Hi, Reddit!!! I am not here to promote a movie or a book. I just want to answer any questions you have for me! Especially those about my two passions: makeup art and protecting smaller independent artists when their works are ripped off by larger companies. Or anything else you have for me!I post photographs of my unique lip art on a daily basis to my Instagram page with over 800,000 followers here: https://www.instagram.com/vladamua/?hl=en.  I hold the Guinness World Record for most expensive lip art: https://www.cosmeticsbusiness.com/news/article_page/The_most_valuable_lip_art_in_the_world_is_worth_26500/128017I am also a crusader in support of small independent artists who have had their works ripped off by larger companies: https://www.instagram.com/stopiptheft/?hl=en

For this last thing, I can answer general questions about what to do if you art is stolen, but I cannot answer specific questions about any cases where I may have been involved in any litigation. 

**I will not answer any questions about Kylie Jenner, Makeup Forever, Louis Vuitton, Sony Music Entertainment, or YouTube, LLC. None of my answers or statements here should be interpreted as even implicitly applying to any of those entities or persons.**

verification: https://www.instagram.com/p/BnJgCafBZRB/?hl=en&taken-by=vladamua

Comments: 151 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

mdslktr79 karma

Why is your lip art / intellectual property venture not called L-IP, and on a scale from 8 to 10 how much do you regret that decision?

VladaMUA44 karma

That is brilliant!

thesixwalkingfarts49 karma

As an artist who is heavily plagiarized and advocates on behalf of independent artists, how do you suggest young/emerging artists protect their art? Furthermore, what's your stance on being paid in the ever elusive "exposure"?

VladaMUA52 karma

Watermarking your work is a step one. I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I think this is necessary in the world of social media. At least people can track back to your account even if someone shared your work without credit.

If your work has been stolen, don't be afraid to speak up!

meatball_sando43 karma

Hi Vlada! I got your Smashbox Petal Metal Covershot palette and really love it. Was the Smashbox collab a positive experience for you? Are you interested in other collaborations in the future?

VladaMUA39 karma

I'm so happy to hear you're loving the palette! I LOVED working with Smashbox. Their team is amazing. I'm always open to new ventures :)

jacraya41 karma

How long does it take for one of your lip art projects to be completed? From it’s initial idea to when you finally post the image. Big fan of your work and am glad to see you receive well earned success and credit!

VladaMUA49 karma

Thank you so much! I appreciate it.

My lip arts usually take a few hours to sketch out on paper and paint on the lips, then an hour or so to photograph (I usually continue to perfect the design as I shoot until I get the level of perfection I can live with lol), then a few hours to retouch and voila :) I would say all together about 4 to 6 hours

EmbarrassedReference21 karma

Do you ever go out in public with the lip art on? Its always so elaborate and theres really no way to fix it, but I could imagine maybe a trip to the gas station or something. I also really love your work you were one of the first actual makeup artists I followed.

VladaMUA31 karma

I haven't had the courage yet haha! I don't think my neighborhood is ready

Thank you so much! It means a lot to me <3

EverythingBalanced27 karma

What do you do when you feel hungry or thirsty during a super complicated look?

VladaMUA30 karma

There's not much I can do really! I taught myself to eat before I start working :)

razzlenazzle23 karma

Hi Vlada! I love your work!

What is your go to lipstick shade?

VladaMUA33 karma

Hi! :)

I LOVE red lipstick. The brighter the better! Some of my favorites are Bawse from Smashbox, Immoral from Melt and Sanguis from Blackmoon Cosmetics.

razzlenazzle4 karma

Thank you so much! I'll have to check those out!

VladaMUA5 karma

You're very welcome!

nightmarecia20 karma

I follow your stop ip theft account on insta and I think it's amazing that you help other creators and bring attention to the major issue. What do you think needs to happen to get it through to companies not to steal someone else's work or even consider it?

