Which makeup or hair job is right for you?

What motivates you as a makeup artist? Are you motivated by money? Are you motivated by the chance to be famous? Are you motivated by the amazing variety of work that we get to do? Or is it the opportunity to be a part of someone’s big day, to make them feel like their most beautiful version of themselves.

Tony Robbins talks about the six human needs, and depending on which of these needs is more important for you, that need motivate you to take certain actions, it will influence your decisions, what makes you happy, and how you live your life. I’ve been thinking a little bit lately about how this relates to freelance makeup artists. What I want to share with you today will hopefully help you to see what side of the industry is going to suit you better depending on which of these human needs is more important to you.

We all have each of these needs in varying degrees, but for most people, one or two of them will be more important than the others.

So let’s talk about these six human needs and what they’re all about.

The first is the need for CERTAINTY, or security.  If this need is important to you, you want to know exactly what’s going on and what you can expect each day. You want to know where you stand and feel safe. You want to be sure that you’re going to have money coming in, that you’re going to be able to pay your bills. A lot of people stay in a job for a long time and don’t make that step into becoming a freelancer, because their need for certainty or security is a very high for them.

If your need for certainty is high, you might probably be happier working in a retail job where you know you will have a set number of hours each week, you might even know which days you will be working.  You will know what is expected of you in terms of your duties and responsibilities, and also the targets that you will be expected to reach.

Another area of the industry that attracts those looking for certainty or security is a long form film work, or television. So if you’re working on a TV series for example, and you have an ensemble cast, you’re going to be working with the same people all the time and perhaps you’ll be doing the same hair and makeup look on the same character all the time.  Or, you might work in the studio on the Newscasters, and have the same people in your chair every day.

Now my need for certainty is actually quite low. So for me, the idea of working with the same person day in, day out would actually get boring quite quickly. As much as I love some of the people that sit in my chair semi-regularly, I don’t want the same thing every day. I am fortunate to have had a freelance contract with one of the major TV networks for many years now, and I probably do one day a month on either the news, sporting events or some other special event.  I love that – I get to see people I love to work with, but I’m not doing the same thing every day.

The second human need is the need for UNCERTAINTY or variety. Not everyone likes to be doing the same thing day in, day out all the time. Some people crave new adventures, that’s why many people love going on holidays; because it’s something new and unknown. That’s why when you get into a new relationship, it’s all very exciting as you get to know that person, you don’t know what to expect.

As a makeup artist if you have a high need for uncertainty or variety you will probably be drawn to working in the corporate or the editorial and commercial side of the business where you’re doing short jobs and doing something different all the time. Most of this sort of work gets booked very close to the actual job, and those with a high need for certainty or security might find that stressful – not knowing when you next job is coming in.

Also, if you’re working with on-location brides and event clients you’ll always be working with different people and different locations, and this can fulfil that need for variety.

I have a much higher need for uncertainty and I value variety a lot more over that certainty and security. I love that I get to work with different people all the time and I never know who’s going to be sitting in my chair the next day. That’s why one of my favourite type of jobs is lifestyle editorials for magazines like Women’s Day or New Idea. A lot of those stories are human-interest stories; some of them are happy stories, some of them are very, very sad stories; but you get to hear those people’s stories. And it’s something different every day.


The third human need is the need for CONNECTION or the need for love. People with a high need for connection value having personal relationships with people. Let’s face it; being a freelancer can be quite a lonely job because we don’t usually work in a team. So if working in a team is something that’s important to you, having that connection, then you’ll probably someone who’s going to enjoy working in production, where you will often work with the same team on advertising shoots, TV commercials, or films, or even on big fashion runway shows.

You also might enjoy bridal work because there is definitely that connection with your bride as you build that relationship throughout the booking program process.  Artists who are motivated by connection will tend to find they get more repeat clients, as they will just natural forge those stronger relationships with their clients.  If connection if important to you, you will probably find you have a good network of other industry professionals and other makeup artists and hairstylists.


