January, 2011 Archive

I am all set for tomorrow’s photo shoot! woohoo! Since it will take place at my home studio, I’ve already prepared everything, including vacuuming and sweeping my entire 1st floor! I’ve been working reaaally hard the last month to get my downstairs in a good condition so that I won’t have to ever feel embarrassed about having people or clients over at my home studio.  Finally the satisfaction of being able to drill things into the wall and arrange furniture EXACTLY the way I like it is such a HUGE satisfying feeling!  My studio is looking closer and closer to my dream studio~ oh I am going to get teary-eyed just looking at this photo! 
Some of the things that are out on the counter top have a place in the closet, but since I’m getting ready to just RUN once the model arrives, I gotta be prepared! :) That’s just…my personality and preference. If I can plan and organize EVERYTHING before the client gets here, I will.  I’m a … planner!  While some of my friends and family can be “cross the bridge when you get there” – If I can foresee a need to have Plan B or even Plan C, I’d already thought of it, and prepared for it.  Hey – better safe than sorry, right? ;)
The director’s chair is what I travel with on location so I protect my back while doing makeup application. The black chair is for styling hair, and has a makeup cape resting on it~ I need a shorter chair as I would not be able to reach my clients if they are seated on the director’s chair! (Unless I am 180cm+ or 6ft+!!!) To the left, I have my plastic container top that I’ve had FOREVER for storage, and to serve as a little portable table for hair products~ I’ve painted the top to customize it (recently). My latest addition to my hair kit is 20 1.5mm hot rollers from National (Japan), and now I can do a full set of hot rollers if I choose to!  My hair pins in a clear box on the table, and then you see a white area – which is my brushes, covered in a clean pillow case until I’m ready to use them tomorrow, and the towel in the front is my sanitary maintenance area and covered inside is a beauty blender, puffs, disposables, implements (tweezers, etc)! Next to it is my disposable wax palette that I use to scoop out makeup stuff on to!  Behind it is my makeup, and skin prep stuff, nails stuff!  And I absolutely love my sneaky paper towel rank, installed to my table! :D 
Now I just have to get enough sleep and get going tomorrow in the A.M! :D 

Models: Tate @ JE Models (right)
Makeup & Hair: Elizabeth Chang (Skyla Arts)
Photography: Novi Angelomio
Wardrobe Styling: Wendy Shiverdaker

Another great photo shoot with an amazing team!  :D It was freezing though – okay well I’m in the Bay Area so I should not complain because this is probably nothing compared to the East Coast but it’s still challenging to be in a colder environment for the whole team, especially the model! Tate is a talented New Face a very sweet young girl to be around!  Tate has naturally voluminous curls, and when I peaked at her portfolio, most of her hair was worn curly and voluminous in the photos. At that point, I decided I wanted to do something different and straighten her hair!  And when I was done, I was super proud of how her hair turned out! :) I’ve been slowly gaining my confidence with regards to styling hair but…Makeup and Skincare will always be…”my thing”;)   Her natural hair color is beautiful!! It naturally has highlights and low lights, and a lot of natural volume! Super gorgeous!!  Wendy did an amazing job with the wardrobe! I unfortunately missed the first outfit in my behind the scenes because I was occupied , but I think we ended shooting 5-6 outfits!? We were super productive and efficient! Go team!  My favorite outfit was the first one (that I didn’t take photos of!!!) with the coral shoes! And then the coats….the prints~ ! It was a joy to watch Tate work the clothes, even though Tate would occasionally get stuck in the muddy location and sink, you wouldn’t even notice because you would be busy watching her movements and her facial expressions!  I’m so happy to purchase my little CanonS95 for the behind the scenes and captured these images! Novi and I were both very happy with the results, and we look forward to Tate’s amazing modeling career ahead of her!!! :)

