Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Hard Part of Being a Makeup Artist...

Hi Bellas,

I wanted to share with you a makeover I did a few weeks ago.  This was a part of the community service program I participated in called the Help Portrait.  I worked with a team of photographers and the Center for Working Families for this National Day of giving back.  The premise of the Help Portrait is to give members of the community the opportunity to have a professional portrait taken.  Many of us take this for granted.  Sadly, some only have their portrait taken when being incarcerated.  Everyone should have a chance to have their picture taken...it gives a sense of confidence and a meaningful momento to take home.  I did the makeovers with the help of my two friends who assisted me. 

Note:  This isn't the typical happy go lucky post...it's my honest thoughts and my real experience that shows the other side of being a makeup artist.


I'm not going to lie, but the experience definitely challenged me as both a person and a makeup artist.  It was a 7 hour day of not sitting down or taking a break.  While there were five photographers, there was only one makeup artist.  I had to turn the makeovers around in an average of 20 minutes with a line of women watching every brush stroke.  Many of the women were not used to wearing makeup at all, or were older and set in their ways.  As a result, a lot of women weren't exactly pleased with the makeovers.  Mind you, this isn't my first time dealing with a client that didn't love their look.  However, a combination of exhaustion and negative comments was a bit much for me that day.  From an objective point of view, I think the looks came out nicely.  I tried to give most women a natural look that photographed well and enhanced their features.  Also, this was a complimentary service for the community.  I don't think everyone took that into account.  


Here is a picture of one client.  Prior to my makeover, the only thing that she wore was a silver lipstick that was a bit dated.  I wanted to bring more of a natural color palette to her lips and also clear up some discoloration on her skin.  I ended up using mainly my 88 Warm Palette to create a polished look for her eyes.  The client's reaction:  "Ughh, I look dead."  Not exactly what I was expecting.  She had seen my work on some other women who were in the chair before her, and liked it.  But when it comes to seeing your own makeover, sometimes it's a different story.

Honestly, I thought it came out pretty good.  I think it was hard for her to see her skin looking a bit lighter.  When people have discoloration to their skin, it really changes their skin tone.  It was hard for the client to see herself in a new light.  I had to take her reaction, and assure her that she looked great.  I offered some suggestions to change the look but she declined.  Looking at the picture objectively, I think maybe I could have added more blush to warm up her skin.  I had a bit on, but the camera didn't pick it up.  Something to take into account when doing photoshoot makeup...pack on the blush!  Oh well, you win some you lose some! 

What I learned from this is that being a Makeup Artist definitely makes you a stronger person. You learn to communicate with different types of people and handle both praise and rejection. The key is to be confident in your abilities, listen to your clients, and execute what you think is a good combination of the client's wishes and your expertise.  Keep your head up and always learn from an experience, but don't let it keep you down.

I have more makeovers from my Help Portrait coming up.  Stay tuned!

31 comments:

Tysh said...

I think the look came out pretty well, you know some older people are just set in their ways.

nat said...

I'm so glad you posted this. People need to see that when you complete a look on someone and they don't get the results they want - even if it looks good - it's hard to deal with.

When I did my "audition" for the wedding I did last fall, the bride said she hated the eye liner. It was too thick - blah blah blah. I told her I would make it thinner on her wedding day if that is what she wanted and then left.

When her wedding day came, I was prepared to give her the thin liner and she told me to do what I had done originally b/c she liked it after wearing it.

BTW the look is great.

Krishna said...

thank you for posting this. As an aspiring mua, i need all the preparation i can get. You are my number one resource for all things mua related. Thanks!

MsTaMarie said...

Thanks for posting this. Most MUA's have these same issues but rarely speak about them. I am an extremely emotional and passionate person, and take things personal when a client criticizes my work:-( I think your work was lovely by the way.

Kell said...

this was a great post, girl. i have a lot of experience working with community programs and i think a lot of the time, the negative comments are a result of insecurity. they're not comfortable with themselves & don't see themselves in a positive light - so when you try and put them in one - they put up a wall because they don't know how to process it. it's so hard to deal with though, because it almost seems like they're TRYING to hurt you - but you can't look at it like that. you're wonderfully talented & we all know it. let it be motivation for the future xo

Ada Luxe said...

