Researching Your Hair and Makeup Artist

Let me stress the importance of researching your hair and makeup artist before booking a service with them.


I recently had the pleasure of servicing a new client in the studio this week. We’ll call her Grace. Grace was a gorgeous girl who was looking for hair and makeup services because she had and event to go to with her boyfriend that evening. We did a shampoo and blow out, and a traditional makeup application. Although I didn’t get to take any photos, I can tell you that she looked stunning! While I’m super excited about any chance that I get to service a new or existing clients, I have a bit of a rant to go off on for a minute.


During Grace’s appointment, we had some really lovely conversation. Towards the beginning of our service, I asked her how she found M.A.W.Beauty. Grace told me that she found the studio via a google search, which was  not a surprise to me, as a lot of clients find us that way. What she told me next kind of disturbed me a bit, though.


Grace mentioned that she had also been looking on a website called Thumbtack. While I’ve never personally used this site, I have heard about it. I’ve heard that it is a place where makeup artists are able to market their services and have clients contact them for quotes. During Grace’s search for a makeup artist, she reached out to an artist listed on Thumbtack. When the artist responded to her, she offered Grace a discounted rate on the service because she was “still building her portfolio”. When Grace told me that, I literally felt so much shame for my industry, and was so shocked that an artist would say that to a client and STILL charge the client for a service, that I literally stopped shampooing Grace’s hair for a minute!


Ladies!! Let me be clear with you!! You should not be paying an artist to build their portfolio!

When I was building a portfolio of work to show potential clients, I did lots of free work. I would call friends and ask to borrow their face or hair in exchange for a picture. I would connect with photographers and other creatives and do collaborative work in order to get the photos that I needed. Never once did I try to charge a client in order to “build my portfolio”.


There are so many “makeup artists” out there nowadays. Its really hard to tell who the real ones are, and who will do a good job. I understand that people have to start somewhere, but with the beauty industry – the makeup aspect specifically – the barrier of entry has become very low, and State Board Regulations are not being enforced. Meaning that basically, anyone with interest or passion and a caboodle of makeup can “be a makeup artist”. No training, no licensing, no problem. It’s so important to do your research and ask questions. Thankfully, my client Grace used her great discernment when choosing me as her makeup artist, but many will get burned because they base their choice off of price. Below are just a few tips that will hopefully help you to make a better choice like Grace did:


  1. Check out their website.  A professional, working artist should have a website. Not just a Facebook page, and not just an Instagram page. You will know a REAL professional artist because you will see that they’ve made an investment in their business by purchasing a website and registering a domain name related to their business. If they’re only on Facebook or Instagram, and they don’t have a website, that tells me that they may only be doing makeup as a side hustle, and they are not full time. Odds are, if you find them on Facebook or Instagram, their rates will be pretty low because they are not charging professional rates, and they are looking at your service as “extra money” in addition to their full time job. They don’t depend on it for their livelihood and they probably are not growing a business. So make sure they have an actual website, not just social media.
  2. Read their reviews.  A professional artist understands the importance of having reviews, and usually has a place online where they can collect them. Check out sites like Yelp or Google to read reviews about the artist that you have in mind. If the artist does a lot of weddings, odds are they probably have a listing on some wedding websites like The Knot or Wedding Wire, and they have their past brides/clients leave reviews for them there. Simply put, if the artist does not have any reviews from past clients that they can offer you, and if I wasn’t reasonably sure of the job that the artist would do, I probably wouldn’t want to spend money on the service.
  3. Ask to see photos.  Just like having a professional website and reviews, seeing photos of the artist’s work is super important. Like I mentioned above, when I was starting out, I offered just about every female that I was associated with at the time a free hair and makeup service in exchange for before and after photos, and I collaborated with other creative professionals in order to get professional pictures. Your potential artist should have some photos to show you. You should be able to see the quality and skill set in their work by looking at their pictures.
  4. Contact them.  That first connection usually tells it all. If you call them, do they pick up? If so, how do they sound on the phone? Are they confident when they talk to you, or do they sound like they just started taking business calls? If you send an email, how soon are they responding to you, and how thorough are they when they answer your questions? Most professionals have been communicating with clients for a while and can give you prompt, knowledgeable information when they have a client inquiring. Novices are typically figuring things out as they go along.


I hope that Grace’s story and that these tips help you all when making a decision to hire someone to do your makeup. Many people think “its just makeup”, but really, its a bit more than that. When dealing with makeup, you’re dealing with hygiene and sanitation issues. You’re dealing with bodily fluids like saliva and tear ducts. You deal with infections and disease such as conjunctivitis and, at times, cold sores. Because of this, you want someone who knows what they’re doing. You should want someone who has more than just talent, but also someone who is a clean artist. Not every artist is great out there. But, not all artists are bad either. Just be sure to do your research. Doing a little research can lead to a very happy and positive beauty experience.