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The Makeup Chair – Tips on how to make it fun for everyone!


Malia2Being both an actor and a makeup artist, I have experienced what it’s like to sit in the makeup chair as well as what it’s like to work on someone sitting in the chair and man has it opened my eyes. Sadly my experiences in the chair have been less than pleasant and left me with either a sore ego or sore face. My mission is to try and put an end to the injustice….let’s stop playing nice for a second and lay it all on the table; shall we?

Hey Make-up artists! Pay attention and take some notes, this section is for you!

1.     Sitting in the makeup chair is a very vulnerable experience, your job is to study the talent’s face and look for all the imperfections so you can correct them, this DOES NOT MEAN you have the right to comment and make them feel EVEN MORE INSECURE about their “discolorations,” “really white neck, ” “horrible skin” or “wrinkles.” Unless you can find a way to suggest options for them to cure any of their imperfections in a NICE way, keep it to yourself, do your job and camouflage it and instead find something positive to compliment them on such as their beautiful cheekbones, eyes or radiant skin.

2.     The talent are humans too which mean they have sensitive skin, bones, necks etc. meaning grabbing their face and moving it forcefully in any direction you want will hurt and will make the talent’s experience in the chair uncomfortable. And I mean, do you really want a reputation for hurting people? Because THAT will really get you jobs……not. Instead how about asking them to move it where you need it or GENTLY guide it where you need it.

3.     Anyone who has sat in the chair knows what it’s like to be fearful of what is being applied to their faces, why it’s being put there and so on. To make the talent more comfortable just let them know along the way what you’re doing, what you are using and WHY you are using it. Unless this is a client who you have worked with multiple times before, ALWAYS ask them what they want and what they usually do on themselves so you can avoid any horror/shock when they look in the mirror afterwards. Trust me, the more they know the better, and letting them know their opinion matters is of the utmost importance.

4.     HYGIENE. My god it saddens me that I even have to bring this up but man of man do I need to.  Never EVER should the same makeup brush touch multiple different faces without being washed in between. Make sure the talent always sees you sanitize your makeup with alcohol and wash your brushes with cleaner. ALWAYS wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer before touching the talent!!! (I have an array of hand sanitizers with different scents and I let the talent choose, touches like this will make you memorable.) Mascara wands should never be double dipped into the tube unless that mascara is only going to be used on one person, meaning it’s either their own or you are going to give it to them at the end of their session. If you have one tube of mascara and multiple talent, disposable wands are the way to go and they each only ever get ONE dip.

5.     Last but not least, be friendly. If the talent seems shy and nervous do everything you can to make them comfortable. If they are studying lines or ask for quiet, oblige their request.  Make sure your breath is pleasant, be gentle and make them feel pampered. Oh and, be awesome.

Hey you pretty talent you… it’s your turn!!!!

1.     Remember that you have a voice. If you feel uncomfortable with anything the makeup artist is doing, TELL THEM. A lot of the time we get so in a routine we just go about our business and what is right for some people may not be right for you so the best thing to do is always speak up or let them know before you even get started what your preferences / dislikes are. If they act like a-holes because you spoke up….well…F@#$ them! Now you know who NOT to hire again!

2.     Protect yourself; watch to make sure the makeup artist is sanitizing their products and cleaning their brushes. Make sure they never use the same mascara wand on you that they used on someone else. You don’t know what kind of things are living on the eyelashes or skin of the talent that came before you, be your own body guard and make sure none of their nasty becomes your nasty.

3.     Be nice. Same thing for makeup artists. Whether you’re the talent or the artist it’s an intimate experience which can be extremely awkward if one party decides not to play nice in the sandbox, get my drift? I’ve had a lot of talent treat me really crappy and I’ll tell ya, it sucks. Makeup artists don’t get the pampering the talent does, we’re usually getting yelled at, spending countless hours on our feet and that is made all the worse when the talent sitting in our chair is treating us like a second class citizen so please, treat others the way you would like to be treated and all will be good. And I mean, think about it……they’re messing with your FACE…..if you piss them off, imagine the things they could do to it…………. Capisce?

Keep in mind, getting your makeup done or applying makeup should be a fun, creative and relaxing experience. If you are a makeup artist find ways to make the experience special, I always like to gift my talent with a mascara but find your own thing that sets you apart.

Have any tips of your own? Share them with me in the comments below!!!!!!


Malia Miglino

About Malia Miglino

Known to most as an actor and make-up artist - Malia Miglino considers herself a creative above all else. Her passion to create and chase her dreams brought her to LA at 18 where she attended the Makeup Designory and received her Journeyman Certificate. After years of both acting and doing make-up for web series and indie film; she was inspired to open her own freelance beauty and consult service, Beauty and the Brush in 2011. In 2014 Malia decided to start taking her career into her own hands and created her first web series “Macabre Mondays.” Whether it’s illustrating a children's book, filming an old haunted location, delving into a character or making up an actor on set; happiness comes from living the life of your choosing. For Malia that means creating something everyday and inspiring other women to do the same.