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10 Secret Dos and Don'ts Your Makeup Artist wishes you knew!


My job as a makeup artist couldn’t be cooler! Not to mention my boss is a total boss babe (it’s me, it’s my business, I’m the boss)! I get to make clients look and feel amazing for some of the most important events in their life! However, there are some things that can be hard to communicate to our clients.

Check out the list of 10 Secret Dos and Don’ts your makeup artist wishes you knew!

1. Being Mindful of What You Say to Your Artist - DO!

As a 20-year veteran MUA, I can confirm that we hear a few questionable remarks at almost every appointment. Although some may not seem insulting, some definitely tend to drive tiny knives into our hearts. Like when we’re asked if this is our "real job."

As fun as our jobs seem, we are small business owners. It's a lot of hard work behind the scenes, and it requires wearing a lot of different hats. Typically, we don't have the luxury of administrative help, lawyers, travel agents, or a moving crew to help with scheduling, emailing and texting clients, supply ordering, confirming contracts, arranging logistical needs, and hauling 30+ lbs. of our equipment (sometimes up to the third floor of a Boston walk-up). The absolute best and most fun part of our job is the 45-60 minutes we get to spend with you‼

2. Asking for Discounts - DON’T.

It's important to remember that this isn't a hobby but, in fact, our business. Your makeup artist's prices reflect their levels of expertise and experience. Nothing is more awkward than having to explain why you are worth your price and why you can't offer a discount.

This goes out to all family and friends of MUAs, too. As much as we want to give you guys a deal, it hurts us financially. It puts us in the position of turning down fully paying jobs to take discounted ones. I only mention this because, to reiterate a previous point, this is our real job, and we can't survive on discounts alone.

​3. Tipping - DO (or at least consider it).

This one is touchy. Although "tipping isn't required,” it is greatly appreciated. As you know, offering a gratuity is a very generous way to show extra appreciation for our work, which includes not only our hopefully stellar services, but also includes going above and beyond to squeeze you into what might be an already packed schedule or for the speedy return of multiple emails and texts to confirm your place on that schedule, or the frustration of sitting in a traffic jam on my way to get to you, etc. MUAs are as thankful for the gesture of a gratuity as any hair stylist, waitress, or anyone else in the service industry. So if you don’t tip, I get it. These kinds of services can get pricey. But If you do, thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Your bod, your face, your breath -- wash it, clean it, and brush it! No, seriously, there is nothing worse than being inches away from someone who has stinky breath or body odor. Showering, applying deodorant, brushing your teeth and removing all makeup

(this includes eye boogies and crusties) before your appointment is a beautiful thing, especially if you've been drinking the night before.

To our clients who smoke: pop a mint so we aren't secondhand smoking your last cigarette with you.

5. Using Your Cell Phones During the Appointment - DON’T.

Whether it is texting, calling (sweet Jesus! don't use speakerphone), scrolling on social

media, or sneaking a peek on your camera, it's all frowned upon. This year, I have included in my contract a "no cell phone usage while getting your makeup done" policy. The main reason being time! Cellphone usage on average attaches an extra 10 minutes per client. It's a collective 10 minutes of waiting for clients to put their phones down, and us asking them to look up, look down, close BOTH (I can't stress closing both of your eyes enough, no more cyclops clients) of their eyes, etc.

Give your makeup artist the same respect and attention that they are giving you. I promise the end result will be a much better application.

6. Bringing Inspiration - DO! Bringing Images Featuring One Eye Only - DON’T!

Ladies, when showing us pictures of the makeup you like, please, I beg of you, look for photos that show BOTH eyeballs. Most of the images on Pinterest only show one eye, and for a good reason. Showcasing intense or editorial (crazy) eye makeup with one eye is provocative, and stunning. You can focus in on that lime green shadow up to your brow bone for sure. However, featuring that look with two eyes - and you're now looking at an '80s themed drag queen!

Look for inspirational pictures featuring two eyes - maybe even a whole face - but we'll settle for two eyes.

7. Trusting Our Choice of Product - DO.

A lot of clients will ask beforehand what brands of products we use. Try to keep in mind that your everyday makeup products aren't always the best products for the event, wedding, or print application. As your professional artist, you must trust that there is a reason we have a kit packed with certain brands and types of makeup. We may discourage you from certain textures or products, due to the need for longevity or illusion.

Example: Some products we use won't have SPF in them. Why? Because SPF tends to photograph with a white cast. Whatever the case, we have you covered!

All that said, if you have an allergy to anything, you should definitely let your MUA know before they’ve put brush to cheek. Hives on your wedding day is definitely a DON’T!

8. Trusting our Expertise Regarding Technique - DO!

The technique of contouring and highlighting that you see on YouTube and Instagram may

not be the most flattering for you and your face shape. For example, if you have a rounder face, using highlighter all over will only make your face look more round (not to mention sweaty). Instead, highlighting should be used sparingly and with precision. On the other hand, contouring is an optical illusion. It's important to remember that when you turn your head, the illusion may not be as effective as the view from

head on. So, requesting a “heavy contour” can run you the risk of looking like a lost zebra in the safari of everyday life.

In any situation, we promise that we will shape and sculpt your face with the appropriate highs and lows for your needs to make you look like a movie star!

9. Touching the Makeup or Tools - DON’T!

As a full-time makeup junkie, I totally understand wanting to peek at what is in a makeup artist's kit. I totally understand the desire to pick up a product and maybe even try a little on your hand, but that is a HUGE NO-NO! Think of it this way, when you bring your car to the shop for an oil change, do you grab the oil can? Probably not.

These are the tools of our trade, and they are expensive. It is up to us to keep them clean and in perfect working order. Remember the oldie-but-goodie rule of thumb - "see with your eyes and not with your hands."

10. Requesting Appointments.

This is a tricky one. The days of having a landline with an old-fashioned answering machine are over. Most small businesses operate on a cell phone. Try to be aware of what time you are sending us that text about your new fave lipstick or about requesting an appointment.

I can honestly say that keeping track of texts from clients about future appointments can be challenging. Many times, I will be with another client, or eating dinner, or its 10:00 p.m. or even later, or during a rare day off, and I will receive a text from a client about booking an appointment. This is the tough part. If I open that text and can't get back to the client right away, I risk losing that notification and forgetting to return the text message when I have a free moment. I try to encourage clients who are requesting anything to email me, especially on off hours. I can at least mark the email as unread and get back to you at the earliest possible moment. The only caveat - if it is regarding an appointment that same day or an emergency, of course, text me! As a general rule, though, emailing is usually preferred.

It can be hard to explain to our best clients that we are not a 24-hour business. The lack of a brick and mortar establishment may seem to reflect a less rigid work schedule. Try to be respectful of when you are contacting us. We don’t open and close an actual store, so in order to keep an appropriate and effective work/life balance, we need to firmly establish the end of our workdays.

I hope this helps!!

As Biggie Smalls has said...

"If you don't know, now you know!

Talk soon! (email me)

Nic B.

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