Georgina Heffernan speaks with Nicola Walsh, award winning make-up artist and creator of cosmetics range, Blush.

Georgina Heffernan: Tell me a little bit about your background in make-up and cosmetics?
Nicola Walsh:
I trained as a beauty therapist and make-up artist in Cape Town, South Africa, qualifying in 2000 from one of the leading academies. From there, I worked as a freelance make-up artist in Cape Town and, on my return home to Ireland, set up my own small beauty business. Over the past few years I have specialised in wedding make-up and, in February of this year, I won 'Bridal Make-up Artist of the Year 2012'. It was an amazing experience.

Which aspects of your job do enjoy most?
I thoroughly enjoy what I do and there is never a bad day at work! How many people can say that I wonder? Weddings are such happy occasions and the buzz and excitement is so endearing. I think when you love what you do, it shows in your work and I believe the comments from my brides are testimony to that. I also enjoy the product development area of the business and we have some great ideas for the future of Blush cosmetics.

Which products are always in your tool kit?
Our Retexturising Face Primer is always there. It's a perfect base for make-up, it's weightless and diminishes fine lines and contains Vitamins A & E to seal in moisture for a smooth base. Liquid Powder Foundation is also a must! This foundation is mineral based and is applied as a liquid but sets to a powder, resulting in a perfect airbrush finish. I love our baked blushers too - especially the Rose Gold - it can be used as eyeshadow or blush and it leaves a silky smooth instant radiance to the skin.

Why have you decided to launch a cosmetics range now?
I have been specialising in bridal make-up for many years and the reason I created Blush is two-fold: firstly, the majority of brides prefer a natural look, yet they want to look made up for their photographs. Our products offer a very high pigment content, which means that little is more and you don't have to keep applying make-up to get a tone of colour; it is instant and buildable with Blush Make-up.

Secondly, as a make-up artist is was very costly to purchase make-up brands and these limited sales to the customer. Blush Make-up offers all professionals in make-up and beauty a trade price meaning that they can now hold stock and retail to their customers, offering that little extra to their pockets and to their customers!

Baked Blush Rose Gold

Tell me about Blush cosmetics. What is different about it?
Blush Make-up is hypoallergenic and sensitivity-tested. This means that it is suitable for all skin types, there are no fragrances and they are paraben-free. The products are luxurious and are multi-functional, so a bronzer or blusher can be used for eye shadow, or an eye shadow can be used as a blusher. For example, our sheer satin shadow in Tango gives a fabulous apricot flush to the cheeks!

Was it very difficult and challenging to set up your own company in the middle of a recession?
Probably tougher than I expected, because cosmetics is a vast market and highly competitive. However, the feedback we have received from our market research and our customers to date is overwhelming and we are steadily growing month on month. We're quite happy to take our time building our brand as the product truly speaks for itself. We were one of the official sponsors of the Ultimate Girls Day Out event held in Cork and we got to work with models and celebrities and received amazing feedback form them.

Do you have any beauty secrets you can reveal?
Always cleanse tone and moisturise before applying make-up, as it hydrates and plumps out your skin for a smooth and healthy looking complexion. Remember: less is more. Good make-up is buildable, meaning you should be able to apply it lightly and build it up, rather than have to load it on heavily to see it. Many ladies want their lipstick to last a long time, without using some of the current harsh products that are almost impossible to remove. My tip is to apply your lipstick, then take a single layer of tissue and place this over your lips. Dab a brush into loose powder and dust over the lips, and repeat this another time. You will see that your lipstick lasts a really long time!

Do you have any advice for those wanting to work as a makeup artist?
Love what you do! My customers always trust my work and I trust my work because of my products. I think no matter what you do in life just remember 'if you're going to take the time to do something then do it properly!’ In our highly competitive industry, we're all as good as our last client is happy!

Mineral Liquid Powder Foundation