Dena Brown trained with Penina’s clinic and now uses her expertise in her freelance career as a mobile make-up artist. The Jewish Weekly spoke to Dena to get a better insight into her busy world.

The make-up artist business is a competitive one in the Jewish world, with tens of adverts featured in every weekly publication. I want to know what makes Dena Brown different from everyone else out there.

“I believe that training and working at Penina’s Clinic provided me with a certain level of additional expertise,” Dena relates. “Unlike other make-up artists, I had a full salon experience, which most don’t get until they leave college.”

Dena recommends a similar path to others who are looking to get into the business, as she believes that “shadowing professionals from the start allows you to get used to working with clients, understanding how to strike the perfect balance between professional and friendly.”

Indeed, it is important to be highly personable in this line of work, as most of Dena’s work involves visiting clients, houses for bridal make-up application.

“I do my best to make people feel comfortable during this potentially stressful time by listening exactly to what they want. On her big day, a bride needs to be happy with the result. If she’s happy, I’m happy.”

Dena tells me how she conducts an initial consultation with clients to discuss what they would like.

“We assess what they’re wearing and what look they would like to achieve, and I will advise on what I think would best suit them.”

The best customer feedback, says Dena, are people’s facial expressions when she’s finished their makeup.

“When I get a big smile, I know that’s a job well done,” she laughs. “I love that I’ve played a crucial part in the festivities and happiness of the day.”

Dena works freelance, which means she can fit her work well around family life.

“My 1-year-old daughter is in nursery now, so that makes things easier. For example, for wedding make-up I’m required mainly in the afternoons, and then I’m free to spend time with her.”

As well as bridal make-up, Dena does other special occasions such as bat mitzvahs and engagements. She also provides other beauty services, such as waxing, facials, make-up lessons and make-up for photoshoots.

In her make-up lessons, Dena uses her expertise to provide tailored instructions on how to apply both day and evening make-up. This can last anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.

“We explore in-depth which colours will be most suitable and, depending on that person’s features, how best to apply the make-up.”

Dena tells me that both bridal and photoshoot make-up is applied differently to regular make-up, because it’s mainly for the benefit of the camera.

“I usually get asked for natural looking make-up in photoshoots but I am also aware that there are certain colours for the camera that look good, so I will advise accordingly.”

Dena’s number one make-up tip is to “make sure everything is very well blended because it better enhances your appearance. Use sponges for your face and eyes, as this gives a better, more blended result than brushes.”

On the topic of advice, I ask Dena if she has any tips for other beauticians who are looking to pursue a freelance make-up profession.

“There’s no denying this industry is hard to break into, but if you’re extremely passionate about what you’re doing that will help. The best practical advice I can give is to hand out your business card to literally everyone you meet.”

Dena is based in North West London. For more details, contact her on 07910277687.

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