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Makeup and hair are key elements in the overall look of television shows and films, sustaining the desired image and style of the production. Makeup artists are hired to enhance and maintain the appearance of one individual or more, using their expertise in makeup products and techniques.
Working from a brief created by the directors and producers, makeup artists must make notes and character breakdowns, coming up with a specific look that they will create. After starting out in salons to gain experience, the best makeup artists will move into theatre, TV and film, where they will have the opportunity to work with celebrities and be given more artistic challenges.
In TV and film work, makeup artists require very specialist skills in makeup, such as affixing prosthetics, creating unique designs and special effects and using specialised techniques and equipment.
Makeup artists need to ensure that services provided are in line with client expectations and it is vital to find out if actors or presenters have any allergies or sensitive skin, before adapting their use of products accordingly.
Great interpersonal skills are required as makeup artists work very closely with actors; patience, tact and sensitivity are all valuable attributes in this case. Makeup artists can be requested by actors or presenters, so it is important to build a rapport.
The work of a makeup artist does not necessarily finish once the actor or presenter is on set. They must stand by, alert and ready to change or touch up makeup when required. Hours of work can be long and a great deal of focus and concentration is required at all times. Successful makeup artists take responsibility for building up their reputation and a portfolio of work, so that they can attract more clients and ultimately earn more money.