and I wore nothing but neutral mattes. Almost 2 years later and there’s no color, finish, or medium I won’t try and wear. I find myself changing and improving every single day, and in the makeup industry you just have to in order to be successful.
MF: I understand you’re studying graphic design in school – does that affect the way you approach makeup?
TL: Technically I’m not longer studying, I’m officially a graphic designer as of a few weeks ago! I don’t know if I would say it affects how I approach makeup in regards to artistry, but it definitely affects my judgement of packaging and branding of products.
MF: Do you think art imitates life or life imitates art?
TL: I would say art definitely imitates life. I often find myself creating things based on how I’m feeling, my surroundings, colors, textures, etc. I definitely take inspiration for all of my art based on the world around me.
MF: What are your ride or die makeup products?
TL: Choosing ride or die products is difficult for me since I am always trying not to be biased considering what I do! However, if I had to choose, I would say my ride or die products are: Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade, the Beauty Blender, Sephora Collection Pro Contour Brush #79, Dr. Brandt Pores No More, Cover FX Custom Cover Drops, Too Faced Hangover X Primer, Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eyeliner Crayon, Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stains, and Makeup For Ever Ultra HD Foundation and Concealer.
MF: In your experience, which type of makeup product should people splurge on and which should they save on?
TL: I tell all my clients that if you are going to splurge on anything, splurge on skincare. At the end of the day, makeup is only going to look as good as the skin you are putting it on top of! At the same time, when you take care of your skin and it looks better, you end up wanting/needing less makeup anyway! While there are some good cheap products out there, 9 times out of 10 you are paying more for something because the ingredients in it are better and safer for you. Makeup wise, I definitely feel that spending a little extra money on a good foundation and good tools to apply it is a good idea!
MF: What’s your favorite part about your job?
TL: Anyone who knows me, or even just follows me on social media, knows how much I love my job, but my favorite part of my job is actually an even tie between two things. The first is that my job does not restrict my creativity. It allows me to have complete creative freedom and completely express myself the way I never could before. I’ve never felt more like myself and more comfortable in my own skin. The second, is that my job allows me to aid other people in addressing and embracing their insecurities while allowing them to feel good about themselves. The reason I started using makeup was because I was insecure, and from there it stemmed into more of an art form, and I never had anyone there to guide me along. The thought that I get to do for other people what I wished someone would have done for me, is incredibly rewarding.
MF: What pushed you to start posting your makeup looks on Instagram?
TL: I’ve been on social media for years; from MySpace, to Facebook, to Twitter, to Tumblr and now Instagram. I’ve always been pretty active on social media no matter what platform I was on, but it wasn’t until Tumblr that I discovered the power of it. I started posting the usual casual selfie on my blog every once in a while, and after a bit they started actually getting reblogged and liked quite often. After that, I started getting messages from people regarding my own makeup and asking about products, etc. So I started posting more photos focusing on my makeup with product breakdowns so that other people could try out the products I was using, and from there I would post them on Instagram. A lot of the people who were following me on Tumblr, also followed me on Instagram as well. This is definitely the most consistent and creative I’ve been with my looks though! Ultimately the main reason was just for curious people!
MF: Has social media affected the business side of your life at all?
TL: Social media has most definitely impacted my work. It has it’s pros and cons, as any makeup artist will tell you. I find myself becoming very inspired by the other artists I’ve been able to connect with through social media, so it really pushes me to be more creative and innovative. At the same time, social media really makes it hard to be a makeup artist that does actual client work and not just makeup on themselves. So many people see these photos online and come to me wanting to look just like that, but the reality of it is that everyone has a different skin type, tone, texture, etc. We all have different face shapes and features and what looks one way on one person will not look the same on another, and a lot of people don’t understand or realize that. While the photos of the makeup you see online are beautiful and it’s wonderful to have reference photos, those photos aren’t exactly realistic for most people. Trying to explain that to clients without sounding rude or offensive is very difficult.
MF: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
TL: I am currently pursuing Senior Artistry with Sephora, so in 5 years I hope to be excelling in that position. Beyond that, I just hope to be constantly improving, thriving and happy in my field!
MF: Thanks so much for chatting with us, Taylor – it’s been a pleasure!
TL: You’re absolutely welcome! Thanks again for doing this, I am insanely flattered and humbled.
Follow Taylor LeBlanc on Instagram @irritayted
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