A Day in the Life of an Australian Makeup Artist, with Sabrina Melei

sabrina MeleiHi beauty lovers! I am Sabrina Melei, a freelance makeup artist based in Paddington Sydney and I am honoured that Emily has asked me to share with you all a day in my life. Today I was on a beauty photoshoot and I will take you through what happened behind the scenes and how we created the final looks.

5:30AM – The alarm is ringing and its time to shower! I love using Dr. Bronner All Natural Pure Castile Liquid Soap in Peppermint to wake up my senses and feel fresh. I then apply my Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Moisturiser to help brighten and awaken my skin. As I don’t have a whole lot of time in the mornings as I have to travel to different locations, I make sure my make up routine takes a maximum of 15 minutes with great results, leaving me 30 minutes to do my hair and get dressed.

A primer is very important in my makeup routine, my pick is Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, as it will help smooth on the foundation but more importantly, keep my makeup on for the whole day. I love using Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation as it gives me a good coverage throughout the day. I set my foundation with Mac Mineralise Skin Finish powder in medium tan and apply my Mac highlighter in Soft & Gentle to my temples and cheekbones for fresh + glowing skin. My favourite blush colour at the moment is by Nars in Unlawful as it’s a great pink on olive skin tones. I love having lash extensions as it helps reduce the eye makeup time in my routine. I use black eyeliner by Chanel on the inner rim of my eyes and line it with Mac Carbon eyeshadow to keep it from running. I finish off the eyes with my YSL Faux Cils Noir mascara. Eyebrows are essential and my go- to product is by Georgio Armani Maestro Brow Pod in Mahogany.

My lips are always kept sheer with Tom Ford Blush Nude lipstick so they don’t dry out on set with all the air conditioning and the harsh lights. I finish off my look by adding some Moroccan Oil to my hair to keep the natural shine and not frizz through out the day. This also helps protect my hair from the heat while straightening.

6:15 AM – Its time to pack my car with my makeup case and chair and head off to the studio while drinking my coffee and having a piece of fruit on the go!

6:30 AM – I arrive at the studio and start to set up my station making sure I am ready in time for our model who is due to come in at 7am. The photographer, stylist and I go through all the images and discuss which looks are best to shoot first.

7 AM – Valerie our model has arrived and the day has began. It’s all team work from here on. We first fit the model with the outfits and then put rollers in her hair. Look #1 for makeup is a natural look that’s all about highlighting and contouring with brows and eyes. Once the makeup is applied the hair is styled, the outfit is on and its time to shoot!


8:30 AM – The lights are on and I am on standby for any makeup touch ups every 2 minutes as the heat from the lights is so bright, we need to always powder and keep her fresh. To capture every image it takes from 30 minute to 1 hour with a team of 4 creatives, including myself, running around to make sure everything is perfect for the end results.

9:30 AM – Looks #2 and #3 – Its a 70’s feel with warm colours also being captured in black and white with a denim touch. The make up for this look needs to change to a dramatic liquid liner and lashes are applied to create more depth for the black and white effect. I have made the contouring stronger for this look as the lighting is dimmed and everything on her face needs to be stronger including the brows! The hair is styled with GHD curls and parted to create a boho feel.

11:30 AM – Its coffee time! The team quickly take turns in getting a caffeine fix while the model is removing her makeup and having her hair brushed out!

12 PM – The fourth look is confident and timeless. I designed a bold lip using liquid lipsticks from Anastasia Beverly Hills with a touch of gold on her eye lids to compliment the dark shadows in the image. Her hair was pulled back slightly for a soft yet strong look.

1 PM – Fifth look of the day was hard work as we had to do some labor and bring in black stones and lay them down around the model. Once the model was positioned, we created the wet look by adding water through a spray bottle. The spraying process was on going for an hour and a half as the lights dry the stones in less then a minute… The eye make up for this look was also made darker. I decided to go nude on the lips as her beautiful blonde hair was styled with beach waves.

2:30 PM – Its lunch time! Steve our photographer has kindly organised a light catering with fresh fruits and salmon for us to eat while discussing the last two looks.


3 PM – Sixth look and my favourite for the day. Once again, all the make up from the previous looks has been removed and I have started a fresh base with a strong but feminine look by adding flawless skin and dark lips. To compliment this makeup look we styled the hair straight with a part in the centre. Lashes have been removed and contouring around the eyes are added.

4:30 PM – Seventh and final look for the shoot is where the fun begins! With bright and happy thoughts in mind, we choose yellow coloured paper and shred them to give a pop of colour. Her red lips compliment the yellow and her great smile. At this point, I am standing on a ladder while throwing down the paper as the photographer is snapping away and this process was repeated over 40 times up and down the ladder to get this final shot.


6 PM – “And that’s a wrap!” The photographer announces and high fives are given as we smile and all thank each other.

7 PM – My day is not quite over as I still have to re stock my make up kit and wash all 100 brushes! Once that’s done I am sharing a beautiful meal with my husband, mum and my little Chihuahua, Miss Coco Chanel.

To create, is a privilege for any artist. Every image has a behind the scenes story and I for one, loved every minute of sharing it with you.

Please visit my instagram @sabrinamelei if you would like to see more of my creations. For all makeup & hair inquiries, including bridal, please visit If you’re interested in fashion or photoshoots, please visit or drop me an email on

Love & light,

Sabrina Melei X


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