Melissa Hurkman is a Los Angeles-based Makeup Artist. Growing up in San Diego she was encouraged by her grandmother to explore and challenge herself creatively by taking a wide variety of art classes. Alongside her passion for art, Melissa began to fall in love with the beauty industry. After graduating from cosmetology school, Melissa then began making her way into the beauty industry working and training with cosmetic brands such as MAC, and Sephora.
She has since successfully grown her brand through hard work, an ever-growing quest for knowledge in an often swift-moving beauty industry.
Melissa’s craft has been recognized around the world in editorials and billboards working with brands such as Colourpop, Ouai, KKW Beauty, Torrid. Melissa’s work is also featured on celebrity clients such as Jessie James Decker, Nazanin Mandi, Chrissie Fit, Becca Tilley, and many more.
What age did you start getting into makeup?
“I’ve always loved creating art since I was little, particularly painting and drawing. When I was around 12-13 years old, I discovered MAC and fell in love with the brand’s employee image and persona. With makeup, I loved watching makeover tv shows and seeing people transform. Not just physically, but watching their persona change and seeing them evolve into someone much more confident and elevated. That was what drew me into this industry… along with the dream of one day owning ALL the makeup I could ever have for myself lol!
Fast forward to 2012. That is when I began to work at MAC after graduating from Cosmetology school a year prior. That’s where my career journey began.”
Who are your biggest inspirations?
“Jen Atkin is a major role model for me. Not only because of her beautiful work, but also how she has navigated this industry and created the brands she owns today. She’s truly brilliant in my eyes. PS If you’re a professional in my line of work, you HAVE to read her book. She divulges advice from such a wise perspective. Plus her sense of humor is amazing and makes for such a fun read.
Nikki Wolf a.k.a @Nikki_Makeup. Her creativity is one of a kind. She is so incredibly talented! Not only are her bronze and glowy makeup looks so breathtaking and romantic, but what I really admire about Nikki is her creative work. The bold makeup looks she creates are so unique and perfectly executed, she’s a true artist and master of all the looks she creates.“
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“Within the next 10 years, I would love to become a global brand educator for a beautiful (possibly Luxe?) beauty brand. What a dream!
In my personal life, I would love to own a home. Someplace where I could have a huge garden and grow my own food. I love gardening, and my current place looks like we live in a jungle so I’d love to have more space to expand my ever-growing rainforest lol!”
What are 3 tips of advice you’d give young girls trying to follow in your footsteps?
“1. There’s room for everyone in this industry, so there is no reason to be catty or have negative feelings toward anyone. There will never be a shortage of faces to work on. Try to be everyone’s cheerleader, even when it may be hard to do. Remember there will be a day when you will need to be cheered on too, and you’ll want someone in your corner.
2. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, especially on social media. I owe a large amount of the “success” I have achieved to social media. Let me tell you, it’s not easy, but push yourself out of your comfort zone and utilize it however it fits you and your work best.
3. Always continue to further your education and check your ego at the door. I love taking master classes from other artists, or watching YouTube to stay up to date with trends or refresh any techniques. When it comes to anything we do, no matter what level we think we are at, it is still crucial to keep learning. Our industry is ever-evolving, and I advise you to evolve along with it.”
What are your best safety practices when on set?
“I could go on and on about tips for hygiene, but I’ll keep it short with these few tips:
Since COVID-19, I’m currently wearing 2 masks and a shield, or my glasses as far as safety practices for myself. As for the safety of others in my chair, I think it is extremely important to make sure you’re not directly applying any products to a client’s face with the cosmetic applicator. That means using a separate brush or a disposable. Even when it comes to brow gel, I will use a separate brush or disposable to apply. If I need to actually apply with the specific applicator, I will give the product to the model or client. Aside from that, wiping and spraying down everything with alcohol (70% for hard surfaces and packaging, 90% for the actual cosmetics) after the makeup application is complete is imperative. “
What are 3 holy grail products in your kit?
“This changes frequently, but currently my 3 must haves are:
– The Beauty So Clean spray. This is a cosmetic sanitizer you can spray directly to creams, powders, or any surfaces to kill bacteria. I love this product because you can spray on powders and it wont change the formula. I’ve been using this for over 5 years.
– A medium coverage natural finish foundation, that way I can shear it out, or make the finish more glowy for some clients. Currently, I’m loving the Makeup Forever Reboot foundation.
– Sweed Lashes e.g. the Nikki Makeup no lash lash. These eyelashes look incredible on every eye shape and size. They are naturally spiky, individual eyelashes.
– * Because it’s hard to only stick to three, my fourth would have to be a great neutral lip liner. Ive been using the Charlotte Tilbury iconic nude lip liner for two years. It looks amazing on any fair to medium skin tones to over line the lips.”
What was your favorite makeup trend when you first started makeup?
“Yikes… Well, when I first started my makeup career in 2011/2012, the trend of shaving off your eyebrows and drawing them back in was very much a thing… So was making them look like blocks on your face. Shamefully, I definitely contributed to this trend, and at the time I absolutely loved it for myself (I’m cringing just typing this lol). I’m truly glad to say that ship has very much sailed for me, haha! “
What was a makeup trend you wish never happened?
“Haha the one above! The dark and bulky eyebrow that was carved out with a concealer. I wish I could tell past me that shaving off your eyebrows was not cute (especially in the dead heat of summer… at a pool party when products weren’t quite as waterproof as they are today. Eek!) I’m sure past me wouldn’t have listened anyway lol! “
What makeup product can you never leave the house without?
“MASCARA! I have a variety of around 8 different mascaras I rotate through in my personal stash.
No matter if it’s clear, brown or black (or any color for that matter) I love that mascara can completely change an entire look.
Mascara can make eyes brighter and more feminine. I love it so much!
Bronzer or a coral blush would have to be a hot second pick! “
What is the number one skin prep you use?
“Well I’d have to say two:
The first one being a good cleanser and/or toner to remove dead skin and residue, so the rest of my products lay very clean and smooth on the skin. For a cleanser, my current go-to is the Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water. For a toner, my current must-have is the REN Glow Tonic toner.
Last, a makeup application can only be as great as your skin prep, so moisturizer is key for me. I love using a rich moisturizer to keep the makeup looking fresh and hydrating throughout the day. My go-to moisturizer for my kit at the moment is either the Drunk Elephant LaLa Retro or the Creme De Lamer. “
What emerging makeup company do you believe is going to take off in 2021?
“Sayme Brushes. They are a staple in my makeup kit and have the softest and best quality makeup brushes I’ve ever used. So many major celebrity makeup artists also rave about these brushes and how they too are a staple in their kit.”