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Article: Derek Medina, “I am well known by photographers and directors for my flawless skin makeups.”

make up artist
New York

Derek Medina, “I am well known by photographers and directors for my flawless skin makeups.”

Sharing the spirited story of make up artist Derek Medina, Puerto Rican born and raised in the boogie down Bronx from the late 80s, known by fashion photographers and directors for his perfect makeups on flawless skin.

Derek, can you walk us through your story?

Well, I am I have always been an artist! I could draw before I could write my own name.

For years, it has just been a hobby but little by little I found out that I was surrounded by talented people in my own family from seamstresses, graphic designers to painters but no one made a real career out of this talent. I decided to change that and wanted to be a source of inspiration for the youngest in the family.

In 2000, I enrolled in Katherine Gibbs school for Fashion Design and Merchandising. While attending Gibbs school I produced about four fashion shows by myself. Not knowing much about the industry and having barely a budget I also had to do hair and makeup. My work captured some photographers and stylists’ attention, and then it snowballed. They paved the way for me and recommended me to various other photographers and industry professionals! Before I knew what had happened, I was a working paid freelance fashion designer and also a makeup artist with no complete training or real background. At the time, we didn’t have makeup artistry schools. So, I educated myself and studied makeup and cosmetology on my own. Makeup on flawless skin has become an artistic outlet for me!

flawless skin

skin prep, flawless… by Derek Medina

Has it been a smooth road?

Ha, ha, it absolutely has not been a smooth road! When the economy went belly up, I had no choice but to enter the world of cosmetic retail… then got comfortable, with regular paycheck there and stayed in retail for many years! However, when I was off I was on set shooting, trying to keep a leg in the game and taking care of my entrusted circle of professionals. There still are tough days but this is what I do full time now.

What do you specialize in?

I’ve learned that it’s a major factor to have more than one string to your bow! My works range from editorial or e-commerce photo sessions to corporate headshots and celebrity works! I do both makeup and hair but specialize in skin complexion. Foundation matching and perfecting the skin is essential! I am well known by photographers and directors for this particular skill and I love to hear them say: “That makeup is perfect I don’t have to edit a thing!”. I also do both makeup and hair!

Flawless skin by Derek Medina for a beauty photoshoot

What drives you, who inspires you the most?

Like I said before, I strive to be a role model for the youngest in my family and to inspire young creative people to try different things, challenge themselves, and never give up on a talent.

My makeup inspiration comes from the 90’s signature looks by makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin whose technique and philosophy revolutionized this industry. 

Kevyn Aucouin’s make up books

Could you tell us what BEAUTY means to you?

Beauty is a laugh, a smile, a wink. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Oh! I can see it in so many things! Beauty is the greatest expression of the inner self and makeup is a fantastic tool to enhance the personality.

What about your own skincare routine?

My skincare routine currently consists of:

  • facial cleanser
  • I exfoliate at least twice a week
  • toner followed with an oil serum
  • moisturizer 

And, your skin preparation tips for a flawless skin on your models?

Ok, so my skin prep is pretty routine because I have no desire to walk around like I’m a dermatologist. This is important because a flawless skin depends on how you prep and prime it first! I treat the skin of the face as a canvas.
My kit contains products that are universal for all skin types and that works well with makeup from finish to wearability!
The only thing that really gets added depends on the model’s skin or desired look, such as a smoothing matte or brightening primer on specific areas. 
Derek’s kit

Which Embryolisse products do you use?

My absolute favorite is of course the cult classic The Lait-Crème Concentré it’s a universal moisturizer that works on all skin types and also primes the skin so it’s a two in one! I use this on myself and always have it in my kit! It has been a staple for years at this point!


What is your favorite memory from childhood?

My favorite childhood memory is cooking in the kitchen with my grandmother (an adult activity actually!) and my favorite adulthood memory was finally going to Disney world and getting my Mickey’s ears (a child dream, actually!).

What is your motto?

Your face is your best accessory wear it well!

Thank you, Dereck for sharing your spirited artist story with us.

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