Have you had any unusual or funny experiences getting your makeup done professionally?

I haven’t! I think the last time I had mine done by a makeup artist might be nearly a decade ago, so truly not very many moments to choose from.

— Christine
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It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten my make up professionally done, but I remember MUAs always having trouble working with my freckles. I have never been someone that has wanted to conceal my freckles because I like them, but MUAs were always taken aback that I didn’t want a full coverage foundation to cover them up. It always looked weird to me to cover them up, like I was wearing a mask.

Have done this very seldom. When in my 20s, had it done at a major department store. Lots of foundation, eyebrow pencil, and accenting the mole on my face into a beauty mark. The only thing ‘me’ about it was the borderline dead look lipstick, long before it became a thing. Then I decided to visit my uncle at his job. ‘May I help you?’ He had no idea who I was until I spoke. Slightly less BITD I had my face done by Jane, one of the founders of Benefit, at Bendel’s. The app was decent, but the colors were all wrong. She went with the popular coral lips/blush and 2 shade brown e/s. Clashy and muddy. I think she was doing a safe, typical look on everyone, and not attending to skintone or input. It wasn’t funny; it seemed like total lack of insight.

Isn’t it interesting how often “safe” choices in fashion and beauty actually don’t work on huge swaths of people? I’m thinking of Carolina Herrera insisting that the white button-down is the most important item of clothing a woman owns, or Lucky magazine’s insistence that “everyone looks better with khol liner.” Just like you said, you need to tailor stuff and personalize it.

I had a photo shoot and I didn’t feel like doing my own makeup, so I went to Sephora. The makeup artist was perfect. Super helpful and did my makeup flawlessly. But there was a woman who clearly didn’t get the hint that she was working with me b/c I had booked the time. Kept asking me and the MUA for assistance and asking about products, it was super annoying b/c you don’t have a lot of time. I wish they had closed off cubicles or something b/c that took away from my experience.

The one other time was for my sister’s wedding and it went perfectly. No issues at all.

My experience has been, over and over, that I look about 15 years older when I have my makeup done. Maybe that’s because I don’t normally wear foundation and powder, and maybe that has an inherently “aging” effect? But I kind of doubt it, because millions of women who don’t want to look older wear foundation and powder.

I also think it’s funny that when someone does my makeup in China, I get compliments on my fair skin, but in America people use a lot of bronzer and once or twice tried to put darker foundation on me.

Oh, and there was, “your face isn’t very symmetrical” girl backstage at a show, who made out like she couldn’t do her job because of my face. She ended up passing me off to another artist.

Delightful! Your face isn’t symmetrical, as if you’re a cartoon doodle 🙄. I was once getting my brows waxed (at age 21, I’m super fair haired and skin, very light white peach fuzz on my face) and the lady asked me “do you want me to do your mustache too?” WTH! I was still a child practically! I was mortified and stared at myself for hours trying to decide if the hair was noticeable 6in away from the mirror. Normally people compliment me on something, I mean you’re into aesthetics as a business and want to sell things, why wouldn’t you compliment people—you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, my granny always said 😉

Jumping off your first observation, I took my mom to the Estee Lauder counter at Nordstrom a few years back. My mom would have been in her mid to late 50s at the time, and very pretty, with the facial lines and textures one would expect at her age. She has also dealt with cystic acne her whole life and feels most confident with what I now know to be a very buildable coverage foundation. So we sit down at the Lauder counter and I mention, per my mom’s instruction, that she likes very FULL coverage. I think the sales associate must have been new because she took it at 100% face value and caked on the heaviest, matte-est, most stage makeup looking base I have ever seen outside of a school play. Everything unflattering about mom’s skin tripled, except, admittedly, the acne was covered up. Like you said, my mom looked 15 or even 20 years older. It was seriously haunting how horrible it looked, I didn’t even want her to see! At the end the SA did show her a mirror and my mom showed a lot of grace by laughing it off and thanking the SA for her time but admitting she couldn’t buy that and needed it taken off. She ended up getting what she always gets, which as I recall is one of the MAC liquid foundations.

