8 Important questions to ask your potential Makeup Artist

important questions for your makeup artist

When looking for a makeup artist for your special event, you want to ensure that your money is not wasted.

But how can you make sure you are getting a qualified, safe and professional service when there are so many options out there all advertising and vying for your attention.

Most of them will give you a similar style of spiel in their marketing (myself included); I have passion, I love what I do, I have experience in all things makeup, self-trained/certified/qualified etc., use high end products, etc., but what does it all mean?

Here I have compiled a list of questions that you should ask your makeup artist.

Q #1 – What qualifications/training do you have?

Don’t be afraid to ask this question.

In my almost 20 years in the industry, I have only ever been asked about my qualifications about 4 times, which I think is crazy! But what makes being qualified so important when natural talent can’t be taught?

I’m glad you ask… Natural Talent cannot be trained, but it can be refined and enhanced and Natural Talent does not come with everything a good artist needs to know. Training not only harnesses natural talent, but it teaches all the critical elements such as crucial hygiene techniques, facial analysis, physics between photography and makeup reflection, problem solving, dealing with clients, ethical conduct within the industry, business information such as proper insurances to protect both client and artist, correct scheduling of clients, why certain products are unsuitable for photography, working with different skins…and so much more, which talent needs to be accompanied by to safeguard and provide the safest and best quality service possible.

I can’t tell you how many jobs (me doing hair-styling), where I have seen talented artists applying makeup in a very unhygienic manner. This puts all clients at risk of infection, yet so many artists have not been trained adequately to know this crucial element of the job. Just last weekend the makeup artist on the wedding I was working on, used the same sponge on EVERYONE. 6 girls in total and only one sponge. She also did not use disposable mascara wands! I mean, this is basic hygiene 1-0-1!

Keep in mind Beauty Therapy courses are NOT Makeup Artistry courses, despite the fact they do incorporate an element of makeup, as they are related industries. Also keep in mind Self Training and YouTube are not legitimate courses either and these types of training often increase the possibility of inadequate knowledge in some critical elements of the service, such as lack of hygiene and incorrect product choice for photography.

Your artist should be proud of their training. It shows they have taken the time, money and effort to learn the best to give you the best. If they get annoyed with this question, maybe they are not the right artist for you.

Q #2 – What makeup products do you use?

This is a question I get a lot. Unfortunately though, most clients are expecting to hear commercial lines such as MAC or Chanel for example. There are so many amazing brands out there. Some are great for professional use and some are designed for everyday consumer use. Most brands you see in retail stores are not designed for photographic use (with some exceptions), so most professional brands are relatively unheard of, to many clients. If your makeup artist uses brands you don’t know, don’t hesitate to google those brands and see for yourself.

Some great brands you want to hear are (BTW, I prefer to recommend and use brands which do NOT test on animals);

Atelier, Kryolan, Graftobian, Mehron, Paris Berlin, Ben Nye, Stila, Cargo, Napoleon. Just to name a few. FYI; I am not paid to recommend these brands, I honestly endorse them based on my experience and knowledge. Here’s more details on my top makeup products picks.

There are many other great professional brands out there, but some, like MAC, Smashbox, Laura Mercier, Makeup forever, NARS, Becca and Bobby Brown do apparently still test on animals. So if cruelty free is not your concern, these brands are also suitable for professionally paid makeup applications and photographed purposes.

Q #3 – What if you get sick and can’t do my makeup?

If you are a bride, you really don’t want the stress of having your makeup artist call in sick. It’s not like you can re-schedule your entire wedding day. So this is a question you are allowed to ask. I have unfortunately had many stressed out brides call me up last minute desperately trying to find a new artist for their big day because the person they booked cancelled.

A dedicated artist will replace themselves with another artist, or deal with it and do your appointment anyway. Make sure they have a back-up plan, just in case.

Q #4 – Are there added costs for extras, like touch up products, travel or lashes?

It is totally fine to make sure you are on the same page in regards to costings and quotes. After all, it is your hard earned money you are spending. Professional Makeup artists do have a living to earn, just like the rest of us, and many include these extras into their prices and others offer these as flexible extras for those who like to choose and create their own packages.

Flexible packages allow for clients who don’t need certain things like lashes or touch up lippy, to opt for these not to be included and thus potentially making the price cheaper. But some like to have easy, no fuss, all-inclusive packages to simplify things. Whichever you prefer, make sure you understand what is and is not included.

Just remember though cheap does not always equal a bargain and a cheap base price + a stack of costly extras, may not end up being cheaper either. Book your artist based on their quality of service/talent, your expectations and the value in the price. A good price is both fair for the client and the artist. I generally recommend going with someone in the average price range for your area. In Adelaide you are looking at around $85-$120 for makeup per person.

Q #5 – Do you come to me?

Many Professional makeup artists travel to your location, and many have their own studios where they do their work. If you need someone to come to you, make sure you ask if that is a possibility, as it may influence start and finish times, plus possible travel fees. Depending on your location, a studio appointment may be a cheaper option than mobile.

Q #6 – How long have you been doing makeup?

Now this is a question I do get a lot and it always sounds weird when I tell them, because I can’t believe I am old enough to have done anything for that long! (FYI, I am not that old…just saying)

Students have to start somewhere and are often a cheaper option than someone who has years of experience. I have some brilliant makeup student graduates who are great at what they do, but they may not have the confidence yet. So it’s good for you to know, so you understand they may act a little more tentative, or take a little more time. Lack of experience does not always mean lack of talent, or knowledge, it just means they have tackled less scenarios. If you research their work, education and ask questions, that should help set your mind at ease in terms of if they are the right artist for you.

Q #7 – Do you do makeup trials?

Trials are a great way to try your potential artist’s work before your big event. This is the perfect time to chat with them to design your perfect look and test to see if it is something they are able to achieve. Most trials are a little cheaper too, so there is less at stake.

Most Makeup artists offer trials as an option and some insist every client have one. Whichever the case, if you are not sure, or you have very specific expectations, I highly recommend trials, to ensure your artist is the right one for you. This will help avoid any possible regrets later on. Best to book your trial early enough that if your artist is not quite right for your style, that you have enough time to book someone else without too much stress. The last thing you want is a last minute mass call around to find a good artist. Many of us get booked up quite early.

Q #8 – Are you Insured?

A question I very rarely get! But what if you, or a bridesmaid have a terrible reaction to a product, or if someone trips over the makeup kit and injures their leg, or what if your artist has an accident in your house? Does your artist have protection if something (god-forbid) goes wrong? Many artists do not know how important it is to have public liability insurance in case something happens. Please don’t hesitate to ask this question, as it protects both you and your artist.

So, In conclusion…..

Asking questions is never a bad thing. How else are you going to find out things in life? Don’t be afraid of it. In every industry there are great service providers, and there are not-so-great service providers.

Every person has different expectations and needs and every artist has their own stories and backgrounds to tell. Finding the right person for the right job simply requires a little research and question asking. No question is a stupid one.