February 1st, 2016
From teaching to creating his own brand, Ken Boylan absolutely loves sharing his knowledge of make-up. As one of our judges at Professional Beauty Ireland he showed a keen interest in all of the students, in all categories, and demonstrated his passion for education. An established celebrity MUA, Ken can turn his hand from editorial to bridal in an instant – read on to hear all about MakeUp/Play, inspiring artists and tips on how to stand out from the crowd.
WP: What first sparked your interest in make-up?
KB: I originally wanted to be an actor, and when I was in Drama College there was a part of the course which was all about make-up, the costuming etc., and I found that I really liked doing the make-up. So when I finished the course I found out about a make-up course and went on to do that.
WP: Where did you originally train?
KB: The course I went on was mostly special effects and theatre make-up, but I wanted to do fashion make-up so I pretty much taught myself. I then started working in Blue Ru, a make-up store here in Dublin which is no longer with us. That was the best learning ground, working on different faces all day long really hones your skills.
WP: What was the biggest learning curve for you, between training and finding success?
KB: Being really good at what you do is so important with make-up. Making sure you keep on learning all the time is crucial. If you are not good at something make sure you learn about it, don’t bullsh*t your way out of it; people will catch on and you will have no clients left. Always keep smiling and remember, always be nice – and listen to your client!
WP: What advice do you have for artists who are working in Bridal beauty?
KB: Always listen to your bride to make sure you are on the right page when it comes to the make-up look she wants for her big day. I always ask my brides to bring pictures of make-up they like. Pintrest is great for that, as is Instagram. Remember your smokey eye look could be their natural day look, so make sure you are both thinking the same thing.
WP: How did your make-up range – Ken Boylan Makeup/Play – come about?
KB: It was always in the back of my head to have my own make-up range really. I wanted a make-up range that I would be really proud of and that would hold up against the likes of MAC, Armani etc., and I think we found it. I wanted it to be accessible to beauticians as a really high quality make-up brand they could use in their salons. Over the years I have worked with many beauty shops and the quality of make-up and seen that some of the training has been very poor. If a beautician takes my brand in to their salon, I come along with it and give them some training!
WP: What are your top 3 products from your range?
KB: I love all of my make-up, of course! It’s all amazing! But I can tell you the 3 top sellers.
1 – HD foundation. It is such a lovely foundation, very like the Armani Luminous foundation, which I always loved when I worked for Armani.
2 – Primer. It is fantastic under your foundation, it really will help with the smoothness of the foundation and will help cover any fine lines or open pores.
3 – My lipsticks! I am a big lipstick fan. I love it when I can do a make-up look and have that pop of colour on the lips.
WP: Not including your range, what kit staples do you always take with you for jobs?
KB: I would be lost without my brushes to work with, it would be like leaving my hands behind! Aside from that, cotton buds and tweezers.
WP: Whose work do you admire? Which MUAs and artists inspire you the most?
I love Paula Callan’s and Aibhe Lynch’s work, and Paddy McGurgan’s bodypanting is amazing. Derrick Carberry does a lovely liquid liner, Zoe Clark’s natural looks and Pat McGrath because her work is just amazing!
WP: Do you have any advice for artists who are struggling to make a definitive mark in the industry? What can they do to stand out?
KB: I would like to be starting out now! Girls are going on half-day courses and saying they are makeup artists – you are not. It takes time to get good at your skill, and lots and lots of practice. You really need to work on a make-up counter where you have access to lots of skin types, lots of eye shapes, lots of face shapes and lots of treatments. Then go assist an established make-up artist to get your name out there and to build a portfolio of your work – be it online or Instagram. Your website is so important, as a lot of your brand building is word of mouth. Also remember that there is much more to make-up then the really strong eye looks that are out there at the moment. You need to know all of the looks out there – just look at fashion magazines. There is not a “cut crease” in sight.