5 Tips: How to Pick a Makeup Artist

So you're ready to book a makeup artist for an event but don't even know where to begin? Here are 5 tips to help you pick a real professional so you can avoid getting scammed by an imposter. With social media these days, everyone claims to be a makeup artist and that really sucks for the industry I love. Sadly, we are diluted and everyday someone is getting traumatized by the aftermath of an imposter artist.
Photo by Billy Rood Makeup + Hair by Paula Heckenast

You must think of your makeup artist as you would an artist you're selecting to paint your portrait for a family heirloom. You wouldn't pick the cheapest one or trust your sister in law's aunt who paints on the side from time to time to do it, would you? Consider the artists' practice, experience and style to ensure he or she is the right fit for you. That way you leave their chair looking and feeling beautiful... and most importantly, without pink eye. Yeah, it seems like something that would never happen to you, until it happens. Just this past weekend I was working on a wedding where the bride hired me for herself, her mom and her maid of honor and then hired someone more, "cost efficient" for the rest of her party. The cost efficient artist not only wasn't cleaning brushing and sanitizing between clients, but she was straight up using the same mascara wand on everyone and double dipping her ass off. I don't even want to know what kind of bacteria is growing in her kit. Knowledge is power. I could really go on and on about this so before you book your artist, read some of these tips and perhaps I will have more for you down the line. For now, here is part 1.

If you have any questions, I am always happy to help! Leave a comment below.  

1. A professional makeup artist should have a website and social media of some sort show casing their own work. Beware of artists who post others work. A key sign is a post on social medial that has no caption or captions like, "this look is so inspiring" to give them an excuse to post a pretty photo on their feed.
Photo by Michael Dar | Makeup + Hair Paula Heckenast

2. A big red flag is if said artist has a ton of photos of makeup on their own face but very few photos of makeup done on other people. In the 10 years I have been doing makeup and working with other artists, you'd be surprised how many people can do their own makeup perfectly but do not have the skills, experience or tools to create a look on other skin tones. Please see the clown contour makeup video show cased on Buzz Feed where the artists butchered and ashed out a woman of color. I love working with deep skin tones, so that video was excruciating to watch!

3. ASK ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE. As the client, you are our boss. Don't be afraid to get into detail. Ask how they sanitize their products. Brush cleaner should be used between every client and all pallets should be sprayed with 70% alcohol, NOT 99% and then wiped down. Ask what type of foundation they use. Ask how they prep the skin. Ask if they have experience using different products for different skin types. For example, silicone primer doesn't mix well with oily skin. A person with super oily skin, such as myself, cannot wear Smashbox Photo Finish primer. In fact, it will end up looking worse than if you hadn't applied primer at all! Knowledge like this is crucial to ensure you are making the most of your session.

4. Ask what is included. Many artists, especially newer ones or hobbyists, will rope you in with a seemingly lower rate and then charge for "upgrades". First of all, this pisses me off. WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU MAKE YOUR CLIENT LOOK ALMOST AS GOOD AS POSSIBLE? I seriously don't get it. Lashes are not an upgrade and for crying out loud, airbrush is not an upgrade. I'm going to give airbrush it's own number, number 5, because I have a lot to say.

5. If your heart is set on airbrush because you have worn it before and you know it works well for you that is one thing but the fact that there are so many artists out there pretending airbrush is an upgrade drives me crazy. Why? Because put simply, it's not. In fact, it doesn't work well on most people in my opinion. When I am working on a professional set I have never come across a photographer or director whom preferred airbrush over cream foundation. The airbrush makeup is applied using a compressor and gun to spray the makeup onto the face. This allows very little room for error and on top of that, literally, the makeup sits on your imperfections like enlarged pores and fine lines. No Pun intended! Where as cream has work-ability. Be sure to try both to ensure which you prefer. Oh and as for airbrush lasting longer, also not true with the proper skin prep for your skin type.

I'd love to hear about your personal experience good or bad when working with an artist. Pro's are also invited to chime in!

Until next time, tata!

- Paula Heckenast


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