My Journey as an MUA

So… yesterday I won an award?! I received an email from Hitched (a wedding supplier website) saying I was a winner, and honestly, I thought it was a mistake. But it wasn’t! I had won an award voted for by my past brides ‘in recognition for being one of the most valued and recommended vendors on Hitched’. It was such a pinch me moment and I can’t thank you all enough for all of the support. Next week marks the beginning of my third official wedding season as Imogen Sandy MUA, so I thought I’d take some time today to talk about my journey as an MUA so far!

My journey into the world of makeup began when I was eight years old when I started watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. I spent countless hours watching and learning from any artist I could find and I would then practice on anyone who would let me – sorry Dad!

As soon as I found out being a makeup artist could be a job, I always knew that was what I wanted to do. I would work it into any aspect of my life that I possibly could, including in my GCSE work (which I definitely was not allowed to do) and would spend most evenings recreating looks I’d find on Pinterest, rather than doing homework of course. When I was sixteen, I went on to study Theatrical Hair & Makeup at college and it was here that I really began to find my feet. I was so excited when I got a place, as you can see below!

In August 2019 when I had just turned seventeen, I got my first official makeup job working as a Retail Makeup Artist for KVD Beauty. I remember being SO nervous for my interview because I had to create a full face of makeup on a model including a winged liner and a red lip – whilst being watched and quizzed by my interviewer! I practiced over and over for weeks, and I still credit this interview for being the sole reason I can now confidently do winged eyeliner!

I sadly only worked for KVD for just over six months as Covid made its appearance in March 2020, but even in this short period of time I attended four training events and learnt so much about makeup artistry and colour theory. It was my first experience of doing makeup on real clients and I even did my first masterclass! I loved working for KVD and still use their products in my professional kit now.

My plan once I finished college was to get my driving license as soon as possible and set up as a fully mobile makeup artist. But Covid had other ideas! Lockdown came in the middle of my second year and totally threw my plan of starting my own business at the end of 2020. However, in this period of doing absolutely nothing, I created some of my favourite and most creative looks. If you have followed me for a long time, you may have known my Instagram when it was Makeup by Immie. I began my Instagram as a way to show my progress and to document my creations – if you scroll down far enough, you can still find all my old photos!

As the makeup industry was totally shut down from the various lockdowns, I spent the next eleven months working as a carer in a dementia care home – and of course I still had to worm beauty into that job too! Wherever possible I would spend time one on one with the residents in the care home’s on site salon washing and styling their hair. It was in this job that I really learned just how much of an impact hair and makeup has on the way you feel, and how important it is to take time out for yourself to have a pamper!

Throughout this period, I also began collaborating with other local creatives on photoshoots and I still look back on the images so fondly. Two ladies that I am so grateful to have met during this time are Becky and Kathryn. Again, if you have followed me for a long time, you will have heard a lot about these two! I first met Becky and Kathryn in December 2020 where we collaborated on a bridal styled photoshoot and over the years we have worked together on multiple concepts.

One of these was our 60’s themed shoot back in the summer of 2021. This photoshoot totally changed my outlook on my artistry – it was the first time I’d seen my work look so professional! My incessant practice of my winged liner and red lip from my KVD interview came in very handy that day!

With the makeup industry finally opening back up, I decided to leave care work and go back to what I knew. I got another job working on makeup counters but, despite having loved working for KVD only a year before, I never settled in to this new job. I dreaded going into work every day and was in a very low headspace. Only 8 weeks into that job, I had the spur of the moment idea to officially set up my business, quit my job and go full time with professional makeup artistry. As soon as the idea came into my head, that was it! I handed my notice in the next day and spent the next four weeks designing my business from scratch. I rallied all of my friends and dedicated all of my time to creating makeup looks for my social media’s – thanks guys!

In December 2021, my journey as a self-employed makeup artist began. To all of the clients who booked me during my early days, thank you so much for trusting me! I had no idea whether my business would be successful and spent a lot of nights wondering whether I’d made the right decision. I was proved very wrong as in my first full year as an MUA, I was a part of 28 wedding days and glammed hundreds of beautiful women. It was insane!

Since taking the plunge to set up my own business, I have achieved more than I could have dreamed of. As I mentioned earlier, I am only now entering my third full year as Imogen Sandy MUA so to have been awarded a Hitched Wedding Award is absolutely crazy. As you may be able to tell, it has taken a village to get my business to the point it is now! From all of my friends modelling for me, the support of my family, every client trusting me with their special occasion and to every one of you who have recommend me to your friends, none of this would have been possible without you. I cannot thank you enough!

I can’t wait for my 2024 wedding season to begin next weekend and to see what else my little business can achieve this year. Thank you for reading all about my journey as a makeup artist, I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me!

Imogen Sandy

Imogen Sandy

Professional makeup artist based in Wokingham, covering Berkshire and surrounding areas.