The fourth human need is the need for SIGNIFICANCE, the need to feel important. People that have this need are generally happier to put themselves out there a lot more on social media and show a lot more about their personal life. For them the number of followers that they have can be quite important.  You may also be motivated by seeing your name in the credits of a blockbuster movie, or your work on the cover of a magazine.  If you have a high need for significance, you might also like to work with celebrities because working with those big names can help you feel significant as well. I believe a lot of “beauty influencers” have a high need for significance.


These first four needs are what Tony calls the BASIC human needs. The other two human needs are the two SPIRITUAL needs and they are the need for growth and the need for contribution.

So let’s talk about the need for GROWTH. As artists we’re working in an industry where things are changing all the time. There are a lot of different trends coming and going, new products, new techniques, and that sort of thing.

Obviously we all need to grow as artists, we need to develop our skills and techniques, and stay relevant in this ever-changing industry.  In this life you’re either growing or your dying – in business and as an artist.

If the need for growth is important with you, then maybe you’ll be drawn to working in a role where you are working with products, maybe are even working with formulating new products.   You might also like working in a really creative side of the industry, on editorial shoots, where you are pushing the envelope a little bit and always trying something new. Or, you might want to work in the film industry, working with new technology and new ways of creating prosthetics or special effects, as there’s always so much to learn there.

If you are one of those artists who is constantly taking new classes and learning new things, then Growth is probably one of your important needs too.

The sixth human need is the need for CONTRIBUTION. The need to give something back, to serve and help others and the need to feel that you are responsible for something that is bigger than just yourself – to leave a legacy. Your focus will be more on what you are contributing to other people, than what you are getting yourself.

I believe that very popular, successful bridal artists have a high need for contribution.  Those who always focus on their clients, and ensure that they are providing the best possible service they can for their brides.  I have always felt honoured and privileged to be a part of a bride’s special day.

Passionate educators have a high need for contribution, as teaching is all about giving back to the industry and helping the next generation of upcoming artists.

I have a very high need for contribution; I have always loved that feeling when I hand my client the mirror, and she looks at her reflections and says “Oh My God, I look amazing, I love it”.  I also get a huge buzz from witnessing my students’ successes. Seeing a student create something amazing, hitting a big milestone, achieving a goal or having a big breakthrough is almost more rewarding than when I have my own successes.

Of course everybody is different, and we are all motivated by different needs.  While for you it might be that security and that certainty are things that you really value. It might be way out of your comfort zone to have to go to a job and not know who the person is that’s going to be sitting in your chair that day, not to know what to expect, or, you might get a real buzz out of that. While one artist is motivated to make connections and aims to work with big name celebrities, another is perfectly happy working with everyday clients, brides and graduating school girls on their big days.  Some stylists go along to every masterclass and are always trying all the new products, while others are more interested in teaching those masterclasses.

Have a think about the six human needs. Think about which of those is important to you now. Most people probably have two out of the six that are higher than the others for them. Then have a think about what side of the industry or what sort of jobs is going to help to fulfil those needs that are most important for you.

When you know which needs are motivating you, it will become easier to know what to focus on, and what actions to take that will get you doing more of the work you want to be doing.  If your need for significance is very high with you then you will probably be drawn to focusing on things that will grow your follower count; so that could mean posting a lot more regularly on Instagram and monitoring your results so that you know which posts are resonating with your followers and will therefore grow your audience even more.  But if your need for significance isn’t that high then you might find those little action steps quite a drag and you might resist doing them because you’re not motivated by significance. If you’re more motivated by certainty then you might be quite happy to continue working in your retail makeup job because it gives you certainty and security while you’re still getting to do what you love – which is doing make up. If you’re motivated by variety you will need to focus on doing the things that will help you book more commercial or editorial shoots – building your portfolio and networking with others who do that sort of work.  There is no right or wrong, its whatever works for YOU.

Knowing what motivates you will help you know where to steer your career so that you are going to be the most productive and most successful, and ultimately, the happiest.


Images for this weeks blog post kindly supplied by Makeup Mastermind member Britney Lavia @britneylaviamakeupartist

Photography: @jessicarosephotographyau
and @jasonlauphotos