A Day in the Life of a Makeup Artist

Thursday, 20 August 2015

I have been a makeup artist for nearly 10 years, I can't quite believe its been that long!  Its an amazing job and I feel lucky to have been doing it for as long as I have, I know there were times along the road when I thought it wouldn't last.  Sometimes it would seem too good to be true, doing something I love and had dreamed of doing for years, meeting amazing people, each day bringing new and exciting challenge and all for good money too!  There were also times, though, when I didn't know when the next job was going to come in and if I could cope with the unpredictable lifestyle.  I also thought in ten years time I'd have 'made it' somehow, it was always the bench mark we were given by tutors and mentors.  

As much as I have worked steadily for the last 9 and a bit years, I have chosen to put my family and my lifestyle first, I soon realised I wasn't willing to give my life up for it but instead I wanted to make the job work for me.  I started out in fashion, as that was the logical step after doing my Fashion and Editorial Makeup Design degree at London College of Fashion but after getting some work experience in TV I quickly realised that was the path I wanted to take.

I have worked on programs such as The Great British Bake Off, Deal or No Deal and The Alan Titchmarsh Show.  All dream jobs in my opinion and amazing productions to be part of.  I do love it, however, when I get a lovely job like painting the beautiful Katey Brooks' face, she is a singer/songwriter/amazing musician and just so happens to be one of my best friends.  We did a shoot together recently and I though I would take you through a typical day of a makeup artist.

The night before is the time I organise my kit, possibly before, depending on how much stuff I need to take or how complicated the job is.  I wash my brushes, pack it all up and stick it by the front door so all is ready to go and nothing is forgotten.

In the morning I usually travel to my destination via taxi or train and always get there a bit early so I have time to set up my hair and makeup kit and grab a coffee or a snack to stick in my set bag for later in the day.  Often lunch breaks just don't happen or run late so its good to be prepared.  If I'm not based in a studio, sometimes I have to set up where ever I can find a space, the most important things to make sure you have are; light, a table and plug sockets, although I have definitely had to work without all those things before.

If I'm on a TV job, now's my chance to check the schedule and see who needs to be done and by what time, its usually pushed for time so its important to be on the ball and organised.  A shoot with Katey is bliss compared to my usual type of job - one person to do and lots of time.  Luxury!

After I had finished Katey's hair and makeup, I packed up my set bag with tissues, wipes, hand sanitiser, brushes and all the makeup and hair bits I needed for touch-ups, then we headed down to the studio where we were based for the rest of the day.

If you are starting out and testing a lot, make sure you are willing to get stuck in and help with what ever might need doing, obviously your job comes first but if you find a moment when you aren't doing anything, then you may be required to hold a reflector, iron some clothes or make some tea.   Likewise when doing work experience in TV, make sure you offer to help the makeup supervisor or designer with washing brushes or organising their kits, what ever you can do to be helpful, without getting in the way of course!  It's equally important to know when to stand back and let people get on with things.

For touch ups on Katey's shoot, I just stepped in when necessary, I don't like to be too constant but I do like things to look as perfect as possible.  It's good to find a balance so you aren't running in to shot all the time, annoying everyone else and delaying the schedule.  You do, of course, want your work to be the best you can do so don't leave skin to get shiny or the hair to get flat (or what ever it is you are trying to achieve) just because you are too scared to step in.  This job is all about gauging the mood, peoples personalities and whats appropriate for each job.  Your people skills are almost more important than your makeup skills!

When we finished the shoot we packed up and left the studio as we found it, extremely important if you want to be asked back!  At this point I'm usually tired and ready for bed so I have to admit I am not one of those organised packer-uppers!  I wish I was as it would make my life a lot easier when packing for the next job.

I hope that was interesting/helpful for anyone new to the job or thinking about a career as a makeup artist!

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