Love how her hair looks here! ;) Wendy’s coat is beautiful and works lovely with the monochrome skies!
Tate trying not to sink into the mud! ahhh
Amazing outfit #3! Real Coat!  Novi shooting away! 
Wendy! Helping Tate change out the accessories!
The light started to change into a nice orange/coral color! Wendy was saying: “THANK YOU MOTHER NATURE!” ;) 
Photo courtesy of Tate’s Mommy, Shana!  :) Touching up her lips after a quick snack in between
The skies were AMAZING.  I love my little camera! <3
I feel like I was having a mini photo shoot of my own~ I LOVE silhouettes!!!! 
<3 <3 <3
My shot of the day!!!! :) 
Our team! Photo courtesy of Tate’s Mommy, Shana~ :) I love how we are all smiling! <3 <3 <3
Stay tuned for the final images from our photo shoot! :D yay! Emotion: Accomplished!  ;D

Model: Y.L.
Makeup, Hair & Photography: Elizabeth Chang (Skyla Arts)
Photography Assistant: Bochan Kim

Meet my client Y.L.!  She needed some portraits taken to use on her online presence, and she was interested in a more natural portrait.  I had a lot of fun working with Y.L.!  She was the first one to make a comment on the books on my book shelf!!! I was super excited!! :) This took place in July, and at the time I was offering a free masque treatment before makeup application as a promotion.  It was really funny because she was my first client to receive a free masque treatment, but I’m used to applying it on the client when the client is lying down (on a facial bed), so I had said: “This is my first time applying a mask like this” and she was like: “Really!?!?” I’m like: “Nonono not my first time applying a mask on another person!”  Sometimes when I’m concentrating on doing one thing – like makeup or applying a mask, I am so focused I don’t finish my sentences.  Oops!  I explained and fortunately Y.L. didn’t panic or lose faith in my abilities because I didn’t finish my sentence. lol

Below is her testimonial for me on Yelp:

“I don’t wear any makeup (I’m the kind of girl who often goes to work in the morning with my hair wet and lets it air-dry there), so when I needed to get a professional photo taken, I felt rather helpless. Liz of Skyla Arts came to the rescue.

I found her to be a consummate professional, from the initial appointment setup to how she was careful to listen to my preferences, while still proferring guidance on what she thought would work best. She has a delightful personality that set me right at ease at her home studio (she also has a friendly cat!).

She handled makeup, hair, and photography, which was wonderfully convenient for me. I went for a more natural look, and even so came out looking probably the best I’ve been. She also offers some light retouching, but frankly, if I hadn’t managed to get lipstick on my teeth (I’m graceful like that), I don’t think I would’ve needed any changes or enhancements at all because the shots came out great. I’m quite proud of the resulting photos and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Skyla Arts to anyone. I’d feel comfortable using her for other occasions as well; I definitely got the sense that she has quite a range, as you can see in her online portfolio, and it’s really just a matter of what your needs/wants are.”

Thank you again for writing such a wonderful review for me Y.L.!! Unfortunately…Yelp really sucks. What happened was, after she wrote my review, I added her as a ‘friend’ on yelp since we live close by and it would be nice to read each other’s reviews on restaurants and such!! As SOON as I added her on yelp, the review got FILTERED because clearly it’s BIASED. There’s no way to reverse the filter, and when I talked to Yelp, I also found out they make it a pain in the ass to change the order and edit our profile ON PURPOSE unless you pay $4200 a year to advertise on Yelp! The thing is – Yelp is great for most things, but they are not the kindest to vendors, especially if you do not pay $4200 a year to advertise. This is just my personal opinion! On Weddingwire, when you are listed there for free, they don’t impose such restrictions about editing your portfolio and the order of the images. If I wanted to delete, I’d have to do it ONE BY ONE.  
Anyways~ Sorry about the rant about yelp.  Yelp aside, I had a really great time working with Y.L. and also, thanks to my husband, for being a great photography assistant! <3
A while ago, I was working on a list of blog ideas that I plan to write about – and after I reviewed the St. Ives apricot scrub, I think my first skin topic should be EXFOLIATION!  Even though I didn’t share this publically because I wasn’t really sure what it would mean for my business (but now I do know! Stay posted!), I’ve been – or I am – a graduate of Cinta Aveda Institute for Esthiology and a licensed Esthetician.  A makeup artist does not need a license to practice, but I feel…that right now, armed with expertise/knowledge (and a license!) of the skin, I definitely feel more confident touching someone’s skin, and I remember when I first started, I was reliant on the information the model/client told me about their skin and just glancing at it, but now that information is important reference but I can just touch and know! A wonderful feeling!  I just wanted to put a disclaimer out there that I’m not trying to sell one product or another and specifically did not mention any specific product, but to help you choose your proper exfoliation!  This is my professional recommendation – what I share here is what I would also tell my clients. 
Exfoliation is interchangeable with refinement or desquamation, and basically the goal is to remove dead skin cells on the surface of your skin.  How often you exfoliate depends on your skin type and condition, but as a general rule, 1-2 times a week is a safe frequency. 

