Stress Management for Makeup Artists - QC Makeup Academy

There is no way around it, being a makeup artist can be very stressful. Whether you’re working with a megastar or preparing a bride for one of the most important days of her life, your nerves are bound to get the best of you at some point.

Below are a few tips to keep your anxiety at bay.

Makeup artist applying makeup to client


One of the fastest ways to guarantee that you will lose composure, or succumb to anxiety, is lack of sleep. The night before any makeup job, you should always get a solid 8 hours of sleep. When you are tired, situations that normally wouldn’t bother you can quickly become ones that make you anxious! Getting a good night’s sleep is a great step toward keeping yourself calm and level headed.


Visualization deserves far more credit than it is given. Athletes, businessmen, and people in many other professions have long attested to the powerful benefits of visualizing success before an important event.

Lay back, see your client in your mind’s eye, and go through each and every step of your application in your head. As you work, visualize how happy your client is with every aspect of the process. If you envision a positive experience with your client, you’re far more likely to delight her in person!

Plan, Prep, and Pack

Makeup artist prepare makeup kit before meeting client

The day before a job, I recommend laying out everything in your kit. This will give you an opportunity to sanitize and review all of your products. It is not uncommon to forget that your mascara was empty, or that you need to refill your cotton swaps, if you just take your kit from job to job without ever checking on it.

Lay out your products in the order they will be used. As you clean the items, make sure they are all replenished and ready for your client the following day. This is also the perfect moment to be sure that any specialty products you might require are in your kit and ready. If you plan, prep and pack your kit, you will never have to be nervous about being prepared!

Arrive Early and Relax

When you arrive early for a job, you have several advantages. Not only will you be able to get the lay of the land by familiarizing yourself with your environment, you will also be fully set up before the client arrives.

Unless I am working in a client’s home (where you should never arrive early without having arranged it), I always arrive at least 30 minutes early. In that time, I prep my area and then relax in it. A few minutes of relaxation in your well prepped room will do a lot to keep you calm.

Take Your Time

The fastest way to increase your anxiety is to rush. Unless you have been given a 5 minute warning, you should take your time and do the best job you are capable of doing. And, if you have been given a 5 minute warning, still don’t rush! Simply review the work you’ve done and decide how to best enhance it with the time remaining.


makeup artist preventing stress while with client

Take deep calming breaths as you begin and all through your application process. This regulated breathing keeps your nervous system steady and also has powerfully calming effects on your client. Breathing is contagious. If you are calm and taking soothing breaths, they are likely to do the same.


If a client is not happy with your work, take a deep breath and listen. Hear her thoughts and concerns, and then take the time to address them. Makeup can almost always be fixed, and it can always be removed. Go with the flow and enjoy the process, even when it involves a change. An unhappy client becomes a happy one when their concerns are both heard and met.

Don’t Take It Personally.

If people around you are not happy, because of the work that you’ve done or whether they are just unhappy people in general, don’t take it personally. Makeup is a job, and you have been hired for your particular skill and point of view.

If the client is dissatisfied with your work, simply adjust it. I always assume a client will ask for adjustments when I begin. Most times they don’t, but this mindset has allowed me to never become upset or nervous when they do want changes.

If is the people around you who are miserable, try to keep a positive attitude. When you are pleasant and a great listener, an unhappy person is less likely to find fault with you, even if they are finding it with everyone else. Remember, you’re often only with your client for a few hours, so keep a positive attitude! Good and bad, it is all a part of the job.

No matter how talented or well-trained you are, nerves can always creep in on you. The tips above have served me well over the years, but so has my experience. The more people you work on and the more industry experiences you have, the less nervous you will be. So keep practicing and don’t forget to breathe!

Want some more professional tips from Nathan? Make sure you read about the 2 things he wouldn’t change about his makeup artistry career.

Author Nathan Johnson

More posts by Nathan Johnson

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