Nathan Johnson: Dealing with Self-Conscious Clients - QC Makeup Academy

People wear make up for a variety of reasons. But, research shows the primary reason is to feel better and to boost confidence. That doesn’t mean that everyone who sits in your chair will be outwardly insecure. The majority will have one issue or another that has some level of sensitivity for them. Being a great makeup artist does not just rely on your technical skill set. It also relies heavily on your ability to connect and relate to your potential clients.


One of the most important assets a makeup artist can have is the keen ability to listen. There is an old saying: we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. It’s never been more true than in the case of a makeup artist. If a client is exceptionally insecure, it can show in a variety of ways. The two most common are a standoffish attitude and an ease with being self disparaging. It is not our job to try to talk them into changing their attitudes. Instead, we must listen closely to discover the root of their insecurity. Then, use our skills to effectively direct attention away from the features that bother them, while also enhancing the ones that make them feel most confident.

It’s very common for insecurities to develop as clients begin to age. Beginning in the mid to late thirties, the elastin and collagen production in the skin begins to slow and signs of aging begin to appear. For many people, seeing these changes marks the first time they will consider working with a makeup artist or skin specialist. Makeup can be very powerful in making a client feel more confident and beautiful. But, in the greater scheme, it is really just a band aid.

Understand Skincare

A great makeup artist must also understand skin and skincare. This includes understanding all the varying skin types and conditions, as well as how skin and all its different layers behave. This way, you can not only apply a beautiful makeup look to make your client feel amazing, you can also recommend a range of products that will actually improve their skin. This results in greater self confidence even when they are not wearing makeup.

Most of your clients are not looking for lessons to overcome the issues that are causing their insecurities. Instead, they will end up in your chair when you are at a photoshoot, a bridal consultation, or working with someone for a special event. Once you ask a client what they want and what they might wish to enhance or distract from, they will normally be very forthright about telling you all of their concerns—sitting in a makeup chair is like taking a truth serum.


As an artist, you should take the time to educate your clients how they can improve on these issues with a skincare routine, and teach as you apply the makeup. This way, you’ll gift that client with the power to overcome their insecurities from the safety of their own bathroom! I have always been a teaching artist. I tell my clients what will most benefit their skin as well as why and how I am doing what I do with their makeup. When they hear the explanation, then see the application technique and results, a wave of confidence always comes over them. I believe that is the power of them feeling better and knowing that they can do it for themselves.

Build Trust

The key to success in building trust with and overcoming a client’s insecurities begins with knowing what questions to ask. Then, stand back to listen and have the skill set and knowledge to meet their needs, all while educating them on how to do it for themselves. Most people have at least one external issue they are insecure about and your ability to uncover it and educate them on how to overcome that is one of the most powerful and rewarding aspects of working in the beauty industry.

Remember, knowledge is power. So, if you don’t understand skin and makeup inside and out, a Student Support Specialist at QC Makeup Academy can help put together the skincare and advanced makeup courses that will be ideal for you. After all, you cannot teach someone something that you don’t know. Insecurities come in all shapes and sizes, and your ears and knowledge can dissolve even the toughest ones!

Want to learn more about skincare? Check out this article for Nathan’s most recommended skincare brands and products for your professional makeup kit!

Author Nathan Johnson

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