But yeah, crazy how aging the wrong base can be! And tons of trail and error to find flattering ones!

Actually a kind of funny makeup story, part of how I got into makeup was I used to go to the MAC counter like multiple times a week as a teenager because I had a huge crush on the obviously gay makeup guy. 🙂

Nothing comes to mind, as I haven’t had any real makeovers in-store of late, if ever. The only strange thing that ever happens to me is how many SA’s assume that a much lighter foundation will match me and proceed to leave whitened streaks on my arm or jawline, then they’re shocked, I’m generally a bit peeved and frustrated (because I tried to tell them it’s going to be too pale!). Only a handful of SA’s ever got it just right. In their defense, I can appear lighter under harsh blue lighting than I truly am, though.

I haven’t had any full makeovers, but last year I was in Ulta looking for a new solution for my chemo-ravaged eyebrows (chemo was more than 10 years ago, but eyebrows never fully grew back). I told a sales associate at the Benefit Brow Bar that I was wanted my brows to look as natural as possible, not “Instagram brows.” She sat me down and started working on me. She applied a product to one brow, then the other, then stood back and looked at me with her head to the side and said “hmmmm.” Then she picked up a different product and did the same on top of the previous product. Apply, stand back, look puzzled, “hmmmm.” Three products and 20 minutes later, she handed me the mirror. When I saw what it looked like, I thought to myself, “Why do I look so angry?” But I smiled, as best I could with my angry brows, and said, “thank you.”

YES! Inexperienced MUAs assume that brown eyes + brown hair = warm toned, but I am cool toned. So I often get way too orange foundation that they blend into my neck like somehow it’ll turn into the right color 😂

I have never made an appointment and had an actual makeup application. I have gone to a makeup counter and after voicing interest in a product have the SA remove all my makeup and apply a full face. The last time I had this done was about a year ago when I was in Seattle. I went to the Nordstrom’s downtown and the Cle de Peau SA did my full face because I was interested in a foundation. I ended up buying the foundation, the concealer and a blush. It was late at night and dark when I left and got back to my hotel and thought I looked about 5 shades darker than I am but figured it was the lighting in the hotel. No it wasn’t. I applied the next morning and went out into the sunlight and I seriously was at least 4 shades darker. I had to go back into the hotel and redo my whole base. I am just thankful I didn’t walk around all day looking like that.

I had my makeup done for my wedding by appointment at a Benefit counter. The artist chose too dark of a foundation, and instead of removing it he just put an entire other layer of the right shade on top lol

I haven’t had my makeup professionally done in decades. And as I’ve been VIB Rouge for some few years now and so I’m “entitled” to free makeovers, I really should start availing myself of this service. But the only funny story was a Lise Watier rep doing my face and brows and, honestly, my brows looked so alarmingly “you must be the daughter of Joan Crawford and Groucho Marx” that I wiped them off as soon as I left the store!

Years ago I was speaking to a very helpful Sephora associate and mentioned I live Cara Delevigne’s eyebrows, and Julianne Hough, but I’m more fair and blonder than either of them (my hair is a true light golden blonde with white roots, so it looks like I’m darn near bald at the hairline!) I didn’t think the eyebrow mascara for my hair shade was really doing anything so she went ahead and used a dark brown, I somehow convinced myself that this looked good (I will say, she wasn’t trying to convince me, haha). As I walked thru the mall several people’s heads whipped around and men, god bless them, weren’t even trying to hide the stares—nope, not “dang girl, you look fine” but “wow, what happened, what is she trying to hide?!”

About 4 or 5 years ago, I had my makeup done at Sephora for fun, and I got it free for being Rouge. The MUA was great for the most part, asking me what I wanted, and doing an an excellent look. I learned the trick of using a black base for bright pinks and purples, to make them pop better than against white.