VladaMUA19 karma

Thank you for following the StopIPtheft! I'm so glad this page is useful! I think we need to unite and support each other more. It's easy to rip off one person, it's much harder to rip off a community!

snailpengu19 karma

Hi!! I love thePetal Metal collection, will you eventually be working on more collections with Smashbox?

Also... I wanna say I love your lip art (I genuinely get excited every time I see a new Instagram post) and I love everything you stand for. I feel like there aren’t enough people standing up for the rights of artists and protecting intellectual property! Thank you for being a champion for artists everywhere.

VladaMUA14 karma

Thank you so much! I really appreciate it! I hope more artists will stand up for their work more. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for!

I loved working with Smashbox. They've become my good friends over the years. We will continue to work together in new exciting formats :)

AggravatingSpeed16 karma

What is your favorite makeup look you have done to this day? I really love your work :)

VladaMUA32 karma

Thank you so much! :)

I think my favorite makeup I've ever done was the diamond lip art. It was so scary and so incredible at the same time. Definitely I highlight of my career!

accordingtoame14 karma

I follow your StopIPTheft page as well, my god is it rampant. I spent years in design before switching career paths and it PAINED me when a client would come to me and say "I want this, exactly this" and wouldn't accept the fact that we cannot steal someone else's work.

Now that I wasted all that server space!

Can you share your favorite highlighters (pressed powder are my go to) for Fair skin--and related brushes you suggest--and your favorite concealer and setting powder? I am always looking for full coverage with some "glow" but man that's just...I am not finding what I am expecting right now!

VladaMUA14 karma

I'm so happy to hear that you support the cause! I've had clients like this before as well...It felt nice to tell them that if they want something exactly like this, they need to hire THAT artist. The more we speak up, the more difference it will make!

My favorite highlighters for fair skin are Becca Moonstone and Mary Loumanizer by The Balm. Those my personal go to's

accordingtoame8 karma


When I first started out, it was a lot harder to feel like I could tell someone -- politely-- to get bent, I wasn't copying that. But the longer I worked in the field the more often I was like "no, hire them if you want it."

VladaMUA8 karma

Saying "no" in this case feels especially wonderful

VladaMUA4 karma

Oh as for the concealer, I think It Cosmetics Bye Bye undereye might be it. Have you tried it?

For setting power I love Dermablend loose setting powder. it looks like nothing on the skin

accordingtoame2 karma

I have tried that concealer and wasn't wowed--it was sticky and didn't really stay put. But I will have to try that powder, which i have never tried.

Thank you so much!

VladaMUA3 karma

My pleasure!

iamtheshroom13 karma

Hi Vlada!

I love your work and I absolutely loved your Petal Metal line with Smashbox 💜 Do you have other collabs lined up?

VladaMUA23 karma

Hi! Thank you so much! I'm so happy to hear that you love the line. We put all of our love into it!

I have a few things coming soon :) It won't be makeup though!

Maddiegoforward12 karma

How has your life changed since you have become so popular? What is the best part and what is the worst part of living parts of your life in front of a large platform of people? How is working with Smashbox?

VladaMUA16 karma

Working with Smashbox has been amazing! I think I've learned so much during our time working together! I think the best part of this lifestyle is that I get to do what I love the most for a living. I never thought I would be able to! The worst thing is probably the amount of socializing I have to do for work haha. I'm a mega introvert. But I'm trying to get better at this :)

ciannathebanana10 karma

I love your work so much! Are you self-taught? -aspiring mua with a passion and an admiration for AMAZING work

VladaMUA17 karma

Thank you! I went to a makeup school back in Ukraine and that gave me really good basic knowledge, but most of my techniques are now self taught. I like doing things my way :)

Zillia648 karma

Hi, a complete beginner to makeup here, and I have a few questions about it!

1 What are the most common/biggest mistakes /wastes of time you see beginners do using makeup?

2 What mistakes do pros make? (If they do any)

3 What are, according to you, the fundamentals of applying makeup?

VladaMUA29 karma

Hi! :)

The most common mistake I see beginners (and not only) do is contouring small foreheads. Contouring is a very individual thing, so it's important to figure out what works for your face.