The Benefits of Exfoliation:
+  Improves skin texture (smoother & softer, helps maintain hydration level of the epidermis – definitely a huge help to makeup application!!)
+ Eases deep pore cleansing, extractions, product penetration, and more effective delivery of ingredients into the skin.
+ Increases cell turnover rate – and brings new cells to the surface faster.
+ Stimulates blood flow and circulation
+ Exfoliating the body can prevent ingrown hairs that happen during shaving or waxing
+Exfoliating the side of the arms can improve Keratosis Pilaris

Everyone can benefit from exfoliation! But conditions that can really be improved with regular exfoliations include: oily, congested skin (blackheads/whiteheads/minor acne breakouts), and dry, dehydrated skin with cell buildup, flaking, tight dry surface that often looks dull, grey, and lifeless.  Exfoliation can also alleviate surface hyperpigmentation in a way that evens and brightens the skin.  For acneic skin (like my skin!!!), taking care of dead skin cells is essential as they can trap sebum, dirt and bacteria and cause an infection/breakout. However, over exfoliation can deplete the acid mantle – the protective lipid barrier of our skin – and allow bacteria to flourish, and escort free radicals from environmental dangers into our skin – and hello, hyper pigmentation and DNA damage and collagen loss! lol…

Click “Read More” to read more about Mechanical vs. Chemical exfoliation…! 

There are two types of exfoliation: Mechanical and Chemical.  Mechanical involves physically sloughing off dead skin cells from the skin’s surface.  Ingredients like jojoba beads, crushed nuts or plant material, or even plastic are added into skincare products to achieve the results (Yes…including the St. Ives apricot scrub I’ve marked as “hell-no!”).  Using a wash cloth, or a rotary/pulsating brush like Clarisonic, is also considered mechanical exfoliation.  One word of caution – mechanical is great for normal, combination to dry skin, but not ideal for congested skin, especially not for skin with active breakout or infection.  The risk of the rougher material can open the infection, and then as you are scrubbing, you can spread the bacteria all over your face.  If you have your heart set on using the clarisonic brush, choose the gentlest brush and lowest setting, but I wouldn’t recommend using it every day…Microdermabrasion also falls into the mechanical exfoliation category.

Chemical exfoliation, on the other hand, achieves the goal through chemical action by acids (alpha hydroxy/AHA and beta hydroxy/BHA acids) or enzymes, like papain (papaya extract) or bromelain (pineapple extract).  Enzymes break down the lipids that act like glue/cement that holds the dead skin cells together, and thus help exfoliation.  Other ingredients like resorcinol, retinol/Retin-A/Retinoic Acid etc.  flakes and thins the skin, promoting cell turn-over and also the flaking of the dead skin cells on the outer most layer of your skin.  Chemical peels – medical grade or the kinds I’m licensed & certified to perform, usually involves a blend of AHA/BHAs/TCAs (trichloroacetic acids).

Many exfoliating products on the market are also chemical and mechanical, meaning it contains chemical ingredients like acids or enzymes that will help loosen the bonds between dead skin cells, as well as granulated beads or even buffing pads!   One word of caution though: if using a rotary brush like Clarisonic or the neutrogena/garnier pulse pads, you still gotta clean them afterwards with antibacterial soap, and then store in a cool, dry, sterile place (ie: Not in your bathroom!!!) or else it will get mold and mildew and bacteria and then you are rubbing it all over your face the next day! ewe!  ;P

