What would make you confident in a makeup artist's skills?

If I was hiring, I would want to see a portfolio of work, and I’d like it to also be online so I could reverse image search to ensure it was actually their work, followed by a trial if it was a particularly large event. I’d also ask for references and look for online reviews, if they existed. If I was just trying to get to know them, I’d ask them about their favorite products or advice on improving a certain technique and see how what they say jives with my own feelings/thoughts.

— Christine
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Definitely do a trial run, especially if it’s for something important, like a wedding! My friend, who doesn’t wear any makeup except for powder, pre-selected an MUA for her wedding based on online reviews and pictures of her work. But when we did the trial run, alarm bells were ringing like crazy! First, some of her products looked really, really old and beat up, wasn’t sure if they had expired or if they had been properly sanitized. Then she put on a foundation that was way too dark, and it got darker as the color oxidized (yikes!). Also, my friend wanted to try fake eye lashes for her wedding, but after a couple of attempts, it was very obvious it wouldn’t work due to her watery eyes, but the MUA insisted on trying over and over again, and wouldn’t give up. I spoke out several times during the session about the issues, but got over-ruled. My friend walked out of there with too dark foundation, and fake eyelashes that were literally falling off!. In the car, I told her to go find another MUA, but she had already put down a large deposit (another mistake) and felt it was too late to find another one in such a short time frame. On the day of the wedding, the MUA showed up almost 1.5 hours late (WTF?) and we had a very tight schedule that day. Her excuse was “lots of traffic” but we had booked her super early in the morning, and felt like she could’ve easily beat the traffic if she had left home early enough. And she didn’t even apologize for being late! Fortunately, my friend did end up with a decent makeup look ( ok foundation match and no false eye lashes), but it could’ve been a total disaster.

I like to add to this in general, if the product looks beat up it’s a good sign they are a working artist. That said if they look unkempt as in the products packaging does look like it’s been cleaned at all there can be two reasons. #1 They are a working as an artist one set and they is no time in the week to stop and spend a few hour to clean the cast-off until there day/evening off (if you ask them if their full-time job during the week is this that will clear that up). #2 They were not taught or learned how to clean the component of their makeup. Really worn down eyeshadow pans can be quickly cleaned/sanitised with alcohol or sanitising mists but if they are not taking the time to clean the packing around them every once and awhile it can get pretty crusty quickly. Stains, scuffs, scrapes, and smudges are normal even after cleaning.

But with most custom base industries you should only have to pay 20% -30% up front to cover consultations costs and materials, this covers their time but also means the client has options the back out if they feel that the artist/agency is not a fit for them.

Also word of mouth is gold for custom based jobs, if you have a good experience share it and even if you didn’t share that as well.

Thanks for the info and tips Warpaint & Unicorns! I think my friend ran short on time, so she panicked and picked this lady, then plunked down a big deposit, then felt it was too late to back out. Much better to find someone through word of mouth, lessons learned for next time

First of all, I would want to see examples of their work….in REAL life. Especially if, say, I’m going into a Sephora or MAC Store. I will size up who seems to always do their own face really well and has a similar taste to my own, then I will inconspicuously watch to see them in action. Are they using sanitary practices? Are they explaining to the client what they’re doing and the effect they are striving to achieve? Are they too chatty or easily distracted? Are they just trying to sell them a ton of needless products? How is the finished work looking?
As for using a freelance artist for an event, I do my own! I’m just way too picky. As a result, I have yet to entrust myself into another MUA’s hands for anything other than a mini makeover.

100% right on! There are MUAs then there are MUAs. At this point in my life, I’m so picky that I would only like to use someone the likes of Lisa Eldridge or of that semi-caliber locally to create a look. HA! Since I can afford neither :), I’ll do my own.

I think most of the young ‘uns at the makeup counters are still on a steep learning curve of their own (as they should be at their ages). I only use them for mini-sessions to choose one product — like a foundation or concealer match — or to experiment with a technique and show me how they do a certain application. To create a full look, no. At this point I trust my judgement enough to do that on my own.

And, judging from your pictures, both you ladies have an excellent understanding of your personal esthetic and your features–as well as solid application skills 🙂 You’re both beauties!

I’d definitely want to look at their portfolio (including unedited shots) and their own appearance would definitely matter too. If a MUA comes up to me with horrible foundation and wonky eyeliner I’m not gonna have much trust in them.

Someone’s all I need to see is how the artist does her makeup. I recently was in a wedding where the makeup artist came in and her foundation didn’t match her neck. Fortunately had opted to do my own makeup anyway.

A portfolio of their work illustrating their abilities and scope; even better if on a wide variety of ages, ethnicities, face shapes, eye shapes. If hiring for a special event, go for a trial run. Be vocal. People settle far too easily imo.

Actually, know what my skin tone is and mixing a matching shade. Not just slapping on their palest shade in store lighting and saying it matches……

No to the pink foundation all these sale people keep saying matches me at MAC and Sephora……. >_<

Being able to see a variety of their work or looks on various skin tones, and especially with hooded eyes. Also having a trial run done, especially for an event. Otherwise I’m happy to plop down in a MAC chair and see what they can come up with. I feel like I’m at the age where they’re not going to try to do a super trendy look on me so I don’t have to do as many specifications or requests.

I think there is something to be said for somebody generally being pleasant and genuine also, and not just while I’m sitting in the chair. I’ve gone into enough Sephoras and MAC stores to know who I’d want (or not) to be sitting down with – seeing them in action with other customers and just general bedside manner has a lot to do with my confidence in them also.

To see that he or she could make each person look like themselves but better — no “one style fits all.” To see that he or she did not follow every weird fad slavishly and think that just because something is popular on Twitter that it belongs on my face.

If i were having my makeup done for an event, I’d definitely have to see a portfolio that included a lot of diversity. Not just because of skin color, but for different facial features and styles of makeup. Does everyone get transformed into a model for the current Instagram trends, with over lined lips, big winged liner, and super thick brows? Because that look doesn’t work on me! My features just don’t mesh with that style. I’d need to be sure that they could adapt to the shape of my face and enhance what I have. I’d also definitely want a trial run or two, if possible, to ensure that their techniques and products could withstand the event in question.

I’m almost 58 and I feel I’ve finally come into my own. I love my look after application and have many compliments. I’ve paid MUAs to come to my home for my daughters special functions growing up and had them try matching her colors to me. She’s olive, I’m fair to medium. I’ve stopped asking for assistance in the top stores because the heavy yellow tints I’m recommended I’ve wasted so much money on. I have found a pink shade of Elizabeth Arden mousse foundation mixed with my yellow hues works great in winter tho. I’ll continue to do my own thank you.

Results on the average walk in probably, but then I would also like to see theatre work too. That may not yet be developed. Ugh. Scary story’s below or above, not sure how they post..

Hmm…I love makeup but I think my criteria would come more from seeing their work just as much as the feeling I got from them. At the moment, my dream team would be Pony, Lisa Eldridge, Wendy Rowe. All have different styles and vibes, but I love the end result of their work.

I think seeing the persons work first hand will do it for me. Our muas here love photoshops so, I’ll love to see what you can do, and the products you’ll use.
I also love natural nude look and we are very colourloful here therefore, you have to insist on your preference.

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