What are the fundamentals that make a GREAT Makeup Artist?
There are so many Makeup Artists, some are self-taught and others have completed a diploma or a certificate in makeup. Unfortunately, unlike other industries, you can not choose your Professional Artist based on the qualifications that he or she may or may not have, choosing a great Artist is more than just the piece of paper, here’s why….
There are so many Artists who have spent the last 18 months completing a full-blown diploma in makeup, and after spending $10,000 – $14,000 on their course and tools, the quality of their work is well, for lack of a better term, crap. How do I know this? Who am I to say this? Well, I’ve personally seen it, time and time again. You see, before I opened the Academy of Hair and Makeup, I spent a good decade working for many businesses who had both a retail sector and a school sector to their business, teaching makeup Diploma’s and nationally recognised Certificates. The businesses that I worked for specifically were 2 of the biggest and most well-known brands and schools here in Australia, which I won’t mention names, but if you are living in Australia you definitely would have heard of them. In these schools, the students spent thousands of dollars to complete their courses, and once they graduated, they would usually apply for a job in the retail sector of the business, where I, the Regional Manager of the businesses retail sector at the time, would interview them for the position of Makeup Artist. Speaking only truth and completely not exaggerating, I would say a good 60% of those students that I would interview would fail because of the poor quality of Makeup Skills. I remember this one time I interviewed a recently graduated student who had been studying makeup for 18 months, the makeup she produced was so bad that I had to take a photo of it and send it to the head trainer of that particular school.
It’s not the students fault, unfortunately, many schools are churning through students, setting them up with hopes and dreams of becoming a successful Makeup Artist and passing them, regardless of what their work looks like. This is the reason why I decided to create the Academy of Hair and Makeup because I wanted to make a difference in the quality of Hairstyling and Makeup Artistry that was coming out of beauty schools and into our industry. It is about time that the beauty schools became less about money, giving away certificates to anyone who enrols, and more about the quality makeup the Artist creates. The point of this is to not put any schools down but to say that you can not select an Artist based on what they studied if they did a study and where they completed their studies. Whether your Artist is self-taught or spent thousands at a well-known school, it’s all relative.
Most Artists will specialise in a particular genre of makeup more than others. Personally, I can create a really beautiful, glamorous, Instagram ready makeup, so if you love that Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande, JLo type makeup then I’m your gal. I can also do a really soft natural look too, but that’s not my speciality, it’s not what I’m known for. Look for an Artist that thrives in the makeup look you are after, ask your Makeup Artist what type of makeup they do the more often and which makeup style they enjoy doing most. More Natural barely-there makeup? Or the more glamorous, red carpet celebrity look, with highlighting, contouring, sexy, sultry and elegant? Check out their website and social media, hopefully, they will have quite a few pictures that are clear and without filters. If they have before and after photos then this is a great way to determine their level of work too. The more photo’s on their website the better.
Makeup is an interpretation of art. The type of makeup to be interpreted comes from the client, and the Artist is the interpreter. To do this right, the Makeup Artist must have great listening skills in order to interpret the client’s needs and express through makeup, what the client has communicated. Ensure the Makeup Artist you choose listens to you, I know this sounds basic but it’s of fundamental importance so that you get what you want and not what they want. If you are doing a trial then this best time to ask as many questions as you can and to also try on a number of looks and styles if you are unsure of what you actually want. Take this time to really discuss your makeup with the Artist. This will be the best time to see if the Makeup Artist is actively listening to your needs. The Makeup Artist should be able to rephrase what you have just said right back at you, generally speaking, this is the best way to ensure that anyone you are speaking to is actively listening to you and not just waiting for you to finish so that they can talk.
Client Says; ” For my wedding, I would love the more natural look as I find heavy makeup makes me look older, don’t you agree?”
Makeup Artist says; “Oh yes I agree, but you know what I think would suit you, a classic red lipstick!”
