MWS Makeup Artists Jen and Jaci

If you’ve ever visited MWS’ top floor, you’ve probably met sisters and makeup artists Jen and Jaci Merlock. These two pros are always ready to share their expertise in everything makeup related and make sure you have an informative and rewarding shopping experience. This week we’re talking to them about the ProBeauty floor at MWS and their experience as Makeup Artists.

Jaci and Jen at MWS Pro Beauty

MWS Makeup Artists Jen and Jaci Merlock

Tell us a little about your background as makeup artists and how your passion for Makeup began.

Jaci: I’ve been a Professional Makeup Artist for 12 years. I started out as a Freelance Artist, then worked on building a corporate career as a cosmetic leader in sales and education for several companies.
As of now, I have a wonderful opportunity to be able to share my creative and innovative side at MWS Pro Beauty as their Manager and Makeup Artist that caters to TV/Film/Broadway/Fashion.

Jen: Ever since I can remember I was surrounded by Beauty. My mother owned a very well known salon in New Jersey. As a child I would visit the salon and beg to stay to see the transformations. I’ve always known I wanted to be part of the beauty industry, but it just so happened that instead of working with Hair Styling I wanted to paint faces. I remember looking at people’s structures and imagining what I could do with them.  As soon as I graduated High School I immediately moved to NYC to live my passion.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Pro Beauty floor of MWS, could you talk about the services and products available on that floor?

Jaci: MWS caters to not only the professional, but the consumer. What sets us apart from competitors can be seen very clearly when you step into the doors. We’re a one-stop shop that caters to not only Hair and Makeup, but also Wardrobe. We value the products we bring in and always listen to our clients when they ask for a particular product.  We offer something extremely unique: the opportunity to rent out our Professional, fully-equipped salon in the back for your own private clientele whether it is for hair, makeup or wardrobe.

Salon at MWS

Jen: MWS is a very unique place. I’ve learned so much both about Makeup as well as Wardrobe. I love how we have a custom blend station to suit everyone’s needs, courtesy of Giella Custom Blend Cosmetics. MWS has made it a point to allow many professional products to become available to the general public.

Giella Custom Blend Cosmetics used by Makeup artists at MWS Pro Beauty

Each customer has different needs and wishes. How do you approach that uniqueness when educating them on what is right for their skin color and type and also their facial proportions?

Jaci: The key to dealing with any customer is listening to them in order to understand their expectations and what they’re lacking as far as their beauty regimen is concerned. When a customer walks in and does not know the difference between a concealer and corrector, I see an opportunity to educate them, one step at a time. So, when they do walk out with products they feel confident in how to use properly, I feel I accomplished my mission: making someone feel beautiful inside and out at the same time.

Jen: The key to being an artist is making sure you are listening closely to what your client wants. I hear horror stories about what clients go through. I want my client to walk out and feel beautiful. Get complimented on their beauty versus their make up.

What is a common mistake women make when doing their own makeup?

Jaci: The most common mistake I see with women is that they aren’t properly educated on skincare and cosmetics. Often they’re either using the wrong skincare or cosmetic line for their skin. Skincare is the most important part when it comes to applying makeup. If we do not properly prep our skin we can not achieve a flawless makeup application. Also, women color matched wrong due to their lack of awareness of what their skin tone brings out. If you’re not a professional, it can be difficult to determine whether you have certain undertones in your skin.

Jen: A common mistake women and men make while doing their make up is not understanding their undertones. So, they consistently buy the wrong foundation. That’s why I am here to consult on undertones and to give you the best match possible.

If you could pick 2 essential products each from the amazing inventory at MWS Pro Beauty, what would they be and why?

Jaci: Personally, my two favorite products that I highly recommend to everyone that walks through the door are Koh Gen Do Gommage and Temptu Air. Koh Gen Do Gommage is the most amazing product! When applied properly with the natural oils of your skin you will see that a gritty texture will start coming up through the surface of your skin. This means that we are targeting the layers of skin and dryness from within and giving you that soft approach and clean face all in one. My second product would have to be the Temptu Air. You can honestly create such a flawless makeup application within 15 minutes. This is perfect for when you are on set or you have your one particular client that loves to be airbrushed. It is portable and so lightweight that you forget that you are even carrying it.
Koh Gen Do Gommage used by Makeup Artists at MWS Pro BeautyTemptu Air used by Makeup Artists at MWS Pro Beauty

Jen: My two favorite products that I will not go without in my kit that MWS has are the following: Youngblood’s Translucent Hi Def loose powder (it leaves zero flashback!) and Viseart. I love how finally milled down their shadows are. In a pinch you barely have to blend. Besides, they have every color imaginable and we love a line that has some color!

Youngblood Hi-Def Hydrating- oose powder use by Makeup Artists at MWS Pro BeautyViseart Eyeshadow palette used by Makeup Artists at MWS Pro Beauty

What is your favorite new product available at the store?

Jaci and Jen: Our favorite new product has to be Titanic FX. This product creates such a unique way of using gelatin and creating such a realistic approach when applying, especially for FX makeup artists. It’s so simple and clear you can’t mess this up. Their brushes are also used for Beauty and FX which makes this a huge difference when you are on a budget and need both brushes.

Titanic FX

Titanic FX Artists

Titanic FX brushes

Finally, how important would you say networking and having connections is to thrive as Makeup Artists in NYC?

Jaci: It is extremely important to network every chance you get, especially when you’re a freelance makeup artist like myself. I am not represented by an agency or union, but because I have taken the time out every chance I get within my 12 years as an artist, I have connections all around. People continue to recognize me throughout the years for my hard work, dedication, and talent when it comes to my work ethic.

Jen: Networking in NYC is essential for Makeup Artists. It’s all about who you know. You need to be the artist who always has their brushes in hand and never veer off. My best advice to anyone would be to focus on yourself and gravitate towards those makeup artists that never put the brush down. Those who are willing to stay after hours even after a 16 hour shift to show you what you need to improve on. Never pass up on a learning opportunity like that.

Thank you, Jaci and Jen Merlock for the great tips and information! Come and meet these pros in person at MWS ProBeauty floor.