If you're looking for a professional makeup artist to beautify you for any number of big days, it seems obvious what things you need to look for: Talent (obviously), something within your budget, attention to detail, and good reccommendations. One thing you might accidentally overlook? An artist who knows his or her sh*t when it comes to safety and hygiene. Here are 15 things to keep an eye out for next time you pay somebody to do your makeup.
1. Double dipping
While perfectly acceptable for ice cream scoops, if a makeup artist double dips, give 'em the pink slip! When working with products like cream concealers, gel liners and lip color, the artist should use a small spatula to scoop out the desired amount of product, apply to a sanitized palette and work only from that. If an artist is working straight from the product, they are introducing germs and bacteria each time, transferring in between. While there are products like BeautySoClean that sanitize palette products, there is no guarantee your artist is using one after each client.
2. Using mascara or gloss straight from the tube
A makeup artist should never be applying mascara or lip gloss straight from the tube unless they are giving the product to you or it is your own. Even so, a makeup artist should only use your product if you specifically ask them to. When a mascara or lipgloss wand is applied to someone's eye and then reinserted into the tube, germs and air go along with it and it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Would you want a mascara wand on your lashes that has touched 5 other people's? I didn't think so. The artist should be using disposable mascara wands or a fan brush and disposable lip wands or a lip brush sanitzied with alcohol.
3. Trimming lashes while on the client
While 95 percent of false lashes do need trimmed to fit a client's eye precisely, this should always be done before the lash is placed on the eye. A scissors should not be near your precious eyeballs and some of your real lashes will inevitably get trimmed off with the false ones. This is just never ever a good idea.
4. Using your personal makeup
A makeup artist should only use your products if you specifically ask them to. You are paying for not only their time and expertise, but also access to professional grade products that photograph and wear well.
5. Not asking you about your skin
Whether you have dry, oily or combination skin, as well as sensitivities and certain allergies can make a big difference in how makeup feels and wears on the skin. Your artist should ask you about your skin type to understand what products will work best.
6. Talking you into things
While makeup artists certainly have their own visions and opinions based on years of experience, if you feel like they're pressuring you into a look that simply isn't you, that's no good either. At best, your makeup look will be a collaboration between you and the artist and result in a look that is you, but better. Pay little attention to what "most" people do or what is really popular right now. Bringing images of looks that you are attracted to helps the artist to see what you like and a good one will take this into account.
7. Using dirty brushes
This is kind of a no-brainer but brushes should be cleaned after each client. If you see an artist move right on from one client to you without stopping to sanitize brushes, no ma'am! There are plenty of quick-dry brush sanitizers that should be used in lieu of full shampoos. (Related: How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes)
8. Selling you makeup
While there are many makeup artists who retail product, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it should never be the primary focus. Depending on the product line, they may be incentivized to sell certain products or sets which can cloud their judgement over what is truly best for the client. As the client, you want your makeup to be beautifully applied. You want a look that is special and something that makes you feel and photograph amazing. If you would also like to have $50+ in product, great, but that's an entirely different goal. When an artist profits beyond an application fee via product commissions and sales incentives, they inevitably have a vested interest in selling over the application itself. This could be pressure created by a multi-level marketing company and not their own personal opinion, but either way, it's not something you the client should have to worry about.
9. Applying false lashes with your eyes closed
The best way for a makeup artist to apply false lashes is to have the client either look straight forward or down; I prefer down. If an artist has you close your eyes completely, glue can easily seep through lashes and essentially glue your eye shut! No bueno.
10. Not using an eyelid primer
Your eyelids should be primed by the makeup artist, either with a designated eye primer or concealer set with powder. This will ensure that the eye look they create, and you pay for, lasts all day or night without creasing or fading.
11. Being unable to match your skin tone
If a makeup artist doesn't have your foundation color, that is unacceptable and borderline discriminatory. An artist should be well equipped with not only a full range of foundation but the ability and expertise to custom blend until the color is truly a perfect match.
12. One-look wonders
It's great to find a makeup artist with a style that you like, but if you continue to see the same look done over and over, beware of this one-size-fits-all approach. Your makeup look should be tailored to your individual eye color and shape and customized to your your face shape and features. A diverse portfolio of looks shows that an artist has range and versatility which will only benefit you as the client.
13. Photoshopped and filtered work photos
If the skin looks too good to be true in an artist's photos, they are either true masters of their craft or good at Photoshop and FaceTune. While this is flattering to the subject in the photo and the artist's work, this doesn't do much for you as their next client. It is misrepresentative of their blending and complexion perfecting skills. Makeup artists cannot control the level of editing done by professional photographers, but when it's a cell phone image with skin blurred into porcelain doll oblivion, be very suspicious.
14. Using their own makeup stash
A makeup artist should have a freelance kit that is entirely separate from their own personal makeup. The two should never mix. The freelance kit should be reserved for client use and sanitized regularly.
15. Very long nails
Well-manicured nails are never a bad thing but when nails extend too far beyond the fingertip, it puts the client at risk. Not only could a sharp nail injure a client when working in the eye area but unless the artist is using a nail brush or spraying alcohol underneath nails before each client, there is no way to get the hands completely sanitary.
We know that some risks won't present themselves until you're there, so be sure to talk to previous clients or ask to watch the artist do somebody else's makeup before yours if possible. If you see any red flags, don't be afraid to speak up! You're paying for the makeup artist's time and you deserve the best, safest work possible.