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Makeup and hair are key elements in the overall look of a production, sustaining the desired image and visual style. Makeup artists are hired to enhance and maintain the appearance of one individual or more, using their vast expertise in makeup products and techniques.
Working from a brief, created by the directors and producers, a makeup artist will 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 or TV and film where they will have the potential opportunity to work with celebrities and be given greater artistic challenges. In theatre, makeup artists require specialist skills in makeup; affixing prosthetics, creating special designs and using professional products and equipment.
There is a set way of conducting oneself as a makeup artist. Research to ensure that services provided are in line with client expectations is vital, as is finding out if actors or presenters have any allergies or sensitive skin and 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 end up being requested or recommended by actors, so it is important to build a rapport with your medium.
The work of a makeup artist does not necessarily finish once the actor is on stage. 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 gain more clients and earn more money. Usually makeup artists have their own kits, so being up-to-date with the latest quality products is also crucial.