Friends Friday | Hinako

It’s FriYAY!!! I am so excited to introduce you to the extremely talented celebrity makeup artist, Hinako.

How long have you been in the industry?

I’ve been a makeup artist for nearly 16 years, 10 of which were in Tokyo, Japan. When I moved to Los Angeles in 2010 I had to start my career over again by assisting and establishing contacts. That was a tough time!

What drew you to pursuing a career in makeup full time?

Well, of all things I graduated college in Japan with a degree in economics. After graduating, I went straight into working for a retail chain as a buyer and sales manager of wrist watches. It was an awful work situation where I worked 14 hour days with one day off per week which I often had to work anyway. I had no passion for this job or the company and when my friend and colleague tragically died in an elevator accident at work, I quit.

In college, I was always interested in makeup and constantly did my friends’ makeup. And after this terrible work experience and death of my friend, I needed to make a big change. So, I packed my bags, moved to Tokyo and enrolled in beauty school. Luckily the school had an integrated makeup and hair agency so I started assisting makeup artists during my school days and fell in love with the work and art of makeup.

Do you have a defining moment or experience that you would describe as your breakthrough into the industry?

In Tokyo, when I was assisting different makeup artists, a well-known director began hiring me instead of the makeup artist I was assisting. From that defining moment, I worked with him constantly and was able to establish myself and meet many people in the industry.

As I mentioned, when I moved to Los Angeles I had to start my career over again. I knew very few people and my English was very rough. Jamie knows how little my English was at that time haha! I began by assisting a makeup artist that a friend introduced me to, which led to meeting and assisting more people. One of the people I assisted was part of The Wall Group (agency) and they began to hire me to assist their artists on a regular basis. Then I met the makeup artist, Jamie Greenberg (who I love so so much!) and began assisting her. Jamie then introduced me to Pati Dubroff (my mentor and inspiration) and I began assisting Pati, who in time, recommended me to become a part of The Wall Group and here I am. Both Pati and Jamie changed my life and career in LA and I am forever grateful.

What was your first professional experience like?

I believe that my first professional job was a television commercial in Japan.  I was so nervous because it was my first time as a key makeup artist but so excited at the same time. Luckily I only had to do a super natural look on one girl. But seeing my makeup on the monitor for the first time was an incredible feeling.

What/ who is a daily inspiration for you?

Nature, movies, animals and music. Nature inspires me. Sometimes I’ll see a bird or plant with a color combination and I let that influence my makeup. I have a Cockapoo dog named Watson that makes me laugh and has a pure heart. I used to play Bassoon in an orchestra and love classical music. I’ve been listening a lot to pianist Vladimir Horowitz because his playing moves me.

What are two everyday skincare or beauty tricks that anyone can incorporate into their daily routine?

I highly recommend using face toner. I know that toner is not so commonly used here in the States but for me toner is THE most important step of my skincare regiment. It hydrates and tightens the skin which is especially important in dry LA. The next essential is a trick for the eyes. You apply eyeliner to your upper waterline (the line immediately below your eyelashes. It’s very subtle but highly effective in defining your eyes.

What 3 makeup products would you highly recommend?

  • I absolutely LOVE Suqqu cream foundation. This foundation looks flawless and doesn’t get caky which drives me crazy.
  • I also recommend Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder.  Your skin feels so soft after washing your face with this product – amazing.
  • And last but not least, Annemarie Borlind’s ZZ Sensitive Face Toner will keep your skin hydrated and tight. I mentioned that toner use is not commonly used in the States, but this product makes a big difference.

What advice would you give to others who have the desire to pursue a career in the makeup artistry?

I am going to quote my mentor, Pati Dubroff, because I believe this to be true. For those just starting to work in the makeup business, create small, realistic goals that you can attain. And as you work to reach those goals, prepare yourself for opportunity by honing your skills. Once you reach those goals, give yourself credit for your progress, then set new, realistic and attainable goals, and so on.

When I was at beauty school, I was willing and ready to do any kind of makeup job that came my way. I didn’t care how small or “insignificant” the job was because all I wanted to do was practice makeup as much as I could. I took every opportunity seriously and did my best no matter what it was. I LOVE doing makeup and always want to learn and get better.

One of my classmates had a different view. She was very specific about wanting to work with famous fashion magazines, doing makeup for the covers and getting to that position as soon as possible. But it’s not easy to break into this business. She got so frustrated and discouraged that everything was not going as she had planned and ended up quitting.

Of course it’s important to have big goals to shoot for, but it’s also important to have realistic expectations at the beginning of your career. It’s so easy to become discouraged in this business, but if you do your absolute best every time, and set and reach many small goals, you’ll find that this keeps you positive and moving forward. And we all know that positive energy opens doors of opportunity.

What has been the most challenging & rewarding parts about your career?

The most challenging part of my career has been to accept the fact that I am not the right makeup artist for everyone. Doing someone’s makeup is extremely personal and intimate. Remember that you are just inches away from your client’s face, you’re touching their face with your fingers, you’re sometimes with them all day, looking into each other’s eyes. Now ask yourself how many people you’d actually like to spend the entire day with. Then add the fact that they are inches away from your face, touching you, seeing you without any makeup. Yes! You have to like that person, their energy, their personality, their way of talking, eating and even the way they smell!

I think you know where I’m going with this. It’s all about a good match. Not everyone is for everyone. Some people like loud and chatty, while others like quiet and reserved. No matter your makeup skill, it has to be a good personal match. So sometimes I am disappointed that I don’t get asked back to work with someone again. But I have to remind myself that not everyone is for everyone. It’s just one of life’s realities.

The most rewarding part of my career is working with a group of talented people as a team – makeup, hair, styling, lighting, art direction, composition, color, etc. When all those separate elements combine to make something cohesive and special, that’s when I am most happy.

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