So, you’ve studied to be a makeup artist, decided not to be a beauty-school drop-out like the pink lady from Grease or you’ve watched a million YouTube makeup tutorials that have prepared you for this day. This day could be someone’s matric dance, 21st, wedding, first stage performance or publicity event, but it’s time for you to nail your first makeup gig.

11 tips to nail your first makeup gig

I’m not going to lie; this day is going to be stressful as hell. It will be one for the books – literally. You are gearing up to add to your portfolio and work showcase. A certain level of professionalism and etiquette is expected of you.

A few tips for your first makeup gig:

  1. Make sure you pack EVERYTHING. Whether you are going by plane or driving, ensure you pack all your brushes and makeup. Super awkward for you if you’re stranded without something.
  2. Clean your brushes and tools before the event. It also helps to have a sanitising spray with you to use in front of your clients to assure them that you take extra care to be hygienic.
  3. Be familiar with the products you are using. Don’t use a product for the first time on the day. You should know how to work with the consistency, pigmentation and blending ability long before hand.
  4. Be polite and cheerful. If you must fake it, put on a face for the day and leave all the other drama at home. Remember your manners and be respectful. This is incredibly important to make a good, lasting first impression.
  5. Exude confidence. You definitely don’t want your client questioning your capabilities. Ever heard of the self-fulfilling prophecy? In psychology, you may think something about yourself, then act in that certain way which makes others perceive and treat you that way and reinforces the stigma you have about yourself. However, if you exude confidence then people will treat you with trust and you will feel even more confident in your capabilities.
  6. Be professional. If you are bringing someone along with you and had a fight on the way, don’t bring it into your work. Also make sure you don’t argue in front of your client. Don’t even think about gossiping, moaning or complaining – it’s extremely tacky and makes a client wonder what you will say about them to their next client. Being professional isn’t only about the way you act. You need to dress professionally and conduct yourself in a way that is professional through your body language and non-verbal cues. Don’t slouch, stand with your arms folded, burp or fart.
  7. Be diplomatic, objective and honest. Sometimes you are going to be with a client for an entire day. You are going to want to judge them and make assumptions. Staying unbiased is an excellent skill to learn early on in this game. Honesty is also crucial if you are going to be a problem solver for your clients as well as. Be honest in what you think will work, what you think will be possible and what you think truly suits your client best.
  8. Be prepared to go the extra mile. People will always remember someone that didn’t watch the clock, keep track of every little extra and hesitate to do a little more than expected. You can’t afford to be greedy when you enter this working world – or at all. If you put together an excellent look and feel a subtle braid will accentuate the look, don’t charge for hair. Do it in the best interest of the client, after all that’s who you are there for.
  9. Keep it real. You may know a lot more than your client and if you have just graduated, your ego may be a little inflated. Don’t intimidate your client by deliberately showing you know more than them. Have a slice of humble pie before your event – no one likes a smart-ass.
  10. Remember, it’s not personal. You may be dealing with a drama queen (again, no judging), or someone that’s having a really bad day. Perhaps it’s a stressed-out bride that lost her veil and freaks out at you. Stay calm, diplomatic and be as accommodating and helpful as possible.
  11. Have fun! You are going to remember this day forever. You have the ability to make it anything you want it to be and leave the impression you choose.

What other tips do you have for anyone doing their first makeup gig? Or maybe you did your first makeup gig recently – I’d love to know how it went!



Danielle Combrink