The key is to choose the RIGHT type of exfoliation for YOUR skin. These are just some examples: Salicylic Acid, a BHA is a great chemical exfoliant for acneic skin (unless you are allergic to aspirin and salicylates – but you would probably know if you are allergic to aspirin or not! ^^).  A reason not to go with an AHA if you have acneic or sensitive skin is they are more sensitizing – and if the chemical is too active or strong for your skin, you can have an adverse reaction (like Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation)! Mechanical exfoliation is ideal for normal/dry skin types while chemical exfoliation – having a broad range of ingredients, can be customized to target ALL skin types and skin conditions.  Please consult your esthetician or dermatologist to recommend the right exfoliation for your skin!  It’s easy to read reviews and recommendations from others or see an advertisement from skin care companies and become easily convinced that you need to run to the store to grab that one product you were thinking about or considering.  I want to do the same thing too! It’s just natural!! When I read it in beauty forums, I get sooo nervous about those threads! But without looking at your skin type, it’s really hard to decide what’s best for YOU – and isn’t the most crucial part?

The Dangers of Exfoliation
There’s a reason why an average consumer should not take home a microdermabrasion machine or professional-grade chemical peel products or try to buy them online…You can seriously hurt yourself.  Did you know that you can actually injure your skin by just exfoliating too much/too roughly? If you use products too harsh for your skin type, or chemicals inappropriate for your skin color/Fitzpatrick scale, you can EASILY cause hyperpigmentation – which can a type of skin injury.  Sorry for the bold face, but I can’t emphasize this enough!  Your dermatologist probably tells you how important is to wear sunscreen with UVA/UVB Protection (Look for “Broad Spectrum Protection” on the label, or SPF30+ AND PA+++)

After Exfoliation: 
1) Replenish your lipids and nourishment that will help rebuild the acid mantle with toner+serum+moisturizer
2) Wear sun screen during the day time & replenish during noon-time if possible. For women, use makeup with SPF and when you touch-up you get some replenishment for your sunscreen.

Let’s face it – we all have a budget!!! But when it comes to skin care, reaching for your favorite drugstore brand for the majority of the time is not a good idea BECAUSE they contain filler ingredients and fragrances that are just not good for your skin or your health.  Doesn’t mean all of them are bad!  Before deciding that you cannot afford quality products and need to resort to…oil of oxxx products…., please check out your local Trader Joes and Wholefoods. At Whole foods, I discovered a LOCAL brand I LOVE called EO (Essential Oil!!) Love love..! Actually – I first used the hand sanitizer with lavender essential oil that Liz Yu brought at the Yaby IMATS 2010 booth – and when I saw it I became an instant fan! I’ll be writing about Certified Organics during my next skincare topic so stay tuned~ ! So stay tuned! 

