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How To: Prep Like A Pro Makeup Artist

I know there are so many of you out there who love makeup. And with that comes the need to create and share your passion with others.

So in today’s post, we’ll cover how to prep like a pro makeup artist and the do’s and don’ts of doing makeup on others…



Let me start by saying, makeup is definitely art. It goes as far as your creativity and the personal spin you put on it.

I’m not one of those “you have to have a degree or a certificate to do makeup” kind of people, BUT….

I also need to stress that there’s so much more to being a professional makeup artist than just doing beauty makeup on yourself or others – (which is predominantly what we see on social media today).

Makeup as a whole is divided into many categories: beauty, editorial, TV, theatre/stage, special FX and so on. So, if you’re considering working as a professional makeup artist, attending a course which covers all aspects of makeup can help you decide which category you’re more drawn to.

This also enables you to have the knowledge and practical experience behind you – if and when you’re booked by brands and agencies. Every part of makeup category adds to your skill set and hence opens doors for you to expand your creative vision.

And you’ll never know, maybe your calling is in Special FX makeup and being exposed to it in a course could lead you down the path where you end up working on major blockbusters or your favorite TV show 🙂


Naturally, makeup application is done in people’s personal space. You’re in their face, touching their skin, talking to them throughout and so it’s imperative that you’re at your absolute prime in terms of personal hygiene.

Here are the key areas to pay attention to…


Personal Hygiene

YOUR MAKEUP: There are no rules that a professional makeup artist has to wear a full face of makeup at all times. That said, your personal style and the care you put into your presentation is an important factor when it comes to first impressions. It reflects your own style of makeup which can be an inspiration to your clients and they could also be weighing up your abilities of what you can do for them based on your own style. So, always make sure your face reflects your personal style and care when it comes to makeup.

YOUR BREATH: I know…it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when prepping for makeup but working so close to people’s faces, it’s important to make sure your dental hygiene is on point. Carry a travel size toothbrush/toothpaste and mints with you, so you can be fresh and ready for your clients at all times.

YOUR HANDS: Needless to say, when doing makeup, hands/fingers become an extension of the tools we use. So it’s extremely important to thoroughly wash your hands and keep antibacterial wipes/gel in your kit.

Never go from one client to next without properly washing your hands first; and always cleanse in between applications going from one product to another too.

YOUR NAILS: Many people love the long glamorous nails, decorated in all sorts of colors and finishes but there’s nothing scarier than having your makeup done by someone who comes at your face with talons.

Although we use brushes and makeup tools, sometimes our fingers do a better job in blending products, wiping excess residues, applying false lashes etc, so keep your nails short, clean and well manicured.


Bacteria loves transferring from person to person ready to take residence wherever it can. Makeup products and tools can become a breeding ground for bacteria if you don’t take care of their hygiene.

The most important reminder for products is: NEVER apply products onto your clients’ skin directly from the tube/container. I know this can be challenging when it comes to powder products but read on to find out how you can work around this.

Product Hygiene

ALCOHOL: No, unfortunately not what you’re thinking 🙂 I’m referring to Rubbing Alcohol which usually contains a potent 70% alcohol rate and it’s designed to kill bacteria.

You should always have a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol in your kit – to not only clean your brushes in between applications, but to also spray over your powder products such as blushes and eyeshadows (where dipping brushes straight into the pan may be inevitable in some instances).

BRUSHES, TOOLS, SPONGES: If you apply makeup on multiple clients on the same day, invest in multiple sets of brushes and tools so you can dedicate a clean set of items to each individual client. Always wash your brushes and tools once you get home so they’re clean and ready for your next job.

I’ve been using Dr Bronner’s Tea Tree Castille Soap for years as it melts the products off brushes and the tea tree oil is anti-bacterial which helps clean them further. I also always spray a light veil of rubbing alcohol over my makeup brushes and tools after I wash them – again for an extra boost of clean.

PLATE & SPATULA: These 2 items are a must if you’re doing makeup on others. This is where you can scoop lipsticks, lip glosses, liquid and cream products from their containers with the spatula, apply it to the plate first and then onto your client.

This will ensure your products never come into contact with your client’s skin – which prevents bacteria; and hence being passed around from person to person.

The plate and spatula are also great in custom mixing products for your clients. You can purchase metal plate/spatulas from Amazon and eBay.

DISPOSABLE MASCARA WANDS: Mascara is another product that should NEVER be applied directly from the tube. Eye infections are terrible and very persistent too, so you need to ensure your clients are well taken care of when it comes to eye products.

This is where disposable mascara wands come in handy.  Every mascara wand should only be used once and be disposed of after each application. And never dip the same wand into the tube twice.

e.g.: Use one wand for upper lashes, and another wand for bottom lashes. If you need to build volume, use a fresh wand again.

You can purchase disposable mascara wands in packs of 100 at a very reasonable price off Amazon or eBay.

EYELINERS/LIPLINERS: Wooden pencils should always be freshly sharpened. Yes it can seem a waste of product to be sharpening pencils which may already be sharp enough, but again, it’s best to be safe than to be blamed for giving someone an eye infection or a cold sore.

For retractable pencils, take a paper towel and rub the pencil into the towel until the first layer completely comes off. Then spray it with rubbing alcohol, wait for it to dry and proceed with application.

EXPIRY DATE: I admit I tend to stretch out my personal products past their expiry dates but they should always be within their expiry dates when it comes to clients.

Keep a log of when you purchase products for your kit so you can do interval checks and replace those that have expired or nearing their expiry dates. You can also put stickers on the products with the purchase date for easy reference.

Products will usually have a picture of a small container with 6M, 12M etc next to it, indicating expiration period in months.


SKINCARE PRODUCTS: Not every client you do makeup on is going to come to you with a clean canvas or moisturized skin; and not every client will have the same skin type.

So, make sure to have basic skincare products in your kit, designed for Sensitive Skin. This includes Micellar Water or wipes, which are gentle and great for removing makeup, especially eye makeup. And also a sensitive skin moisturizer with basic ingredients – organic if possible.

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on skincare. Drusgtores stock really good affordable organic skincare brands.

SKIN CONCERNS: Some people are really sensitive to ingredients used in makeup, specifically oils, talc and silicone. When you’re making your appointments, be sure to ask your clients if they have any skin sensitivities so you can alter the base products you use on them.

e.g.: someone who’s allergic to dimethicone which is a silicone derivative would react to primers and foundations which contain these ingredients. This is when you would use a water based primer/foundation on them.

PAPER TOWELS, Q-TIPS & COTTON PADS: When you start practicing healthy, hygienic makeup application, you’ll find you’ll be reaching for these ‘side helpers’ every step of the way. Cleaning products and tools, along with any mistakes in application is so much easier when you have these products readily at your disposal.

HAND HELD MIRROR: Last but not least is the trusty old mirror. Have a good size mirror in your kit to hand over to your client and watch their faces light up when they see your amazing work.

Isn’t that one of the most rewarding parts of doing makeup on others afterall? 🙂

And that, my beauties, is a basic list of key factors to consider when you’re doing makeup on others. I always say: “treat your clients exactly as you would like to be treated if you were sitting in the makeup chair”.

Whether you do makeup for fun, or as a job, the impression you leave, your professionalism and how much care you put into your craft is just as important as your talent.

Let me know in the comments if you do makeup on others; and what you think of these pro-prep tips?


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