Four beauty and life lessons I learned from makeup artist Jigs Mayuga

Makeup artist Jigs Mayuga works with the crème de la crème of the entertainment industry, and has become renowned for his talent and professionalism. He can create beauty looks that enhance his clients' best features as well as high-fashion, avant garde makeup that brings out his models' personalities. He is versatile and this is what keeps him relevant in the cut-throat world of makeup artistry.

His work and career are admirable, to say the least. But after exchanging emails with him, I’ve come to appreciate Jigs’s work ethic even more. I picked up a few life lessons – apart from a couple of valuable makeup tips, of course – during our exchange, and I’d like to share them with you.

On passion

Life gets in the way sometimes, but there are some passions that don’t fizzle over time. And if even after years, the urge to do something you’d stopped doing because of other responsibilities and commitments is still strong, it might be right to give it one more try.

Before making a name for himself in the beauty industry, Jigs worked as a flight attendant. The interest in beauty and makeup was already flying in his head long before his workplace was up in the air.

“It was the early nineties and I was obsessed with Niki Taylor,” he said about the first makeup item he bought. “I bought Cover Girl Clean Makeup in Soft Honey (for myself of course!).”

After flying to different destinations, he landed on beauty again and started a new journey. It wasn’t an easy ride, though!

On commitment

“[People think] that it’s all just very glamorous and easy money,” he said. “I had to work a LOT of free jobs and stay up for long hours before I could do the bigger projects that I do today.” 

Nobody can contest Jigs’s talent. Looking at his work, you’ll know that they were done by someone who’s passionate about his craft and has taken time to master it. Talent can only bring you to the front door, though. In order to get around and be offered a place to stay, you need to be good at networking and to stay professional. In his many years in the business, it seems that Jigs has mastered those two important traits.

When I asked him what the most valuable tip a peer has given him, Jigs said, “Find out who the important people are in the industry and get to know them genuinely.”

And when you’re already inside the world you want to be part of, work hard to make sure you don’t lose your place.

I’ve read many good things about Jigs before. Most everyone he has worked with shares stories of how talented and professional he is. And I’d have to agree.

I asked him to relay his most embarrassing client story for fun, and I was expecting to hear something funny or lighthearted – a makeup mishap perhaps, an unexpected remark. I was surprised, however, to hear about his story.

“I guess it was the one time my alarm didn't go off and the editor-in-chief of the magazine was already calling me because the model was already on set. And I'm never late. So you can imagine the panic that immediately set in. Let's just say I literally jumped out of bed straight to the shoot location,” he said.

It speaks volumes of his professionalism and passion for his craft, and it’s definitely inspiring.

On variety

It’s already known, but Jigs reinforced my belief that there should be variety in a lot of aspects in life, especially the ones you consider hobbies and passions. Never be afraid to try something new. And don’t dismiss the drugstore!

Jigs has a wide array of beauty products to alternate with, and he mixes his high-end brands with affordable finds.

He said if he were to lose all his makeup items and tools and could only keep one, he’ll grab and hold on to his Shu Uemura eyelash curler. As for a drugstore product he swears by, Jigs reveals that the Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara has been a staple in his kit for over a decade now.

On trends and individuality

It's an exciting time to be a beauty addict, what with all the new products, innovative indie brands, and crazy new looks to absorb. There are certainly many trends worth trying, but there are some to shrug off. Individuality should always be at the top of your list.

“To be honest, women have a tendency to look the same nowadays because of all the makeup trends on YouTube and social media that pretty much just mimic each other,” Jigs admits. “I think it's important to recognize individual style and express it even in makeup. I find that the most interesting people wear makeup in unconventional ways.”

The trend that irks him most? “Solid, unnatural brows. They're not supposed to look perfect!”  

I hope you picked up something from our exchange, too! If you want makeup tricks from him, Jigs will be holding a lot of workshops this year. And he’s working on a top-secret collaboration with a brand, so keep an eye out for that, too!