Keeping up with my new years resolution of trying to blog more, here is a topic I’ve been hoping to write about! I loooove x 100  Emily DiDonato’s face – she is in this commercial and other Maybelline related ads, and she is also the face of Armani’s Acqua Di Gioia fragrance.  At first when I saw that ad, I thought it was Raina (runner-up from America’s next top model whom I’m dying to work with!) They have some similarities – but I loooooooooooove their faces.  That innocent but seductive, perfect face!   
To get back on topic…I forgot and don’t know who started this trend of advertising mascara by showing false lashes in the commercial and claiming it to be the results of the mascara…no matter what the model and the artist were told to say behind the scenes in this video …(which I really enjoyed watching because I would love to work on a beauty campaign! Amazing model, amazing makeup artist!)  But… Really?!  “It looks like falsies but it’s just mascara” but not only does it look like falsies, you can tell they are falsies…! How do you feel about mascara ads using falsies? I for one – really hope that one company would stop this trend and actually …just use mascara. Hire a model with amazing long lashes!!!! They exist!!! They don’t even need mascara so imagine what mascara can do to their lashes!!!  
Nowadays it’s so hard for me to decide which ones to purchase because all of them cease to convince me anymore…do you remember Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Maybelline ad almost 10 years ago? Well since this was the days BEFORE HD TV, there’s no way for me to go back in time and scrutinize the ad like I can with all of the current ones (which runs nicely on my 1080p screens!) 
It looks like the close-up might have had some falsies in there, but again hard to tell – But the ad is much more believable to me!  Maybelline is just an example…you open up a magazine, and you see a mascara ad and BAM it’s false lashes. 
Then along comes America’s Next Top Model in 2003 with the cover girl ads and how it is incorporated into the show – it’s genius how they use the products and show it behind the scenes!  The thing about the Maybelline behind the scenes…if you pay close attention to the behind the scenes video at 0:51 seconds – 1:24min or try pausing the screen at 1min21 seconds.  When she is applying the lipstick at 0:51 – what she is holding in her hand is a Japonesque empty lip palette (that I happen to own too! :D that is exactly what I do with my lipsticks..saves space and oh so light weight!) with lipsticks depotted inside and there is no evidence that the lipsticks are purely Maybelline products – but of course this ad is mascara but…you would ASSUME they only use Maybelline products, provided by the company right? Pause again at 1:24 and the opened palettes – again, other than the mascara she is holding on her hand/advertising, I see a whole bunch of other products that are non-Maybelline.   My point here is not to pick on an amazing/accomplished makeup artist, but to point out that what you see advertised is not always what’s used in the advertisements…it might be used sometimes in some companies…but it’s a known fact that what you see in the ad is not what’s being advertised… 
Cosmetic companies spend Top Dollar to hire the Top Team to produce those ads to sell products to you; they can do it with a very sizable marketing budget and a team of marketing/advertising experts and hire the best models, wardrobe, makeup/hair & production team.  High-end brands, or Drugstore brands – it doesn’t make a difference!  I’m all about promoting a good product and discovering gems in drugstore brands – especially mascara.  It’s a hard fact to accept – but drugstore vs. high-end mascara really makes very little difference.  I’m leaning towards focusing on finding a few Great drugstore brands in my kit and keeping that ONLY since I gotta toss it every month and after experimenting, I’ve found comparable results in my experience.  Mark-ups in cosmetics are 100% – so when you are purchasing a $30 mascara, the real price of it is $15 – and out of that $15, I don’t know the exact breakdown, but I’m GUESSING (this is my professional speculation) that perhaps 20-30% goes towards producing the product, another 20-30% goes into packaging and the rest is going to advertising! So again thinking of that $30 dollar mascara, $15 is the company’s profit but a bulk of that is money spent on packaging (including the design, and the unique ‘brush’ of the mascara) and advertising…so yes, you are paying for $1-3 dollars in just the material of the mascara itself (the stuff/goo inside you are putting on your eyes) even with a $30 dollar mascara.  
As you might already know, I’m a strong advocate for being a responsible consumer.  Does the company use recyclable materials (post-consumer recycled packaging? if so, what’s the percentage?)  Does the company do animal testing?  Is it certified organic/ are the ingredients obtained ETHICALLY and are the ingredients SUSTAINABLE?  Living in a Buy-Buy-Buy Capitalist society, we are constantly bombarded with messages to buy and buy – but the question remains: “Is this mascara worth my money???” So…I guess to conclude this post, I want to take the opportunity to thank the beauty bloggers and youtube gurus who took their time and money to review the products for us!  Thanks to their reviews, you don’t have to rely on these advertisements!  I also really think that bloggers who have blog sales are doing the right thing!!! If you’re not going to use it, sell it or give it away if it’s sanitary (nono you cannot re-sell mascara..and lipgloss/lipstick is kind of on the iffy line for sanitation reasons – the buyer has to know how to sanitize the lipstick before using) and as long as the products are well-within the expiration date and not expired.   I do appreciate reading the reviews, but it’s become a real turn-off for me if I see someone buy EVERYTHING out there just to try it out…all the packaging…all that plastic…!!  That’s why I love P-chan’s blog!  Instead of sharing ‘hauls’, she is sharing the products she used up and loves!  She gets 5 stars in my books! Seriously…!  <3 Don't waste, and think about your carbon foot print and recycle! <3
Happy new year!! May 2011 top 2010 for everyone!!! I can’t believe I’m blogging again today since I blogged yesterday! This is one of my goals…to blog more but…I’m realistic, I can only try my best! ^o^
This post is inspired by a recent conversation I had with my sister-in-law during her visit over Thanksgiving, and also my partner’s fraternity brothers who were visiting town recently.  The core of what led me to write this post is unsanitary practices I’ve witnessed in the past – and also, I become really surprised when models (who get makeup done all the time for their jobs) would compliment me for being super sanitary and when I pull out my disposable mascara wands, they say to me: “Oh it’s so good you are careful (with mascara) and use disposables!”  My reaction on my face is: “You mean…you’ve worked with OTHER ARTISTS WHO DON’T USE DISPOSABLES WITH MASCARA!??!?!” But most people don’t get their makeup done everyday (unless you are a reality tv star! ;P)  and so I’m wondering if clients who are searching for their makeup artists, or go to a trial session know how check these things.  I’ve had my makeup done for my brother-in-law & sister-in-law’s wedding (it was nice to receive makeup application for once!!!) but I was freaking out the whole time…I can’t help but wonder how these artists get away with those things…..freaks me out………so how do you separate a good professional makeup artist, and….not?  These are 100% my personal opinions and sentiments~ although they are shared by many artists out there!!! 
Before I get started, I highly recommend the following blog posts by makeup artist Jessica Jean Mayers:
Not-So-Glamorous Life of a Makeup Artist & Weddings – Makeup Artists rule to live by !  When I saw these posts I can’t help but go: “Omg~ so true~ exactly how I feel~” ^^|| So I’m going to follow Jessica’s footsteps and add a couple things in my own blog just in case you don’t know these things already! 
What you should know (or find out!) before hiring a Makeup Artist (abbreviated as ‘MUA’) / Indicators of professionalism