Pros make mistakes all the time, we just call it "learning" :)

The fundamentals of applying makeup is seeing the beauty in yourself before you apply makeup.

SassyKlein6 karma

What is your favorite way to attack lips that have scarring or fine lines in them?

VladaMUA8 karma

Does "attack" in this case mean painting them or taking care of them? :)

LetitiaIorga5 karma

Hey Vlada! I am a huge fan of your work which I feel is real actual art, and I respect your ethics a lot and I like that you're always trying to fight for artists and smaller artists that get their work stolen by big brands without even as much as credit, that's such an amazing thing for the beauty community, my question for you, as I just started posting my makeup looks on Instagram would ve that I'd like to know how do you get out there, given the fact that Instagram's algorithm is the way it is and the fact that are so many incredibly talented people I find it so hard to get noticed by people, and also how do you get started into this industry? Thank you in advance and it's so great that you gave us the opportunity to ask you questions!

VladaMUA10 karma

Hi Letitia! Thank you so much for your question!

Instagram is tricky these days. There are some changes happening and it's hard to keep up. What helped me in the beginning was posting 2-3 times a day consistently for 6 months. Who knows if this would work now with all the changes Instagram is making...The thing that will help you get noticed is the excellent work! Original and high quality. Brands won't want to miss that. Remember, the brands need us as much as we need them

PurpleCat124 karma

Hi Vlada! I just bought the smashbox covershot eyeshadow palette you collabed on and I love it! And I love your creative work!

What is your holy grail makeup item that you use in your regular makeup routine and that you swear by?

VladaMUA5 karma

Hi! Thank you so much! It means the world to me!

I can't live without my Tarte lash curler. Something about it lifts my lashes at the root like no other curler can.

anboq194 karma

Do u also paint on paper or are lips your go to?

VladaMUA6 karma

I don't really paint, I usually draw on paper. Lips as a canvas inspire me the most though!

onchocerca4 karma

Hi Vlada! Love your lip art. Where do you draw inspiration from?

VladaMUA21 karma

Hi! Thank you so much! I find inspiration everywhere. I heard somewhere that creativity is like a muscle. You can train it if you're consistent. It gets easier to come up with unusual ideas when you exercise regularly :)

onchocerca3 karma

That’s a fantastic answer. I’ve never thought about creativity in that way. Thank you :)

VladaMUA11 karma

My pleasure! I can attest to that. Whenever I take a long break from shooting, I sometimes feel a bit "rusty" nest time I do a photo shoot.

vioday3 karma

Will you please tell us what skincare products you use daily on your face and lips? plsssss xx :) love you and your work, you're so talented!

VladaMUA7 karma

Thank you so much! I have recently fell in love with Kan Marini skin care. I have sensitive and acne prone skin and this is gentle enough. As for the lips, I LOVE Laneige overnight lip mask. It's the best lip mask I've tried so far!

CYLKCD3 karma

Thank you for always being such a huge inspiration Vlada ! What are your biggest tips for struggling artists in the social media industry?

VladaMUA5 karma

Social media is so brutal right now! I think it's important to stay away from drama, focus on the art and to not give up! You only fail as an artist when you give up!

teriety2 karma

Hello! Hope you're having a pleasant day! What are some tips/tricks you like to tell people for lip maintenance? I can never seem to get my lips under control and usually avoid lipstick because of this (I do bite them a bit too, but we're working on that hehe) Thank you :)

VladaMUA6 karma

I'm a lip biter myself! I figured out this system for myself and it's been working really well. I put on a night time lip mask (I love Laneige) and in the morning wipe it off with a tissue, wet your toothbrush (or use a special exfoliating tool like Do kiss and tell) and brush your lips for 20-30 seconds. It makes the lips so smooth! It helps to not bite them as much

Kymberlayne2 karma

Hi Vlada! If you weren't working in the makeup world what else do you think you'd be doing, career-wise?

