How to work with your client: Top Do's and Don'ts!

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Let’s be honest, no one is perfect! We gain our experience through hits and misses, trial and error, we learn our lessons, and it is ok! I wish there was somebody right beside me every time I did a client’s makeup when I first started working as a freelance Makeup Artist, who told me what to do and what not to; but this is real life, and I’ve learnt a lot through my own experiences, practice, and by being very observant, reading and asking! Sometimes a client’s face can say it all (and sometimes you have to ask)! Your main goal is to always make your client happy and never frustrated; especially on her special day!

Being a Makeup Artist is a hard job as you always have different faces, different skin types, different expectations and different tempers in your chair. You have to be able to deal with all of them to become a really good artist! To achieve this you will need to constantly practice and try to improve your game by cruising the web to find answers and connecting with fellow artists from around the world, learning creative tips and tricks, or by randomly playing with makeup and trying/inventing new techniques. Some techniques or tricks will work on one client but they won’t work on another; you will need to perfect these techniques and "see it to believe it" (ie: practice!) before glamming them up!

In this article I will share with you my top do’s and don’ts while working with a client that I have collected personally from experience. This list will prove especially helpful if you are new in this profession as it will save you time and will help you a lot to avoid some critical “newbie” mistakes:

1.     Listen to your client! Always ask your client to show you a makeup look that she is into, as you have to see what exactly she means by “soft and natural”. Each client interprets a look in a different light. For some girls it will be a really soft makeup look using 1-2 eye shadows, a tiny bit of contouring, a thin eyeliner with a small wing and a nude lipstick, while for another one it will be Kim Kardashian’s full glam look with Kylie Jenner’s over lined lips! You have to be on the same page. This way you will do your job professionally and your client will be happy after once you are complete!

2.     Never do your client’s makeup in bad lighting. It is very easy to be tricked this way. You will see that makeup is perfectly blended and applied well but the minute your client steps outside in the daylight or in a better lit atmosphere, you will see that it is a disaster! Invest in a ring light or any other light you can take with you on location, this is a crucial tool of the trade and will help with your client’s makeup application always! Also, you always have to ask your client about the event she is going to attend as if it is in the open air (you will probably need more light foundation, you will use less contouring as daylight will make makeup accentuate skin’s imperfections even more and you will want her to look fresh and light) or if it is inside (then you can go a bit heavier with makeup).

3.     Always make sure that foundation is of the right color. You have to make sure that her face, neck and chest are of the same color. If you see that her face and neck are much lighter than the chest (especially if she wears an open dress) you have to take foundation that will be the same color as her chest and bring it down to the neck as well. If only her face is lighter, then use foundation that matches both neck and chest only on the face!

4.     Contouring is great, I love it! However, it is a great technique only when it is applied onto the right areas, properly blended and not visible. It is an illusion of shades and lights but not something that you are meant to clearly see! It is so easy to go overboard with it, especially on older clients. Take contouring shades that are not too warm as shades are cool not warm. Here comes the rule that we all know: less is more. Start with less contouring, you can always add if necessary.

5.     When highlighting do not chose a concealer that is too light, as if you take one that is 2-3 shades lighter it will look as though your client sunbathed in sunglasses! Also you have to apply it correctly: from the tear duct down to the nostril and up to the end of the eye (in a triangle shape). This way you will cover dark circles as well as brighten the whole under eye area.

6.     Brows are extremely important, they frame our faces. Do not neglect to fill them in especially if your client is wearing a full face makeup, without brows she will look strange and her face will be washed off. However, don’t be fooled by the new trend on Instagram for brows, brows have to look natural and not like you just painted them all with one color. Your inner part of the brow has to be much lighter than the tail. In this case, it is better to use a brow pencil or powder! You can always add extra product if you need your brows to be more bold for some reason. Today, bolder brows are a trend but always ask your client if she is ok with you making her brows a bit thicker because she may not be into it at all!

7.     Never experiment with something new on a client’s special day. You can do it on a trial, that’s what they are about; for example, choosing bolder colors on the eyes, or lips, or trying more dramatic eyeliner (of course if it is something that your client was looking for but never tried and would like to see if it suits her or not). Keep in mind, if it is an emotional day and she wants something she never wore before, it will be better to talk her out of it in a polite way as she may regret it and you will not have time to fix everything. She will have pictures of this event for the rest of her life and she doesn’t want to remember bitterness of this day instead of happiness! For this type of special day, it is always best to convince your client to choose a makeup look which will enhance her face features, looking more like herself.

8.     Make sure that the makeup that you create for your client will photograph well. It means that when they will be photographed with a flash there will not be any flashback (it is caused by SPF in moisturizer or foundation, or loose powder that has silica [it’s not the same as silicon or silicone]). Make sure your products are free of these ingredients, if possible (and test out the makeup look with photos as well)!

9.     Always hydrate your client’s face, under eye area and lips before putting on makeup! This way you will prevent foundation and concealer from being patchy, it will blend easier, as well as bold lip colors will look great on soft lips rather than on chapped ones. I would say skip the bold colors on the lips of your client if they are too dry.

10.  Highlighter has to be applied on certain areas to make your client glow from within rather than greasy! If you put highlighter on the tip of the long nose you will make it look even longer; if you apply too much highlighter onto the forehead it may look as though your client is sweaty! Stay away from chunky highlighters, they look unnatural on a face and may photograph unevenly making some spots on your face white.

11.  If your client has watery eyes opt for cream eye shadows, or waterproof eye shadow sticks, which will stay put much longer. You can also apply individual lashes on her or maybe it is a great idea to skip false lashes at all as the glue will be dissolved by tears.

12.  Do not bake! Baking makes your skin imperfections look more visible, as well as your older clients will see their wrinkles much better after baking! Do not do it, especially on under the eye area! You want your client to look younger not older after you’ve done your work! I would say use less powder. Apply just the right amount to set foundation but not to make the skin texture visible.

13.  Always ask your client if she is happy with her makeup. If you see any hesitation on her face insist on her telling you what you can change to make her 100% happy! Listen to her. And do exactly what she wants, not what you think would be better! (Though as the professional and artist it is always okay to kindly suggest options to your client).