1. Does the artist practice proper sanitation? 

…Basic, but can be overlooked.  I’ve seen scary stuff in person, and especially on youtube…*shiver…* gives me the CREEPS.
Good sanitation practices to look for:
  • Does the artist use clean brushes and sanitize the brushes in between clients? 
  • Does the artist wash hands or use hand sanitizer before touching your face?  Does the artist wash/sanitize hands in between clients?
  • Does the artist use palette knifes or disposable spatulas to remove cream/liquid products from a jar onto a clean surface (clean hands or clean palette) and using a clean brush or clean fingers to apply it on your face? 
  • Does the artist clean the implements in between dipping into products (aka: not double dipping and preventing cross-contamination?) Does the artist use disposable mascara wands? 
  • Does the artist disinfect tweezers and scissors with proper disinfection solutions?  
  • Does the artist bring clean implements (tweezers, lash curler) and disposables in a clean or separate container, free from exposure to moisture and bacteria?
  • Does the artist place soiled items in a designated bag (for reusable items) and throw disposables/trash away?
Bad, unsanitary practices to look out for:
  • Does the artist use products straight from the tub of product and on to your face? or straight out of a mascara tube?
  • Does the artist apply lash glue straight from the tube? 
  • Does the artist uses a lip brush straight from the tube and then double dip on to the lipstick to apply more lipstick on your lips? 
  • Does the artist BLOW on the lash glue or the eyeshadow brush OR the blush brush!?!??! Do you like spit on your face?  or near your eyes on the false lashes?!?
  • Does the artist have a habit of touching his/her face and hair before touching your face?
Unfortunately you can only find out these things from either former clients, or meeting them for a trial session.  If they don’t practice good sanitation habits on you, they probably didn’t on their other clients..and round and round the germs goes…!  I can’t stress how important it is…I’m probably considered very strict on even the little-st things, but I know artists who are as strict as I am – and I can tell you that if the artist doesn’t practice sanitation practices, you can get:
  • Pink-eye (conjunctivitis) or Staph (MSRA) infections in the eye area
  • Herpes Simplex (cold sore) – can be spread from mouth, to the nose area or even eyes 
  • Exposure to blood-borne pathogens: HIV virus, Hepatitis, etc.
  • Actually – there are many more communicable diseases you can catch…Tetanus/Diptheria, food poisoning, tuberculosis, strep throat, blood poisoning, pneomonia, typhoid fever 
What!? HIV? from makeup application? lol Yes chances are lower than say a bacterial infection – but sometimes when you tweeze brows or if their skin have open sores/abscess where blood comes out (including acneic pustules or just injuries where there might be blood), and let’s say they use a dirty/contaminated brush or implement, and then apply it onto YOUR face and you just happen to have open skin (think cuts, sores, or open skin from acne) then bam! You are exposed to blood-borne pathogens..Do I look like I’m joking around here?  In Asia it’s common to use a blade to groom brows – but if you are not careful, you can easily CUT – no matter how small the cut is – and if you don’t dip that implement into approved disinfection solution for 10 minutes (immersed), and then cleansed before using it on the next client, you are exposing all of your clients to potential blood borne pathogens.
How do you know the MUA is doing all of this behind the scenes or even in front of me? 

