During the festive period, many of us opt to get our makeup done professionally for the many parties in our diaries. That's why we decided to poll the pros about exactly what they wish clients would and wouldn't do when sitting in the makeup chair. What makes their job easier? What can ruin a good application? If you plan on getting dolled up by a makeup artist anytime soon, keep reading for expert advice on how to make the most of your professional application, including tips from First Lady Michelle Obama’s personal makeup artist, Carl Ray.
"Do not get your brows waxed (or any facial waxing) the day you are getting your makeup done," says makeup artist Mimi Tran, a Chanel brand representative. "Besides the area being sensitive and red, foundation has a hard time adhering to or sitting well on the waxed skin."
"Products like moisturiser or primer sometimes break down the chemicals that are supposed to deepen your skin," Tran tells us. "This may leave your face looking unevenly tanned or not tan at all," which would be a waste of both the spray tan and makeup session.
"Everybody has their own ideas of what they think would look good on you based on their own makeup experience, and it may not bring out your best features. Leave it to the professional," advises Tran.
"The most important thing you can not do when getting your makeup done by a professional is watching the process (unless you are there for a lesson)," says Sarah Torrento, a freelance makeup artist. "The entire look has to come together, and if you analyse the look before it is completed, chances are high that you won't like it and stress out during the process. Having your makeup done is a luxury and is totally meant to be enjoyed! So sit back, relax, and trust the artist you hired! He or she can always make the tweaks when the look is complete!"
“A look like a smoky eye can mean a completely different thing to two different people," says Ana Buitrago, a freelance makeup artist. "For example, if someone has a heavy hand. Don't assume the makeup artist knows exactly what you mean by a look.”
"I really like when clients show inspiration photos," Buitrago shares. "You may not look like the person in the picture, but it will give the artist an idea of your preferences."
"Trust the artist to give you suggestions based on your features," says Buitrago. "We're trained to know what will look good based on your features, and if you're paying for a makeup artist, you might as well get that service.”
“Play up one or the other, but not both,” says makeup artist Carl Ray, resident makeup artist for The Four Seasons in Washington, D.C., and personal makeup artist for First Lady Michelle Obama. Pick a focus feature—eyes, skin or lips—that you want the makeup artist to focus on.
"Whether it's a full strip or even just a few in the corner, wear lashes. The camera loves it,” says Ray. Plus, if you find it tricky to apply them yourselves, getting your makeup done by a professional is the perfect opportunity to embrace false lashes without how-to anxiety.
"Some shimmer on one area, like eyes or cheeks, looks great. Don't put shimmer everywhere," Ray advises.
"If you're going to a makeup artist and want them to do your makeup, the most important thing is to be open to new trends,” says MAC senior artist Regan Rabanal. "If you have a certain way of doing your brows or your lips or contour, be open to a new shape because those are the things that change from season to season and are aligned with trends. If you're so particular about having to have it a certain way and are not willing to change, you could really set yourself in a time capsule of that trend. I usually have to work someone to get out of their habit. If you aren't open, you will never let the magic of makeup affect you."
"We get a lot of clients showing pictures they want of straightforward Instagram makeup, which means a strong, dramatic brow, with a dark lip, with a contour and highlight, with a smoky eye—and it's overkill," says Rabanal. "It might look really beautiful on a picture that was run through a few different filters before it was posted, but is it going to look the same in person, and more importantly, is it trendy all together? No."
"A client will come with expectations of what they want, a makeup artist will do exactly what they want, and then the client will freak out because it's outside of their comfort zone," says MAC senior artist Tiffany Johnston. "So my primary advice is not to do something too outside your comfort zone. If you're going out and have to have your picture taken, come knowing that you can step a little bit outside your comfort zone, but take baby steps. Because otherwise you're going to look in the mirror and say, Who is that?"
"Makeup artists have been doing this long enough that you aren't going to hurt their feelings," Johnston says. "They want you to tell them what you don't like. Be brass-tacks honest."
"I think clients think they should come with no makeup, and show up with nothing at all," Johnston says. "If you do show up with your makeup, a makeup artist can remove it, but at least then they have a visual of how you're comfortable. If a girl comes to me and just has mascara on and says, 'I got really dressed up today,' I realise her idea of natural is totally different than mine. My idea of natural is only two sets of lashes and a little bit of glitter, and her idea is chapstick and a brow set. So I think it's actually good to come with your makeup on. If you come with no makeup, it literally is frightening to us because we're pleasers, and I could think a berry lip would look amazing and you might say I look goth."
"When you say 'Do whatever you want,' be ready for them to do whatever they want," Johnston advises. "Don't say that and then afterwards say you hate it. You probably should have told them what you wanted if that's going to be the case."
Opening Image: Victor VIRGILE/Getty Images