Most makeup clients you encounter will be totally awesome, and very easy to work with. Once in a blue moon, though, there will be the odd person whose sole purpose seems to be to critique and question your every move. Regardless, it’s your job to always remain a professional, and handle difficult clients with poise and class – despite how frustrating it might be in the moment.

To make life a little easier for you, here are 5 common complaints that nearly every MUA will hear in their career. At least by knowing what you can expect, you can best handle the situation!

professional female mua applying client's makeup

1. “Why do I need to book in advance?”

On that note, why can’t she simply pay the fee on the day of the appointment?

Yes, we can understand where this client is coming from. Let’s be real: no one’s ever going to say that one of their favorite things to do is ‘pay a deposit’ on something.

But that’s how business works. You need to protect yourself, too, and that’s exactly what getting a deposit and/or having a client book in advance does! Show her that you understand her side of the matter, but gently remind her that by reserving your time for her appointment, you’re closing off your schedule to any other potential work.

This can be problematic if she were to cancel last minute. You’d be left stranded, and without any jobs to fill that gap!

2. “You charge too much for your services!”

Unfortunately, having people trying to swindle you for cheap or free makeup services is just something you’re going to have to get used to as an MUA. Your rates are based on your education, experience, years of practice, business and marketing costs, and the fees to keep your professional makeup kit stocked with products.

But a client doesn’t see all that stuff behind the scenes. To her, you’re just overcharging. You can totally see why she might believe that, but don’t let that persuade you into underselling yourself or your worth! Sure, offering a discounted rate – even free services – once in a while is entirely up to you. If done sparingly, it won’t hurt your business.

But remember: you’ve earned the right to charge the prices you do, so be prepared to stand by your principles if a client tries to challenge you.

young woman pouting, standing in front of yellow background

 3. “That’s not how it looks in the picture!”

You’re going to get this one a lot. Sometimes, people will think that you can magically change them into a completely different person. A client might come get her makeup done her prom, hand you a photo of Kylie Jenner, and say, “I want to look like her.”

So, you flawlessly replicate the makeup you see in the photo. But when your client sees the end results, she’s disappointed because she still doesn’t look like Kylie. Well, yeah… because despite how badly she may want it, she is not in fact that person.

Their features aren’t identical. Their bone structures and appearances may be nothing alike. You’re a makeup artist, not a wizard!

That being said, remember to remain sensitive to her feelings. Her expectations may have been unrealistic, but she had them nonetheless. Now she’s discouraged. Try to shift the focus back to the actual makeup itself. You can point out the reasons why you can’t completely replicate what’s in the picture. But the makeup looks the same, and that’s the important part!

Above all else, keep reiterating how beautiful your client looks. You don’t want her feeling disappointed that she can’t be someone else – you want her leaving the appointment feeling confident and fierce in her own skin.

4. “My skin still doesn’t look good!”

There’s this other misconception that no matter how bad your skin is, a makeup artist can make it appear flawless. Sure, proper technique helps. Certain tools, like airbrush machines, can contribute to a ‘photoshopped’ finish.

If all else fails, anyone can look good if they stand far back enough! (Don’t make that last joke to your client, they won’t find it funny.)

The truth is, makeup isn’t some quick-fix solution for bad skin. You can do everything right, but if a client isn’t taking proper care of themselves and their skin is in rough shape, you might not be able to perfectly cover that up.

If your client gets upset, it’s likely because she feels self-conscious. Yes, it can be frustrating for you to do the best job possible and still have it criticized, but remember your professional objective: to make your client feel beautiful.

If there’s little else you can do makeup-wise to give her the results she wanted, at least you can rely on your skincare knowledge. Help her better understand her skin type, and recommend some products and techniques that might be able to help her skin improve going forward!

upclose of model's face, with MUA applying powder to cheek with brush

5. “I hate it.”

Hands down, this is the worst feedback you can get from a client. You put your heart and soul into each job. It’s crushing to get such a brutal response! Even more awful is when you haven’t even finished and the client can’t stop commenting on how much she doesn’t like what you’re doing.

As hard as it can be, you have to try and look at each job as an opportunity to learn and get better. Ask her to show you what it is she doesn’t like, and have her articulate what it is she wants instead. Then you can try to actively correct whatever she’s unhappy with, and proceed accordingly. Do whatever you can, and if she still isn’t satisfied by the end of the appointment, use your best judgment for what happens next.

Depending on how she treated you, it may just be best to call it a day and put this experience behind you. If you feel it’s warranted, though, you can always try to remedy the situation by offering her some sort of refund (full or partial), a complimentary service in the future, etc.

She may not be happy with the makeup job you did for her, but she will appreciate the way you handled it. Her final impression of you and your business won’t be what you didn’t do for her, but what you DID.

You can’t control what complaints you’ll receive from customers, but you can control how you choose to react to it. Always be respectful and professional, and you’ll come out on top, one way or another!

Do you have anything else to add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

What if someone leaves your makeup business a terrible review online? Just follow these 3 steps!

Author Sarah-Lynn Seguin

More posts by Sarah-Lynn Seguin

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