YOU as the consumer and the client are RESPONSIBLE for preventing unsanitary practices from happening to you.  If during the trial session, the makeup artist comes at you with the mascara straight out of the tube, it is YOUR right to DEMAND a fresh tube of mascara and using disposables and PROTECT YOURSELF from getting pink-eye or staph infections! If at ANY TIME you are uncertain, it is your RIGHT to stop the artist from using contaminated materials on your face.
Of course, hiring a ‘true professional’ and not a hobbyist will make a difference, but how can you REALLY tell before meeting them?  You still have to be vigilant and protect yourself!!!  I went to a reputable spa one time to check it out as a potential work place (No I don’t want to work there after my experience…) but at the end of the service, the esthetician FORGOT to put sunscreen on my face, and when I asked the front desk to ask for me, she confirmed this and then told me I can use the ‘mineral makeup with SPF’ with the kabuki brush on the counter – first of all, the brush is obviously exposed to germs and not covered, and second of all, IT WAS DIRTY. I demanded a brush cleaner and thankfully the receptionist brought it over quickly – this is my right – I ain’t gonna expose myself to unnecessary germs and definitely not going to expose myself to UV rays after a facial!!!! I haven’t really gone to another spa since~ but I’m sure other spas are not like this! Unacceptable in my books.  I had this conversation with my friend who is a dentist – and we were both like “EWEEEE!!!!!! THAT’S DANGEROUS & GROSS” lol…but really, you don’t have to be in the medical profession to spot bad sanitation practices and appreciate good sanitary makeup artists!!! 
Please click to read the rest of this blog~ and see #2-4 and my conclusion to this post! :)
2. Does the artist charge too little, compared to other artist in the area? 

As Jessica puts it – the rate should reflect the quality of the service ~ but it’s comparable to YOUR area only.  Jessica puts it beautifully – she compares with other artists in Toronto area- and not makeup artists in Kentucky, or Maine, Missouri, New York, or Florida!  The “art” world (yes including makeup artistry!) is a free-for-all environment so you can charge WHATEVER YOU WANT – and whether or not it’s fair or a good rate, or enough to make a living, that’s really up to the ‘market.’  I often see threads on weddingbee (I go there sometimes! To see what brides are concerned about!) asking: “Is this too much to pay for a makeup artist and hair stylist?” And let me tell you – unless the person responding to you lives in YOUR city or in your area, that information is absolutely useless to you.  In my opinion, artists should not only look at the other artists in the area they serve, but also match up portfolio-level.  If my portfolio looks about the same as another artist in my area, then chances are we charge about the same!  If you read Jessica’s blog you might get some insight about the kind of things and labor the rate also include – like why there’s travel fees, etc.  If you see someone charge very little per face or very little for the bride, especially if the makeup artist next door charges 3 times as much – that should be a BIG RED FLAG.  They might not have a proper kit (the tools of our trade), or are assistant-level… Recently I heard a sad story from a model I worked with…she said that she went to a gig, and the artist did not even have foundation for her and slapped some random stuff on her face from her inadequate kit – and the model shared: “I have never felt so ugly in my life…” That’s serious stuff….and unfortunately it happens…in a free-for-all environment, anyone can claim to be a makeup artist!  Oh yeah – also, be wary of people with AMAZING looking portfolios and extremely low rates…unfortunately some people steal other people’s work. ..and again, it is up to you the smart consumer to carefully scrutinize these things.
3. Does the artist let you bargain? If so, how much?

