11 Things Working As A Makeup Artist Will Expose You To That No One Mentions Before You Take The Job
Even though it seems extremely glamorous, being a makeup artist can be anything but. I've been working as a makeup artist for the past three years, and am here to fully confirm that there are several things that people never tell you about the job. The first being that working in the beauty industry isn't all frills. There are extremely crazy shoot schedules, a plethora of personalities, and lots of curveballs to prepare for.
As a freelance makeup artist, I can say first hand that it isn't just playing with makeup (though, OK, that's a big perk). It's also about being creating art on the human form. A little too dramatic? Maybe, but I'm sure most makeup artists will agree with me that their job is more than just slapping on eyeshadow. You're dealing with people individually to create something spectacular. Your job is to literally boost the confidence of everyone around you.
When working on shoots, I've noticed that the hair and makeup station usually becomes home base for most of the cast and crew. People turn to the artists for quick fixes, creative opinions, and last minute changes. Whether a model wipes off all of her makeup five minutes before she is supposed to be on set (yes, it happens) or it begins to rain on an outdoor shoot, you have to be prepared to spring into action. As the makeup artist, you're responsible for bringing the artistic vision to life. Think of yourself as a real life magician — but instead of a wand, you have a makeup brush.
Thinking of becoming a makeup artist? Here are a few things to consider before you start packing your brush belt.
1. There will be A LOT of personalities.
A professional demeanor is key when working as a makeup artist. You will be dealing with numerous people, and that means a load of personalities types. Life on set can be stressful, so having a bright, charming personality can get you far as a makeup artist. If a client or model is particularly cranky, remember that silence is sometimes the best option.
2. Everyone is going to have an opinion.
Having thick skin is crucial when working as a makeup artist. Whether their feedback is positive or negative, everyone is going to comment on the looks that you have created. It's just part of the job. Once, I had a client completely remove the makeup I had just applied, because it wasn't the look she wanted anymore. As infuriating as it was, you have to remember that the client is always right.
3. The basics are often the most essential.
Cotton swabs, hair ties, tape, tweezers... the list goes on of all of the things required in a makeup kit. As I mention earlier, most set members come to the makeup station for quick fixes. For instance, on one set I had the task of solving how to get rid of the residue from sticky-boobs (hint: nail polish remover does the trick). Things come up all the time on sets that you could never imagine. The best things I have found to keep in my kit for these special moments are scotch tape, cuticle scissors, a sharpie, and dozens of cotton swabs.
4. Be aware of allergies.
People can be allergic to literally anything. The last thing you want is for someone to have an allergic reaction to one of your makeup products. Now, this doesn't mean that you need to use all hypoallergenic products, but you should be aware of what is in your kit. Many makeup products contain things such as latex, synthetic dyes, and even peanut oil. Be sure to ask the casting director or set manager prior to the shoot dates whether any of the talent has an allergy. This way you can eliminate or add products to your kit accordingly.
5. You don't need all high-end products.
When you're starting out, you don't need all high-end products. Drugstore options will do just fine. Many makeup artists tend to lean towards higher end products due to their color pigmentation and lasting power. Not all of us, however, are made of money. The drugstore has some of my favorite holy-grail products that I take with me on all of my shoots. A higher price tag doesn't always mean better pay off.
6. Caffeine is your best friend.
Shoots usually take all day. This could mean starting early in the morning and leaving well past midnight. Caffeine can be a beautiful thing.
7. You'll need a wardrobe of black clothing.
This is almost an unspoken rule among makeup artists. Not only does wearing all black make you look more professional, it allows the cast and crew to know that you aren't just another person on set.
8. Label everything.
Accidents happen. Sometimes an artist will pack up too quickly, and snag one of your lipsticks. Sometimes your new NARS palette is too tempting for someone to resist (grr). To make sure you leave with all of your stuff, mark your tools and products. Whether it's dotting brushes with a specific nail polish or engraving your name of your tools, labeling your stuff is always a good idea.
9. Hygiene is everything.
Faces can seem squeaky clean, but can be loaded with bacteria. In order to keep everything hygienic, make sure to wipe down your brushes between models. Using a simple makeup wipe can do the trick.
10. Keep asking questions.
Every model and client is different. Everyone's skin reacts differently to different products or techniques. Always make sure to ask whether your client as sensitive skin or prone to oil/dryness. Not only do you want to keep the client comfortable, this will also help you when choosing the makeup to apply.
11. Not everyone is the same shade.
Light, medium, and dark aren't the only options. You don't need to own an entire foundation shade range, but you should have enough color options to mix the perfect shade. I like to keep about five to six color selections on hand to create the perfect base.
You'll always be learning new things as a makeup artist, but it really is one of the most fun jobs in the world. I think my mascara collection proves it.
Images: SolisImages/Fotolia; Emily McClure (6); Maggie Main Photography (1); Kelsey Davis (1); Getty Images (1)