VladaMUA3 karma

Hi :)

I love interior design. I feel like I would enjoy doing it for a living!

iamandreag2 karma

Hi Vlada! What/who inspires you the most(artistically speaking)? Lots of love 💕

VladaMUA9 karma

Hi! :) Salvador Dali! I've been a huge fan since I was 15 or 16

fragileshadow2 karma

Hi ! I’m loving your work 😍 Btw any advices for other makeup artist who are new in this field ? Thanks ! ✨

VladaMUA7 karma

Thank you! When I first started doing makeup I also learned to do hair. It helped me book more work in the beginning of my career. Also, don't rely solely on social media and build actual human connections. Those are the people who will book you!

fluffychickenbooty2 karma

Hi Vlada! You’re amazing and I love your work. I’m constantly impressed by your attention to detail, patience and dedication.

What’s your favorite trend right now? (Color, patterns, fashion, makeup etc)

Do you have a favorite food?

VladaMUA6 karma

Hi! :)

Thank you so much!

I'm really into very light "healthy" makeup with the smallest amount of products possible. I don't really follow trends, in fact, trends usually make me not want to try/wear/watch/read whatever everyone follows. I love individuality!

Sushi :)

fluffychickenbooty3 karma

Thanks for answering, Vlada!

Ah yes, should have guessed regarding the trends. You’re an unintentional trend setter- i guess just happens naturally when you put your love and effort into your craft (along with being super skilled).

Sushi is also my fav :) hope you have a lovely day 💖

VladaMUA3 karma

Thank you so much! Have a wonderful day as well! 💖

iwantmoremakeup2 karma

How old were you when you decided you wanted to be an artist and why in makeup? What tips would you give to people who’d want to take your route? Thank you for your time, I really like your work.

VladaMUA5 karma

I made a switch when I was 26. I had an office job (personal assistant to a lawyer) and I just didn't feel fulfilled. I went to a makeup school to learn how to do my own makeup better and fell in love with the artistry side of it.

If possible, I would suggest keeping your job for a little while and to freelance on the week end, to make the transition smoother.

chiyosayuri2 karma

Hi Vlada, before I ask my questions I'd like to express my admiration for your incredible creativity and artistry! I'd like to ask - what first inspired you to specialise in creating such intricate lip art, and which beauty guru would you love to film or collaborate with? Have a lovely day 😊

VladaMUA7 karma

Hi! :) thank you so much for your kind words! You put a smile on my face!

I started doing lip art when I first moved to LA. It was easier for me to do my own lips for macro so I started experimenting and now it grew into a full on passion for lips!

I would love to do lip art on Nikkie Tutorials. Her lips are so beautiful!!

neptuneschild1 karma

Where do you get inspiration from? What inspires you?

Also, can you share some of your holy grail products with us?

Love your work by the way!

VladaMUA7 karma

Thank you so much!

I love to get my inspiration from food, patterns, surrealists and craft stores, especially the fabric isle!

Tarte lash curler! Glossier mascara is hands down the best mascara I have ever tried.

kingkrauss1 karma

Who is your favorite member of Wu-Tang Clan?

VladaMUA2 karma

I don't think I have one! Who is yours?

kingkrauss-6 karma

This is a bad answer. You have disrespected Shaolin’s Finest.

VladaMUA15 karma

We don't all have to like the same things :)

ThisIsMy5thAcc1 karma

Hello Vlada! Huge fan of your work and your collaborations with Julia Kuzmenko! I have a few questions for you.

  • When did you realize that lip art was “the thing” you wanted to do

  • What is a lip art concept design you want to do and can’t figure out the right way to do it, or one you attempted that just didn’t work out.

  • And is there a lip art you’ve done that you consider the “most important” to you or your favorite in your collection?