Thank you for sharing the trial and tribulations of being an artist. When you are dealing with people who are set in their ways regarding makeup it is hard to break their routine mold. I had a wedding this past summer and one of the bridesmaids was an avid tanner and she had various degrees of discoloration. I evened out her skin beautifully but when she saw it she said it was too light but behind my back. When I approached her on it she would not talk to me. I said to her I am happy to fix anything for you...she said it was fine and proceeded to bad mouth me to other people. the joke was later on her.. when I saw the photos. She "touched up" my application with her own makeup after the ceremony and she wears a foundation 3 shades lighter than her actual tone....and there was a mask cast. Oh well you win some you lose some. Every job is a learning experience, EVERY JOB..no matter how long you have been doing it.

alien man?! said...

Yea I'm guessing they were being testy on account of their own insecurity but it sounds like you know handle all situations professionally and gracefully :) love reading these insights by you.

Jamilla Camel said...

I think you did a great job! I think that many women have a pre-defined notion of what they should look like, or stuck in time warp!

You are a brave and tactful person!

Mayra said...

I agree with Tysh, older people are not used to seeing themselves with a little enhancement. You did an awesome job at keeping her look her age.

mina said...

She looked a lot better after you worked your magic on her! I can't believe she actually said that.

chizishush said...

this was a great post! i really appreciated the combination of technical information and the honesty of your experience.

Gemma said...

I guess there are difficult people out there no matter what you do or how generous you are. They just don't want to be happy. Don't take it as a reflection on you. Your work is beautiful and the way you graciously handled the situation is even more beautiful.

Fortunate Face said...

I think she looks beautiful. I had someone say the EXACT SAME THING to me once! She NEVER wore makeup & hated the idea all together.
i always tell people that they actually MISS the discoloration on their faces- that theya ren't too pale, just corrected & now I'll use colored cosmetics to add color back in the the right areas. They usually will then reserve judgement until i'm done, and are typically more happy.

NV Beauty said...

I think you did a great job! I'm sure she'll look back and see how beautiful you made her. =) Sorry you had a rough day though.

The Makeup Dolls said...

You did a wonderful thing volunteering your time! It is so disheartening when you give your time and effort and it is not appreciated in return. Just keep thoughts of all of the women that were happy with your work and thankful you were there giving your time and let the others go.
It's great to see such an honest post! Keep up the good work!

TinaBobeena said...

wow! that's so brave of you to take everything into consideration. I honestly thought the before and after pic turned out great. she looked wonderful and more chic. its like you said, she prob wasn't used to it if she hardly worke makeup. keep up the positive attitude! :D

bowensma said...

wow that seems kinda ungrateful that she would say that, but you can't please everyone. I think you did an amazing job. You really enhanced her features :)

STACYFACES said...

WOW! Ren...this was a great post! I know all too well about those feelings when you know you have "beat" a face and it looks gorgeous and then they look in the mirror and say " it looks ok", or they don't say anything at all. It can take a hit to your confidence, but i appreciate your candid thoughts on the trials of ALL makeup artists. I've worked with a celebrity artist as well and one woman said they same thing to her " ugh, i look dead". So it happens to all of us, no matter how long you have been in the game! Take the good with the bad and keep it movin'!

miss theresa :) said...

Wow I'm sorry about those unappreciative ladies. The make over you did for her was great; she didn't look as old and was very well put together. Silver lipstick .. I didn't even think they made that O.o Good work :D

Alteregobyshonilee said...

This is a really great post. Just know that you cannot please everyone, but, you can definitely walk away from the situation knowing you gave your best under the circumstance! By the way, I think your work is absolutely amazing! I am new to this beauty blogging and makeup artistry. I am very excited I found your page because your posts are always VERY informative. Keep up the great work!

DANA said...

i like this post. i can understand where you're coming from, even though i'm not a makeup artist, though MUAs inspire me!
and i agree with some older people are set in their ways. i think her skin looks better a great deal in the 'after' shot, and she looks more vibrant than the 'before' photo.

sssdawna said...

wow, what an amazing project to be a part of! plenty of jobs require long periods of time standing with no breaks, so take heart in knowing you weren't alone...

i don't know why the lady thought she looked dead (lighter skin?) but i honestly don't think she looked any more alive in her before photo. is that mean?

but i know hairstylists deal with people not liking a look A LOT too lol i think you handled it well.

Crissy K said...

