Code of Conduct: Sitting For A Makeup Artist



I’ve noticed that when people are sitting in my chair, it’s easy to spot those who have never had their makeup done before. They react much differently, and everything they say is a total giveaway. It’s an awkward situation, sitting there having someone you likely don’t know touch your face and having to trust that they’ll make you look good. It’s so awkward that sometimes, people just won’t do it, because they fear it will be as uncomfortable and their first visit with a new doctor. Here’s your checklist for what you should do and how you should act in a makeup artist’s chair, making your first sitting a beautiful breeze.


  1. Come in with a really clean face. Freshly washed and dried, no products applied, every bit of mascara gone. It’s frustrating to the makeup artist to have to remove smudges of what you’ve left behind, or an entire face of makeup, especially since your makeup artist knows you were aware you were coming there. If possible, make sure you don’t have stuff in the corners of your eyes. The MUA can remove it with a Q-Tip, but you might feel embarrassed in that situation. It’s never a bad idea to double check.
  2. Brush your teeth. You’re going to have someone else’s face very close to your face for an extended period of time. If you’ve just eaten onion and garlic casserole, it’s going to be unpleasant and distracting for the makeup artist when he or she gets close and starts to work. Always carry gum or mints as a back up, and it’s absolutely reasonable to expect that your MUA does the same.
  3. Don’t squint and pull back your face. Almost everybody does it, and I waste a lot of time explaining to them all of the reasons (which should be fairly obvious to start with, as you don’t squint and pull back when applying your own makeup) why that’s extremely counterproductive. You’re creasing up your skin and making it difficult for the MUA to evenly and symmetrically apply anything, and creating many potential accidents, especially with eyeliner and mascara. Keep in mind that the time you spend flinching and backing away is time you’re paying for. 
  4. Sit still. It may feel tempting to move your head or your face to help the MUA, but if he or she wants you to, they will ask. Now is not the time to check your text messages, look over at your friends, or converse with the person sitting next to you. I once had a client get up several times to dance to the music that was playing in the middle of her makeup application. I was so frustrated, I almost walked out on the entire gig. 
  5. It’s okay to talk, but don’t talk too much. Your makeup artist might really enjoy asking for your opinions and preferences, as well as just conversing with you. Talking is fine, but try to move your face as little as possible. You’ll be able to avoid any awkward silence easily, just try to avoid major facial expressions while the artist is working. It’s okay, your MUA will understand that you’re not being cold or boring, and will be able to do his or her job much better.
  6. Don’t assume that you know everything. It’s okay to have a very specific vision of what you want, especially for special occasions like your wedding day. You may have a very set idea, but always do a makeup trial. At that point in time, you can tell the makeup artist what you’d like and the two of you can try to determine what’s best for you. Your artist is experienced and may have ideas better than what you may have ever dreamed of. Take that time to experiment and come up with the perfect vision, so on the day of the event, everything goes seamlessly and according to plan.
  7. If you don’t like the end result, ABSOLUTELY say something. A lot of people would rather things be slightly different when everything is said and done. Your MUA will want you for repeat business and counts on your positive word of mouth to expand. He or she would rather you leave the chair as happy as you can possibly be, and if that means making changes to the overall look, your makeup artist will be happy to do that.