VladaMUA1 karma

Hi! :) Thank you for your questions! The most important lip art is most definitely the rose gold one :) It launched my career and I am for ever grateful! As for the concepts that didn't work out... oh boy, so many! Usually when something doesn't work out, I try again and again until it does!

clickbait851 karma

What drew you to lip art specifically? It's very unique, especially on platforms like IG or Youtube where most users are focused on eyes or nail art.

VladaMUA2 karma

I think that's exactly why I got into lip art. I wanted to do something different and explore some new techniques! I love taking my own path!

sav_961 karma

Vlada, your work inspired me to venture more into makeup as a hobby. However, I quickly realized the highlight of my day was my morning make up routine, and my actual job was quite draining and no longer a passion of mine. I am seriously considering making a drastic life change, disregarding all of my previous education, to pursue my one true love; makeup. Do you have any advice for someone with no experience transitioning into the field? Thank you for exposing your art to the world and in turn, inspiring me to take this leap of faith.

VladaMUA1 karma

Congratulations! That's huge! Now you know exactly what your passion in life is! It's exciting :) What helped me transition into a new field was keeping my job for 6 months to build my connections a little bit. I used to take makeup gigs on the week end and work do to the office job on week days. If that's possible, that would be the best way to handle it to reduce stress!

kinezumi891 karma

Hi Vlada! Thanks for doing this AMA, I've enjoyed reading all your responses :) What is your favorite lipstick formula for when you're not doing art (just normal day-to-day wear)?

VladaMUA1 karma

Hi! :) Thank you for stopping by! I love Glossier lip gloss for everyday wear. Its applicator is so satisfying and the gloss formula is amazing!

kinezumi891 karma

I haven't tried that one yet! I really like the Buxom lip polishes, they feel so minty and refreshing :)

VladaMUA2 karma

I need to try them!

Karnika081 karma

Dear Vlada, my question is "Did u do any formal education professional course to become Lip Editor of Smashbox Cosmetics or did u reach this corporate height with being a Makeup Artist"?

VladaMUA1 karma

Thank you for your question! I went to a makeup school back in Ukraine and since then I have been constantly educating myself through online courses and makeup master classes.

gemc_811 karma

I'm a new follower..... is that your puppy in the AmA pic???? If so..... deets please!!!!

VladaMUA2 karma

That's my IP lawyer's puppy. Isn't she the cutest? Her name is Blossom :)

P.S. I feel like I'm cheating on my dog lol

gemc_811 karma

She is adorable! She has thst fine fluffy puppy fur i can tell!!! They do know.... they can smell the other dog on you!!!

Another question - how did you feel when your lip art was used/copied without your permission? We're you angry, upset, a combo of both?

VladaMUA2 karma

I will need to get her some treats on the way home to make up for it! :)

I used to get so frustrated whenever someone would steal or copy my photos, but after years of dealing with this I don't get as upset anymore. Please, I have an amazing team of lawyers to help me and other artists now. I feel safe

gemc_811 karma

That's great that you have support now. Must be so disheartening for that to happen after all your hard work!!!! And extra snugs for the doggo x

VladaMUA1 karma


TheLittlestTiefling1 karma

Hi Vlada! I was wondering, how did you get started on all of this? If I remember correctly you are originally from the Ukraine; were you the first in your family to do makeup, or was there someone in your life who led you to be where you are today? Also I am wondering if you ever went to a school to learn your techniques or if you are self taught. Thank you for doing this AmA!

VladaMUA1 karma

Hi! Thank you so much for being here!

I'm the first one in my family to do anything like this. My whole family is teachers. I loved makeup since I was a little girl. I remember being three or four years old and getting in my mom's makeup bag. I found this little pot of plum colored cream blush and put it all over my face. That was my first ever contact with makeup and I loved it so much I decided to make it my profession haha! I did go to a makeup school but all of my lip art techniques are self taught.

animperfectangel1 karma

How hard is it to capture that perfect “drip shot” of the lip color? Love all your pics! I’ve been following for years

VladaMUA3 karma

Not hard anymore! I have an eye for it now :)

Thank you so much for your loyalty! It means the world to me!

jinette8211 karma

Hey Vlada! I’m a HUGE fan and an aspiring portrait and beauty photographer! I was wondering if you have any insight or BTS help with my self portrait beauty photography? I find myself struggling with my set up and just barely getting lucky on my self portrait work. On models its easier to test but on self portrait work I suffer. Any help ?