Great post. I would love to do community projects like that but I've been scared of the same thing. I find that many older people or people that don't wear a lot of makeup have the same reactions when i apply makeup on them." oh it looks like makeup", "that color looks terrible on me" etc etc. You just have to work with them and make them happy in the end. You are such a great artist. I think she looked great. Her skin looked even and fresh. Sometimes too, they need reassurance from people around them or need to wear the look in like Nat said.

Charlene said...

u transformed that woman Ren....but u spoke true words today..I'm glad u did. As a makeup artist myself, I have also endured the harsh criticism and sometimes I also am my worst critic...but this is our reality. It's never easy to get up in someone else's face and change the way they are used to seeing themselves...we can only do what we envision for their best look and pray they love it!

AMBER said...

The make over looked great!!!

I remember the first make over I did was for a wedding. I was a nervous wreck. Of course, she didn't like it at first. But, this lady was used to only wearing lip gloss and mascara- so it was a big change from what her regular routine was.

ngocupham said...

I think the after picture really make her look younger. I would love to have you makeover me. Ha haha. I truly agree with you that many people love to see the look on celebrities or someone they see on themselves. However, it truly depends on you face structures, your skins tones, and many other factors. Also some people think that they look so dead, but for a photoshoot, thicker makeup truly make you shine and bring out your hidden beauty. Examine the pic, her skin is not saggy and has more even skin tone. I think it is perfect. But I hope this is not the final face portrait, b/c the photograph is a bit ugly. My cousin's wife was wearing thick makeup on their wedding night. Since they do not have a really pro photographer, so her makeup really help her not being faded. Though outside, everyone said that she look like a Corpse wife. ha haha.

I really want to do some free lance in doing makeup for others, but I am really scare of facing your problems. I still have a lot a lot to learn though. hahha

You are such an expert on this already

Melissa said...

Ren- You're creative AND have a heart to help out in the community! You are an inspiration and offer some great advice! This was a great post to read! Great job on evening out her skin tone...i think she looks fabulous. You're right on older individuals being set in what they like and dislike! My mom, who is looks pretty got for a 60 yr old, let me do her makeup for an event. During the process she kept a mirror in front of her face to watch what I did. She would then ask for more of this or less of that and the look pretty much looked like she had done the makeup! ha oh well constructive criticism makes one learn and grow! Keep up the awesome work Ren!!

KissyFace Artistry said...

Your work turned out awesomely well. Sure there will be criticism no matter how well you do. But I'm so glad you took it all in stride.
And thanks for revealing that everything is all lollipops and gum drops.

Keep up your amazing work, love.

audgepodge said...

I think it's great you took that on and I wish they were more grateful but yeah, sometimes that's what you get. And it's always tough when you know they look great and everyone else thinks they look great, but the client herself doesn't agree b/c she has a different "aesthetic". oh well. the pic looks great though.

I'm going to orientation next week with the american cancer society next week for their Look Better, Feel Better program that helps cancer patients feel their best. I look forward to it!

LilMixeDivaNYC said...

Hey LS! I love reading your blog for inspiration even though I'm not a makeup artist. We just gotta keep pushing through life's obstacles even if we don't get the results we were looking for. I'm motivating myself to keep up with my freelance photography. It's a joy to me to see other successful artists!

Anita said...

I think her makeover was just fine. Her skin looks so much better, with blush or no blush. I got a couple of weeks ago some negative comments too from a clients sister. She told her sister,my client, while I was doing her makeup, to tell me not to pack on makeup so heavily to her face. I was there, listening to that girl lecturing me, INDIRECTLY, how to do makeup. I thought this was the rudest thing she could do. Well imagine that my client's skin was not the best, but she had no major blemishes or discoloration to cover. I used mac's face and body on her cuz it's light and definitively hard to "pack on" . Her sister still thought it was a lot, and she was really rudely commenting on an other client too, telling me that her foundation did not match her skin. I am 10000% sure it did.... I'm not the person to talk back usually, but this girl really pissed me off and I told her : why don't you do their makeup then if you know so much? I could see that my client was so embarrassed by her sisters comments. Well one thing's for sure, I won't ever book her if she's coming with her sister again. I won't let a teen who has no to minimal idea about makeup ruin my day. I just learned that there are girls, women, who think they know better your job, I ignore them and never book them again.