Ready to face the challenge – Interview with make-up artist Sarah Morris

Fresh off the plane after enjoying emigrant life in Vancouver for several years, make-up artist and Raheen local Sarah Morris has landed a leading beauty role in Limerick.

Sarah Morris make-up artist

Laurel Hill and Bruce College former student Sarah Morris returned to Limerick with fiancée David Dineen after spending the last three years in Vancouver while Sarah extended her make-up artistry CV. Having worked in the industry for ten years, the 29-year old landed the role of beauty stylist at Brown Thomas Limerick – the first position of its kind outside of Dublin.

How and why did you become a MUA? I always loved colour, art, fashion, anything creative really. When I was 14 on a trip to London to visit my sister, a cousin who was really into fashion complemented a coloured eyeliner I was wearing and said ‘you could be a make-up artist’, I really didn’t know that job existed but it sounded amazing and after that I spent my teenage years collecting magazines and practising different looks on myself until I was finished school. I went on to do two different make-up courses in Dublin. My first make-up job was at the Chanel counter in Brown Thomas and I’ve never looked back.

How does your new role differ from previous positions? Firstly, I am so proud that Limerick is the first Brown Thomas store outside of BT Grafton Street to have a beauty stylist and even prouder that I am the lucky person that has this role. It’s pretty much my dream job. I am working as an artist using these amazing brands but I don’t have any allegiance to any one brand. This means I am choosing the best product for the customer not just the best of one brand. I am here to simplify product choices for customers. The beauty industry moves fast and it can be so confusing trying to decide on the right product, or knowing if the newest thing on the market is really the best. That is why I am here to help.

What is your current favourite new product on the market? I am getting married next year so I am obsessed with skincare at the moment. I want the most perfect skin for my big day – as I’m sure most brides do – so I am currently trialling the new Perfecting Treatment from La Mer. It is designed to tighten pores and give a soft focus effect to the skin both instantly and over time. I have been using it for nearly two weeks now and I am really impressed with the results. My skin looks more even, both in colour and texture, and my make-up looks better as a result.

What products are in your own make-up bag? Well my make-up bag is more like a make-up chest of drawers but there are a few products that I cannot live without. Going back to skincare again, I am never without the Chanel Hydra Beauty micro serum. It is like giving your skin a big drink of water and keeps you hydrated for 24 hours – an absolute essential.
My foundation choice changes almost like the weather. I rarely wear the same foundation two days in a row, but the one I always go back to is the Armani Luminous Silk, it just has enough coverage without looking too much and gives the skin that perfect glow.
The concealer I use every day, since discovering it, is the Nars Radiant Creamy concealer. It is great for under the eyes as well as on the face so really handy instead of having two different concealers on the go.
An oldie but a goodie, Hoola bronzer by Benefit has been in my make-up bag since I first discovered the magic of using bronzer. Also when you’re in a rush you can wear it dusted across the apples of the cheeks instead of blush.
For mascara, I can’t stop using the Estée Lauder Sumptuous Knockout with the Little Black Primer underneath. It is the best combo for the ‘false lash effect’ that most ladies want.
Eyeshadows are more often than not from MAC. I really think it’s hard to beat the colour payoff and variety of shades available.
For lips, I am never without the Chanel lip balm, I use it morning and night, and I usually have a dozen lip liners in the bottom of my handbag. I really like the Dior lip liner in ‘169 Grége’ for the perfect nude lip.


What trends are you seeing in make-up at the moment? Spring/Summer is usually my favourite season for make-up trends as it is, more often than not, pared back make-up that is really pretty and enhances the natural beauty of the face. This year, I feel that the skin on SS16 runways was paler. There was a lot more emphasis on flushed cheeks instead of bronzer and blusher. At this stage everyone has heard of ‘strobing’ [a highlighting technique] and the trend seems set to continue. Who doesn’t want glowing skin?

What celebrities have the most influence on the make-up industry? I think this is one of the biggest shifts in the make-up industry in recent years. Before, celebrities were the main source of inspiration for people with their make-up choices. Now Youtube and Instagram have taken over. More than not, people come in looking for a product that a blogger or Instagram star was wearing or talking about, as opposed to a certain look they want recreated. In Ireland, I hear people mention Pippa O’Connor and Suzanne Jackson a lot and I think it’s great that we are inspired by Irish women.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job? This really isn’t something to complain about but keeping on top of what’s new, and learning everything about each brand can be tough. It is really important to me that I am able to give customers the most suitable product for their needs, so I have to know about everything that is available. There are thousands of products in the Brown Thomas beauty hall so I am definitely still finding new things everyday and not only that, but companies bring out new things constantly so I am always learning.

What do clients tell you is their biggest problem relating to make-up? One thing I hear again and again is concerns about the eye area. Young and old, most women are conscious about lines around the eyes, puffiness or dark circles. I will say though that it is one thing that people don’t spend money on so it makes sense.

Most people invest in moisturisers but when it comes to eye cream they won’t spend the money yet it is a big area of concern. I would definitely invest in any product that is designed for the area you are conscious about. So whether that’s a really good eye cream or a serum that is suitable for the eye area, you need to take the time to improve instead of trying to cover with make-up.

Are there any hacks/tips/tricks you can offer for perfecting eyeliner and filling in eyebrows? Eyeliner is all about patience. You will more than likely never get it right the first few times but that’s what cotton buds and eye make-up remover are for. There are loads of ways to apply liner, as well as different tools, so once you figure out what works best for you then just keep practising.
Eyebrows are sisters – not twins. They will always look slightly different so don’t go crazy trying to get them to be perfectly symmetrical. If you are unsure, get someone to thread/tweeze them but please make sure it’s someone you trust or someone that you have seen results from, and don’t be afraid to be fussy – they are on your face after all. Once the shape is good, filling them in will be so much easier. Again there are so many products out there depending on the brow style you like. Please come see me if you want a lesson on either of these, and any other techniques that you would like to learn.

What advice would you give to somebody starting out as a make-up artist? Make sure it’s what you want to do. You are dealing with the public usually on a very important day for them and you have to be able to make them feel their most beautiful without any stress or worry.
Also, I would never rely on photoshop or other photography filters to help your make-up look good. If you have to filter your photos every time then maybe you need to fix something about the look. Filters are fun but the make-up should look great without them too.
For me, being a make-up artist is the best job in the world and I feel so lucky I discovered from a young age what I wanted to do. I love meeting new people and helping them feel beautiful, it is why I do what I do.

By Olivia O’Sullivan

This article appeared in the Limerick Post issue 2 April 2016