Weirdly, she was the exact opposite about foundation. She used their Pantone skin matching sensor system and brought back the shade in the foundation I wanted to try. It was too warm and several shades too dark. I told her so. She said, “You’re not as pale as you think you are. Just wait till you have it on.” So, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and let her use it. I told her I thought it looked wrong, but she said that was because I wasn’t used to having the bronzer she used to warm up and contour my face. She used very little, but I believed her again.

When my husband picked me up, the first thing he asked was what was wrong with my face. The foundation was very warm and peachy, and every bit as dark as I’d thought. We skipped eating out, and I washed it off as soon as I got home.

A few days later, I went on my own and matched myself, and wore that shade around all day. Perfect match. In that foundation line, it was fully 5 shades lighter than what the machine matched me as. Plus, it had neutral instead of warm undertones.

Fast forward a couple years, and I went with a friend to an Urban Decay event at a local Ulta where they did mini makeovers. I wanted to try their All Nighter foundation. That MUA matched me by sight, and nailed the shade perfectly, even accounting for the tiny bit the foundation would oxidize. I thought that was highly amusing, considering how much money Pantone must have put into developing the analyzer, and what it must have cost Sephora to buy the machine.

Not me personally, but my best friend at the time was getting married for the second time which is a very long, convoluted story from 5 years ago that ended in us no longer being friends, but she got her makeup done at a Dior counter in Melbourne the night that we went to strip club as part of her hens “celebration” and she got mistaken for a stripper. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that but she got SO offended and then trashed talked all the performers all night and was generally a big drama queen about it. I tried to talk her down but got accused of being jealous because I’m fat, so I just went and double fisted margaritas and chatted to the bouncers and the bartenders all night. I had a great time even though I had been reluctant to go along in the first place and she was miserable but trying to pretend she was having the BEST TIME EVER.

Then on her actual wedding day, she got her makeup done by a professional MUA (her, the other 2 bridesmaids, her mum and her sister – but not me, because I wear glasses so my makeup wasn’t quite so critical despite the fact I had contacts in – she didn’t realize this apparently) and they all had lots of black eyeliner, mega false lashes plus bronzer and glitter out the wazoo. The ceremony was 20 minutes so that went fine but then during the bridal party photos all the false lashes started coming off, so there was a major crisis about that because they insisted on getting shots taken in a really inaccessible place, the makeup artist had left already and there wasn’t anything they could do except peel them off. She kept asking me to fix it but there was literally nothing I could do, standing on a slippery, narrow and winding moss covered concrete path in teetering heels that were one size too small with only a bunch of fake roses in one hand. So she cried and it was, of course all my fault.

Throw in the context of her wedding dress having to be re-hemmed the day before the wedding because it was super crooked, then it had to be drycleaned again on the morning off because it somehow ended up with a lipstick stain on the front of the skirt and then right before kickoff, the celebrant asked for the marriage license and they COULD NOT find it so they didn’t even legally get married in the actual ceremony, which ended up being horrendously late and I’m pretty sure her mum dosed her up on pharmaceuticals to calm her down, so look, she was super stressed and none of it was funny at the time and we all had to smile and pretend everything was super fine and romantic and amazing while she’d been screaming and cursing us all out ten minutes before hand. And I knew she was especially mad at me because I’d asked her ONCE a couple of months before the wedding if she was SURE she wanted to marry him (first husband of 18 months 10 years previously was an @$$hole and she told me after the divorce not to let her marry another one) given a whole lot of behavioural red flags that were suddenly cropping up, including him insisting she change her surname even though up until that point he’d claimed he didn’t care at all, etc etc etc so she was already preemptively mad at me for being “unsupportive” and I think hired the MUA out of spite, even though she’d always said she wanted me to do her wedding makeup because I got married 4 months earlier and she loved what I did for both of us, since she was my only BM) so I was decidedly unsurprised when she came back from her 5 week Tuscany and Paris honeymoon and dumped me via text message. I never saw a single wedding photo and then her new husband cheated on her less than 9 months later, so that was the end of that.
I still have an untouched LE Dior 5 Spring 2012 rose embossed colour compact I bought especially to do her bridal makeup with tucked away in a drawer.

