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Your Makeup Career

How to Work with Clients Who Don’t Wear Makeup

For the most part, the majority of clients you’ll meet during your career as a makeup artist will be obsessed with makeup. They’ll have experience applying it themselves, as well as having it professionally applied, and will likely have their finger on the pulse of beauty trends. Occasionally, however, you’ll work with clients who have no experience with makeup at all – they have no idea how to wear it, and there’s a good chance they don’t own any products whatsoever!

So how do you work with clients like this? They may be confused by what you’re putting on their face and why you’re doing it, but this is also a wonderful opportunity to teach them a little bit about the world of makeup, and showcase your skills as a makeup artist.

Read on for 6 tips on how to best work with clients who don’t wear makeup!

1. Be friendly and approachable

If there’s one key element to take away from this article, it’s to never assume anything about your makeup client. Every individual you’ll work with as a makeup artist has a different background, and in some cases, zero experience with makeup! Clients who are new to makeup are going to be very curious about the process, and the products you’re using, so be sure to answer them in a friendly, positive way and never make them feel as though you’re speaking down to them or patronizing them.

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You’re a certified makeup artist, so specific terms and explanations are second nature to you, but won’t be for a client who has never used a kabuki brush, or spent time contouring their face. When explaining the techniques you’re using, take care to use terms they’ll understand – the more approachable and upbeat you are, the more comfortable they’ll feel during the appointment. Who knows, they may even refer you to a friend who is just as inexperienced with makeup and needs a friendly makeup artist to guide them!

2. Get visual

You don’t need us to tell you just how visual makeup artistry is! Photos are an excellent way for clients to show makeup artists exactly what they’re looking for in a makeup application, and allow makeup artists to work from example.

In the case of clients who don’t wear makeup, photos are an absolute godsend. This type of client will not understand how specific makeup products work or how to perform certain techniques. Many of these clients won’t even be able to visualize the look you describe to them. Encourage your clients to bring inspiration pictures to their appointment so you have a clear idea of what they’re looking for, and keep photos on hand to convey exactly what you mean when you mention terms like contouring, highlighting, and baking. Your clients will appreciate it!

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Remember, clients who don’t wear makeup may feel an initial shock of seeing themselves all glammed up. It can take them a minute to get used to the feeling, so having an inspirational look to go off of can prepare them for the final result!

3. Mentally prepare yourself

We know that you live and breathe makeup, and you should in your job as a makeup artist! Clients depend on your expertise and skill, so being on top of your game is essential.

However, you’ll need to adjust your mindset when working with a client who doesn’t wear makeup. Unlike your other clients who have a list of products they use on a daily basis and love to look through your makeup kit, these individuals won’t know what to expect or know many (if any!) makeup products.

Instead of letting this faze you, just be mindful of an upcoming appointment with a client who doesn’t wear makeup. Start putting a plan in place that will ensure you are informative and approachable, and show that you recognize the needs of this client. This preparation will go a long way in making them feel comfortable!

4. Physically prepare yourself

Being mentally ready to apply makeup on clients who are usually makeup-free is important, but don’t forget to prepare your makeup kit ahead of time, as well. This is where the initial consultation comes in! This meeting is a fabulous opportunity to find out as much as you can about your client, specifically how frequently they wear makeup and which products they use (if any). Without the consultation, the following scenarios can happen:

  • They might buy the wrong product
  • They might choose the wrong shade
  • Time and money could be wasted for both of you

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Once you have a sense of your client’s experience with makeup (or lack thereof), you can then start to prepare for the appointment. If they have a bit of experience, ask them to bring their own foundation and blush to ensure a good color match, just in case the shades in your makeup kit aren’t quite right. If they don’t own any makeup products at all, one thing you can do in order to go above and beyond is to purchase some items for them that match their skin tone and suit their price range. You can add these products to the final cost of the application, and know that you’re seriously improving their experience!

5. Stay calm

As much as you love to use brushes, sponges, and even your hands to apply makeup to your clients, you need to face the fact that some clients don’t like to be touched. In the case of clients who have never had makeup professionally applied or don’t wear it at all, you can expect that they’ll feel uncomfortable at the prospect. This is nothing against you as a makeup artist, of course, but it is important to keep in mind.

At the end of the day, however, your client has chosen to have their makeup done. This means that although they aren’t completely uncomfortable with the idea, they don’t know what to expect from the experience. As the makeup artist, it’s up to you to respect their discomfort and stay calm and collected. We recommend engaging in small talk throughout the appointment, communicating clearly about what exactly you’re doing and which product you’re applying, and offering to answer their questions at every turn.

You want your clients to leave your chair feeling their absolute best, and hopefully being open to having their makeup done again (preferably by you!).

6. Have fun!

While most of this article is centered on how to make your client comfortable and ensure a successful appointment, you should also try to have fun! Working with clients who don’t wear makeup is actually a wonderful opportunity for you as a makeup artist. You’ll be able to ease them into the world of makeup by showing them how different products work, answering their questions, and demonstrating just how professional a makeup artist you are in the process.

You love makeup, so let that passion shine through as you introduce a client to different brushes, textures, colors, and techniques. It will be challenging to work with someone who is apprehensive, but you can make them feel confident and perhaps awaken an interest in them that they didn’t know was there!

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Once they see the final result, you may just find yourself with a long-term client who trusts your expertise and feels totally comfortable in your hands.

On the prowl for your first client? Check out these tips on how to find them and how to prepare for the first consultation!

Victoria is a blog writer and social media expert for QC Makeup Academy, writing in-depth articles to help emerging makeup artists grow their knowledge and experience in the industry.

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