About therealtpayne

Music and movie loving Makeup Artist, Wife, Bonus Mom, Guide, Mentor, Muse

Sondra Strong Art

Change Inc


“As an artist, I pursue images that reflect a simplistic and diverse view of African-American culture through personal experiences, imagination, and stories shared by friends and loved ones”.-Sondra Strong

Sondra Strong is an  Instructional Math Facilitator in the Little Rock School District with a love for art that represents the African American culture. Ms. Strong’s love for art came at an early age when her father introduced her to oil painting.  She began to take art classes throughout junior high and high school.  Her love for art grew as she entered various competitions and programs in high school. 

Ms. Strong also earned the distinction in high school of attending Arkansas Governor’s School in the field of visual arts. Her goal in life was to pursue a degree in art, but the tables turned and she received a degree in Math Education.  During a visit to Chicago in 2003, she rediscovered her…

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Pay For Quality

Buying what you can afford makes the most sense, but if you are constantly running out of products because they are cheaply made, or you have to do too many steps to achieve the look you want, then it’s time to invest in more higher quality cosmetics. The money that you spend on highly pigmented, velvety-textured eye palettes that last for hours (even if you don’t use a primer) is worth dropping some money. Here’s a message for aspiring makeup artists: When you buy quality makeup, you don’t have to use as much, and you don’t have to use every filter known to mankind when you post pictures of your work. Check out the pictures of some of my Viseart palettes. I did NOT use filters to make these colors “pop”. 

I love saturated colors that are easy to blend and that work for ALL skin tones, hence my love for my Viseart palettes. I purchased my latest set at The Makeup Show in Chicago, but you can certainly order/purchase a limited amount of shades from Sephora and the more extensive amount of shades and products from MuseBeauty.pro. These palettes aren’t cheap but are worth the splurge. Even without an eye primer, the colors are true and show up well on my dark skin. They are easy to blend too, which saves time. I don’t know about you, but my time is precious, and so is my money. I buy the best that I can for the results that I want.

Until next time,


So You Call Yourself a Makeup Artist?

If you love makeup, and you aspire to make a career out of cosmetics,  you need to educate yourself. No one makes it big in this industry without putting in the work, and that includes investing in classes to enhance your skills, and to help expand your network.

The type of curriculum you choose will depend on a number of factors including: location, types of courses offered, cost, and duration of the program. I’ve already mentioned (in a previous post) that I am choosing Make Up First School of Makeup Artistry to learn more about things I haven’t mastered yet (i.e. theatrical/special effects/clinical), as it meets my criteria (it is one of the schools that stands out in the industry). If you are in either the New York City or Los Angeles areas, you can certainly check out other top schools like Cinema Makeup School, Make-Up Designory, and CHICSTUDIOS. Some cosmetic brands like Make Up For Ever and MAC offer coursework designed to teach and impart knowledge, as well as workshops and other educational events. If you can’t enroll in the schools and programs mentioned above, check with your local area schools, but do your research first. Find out how many graduates are working artists. Talk to students in the program, meet instructors,  and find out what you are getting for your money. The school must be able to teach you how to do makeup on women of color, those with skin disorders, as well as best business practices.

Nowadays, anyone with a camera on their mobile device, a few brushes, sponges, and cheap makeup palettes can jump on YouTube or Instagram and do “tutorials” about makeup application. There are some legitimate MUAs who use social media to show techniques, but many so-called MUAs on social media are not properly educated on techniques, sanitation, and skin-care.

If these folks can only do makeup on themselves, charge $20 for a makeover, use questionable products (or cheaply made cosmetics), and make all of their clients look the same, then they are not makeup artists.  Aside from “practice, practice, practice”, the best thing an aspiring artist can do is invest in an education.

Until next time,


NYX Professional Makeup

Recently, I visited an NYX Professional Makeup store and was pleasantly surprised.  have to admit, I’d only used this brand once, years ago, for a standard eye liner when I needed one in a pinch. The eyeliner worked well enough, and although I saw the brand frequently in various mass market stores, I was never moved to purchase much beyond another eyeliner. This changed after visiting the freestanding store, which contained way more products that I’d imagined.

Most makeup brands that we find in drug stores and mass market stores (i.e. Target, Walmart) don’t carry many options in terms of colors. We usually see the same 10 shades of lipsticks, foundation formulas, and eyeshadows. The NYX store offered so much more. In fact, there were so many products that I eventually walked away with cosmetic puffs, a few Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks, and some Lip Pencils (and truthfully, I already own a LOT of makeup). I loved the selection of colors for the Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick and narrowed them down to Kitten Heels (rich red), Run the World (vibrant violet-pink), Tea & Cookies (soft pink), and Sandstorm (nude). What’s a lip without a liner? I picked up a few to try (Club Hopper, Amethyst, and Vintage). The verdict: I liked the vibrancy of the Liquid Suede Cream. There was nothing wimpy about the colors and I appreciated the high pigmentation. Although the formula felt a little sticky during application, it did try to a matte, and my lipstick lasted all day with only one touch up (due to eating and drinking twice). The lip pencil colors were vibrant and the texture was creamy but I like a firmer pencil.

For the money, both products were worth keeping, and when I get a chance to visit an NYX store again, I’m going to branch out and test drive the eyeshadows, foundations, and powders. I can already see that I’d need to limit myself to a few items, because it was super easy to spend money in that store! NXY knows how to market well!

Until next time,


Diversity in Cosmetic Ads

If you have been following my blog, then by now, you should know that Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics is one of my favorite brands. After searching online for the perfect white nail polish, I remembered that the brand sold one that I still needed to try, so I typed in the link to their site. I noticed immediately that the model wearing one of the latest lip tar colors was a woman of color.

For some people, particularly those who have been exposed to more cultures, the ad is no big deal. But for many women of color, most beauty ads do not feature women (or men) who share the same ethnic background. For the longest time, unless the beauty brand was Fashion Fair, people of color were never featured as models. OCC has taken a step in the right direction. It would be nice to see other cosmetic brands follow suit. Time will tell.

Until next time,


Helping Hands (Product)

I “speak” with my hands and I create with them too. Sadly, my dry hands do not always look their best when they are on display, and that’s where    Lush Helping Hands Hand Lotion comes in to save my hands from looking like they’ve been intimate with flour! This creamy lotion is vegetarian, contains chamomile water, almond oil, shea butter, and other essential oils that are perfect for my thirsty skin.  A little goes a long way and lately, my skin has been thanking me. Like many people, I have eczema, so I have to be really careful about the products I introduce to my skin. I’m happy to say that this product works well for me and will stay in rotation (shoutout to my amazing hubby who bought me a trove of Lush products recently)! As the saying goes, “We all need a helping hand.”  

Until next time, 


Prom Season is Here!

I love seeing the teens get dressed to the nines for their proms, as it is truly a rite of passage in our culture. I don’t book many prom appointments but when I do, I really enjoy making the young ladies look radiant and fresh.  It’s even more rewarding when I reveal the final look to them and they are so happy with the results. Check out the pictures of two beautiful and intelligent young ladies who hired me to be their makeup artist for their senior proms!

Until next time,