makeup artist superhero

Makeup Artists: You have a SuperPower!

We all know (and love) that feeling when we finish a client’s makeup, hand her the mirror and she says “oh my god, I love it!”  I mean, isn’t that one of the main reasons we do what we do?  She feels good, we feel good, it’s a win-win!

And here’s the thing – we have a full 30-60 minutes BEFORE we hand her the mirror to make her feel good.

Maya Angelou once said: People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will NEVER forget how you made them feel.

And this is our super-power.  The power to help someone feel good about themselves; to feel beautiful.  We shouldn’t under-estimate this power.

I read recently that the late-great Kevyn Aucoin would often be invited to attend awards ceremonies and fancy parties as the “plus one” of many of his celebrity clients – not because he was a great makeup artist (which he undoubtedly was), but because he had the ability to “make you feel like you were the most important person in the world”

How many times has someone sat in your chair and apologised:

“I’m sorry about my bad skin”

“I’m sorry about my wrinkles”

“I’m sorry I didn’t get time to pluck my eyebrows”

I once had a very attractive girl sit in my chair and say “I hope you can do something with this filth, you’ve got your work cut out for you”  I was honestly taken aback.  She was a beautiful girl, and she thought she was ugly. Now obviously that’s an extreme case and she probably needs some professional help (as in a therapist or psychologist), but I often used to say to my students that as a makeup artist our job is only partly makeup – we also have to be a diplomat and a psychologist.

Take note next time you’re doing makeup.  What are people saying when they first sit in your chair.  I guarantee it won’t be “haven’t I got beautiful eyelashes?” or “isn’t my skin just glowing?”  OK, you’re probably laughing right now, but seriously, it’s human nature (and particularly female human nature) to focus on the negatives, particularly about our appearance – especially these days with all the pressure social media puts on us.

And I guarantee you, its not just young girls facing that pressure!  Us “mature” ladies also feel that pressure – not many women are happy to “age gracefully” – the anti-aging industry is huge!

Which brings me back to our super-power.  We have the power to help people feel better about themselves.  Not just with the products we so artfully put on their faces, but with our WORDS.  I have always made it a point to find something to compliment each client on, and I usually try to do this as early in the application as I can.

As an artist, we analyse each face before we begin – most of us do this automatically – especially if you’ve been doing makeup for a while, thinking about where we need to contour, what corrective (if any) makeup we will need to apply, and how to bring out the client’s best features.  Next time you have a client sit in your chair, be more conscious about this process, and use this time to come up with some things you can compliment your client on.

Be especially mindful of those cues she gives you if she apologises about something.

Remember to compliment every client at least once – but make your comments genuine!

Start doing this and I guarantee you’ll not only make the client feel good, you will feel good too, and it will have a positive impact on your business.