(She’s now with someone else who is really great, they have a little boy together and seem very happy together, her business is super successful and I’m glad for her sake but we’re still no longer friends)

Some minor peeves I’ve noticed about MUAs working freelance at Ulta and as regional artists for counters at Nordstrom:
1. Why are they putting highlight on the apple of the cheek and down? Especially when you’re combo and have noticeable pores?
2. Why are artists still insisting people smile to put blush on? Haven’t they noticed the apple raises when you smile then falls when you’re not, and in an older woman (or just plain not rounded faces) the blush is too far down
3. Why aren’t MUAs using eyeshadow primer?!

I had my makeup done recently by regional artist of Chanel. I was surprised that she didn’t ask me anything about how I wear my makeup usually or what I wanted (I came barefaced). Imagine someone like Jaclyn Hill coming in for a new look and they just did light makeup when she’s a full on Glamazon—that person wouldn’t be happy with the result. Then at the end when I didn’t react overtly enthusiastic and buy every product she asked me “you usually wear a lot of makeup don’t you?”—when I volunteered that I wear light coverage and no eye makeup usually during the session. I was surprised the artist didn’t seem to know the name of the products, as I asked about using a specific eye palette, and she didn’t seem to know how to use the quad and told me I had a choice of only 3 colors (as if the other color was too much of a contrast—not great marketing for Chanel). Then she slathered my face in really thick foundation and concealer (I have excellent skin, very even) and poked my eye a few times trying to get the concealer right up to the lash line (why? You’re just going to create a shadow there). Then she never powdered the face and went in with a lot of dark colors (fall out major!) and blended away the finish of the colors so the sheen turned matte. Dude, she didn’t seem to notice the fallout and uneven blend on each eye until I pointed it out and then she risked the whole look by just adding more concealer ON TOP of dark fallout rather than brushing it away! Ultimately I liked the eye look but then she gave me the option of a blush and highlight that was only a contrast to the eye—very obvious, and said “no nude lip” and gave me very bright options for that. I felt so 80s leaving there, like where should people look: all the colors on my eyes? the bright cheek (like a kewpie doll, only a circle in the middle of my cheek)? or the bold lips? Then of course they take you thru each item they used on you and ask what you want to buy. I really didn’t want anything; if I could’ve just walked up to the counter and grabbed a few other things I would’ve been more happy with what I spent that day (keep in mind, these makeovers are ostensibly free but the expectation is you’ll buy 2-3 items min). I just didn’t think she had very good techniques and the aesthetic didn’t match Chanel at all, or today’s trends. She also chatted a lot about Both topics of conversation they always say to steer clear of: religion and politics. Now I love those topics, and we were in line with each other, but I was surprised how readily & quickly she brought it up and kept it going the whole time.

I have to say, if you’re a makeup lover and watch a lot of artist vids, I think there’s a good chance you’ll go to a session and wind up unhappy in some way. Whether it’s odd technique or color choices. I imagine it’s like a real artist getting their makeup done and thinking “why are they doing it in this order? I could do this better, especially for my own face shape”

It’s a long time (like going on 20 years) since I’ve had my make up done by a MUA or SA. In my experience SAs are there to sell product and seem to get very little proper make up application training & just pack it on. I’m old school and though I did “pack it on” too in my youth (1970’s/1980’s) I was obsessive about blending and used make up to enhance my features, not to show how many shadow colors I had in my paint box. Anyway, first time it was a trained esthetician who did my face & she used a foundation that was too dark & very “dewy”, too much eye makeup though I did like how she applied the shadows & used that for some time to come. Last time was before my wedding. I went to a MAC counter and asked her to do a smoky eye on me. It was okay but again more than I am comfortable with and blending not up to my standard. I did like the shades she used and did a very much toned down version(having bought the palette she used) for my wedding. I didn’t use a MUA for my wedding as I prefer doing my own makeup.