This relates to #2 ~ I really sat down and did the math when I started setting my rates. And when I relocated from LA to Silicone Valley, I had to do the math over.  In any case – I was taught by a wedding coordinator/vendor in LA that bargaining is very common, so be prepared for it.  Learning from this vendor, I do ‘discounts’ very similarly; for example: if you booked more than one service (a series of makeup application, or makeup/hair and photography), then a small discount is appropriate! But if you ever notice that the artist lets you bargain more than 10% or more…I’d personally be suspicious because perhaps fall into these categories:
a) they didn’t do their math; they do not know their bottom line…this is a business, this is our profession…
b) they are bad at setting their rates in the first place…an indicator that they don’t know the industry very well…they don’t know what their labor is actually worth, and thus, it tells me they don’t know what they are actually giving away! 
I am quoting Jessica’s blog here: “have a little respect for yourself and your profession!” I would never want to insult someone’s profession by asking for a discount, but that’s just me….and if you think about it, when you go to your dentist, do you ask for a discount on your service?  Here’s a great story…my real estate agent and friend told me that one of her clients wanted to take HER commission.  He told her that another agent promised him 50% of their commission – and my real estate agent responded oh so smartly: “At the end of the month when you get a paycheck, do you share 50% of that with your boss or coworker?”  He says: “Um…no?”  Then why do you think it’s OK to take someone’s paycheck!? 
I decided to just price very fairly because of personal preference, but some vendors choose to mark up their prices and allow people to bargain (I’m not judging this practice! that’s fine, too~ as long as you know your bottom line) Thinking back – my husband and I only asked for a better quotation if we booked more than one service from a vendor (more like 5 services with one vendor! ^^), but for other things like – florists, makeup/hair – there was no bargaining involved!  I respected them and their profession, and I did compare prices too and thought it was a fair price for the quality of service.  Materials cost money – and it takes Time and Effort to practice all those things I mentioned in #1….If they charge too little or let you bargain, I’m wondering WHAT kinds of things the artist doesn’t do to cut corners (ie: what they do to save time and money…like unsanitary practices, and perhaps under-paying their assistants..)….and if this isn’t enough to convince you, please read #1 again!
4. Professionalism in correspondence & mannerisms

I feel this is really important – you can really ‘read’ a person from what they say to you, and of course what you say to them matters as they can ‘read’ you from that side as well.  I too, have experienced times where vendors don’t respond to you for one reason or another (not just artists here), and I’ve also heard this: one of my clients told me they paid a deposit, and counted on the artist after the trial – and suddenly 1-2 months before the event or even closer to the date, the artist says s/he cannot make it and returned my client’s deposit.  @o@  I guess at least they gave you some advanced notice…unless it’s a family emergency or some sorts, that’s just really unprofessional.  I actually don’t know the names of the artists who did it or anything, but as a fellow MUA, I’d be thinking those MUAs booked another gig that paid better and decided to forget about the first client! I’m not saying that that is what happened because obviously I was not there!  But that’s what I would think…and that’s what clients might think too!  The trial is also an interview for artist and client alike – as artist we want to know if we will have good synergy with the clients!

Here are some other simple things to look for:

  • Does the artist reply email and return phone calls in a timely manner?
  • Does the artist treat you and speak to you with respect via email/phone/in person? 
  • Does the artist require a deposit and contract?
  • Does the artist show up on the agreed upon time, or earlier?
  • Does the artist take time to answer all your questions in detail, no matter what the question is? 
  • If they cannot serve you for whatever reason, can you ask them for a referral?

In conclusion…

I wanted to share some things about the make up artist industry because it occurred to me after the feedbacks from models I’ve worked with that unless you are in the industry or a related field, chances are you might not know some of these things – and heck, some people in the industry don’t know these things either…!!!
If I’m being completely honest, I’m also motivated to write this because I’m really tired of unprofessional behaviors, and also, I want to give myself and artists I respect a pat on the back for doing all these things… actually I am very proud of myself for having my standards and practice them always…even though I’ve been completely in the industry for 1.5 years – and I don’t conceal that fact! I don’t pretend I’ve worked for 5-10 years~ but having high standards is really important to me – my clients deserve the best.  I have a standard as a vendor, and even when I was a client, I also had a standards to evaluate the vendors, too!   It’s only fair that I share my standards with you – whoever you might be reading this post ~ and to end this LONG@$$ post, I hope that it was helpful to at least one person! And if it was at all helpful, then I am happy~ ^o^  Have a great weekend everyone!