David Birdwell, Director of Education & Artistry, Buxom SHISEIDO

What does it take to create new color collections, drive inspiration and keep a cosmetic brand at the forefront of the public eye? David Birdwell, Director of Education & Artistry for the big, bold, and sexy cosmetics brand, Buxom is here to give us a look into the art of transformation and the makeup industry. 

The model turned makeup artist discovered his natural affinity for cosmetics in front of the lens and has since left his mark on the industry behind the scenes of global beauty brands. From participating in 90+ high-end fashion shows, to working with prestigious retail partners, such as Sephora, ULTA and Department Stores, to having his work featured in major magazines, David has built a portfolio of valuable experience that is changing the face of beauty.

So if you’re looking to lash out in an industry where it is easy to blend in, seek the foundation for sparking creativity, or learn which trend is so last year, David's got some A's to your Q's below.


Can you tell us a bit about your background? I grew up in a quiet town in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where as a young, creative kid my outlet was art. I enrolled in art classes since I was eight years old, and fell in love with portrait style art- I would draw at any opportunity. What I love most about portraits is capturing the emotion, and to this day, I refer to my artistic style as emotionally driven. I love making people feel good about themselves, and making them feel like they can conquer the world because they feel beautiful. There’s power in beauty because it is a mindset. It was a very natural transition for me to get into the cosmetics industry because of my artistic background. I used to always watch my mother get ready and put on her makeup, and it was as if a light bulb went off in my head- I had to do makeup! I started working part-time at a department store counter, and that’s how my journey began in the industry. I had such passion for beauty that I grew quickly within brands that I worked for. I worked in sales, was part of an artistry team doing fashion week and designer gigs, then lead into corporate role.

What was your "gold lining" that lead you down this career path? I always loved makeup and beauty. Personally, and I had an “ah-ha” moment and thought I could really bring my passions to life with makeup. I took every moment I could to learn about it from other artists and to develop my own personal style.

What is your creative process like? What inspires you today? My creative style is always driven by emotion. Music plays a big part in my creative process. I love playing music while doing makeup because it helps me relax, and feel.

What's in your travel beauty bag? Concealer, brow gel, bronzer, eyelash curler, and a facial toner mist.

What has been the most exciting moment in your career to date? It’s very hard to say, I’m fortunate enough to have had many great moments in my career, so I hope the moments continue to happen.

Has the space changed since you first entered? If so, how? Any pieces of advice for aspiring artists? The market has absolutely evolved. Social Media has had a major impact in cosmetics, even with product development. So the market has become even more competitive and even more saturated.  My advice, to aspiring artists, is to learn to market themselves and create a niche in style in the industry. I encourage all makeup artists to get creative and push their boundaries. It will not only help separate yourself from the pack, but also challenge yourself and grow.

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up? I remember my passion for beauty and why I got into this industry: to make people feel beautiful. You have to always remind yourself, even not in adversity, why you are doing what you are doing because that will fuel your passion, and success follows passion.

What quotation or saying inspires you and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love? A quote I love is “If you haven’t, you should” because it’s about trying and pushing yourself and living life without regret, which is like makeup. Never be afraid to try a trend or a color or new look because makeup should be fun and experimental- it comes off when you want it to.

What’s your best advice for all those people who want to follow in your footsteps? Learn and keep an open mind to new perspectives. I’ve always tried to find a learning experience in everything because that has helped me become a more rounded artist, and has been key in the development of my own artistic style.

Any future trends we should be on the look out for? Lacquer lips! Matte lipsticks are going to be so last year.

Fun Facts

  • What's your zodiac sign? Gemini – but my Moon Sign is Scropio and Rising Sign is Leo.
  • Recent discovery? I’ve recently discovered Yerba Mate tea, which I really enjoy.
  • What is your philosophy on self-care? What would you say is your number one self-care tip? My philosophy is to enjoy the moment and be present- you should enjoy the accomplishments to help fuel your internal fire. I believe for mental self-care, everyone should take a step back and give a moment to process. It helps me with any issues or problems I have, but like everyone, I am guilty for not always taking my own advice. For beauty, I say take a hot bath to help relax- with a face mask on as well!
  • What are some of your go to spots in NYC? I love downtown NYC; there’s so much art and cool indie stores all over. East Village has some great art inspiration, Tribeca has some great restaurants, Lower East Side for a bar scene, and the Seaport District has a great scene also.

Interested in exclusive beauty tips, tricks, and amazing how-to's from David Birdwell? Head on over to Buxom's Unleash Artistry page and follow his journey at @davidb259.

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