I haven’t had any funny moments having my makeup done professionally, but I have had some really bad experiences – the worst was when a MUA applied toner on my face, which burnt and stung – after I had told her I had really sensitive skin (couldn’t she tell – I am genuinely red haired and porcelain toned for goodness sake!). She applied it so quickly after the cleanser and didn’t explain what she was going to do.
The foundation, once applied, flaked and peeled. I had to go home and wash it all off, moisturize my skin and nourish it for the next few days. No shopping for me.

All MUAs thinks I’m darker than I really am. And I’m super pale (like TF Swan/Cloud). So I learnt to say immidiately that I’m paler than it seems. Still haven’t had perfect match from MUAs, but better than orangy tawny look they used to give me like 5-7 years ago.

In my teens, MUAs at Sephora or in other drugstores, always used on me grey eye shadows and pink lips – so I ended looking like an actual Barbie, with my blond hair and big eyes. They had never ever once asked me what I wanted – always assuming that I would look fabulous with grey-pink combo. And I was a type of colourfull look – greens, pinks, blues on eyes etc. Only once I decided to buy a product after this kind od a treatment – a Clinique chubby stick.

Later, in my 20s, they still have a problem with a foundation. Once I had a Mary Key makeover done by their head. I was at the event by accident, so I had my makeup on, she removed it, used their foundation, like 5 shades darker and oranger (does this word even exist? XD) and goes on how I look better in it, ‘coz earlier I was too pale and looked like sick! And when I told her, that my jawline is too visible, she took a bronzer and used it all over my naked skin XD not very useful.

My most dreadful makeover was made at Sephora event including Marc Jacobs MUA. I don’t know what happend, but my face looked SO cakey and aweful, ofc a shade too dark, used bronzer quite heavily and couldn’t properly use coconut eyeshadow palette. Shadows were poorly blended and there were a little colour (I still decided to buy the palette, ‘coz love the colours and still love it and it’s a pleasure to use it, co I don’t know what happend during an event). But the worst was a mascara. It was everywhere! Too thick, too many layers etc. I got it as a gift to my palette purchase and used it once – still hates it. I should be warn that it’ll not be a successful look, because MUA herself looked so-so. Cakey face, only black eyeliner, no blush or highlighter…. Sad look. After the event I wanted to go shopping, but was so depressed that ended going straight home.

I’ve only had my makeup done twice; nothing funny or tragic about either instance, just the not-unexpected result that I didn’t look right either time. Both times they tried to do glamour makeup, even though I mentioned I was looking for something subtle but flattering. I’m the last person that should be in glamour makeup! It took until fairly recently in my life that I bought everyday clothes that weren’t jeans, boots, and flannel, or some variation on cami-with-hoodie (for days I tried to make an effort). Two out of two times, I walked in like that and the MUA that met me decided I needed full glam. This is on top of the fact that this was long enough ago that there weren’t really any foundations that matched me — it took a full 20 years before we’d see base colors that are yellow enough for me. Both times I got foundation that was too dark and too peach. Ugh. I’ll never have my makeup done by someone else again. I was full Rouge at Sephora for 2017 and 2018, and never took advantage of the free makeovers — not even tempted.

I’m seeing a theme in this thread, and that’s MUAs trying jam people into foundation shades that they shouldn’t be anywhere near. Also, specifically, the idea that a pale person can be made to look less pale in a flattering way by making their whole face darker with foundation. What are these people’s qualifications to be an MUA? I don’t actually want to know, but I’ll admit I’ve occasionally been curious.

An aside:: I’m not assuming all MUAs are incompetent, just noting that this unsatisfying experience seems to be much too common.

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