VladaMUA2 karma

Hi! Thank you for your question! What is your main struggle? The lighting?

I highly recommend www.creativelive.com classes, specifically Lindsey Adler's classes. She is incredible and is such a great teacher! Check it out. So much to learn!

jinette8211 karma

Wow thank you so much for your reply! I love Lindsay so much! I had the pleasure of assisting her for a semester! One of the greatest times of my photo journey! ♥️📸

My struggle is more so the positioning of shooting myself! I don’t always have a model and having a background in makeup I feel a real passion to self portrait beauty work. Just how do you recommend i do it? A shutter remote? Self timer? Or good old trial and error 🤔

I respect how tedious it is to be the photographer and model, and i’m more than eager to elevate my photos and learn more on self portrait work!

VladaMUA3 karma

oooh I understand now! I use an LCD monitor that is connected to my DSLR camera through the hdmi and a remote that controls the camera. I don't have much room at my desk that's why I don't use a computer to preview the images. The monitor allows me to see what's happening in real time. And of course, trial and error is your best teacher :)

excusemebutwtf1 karma

What tips would you give as far as how to apply lip products? I have small lips and every time I try to apply liner/lipstick it just comes out like an uneven, splotchy mess. Also, what are some of your must have products in general? Thanks for taking the time to reach out and answer the community’s questions :)

VladaMUA3 karma

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! :)

Have you tried using an angled brush to apply lipstick? It helps keep the lines sharp and straight. Also, tons of practice. If you paint your lips 1000 times, I guarantee you will become a pro at it!

thecomicstripper1 karma

Do you ever think you’d work on brushes for artists who specialize in tiny detailed work like yours?

VladaMUA3 karma

I would love that! I have plenty of ideas :)

flonko1 karma

As your work is very creative I was wondering where do you find inspiration for your work? What do you do when you're in a rut and can't come up with anything?

VladaMUA3 karma

I find that it's ok to be uninspired. It's just your mind is saying that it needs a break. I learned to create as much as I can while I have inspiration, so that when I need to take my break, I still have plenty of work to post. Inspiration always comes back after a good mental health break :)

BoringMcWindbag1 karma

What’s the last great book that you read?

VladaMUA0 karma

Women Code by Alisa Vitti. It's an amazing book for women of all ages. It teaches how to balance our hormones with food and supplements.

OnceInABluMoon1 karma

I love all the little knick knacks you have in your photos. The metallic drips, the jeweled bugs, the tiny cups and such. Is there a specific place you find things like this, or have you just picked up pieces over time?

VladaMUA3 karma

It's a mixture of both! If I see a little trinket that I don't know what to use for just yet, I buy it anyway and figure it out later. I get a lot of them on ebay and amazon as well as art supply stores (especially the ones that sell things for doll houses). I hope this helps! :)

poptarte_x211 karma

Hi Vlada! I’m a big fan of your work. You have accomplished so much already. What’s next on your bucket list? Any other dream collaborations?

VladaMUA3 karma

Hi! Thank you so much! I appreciate it :) I want to shoot a series of lip art with genuine stones on Beyonce or Rihanna. That would be amazing! Maybe one day :)

poptarte_x211 karma

That sounds awesome! Thank you for responding!

VladaMUA1 karma


CJSinNYC0 karma

Would you consider working with my partner and I next time you come to NYC? We are an aspiring photography team and we would love to work with you and learn from you while shooting.

VladaMUA3 karma

Hi! I photograph my own creative work, but thank you for your offer!