Black and Mixed Race Hair & Makeup Masterclass Review
During February I was thrilled to participate in the CMS “Black and Mixed Race Hair & Makeup Master Class”. It was an opportunity to learn from one of the greats – Nora Robertson.
This was part of an exceptional series of professionally advanced workshops, run exclusively by Creative Media Skills (CMS), with leading industry hair and makeup designers. www.creative-media-skills.com
The “Black and Mixed Race Hair & Makeup Master Class” was delivered by the phenomenally talented and dynamic Nora Robertson With 15 years in the business she has worked on countless box office hits, including World War Z, Bridget Jones, Love Actually, About a Boy, Fast and Furious 6, Mr Selfridge and Downton Abbey, to name but a few.
Born in Accra, Ghana, Nora relocated to London in the late 70’s. She originally trained as a Hair Stylist with the world-famous Steiner Group. She went on to run their prestigious Mayfair Salon in London as well as becoming one of their top trainers.
Ms Robertson went on to train at London’s renowned Greasepaint School of Makeup and she has worked worldwide in the film and television industry ever since. For someone so successful Nora is amazingly approachable, wonderfully warm and deliciously funny.
Her passion for the beauty of black and mixed race skin and hair is irresistible. Nora is extremely generous with her expertise and talent. And she is one of the best educators in the business. I learnt more in four days with her than I ever thought possible.
Nora was joined by her long time associate Karl Williams, director at Chic Unique; one of London’s most successful salons specializing in Afro and mixed race hair. Karl comes from three generations of master hairdressers and that rich heritage has made him, quite simply, a genius with hair.
The course was intense and really stretched you but was carefully structured to bring out the best in all the participants. Nora created such a safe learning environment – she has that rare ability to make you feel completely at ease so you can ask any question without ever feeling foolish.
Nora is a master artist and demonstrator – she guided us step by step through custom blending foundations to perfectly match black and mixed race skins. She took us on a journey of exploration of the gorgeous array of rich tones of black skin and showed us how to beautifully enhance them.
Karl then demonstrated how to smooth and straighten afro hair with advanced styling techniques, with no chemical straightening whatsoever. He created a beautiful, silky soft finish on his model which left us completely in awe. But he assured us we could achieve the same result with practice.
After the demonstrations we were immediately able to apply and recreate it on live models. It was great to be able to interpret what we had just seen on a wide array of different hair and skin types, whilst it was still fresh in our minds.
It reinforced what we had learned and allowed us to refine our newly acquired skills. Nora and Karl were constantly giving positive feedback, deftly moving from one participant to another, guiding us and gently pushing us on to exceed our own expectations.
Our work was photographed and the following morning, over tea and biscuits, we had a relaxed group review of the previous day’s work. Nora gave us carefully considered feedback – she really took time to examine everyone’s work and praised achievements. This also helped tremendously to identify areas to improve. By the end of the second day there was real progress as my quick ‘snaps’ show.
During the course we experimented with new colour palettes, from stunning jewel tones to gorgeous nudes. Nora and Karl also introduced us to some of the most exciting new products for black and mixed race skin and hair. For a product junkie like me, it was heavenly.
Throughout the course we progressed with advanced techniques. We explored pressing the hair with classic tools, shaping and forming the hair and new textures as well as cutting techniques. We discovered the diverse range of treatments for black and mixed race hair and how to identify the perfect product formula to work with your model.
Although challenging and fast paced we were allowed to master each new technique before we moved on. This created a real sense of accomplishment and built confidence.
The only drawback was the course flew by. It was a tremendous learning experience and so worth the investment. If you ever have the chance to participate in one of Nora’s courses, go for it. She’s a wonderful educator and I know you’ll love it.