4 Most Common Questions Producers Ask Makeup (and the questions they are missing)
Updated: Aug 4
What are you missing? What questions should you be asking in order to prevent costly mistakes? Just because someone calls themselves a makeup does not mean they have the experience or skill set you need. By using this quick checklist you can avoid delays and surprises during production.
1. Can you style hair?
I recently got a call because the producer had forgotten to ask this question. The makeup artist hired did not do hair. This had put the shoot behind while the producer who was in another state tried to find someone who could rush over to help. No one wants to put a shoot behind. It is an expensive headache you can avoid with this quick list of questions.
Can you style African American hair?
Ok, I know it sounds like we just asked this question in #1. But, hair is classified into 10 types. If an artists is saying they can style hair they need to be familiar with a diversity of hair types. Ethnically ambiguous is in. We intentionally cast for diversity. So, the HMU should have intentionally educated themselves to include all hair and makeup types.
2. Do you have experience with African American skin tone?
Skin is just brown right? So, color matching shouldn’t be a problem. But there are actually 12 undertones in skin. Meaning brown skin can lean towards any of the 12 colors in the color wheel. Can this person see the orange-red or blue-violet tones in brown? Because skin looking like skin is so important I also like to follow up with these 2 questions:
Do you carry foundation for global skin tones?
Not all cosmetic lines carry ultra light or darker foundation shades. It is expensive to develop color matches. So, cosmetic companies start with the most common shades. This question helps you know if the artist is prepared with a well stocked kit.
Do you have experience with Asian skin tone?
Cosmetic companies are notorious for not having color tones that match Asian skin tones. This means if you have Asian talent there is a good chance the artist will have to custom mix a shade by adding greens or yellows. This is a skill that takes practice and experience.
3. Do you have experience with mature skin?
As we age skin looses elasticity, thins and becomes drier. So, mature skin is a different canvas. As the skin begins to sag the same makeup that once enhanced beauty now highlights aging.
Do you have experience working with mature hair?
Hair texture changes with age as well. The coarseness and growth length makes flyaways harder to manage. Does this person know which products will hold them down but not make the hair look like a helmet?
4. Do you have experience with men’s makeup (grooming)?
Let’s face it guys typically don’t take the best care of their skin. Half the time time they don’t wash their face and when they do they often tell me it is with a bar of soap. So, a big part of men’s grooming is repair work. Then products used are to hide distractions such as discoloration. But, the application has to be light enough so you can’t tell there is makeup on. Too many times I have seen talented makeup artists put too much makeup on men because they didn’t have experience applying on men
Do you have experience working with kids?
This isn't about makeup application. This is about patience and helping a child feel comfortable before going on set. Children are wiggly canvases. If an artist gets frustrated that feeling can easily transfer to the kiddo that is about to be in front of your camera. That can cost you time on set.
Those are my go to questions to help weed out inexperience. But, I want to give you one more bonus pro tip...
If you are hearing any hesitation in their voice or worried they may not really have enough experience ask them to point to an example in their portfolio. You need the talent to look their best in order for your work to be its best. Delivering high quality work is how we keep clients happy and get repeat work. It takes just a few minutes to vet your makeup artist with these questions I’ve suggested. After using these your day will be able to run smoothly with your clients pleased. You are going to be happily making more money because the client wants to use you again and again.