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22 Secrets Makeup Artists Wish They Could Tell You to Your Face

Ever wonder what a makeup artist really thinks while working mere inches from your face? Seasoned pros share the feedback they're itching for you to hear.

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Makeup artists have a lot on their minds, but they may not always be able to say exactly what they’re thinking. After all, they are up close and personal to your bare skin for what could be considered a long time when you are at your most vulnerable. These makeup experts shared the tips they’re just dying for their clients to hear, without saying it to their face. Before you switch over to the salon chair, make sure to check out these secrets your hair stylist won’t tell you.

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Brush your teeth

As one makeup artist bluntly stated, “This should be a given. But your alcoholic morning breath is less than desirable when I’m working near your face.” These are the makeup rules you should know by the time you’re 40.

Senior woman having her hair and makeup done by makeup artist before stage performanceKathrin Ziegler/Getty Images

Mind your inspiration

If you’re looking for makeup inspiration, try to find someone with your same skin tone. If you show up with a photo of Beyoncé, but you have fair skin, it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to look like her when we’re finished. Check out the makeup tricks that visually transform your features.

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Pick a favorite feature

However, if you absolutely love a celebrity photo, choose the one feature from the look that speaks to you the most. You can’t have them all—so pick the eyes, cheeks, or lips, and we can use that to influence the overall look of your makeup. These eye makeup tips can make your eyes pop.


Mind your manners

The consensus from makeup artistis? The makeup industry is small. And word travels fast, so be kind to your makeup artist. If you’re rude to one of us, chances are everyone in the industry locally will know about your behavior too. As one Minnesota makeup artist admits, “Yes, sometimes we say we’re booked—when we’re really not—to avoid doing your makeup.”

Midsection Of Make-Up Artist Applying Lip Liner To Woman In SpaGiulia Chiariello/EyeEm/Getty Images

There’s a right way to apply lip liner

If you want to avoid that lip liner ring that forms around your lips as your lipstick disappears, apply your lip liner after your lipstick for a more natural look that will fade evenly.

Mixed Race woman splashing water on faceJGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Come with a naked face

To get the biggest makeup bang for your buck, wash your face before your appointment. Unfortunately, many people show up to their session with dry, dirty skin. Makeup lies better on a freshly cleansed and moisturized face (this means take off last night’s makeup). You can get the most for your money by taking care of your skin every day. Here’s exactly how bad it is to sleep in your makeup.

Professional make up artist workingowngarden/Getty Images

Don’t insult the profession

“I hate when people sit in my chair and say, ‘Don’t make me look like a clown.’ It’s insulting,” says a Chicago-based makeup artist. “Look at my portfolio before you hire me. If you like it, then trust I will do as good of a job on you as I have on my other clients.” Here’s how to get the no-makeup makeup look.

Bride Using Mobile Phone While Make-up Artist is Applying Make-up on Her FaceCasarsaGuru/Getty Images

We see all kinds of beauty

When you sit in my chair, there is no judgment. I spend most of my time with clients reassuring them that it’s okay for them to be who they are. I see everyone’s true beauty, and I’m not focusing on your flaws. To get the skin you’ve always wanted, check out the game-changing anti-aging ingredients that are rocking the skincare world.

Midsection Of Woman Holding PurseVera Kandybovich/EyeEm/Getty Images

Don’t forget gratuity

Makeup artists provide you with a service. Just like you’d tip your bartender or waiter, you should tip your makeup artist too. For stylists, tips should be 15 to 20 percent of the total cost of your bill. Check out our tipping guide on how to tip in every situation.

Female model getting her makeup doneRawpixel/Getty Images

Stop saying, “I’m sorry”

“Be kind to yourself. You don’t need to apologize for what you view as imperfections when you are perfect just the way you are,” says Chicago-based makeup artist Vanessa Valliant.


Sometimes glitter isn’t fabulous

There’s a difference between shimmer and glimmer. Shimmer adds a luminous sheen to the skin without being overwhelming to the face. Glitter, on the other hand, can be a makeup artist’s worst nightmare. It gets everywhere, and it’s not flattering unless it’s done by a professional. It also tends to not be a great look after a certain age.


Contouring isn’t for everyone

When you ask for heavy, contoured makeup, are you aware it requires constant touchups? For the average person, a heavy contour is high maintenance and impractical. Most of your favorite celebrities using this technique travel around with a full glam squad to keep their skin powdered and blended behind the scenes. This type of makeup is often better left for the stage.

Makeup artists aren’t just for women

We also assist men with a variety of skin care needs. From eye cream and lip balm to a full face of makeup, we help men get ready for when they’re on-camera or in the spotlight.

Make-up artist teaching young women about make-upaldomurillo/Getty Images

Stop comparing yourself to other people (especially celebrities)

“I try to help my clients find the best version of themselves by enhancing their natural features,” Valliant says. “I want all women to accept themselves and embrace their unique, natural beauty.”

Getting ready to shinePeopleImages/Getty Images

Let’s talk about eyebrows

Eyebrows shape your face and look best when natural. Stop over-plucking or you won’t have any eyebrows left (yes, this really can happen). These tips for perfect eyebrows can truly transform your face.

16-dont-makeup-artistsanatolii babii/iStock

Don’t copy social media

Please don’t draw your inspiration for eyebrows from Youtube or Instagram, which tend to show an overabundance of heavy-handedness where brow-filling is concerned. Instead, ask a professional makeup artist for a more natural approach to crafting perfect brows.


Don’t leave pimples for the makeup artist to pop

That’s disgusting. Prior to your event, if you need help caring for your skin, feel free to ask your makeup artist for suggestions about what might lessen breakouts or help conceal them. Every professional makeup artist carries a variety of skin care products with them, so they’re likely to have some ideas for you. Need help to take care of that pimple? Take a look at the dermatologist-approved way to pop a pimple at home.

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Yes, I’m a makeup artist, but what I really do is makeup therapy

“The driving force behind my makeup artistry is that I want people to feel good about themselves,” Valliant says. “I’m their ally and source of encouragement for any event they’re attending. I even have some long-term clients that I’ve worked with through their celebrations and losses of life.”

Chinese makeup artist applying makeup on modelLane Oatey/Blue Jean Images/Getty Images

Learn to be upfront with your makeup artist

An important part of being a makeup artist involves having an open dialogue with our clients. If you don’t like something, speak up, so we can change it. Pair your makeup look with a hairstyle that doesn’t age your face.

Make up artist work in her beauty visage studio salondiignat/Getty Images

I’m not the right fit for every client

Whether it’s a personality clash or stylistic differences, not every makeup artist is the right fit for every client’s needs. Seek out an artist that meshes with your personality and style.


Foundation doesn’t need to cover your entire face

Foundation is best applied only where needed and blended outward (harsh color lines at the jawbone be gone). One of the best tools to blend your foundation is a Beautyblender. Wet it and press the foundation into your skin. There might be a slight learning curve with this tool, but once you get used to it, you’ll be addicted!

Professional makeup artist at workGroup4 Studio/Getty Images

Not all makeup artists are the real deal

Just like with many professions, it’s easy to hang out a shingle without proper qualifications or experience. Do your homework and find a professional—real pros should have a portfolio, a client list, and a set of unedited and unfiltered images of their work. Check out the inexpensive beauty tricks only real stylists know.