Whenever I enter a retail store and I feel the assistant is trying to sell me without attempting to understand what I actually need, oh boy, does that get me peeved off! It makes me feel like another number and not an individual with individual needs. The same goes with a Makeup Artist. Yes, Makeup Artists should give their professional recommendation and guidance, however first and foremost Makeup Artists should always actively listen to their client’s needs and ensure they take that into consideration before giving recommendations.
The Total Experience!
Let’s face it, when you are booking in a professional Makeup Artist to do your makeup, it would be safe to say that the event you are going to is pretty bloody important, and therefore the entire experience you have with your Artists, before, during and after, should be positively memorable. Countless times I’ve heard stories of how clients were disappointed with their previous Makeup Artist, either for their level of artistic skill or lack of professionalism. Ensuring that the entire process is a smooth and enjoyable experience is everything. The right Artist should have the ability to create this experience not only through their work but through their communication, professionalism and delivery.
Booking in a Makeup Artist should not be a difficult task, in fact, the Makeup Artist should know what is expected of him/her on the day and as such should be prepared for what is to come. Ensure your Makeup Artist is not only highly professional and is experienced with many different makeups and different clients, but on top of that (as the icing on the cake) ensure your Makeup Artist has a great personality and positive energy to be able to cope with any last-minute changes or stressful events that can occur on the day, especially if it’s your wedding day! I have seen it before when an Artist isn’t able to cope with last-minute changes on such a stressful day. When there is a bridal party line of 5 waiting to get their makeup done, then suddenly 3 more guests appear requesting makeup, then one of the bridesmaids isn’t happy with the way she looks and starts to bicker, then the other bridesmaid is influenced by this and decides to change her planned makeup look to something completely different at the last minute, then if that wasn’t enough one of the bridal party who booked in for makeup is now running late which brings back everyone else’s allocated time, and at the same time, the mother of the bride steps in to give her opinion on her daughter’s makeup that the Artist is in the middle of, Yup, its all happening and it’s very real!
All these things have happened to me before, I have experienced stressful wedding days and I have also seen the way other hired Artists react to this chaos by absorbing the stressful energy and becoming stressed, grumpy and negative themselves. It is important your Artist knows how to keep their cool, they should come equipped with the right personality and ‘Can Do’ attitude to be able to adapt to all these additional challenges with a smile, to diffuse any stressful situations, instead of further adding to it with stressful negativity.
Trial, Trial, Trial!
Sometimes you just don’t know who you are getting until you’ve tried them. Don’t skimp on the trial, trials are essential for the once in a lifetime events like your wedding day. A trial should be a long consultation where you and “try on” at least one make up look. It is a time for you to ask as many questions as possible about the makeup and to get the look you want because the event day it will be hectic and the last thing you will be able to do is to discuss what looks good on you and what you like and don’t like about your makeup. After the trial, the Artist should take a photo and take notes of the makeup, including notes on the products used and your likes and dislikes. If you notice your Artist doesn’t do this then it could be cause for concern, as unless they have an exceptional memory, then how could they expect to remember everything they have done, all the minor details that photos may not show, especially if the event day is months away. Book in your trial about 3-6 months out of any big event, especially your wedding. If your wedding falls on wedding season (Spring/Summer) then consider booking in your trial earlier to ensure you get your preferred time.
The last tip I can give you is when you find a great Makeup Artist who meets all of the above then hold onto them and appreciate them. These days it is so hard to find a good Artist that has all these qualities. If you want the best out of your newly found Makeup Artist, then like anything in life, if you show your appreciation for them and try your best to make it an effortless process from your end, then I guarantee you that your Artist will do all they can and more to deliver above and beyond, making your big event day that much more special for you.
Remember if there is one thing that will have a major impact on how you feel on your special event day it will be how you look. Your makeup is important because it is the frontline of how you look, it’s what people see first, it’s what you see first, so do your research and invest well in a Great Makeup Artist, even if it costs a little more, it will be well worth it.