Today I felt the need to focus not on a product, but on the etiquette that you should follow when you have enlisted the services of a professional MUA. There are many reasons that you may find yourself in need of a trained and licensed professional. Of course we love our jobs, but please do not assume that this means that it is not work. We have been hired to provide a service, and often times we are on a time crunch/strict schedule, or maybe we are working with very limited space or lighting. Conditions are not always ideal, and often times we are having to make do with what we have. We need your cooperation to acheive the best possible result.
As an artist myself, I have spoken with many others and we've all shared the practices of clients that might get on our nerves. Not necessarily to complain, but everyone has their special way of handling situations and it never hurts to share among colleagues.
We ourselves have to follow the rules of "set etiquette", and it should only be fair that our clients grace us with some sort of "client etiquette". If you find yourself in the chair of a makeup artist for whatever reason, we would appreciate it if these simple requests be observed.
First and foremost, do not be late. When you show up late, this takes away from our time to work. If you are not ready on time, guess who the photographers are going to come in and complain to? Here's a hint, it won't be you. While this applies in any situation, as common courtesy, it is especially important when working on time sensitive projects such as photo shoots, film/tv shoots, weddings, etc. Please be there and ready to go at the specified call time.
Put the phone down. We understand that everyone has busy lives, and some things cannot be helped. If an important call comes, just let us know that you have to take it, and we'll work around you while you talk. But we do not need you texting/yacking away about the Jamba Juice you had this morning to Sara who had a craaaaazy night out last night. What we need is for you to keep your eyes closed when we ask, and to keep your head still so we can make sure each side is even. And while we appreciate that you want to take photos of our work (because of course that makes us feel great!) please wait until the end for your Instagram post or Snapchat.
If possible, please refrain from eating while in the chair. This is one that I hear both sides of, some artists are very strict, while others try to be more lenient. I completely understand that sometimes, and this especially applies with models and actors, you are on an extremely tight schedule. I don't mind you squeezing in a bite to eat, sometimes it just can't be helped. However, this is something that we need to work together on. If I am in the process of doing your mascara or trying to give you a clean cat eye with liquid liner, I am sorry to say that your chewing of carrots might disrupt this. Please wait until the most optimum time for bites, and I will also try to let you know when you are in the clear. And please remember that we will be very close to your face at times, so please try to select the most breath friendly foods as possible.
Leave your kids at home, with a babysitter, at daycare, or wherever you need to. This obviously doesn't apply as much for models and actors, since they will never really be allowed to have their children on set. But I cannot tell you the horror stories from artists of a client's child slobbering all over product, eating lipsticks, knocking products down and breaking them... As professionals, we do not just stock our kits with products from the drugstore. Our professional grade products can be extremely expensive, and often times have to be ordered online, and we use them to ensure the best quality for our clients. And we are VERY strict about our sanitation, because if we are not, it can spread germs and diseases. If your child picks up a cream product with their hands covered in drool, that product has to be thrown out. It will never be completely sanitary again. And this means you will be charged for it. What if that product is our foundation palette, and it is the only one we have at the time? Your child has just put us out of work until we replace it. Also, it is very difficult to apply your makeup when you are bouncing a screaming baby, rocking it to sleep, breastfeeding, etc. Depending on what your appointment is for, it should not be any longer than 1-2 hours. Baby can stay with a friend, family member, or daycare center for that time.
We also ask that you yourself do not touch our kit or products, for the same reasons. While we don't assume that you are unsanitary, clumsy, etc, accidents still happen. We understand that some of the products that we keep in our kits are very pretty, and the urge to play and sample them is sometimes uncontrollable (or is that just me?). But we have to keep a very tight lid on the sanitation of every single item in our kit, and it makes it too difficult when we are having to watch every client to see what they touch and how they touch it to ensure cleanliness. Please just look, and don't touch.
Now this one is one of the deadly sins as far as we makeup artists are concerned. Nothing gets our blood boiling more. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, tell us how to do our jobs. Whether you are brand spanking new to makeup, or you have some experience yourself, the bottom line is that we were hired to do your makeup. If you hired us yourself, it means you have to have seen our previous work and chosen us for the occasion. If you did not hire us, and we were hired by someone else such as a photographer, it means that they have seen our previous work and chose to hire us. Either way, we are the professional who is in charge in this case. Now, do not misunderstand me and think that we are just so egotistical that we won't listen to any input. If we're doing makeup for your wedding, special event, head shots, or whatever the situation may be, we are of course there to make you happy and are open to your thoughts and suggestions to make it fit your wants and needs. But sometimes it really is not up to you. If we are told by the director/photographer/person in charge that they want you to look completely natural, then that is what we are going to give them. Do not tell us that we need to add more eyeliner, a darker lip, etc. We are the ones who are responsible for giving you the look requested by the employer. Do not tell us "this shape/color looks better on me" or "that's not how I do it". Believe it or not, we are trained to work with an enormous number of different skin tones, eye colors, face shapes, etc. What it boils down to is this: If we were hired to do the job, let us do it.
On a similar note, when we have completed your makeup and are going to send you to set for your shoot, do not make changes when our back is turned. It is not up to you if you don't like the particular lip color we have chosen, or want more dramatic eyes. Our name is on the work as the artist. If you make changes and get onto set with a different look, we are the ones answering for it. Also, maybe you don't know how what you are doing is going to look on camera. They start snapping photos and it looks blotchy and unblended, this goes toward our reputation, not yours. If the person in charge wants changes to be made, let them tell us.
It is not uncommon for clients to bring in photos for inpsiration. "I like the color combination used on her eyes" or "I want this sort of bronzed look" etc. But please refrain from using phrases such as, "Make me look like this" or "This is exactly what I want". When you are porcelain white with blonde hair, blue eyes, and thin lips, and you bring in a picture of Jennifer Lopez and tell us that you want to look natural, you really need to understand the physical impossibility of what you are asking. Inspiration is great, we love it when you come in with some ideas of what you want. We just need you to understand that it will not look the same on you, because you are not the same person. Also, an artist is not always going to be able to replicate another artist's work exactly. We have different products and different techniques. Please realize that these images can provide us with ideas, but cannot act as a guideline.
And finally, if the words "That's not how so and so on YouTube did it" leave your mouth, we cannot be responsible for what comes next. Again, inspiration is fine and we don't mind you showing or telling us about a look that you liked. But YouTube is not gospel, and half of the time the artists on there do not work on anyone but themselves. We're responsible for making that look fit your face, not them. While YouTube can be a great source of information, it also perpetuates a lot of misinformation. That "natural" contour that you want? It requires a pound of makeup. And the "templates" that they use that make them look like they are wearing war paint? That's honestly not how professionals apply makeup. By hiring us, you are entrusting your face to us. Please let us do our job and leave YouTube out of it.
Our intention is never to be unkind, alienate someone, or make anyone feel bad. Quite the opposite, part of what we love about our job is helping others to feel good about themselves! But the beauty industry is in this limbo, where we often times do not get treated with professional courtesy. People associate makeup with their mother, older sister, high school friends, and essentially playing around. When you hire a professional, this is not just your friend bringing over her caboodle and giving you a makeover to go impress boys at the skating rink. This is our job, it is how we make our living. We have a lot of restrictions that we have to follow as professionals, and we ask only that your behavior reflect a professional setting as well. These guidelines are not meant to say "Do this or get out", these are situations that we have found to make our jobs, as well as the end result for the client, more difficult than they need to be. It is about having mutual respect between the artist and the client.