Makeup face charts are visual diagrams that communicate makeup looks by means of an image of a face that features a makeup look and written information of the products used to create that makeup design.

A face chart can be invaluable for a makeup artist, a cosmetologist, makeup designer and so many more beauty vocations as it communicates a lot of information quickly and efficiently.

What are Face Charts?

Although the modern face chart has become popular via social media platforms like Pinterest and Youtube, the face chart is a tool that is commonplace on film and tv sets as well.

The face chart has been used for a long, long time, and was especially golden in a time before digital photography.

BD (or Before Digital) was when we used to rely on old polaroid photos as the only way to capture continuity photos of actors in makeup in different scenes of a film or tv series.

The polaroid would be the only visual document of a particular look, and usually the flash of the polaroid camera would blow out most of the important information you would need to be able to replicate a makeup look from the pic alone.

So, that means precious makeup charts are an incredibly informative companion to the polaroid. They also keep a record of what products are used in a makeup as well.

Any other important skin care or skin concern information, or just notes in general that are relevant to the makeup design can also be included on the face chart too.


Why Do Makeup Artists Need Face Charts?

Makeup artists need face charts to succinctly document what they use on a character on any project they work on.

From theatre, to film, television, live performance, whatever.

They can become particularly invaluable if you do many different makeups on lots of different people in one day. Sometimes it’s hard to keep on top of printing your photos, and let’s say you make someone up, and then you don’t see them again for a month – things can pile up quite quickly.

And I promise – you won’t remember what lip liner you used on that guest lady from a month ago!

Yes – makeup artists do need face charts. But so do makeup lovers, beauty school students, cosmetic counter staff, bridal makeup artists.

They are super useful in so many makeup fields.


How Can Beginner Makeup Artists Use Face Charts?

If you’re just starting out, makeup face charts can be useful to practice your detailed makeup designs on. Even before you get near real-life models with a makeup brush.

Going back earlier, they are perfect for cosmetology classes, within student beauty school, and for amateur makeup artists alike.


Are Face Charts Still Relevant?

This is an interesting question.

These days, at least in my specific line of work on set, makeup artists and department heads utilize digital cameras and smart phones to document makeup looks for scenes.

These iphone images often include makeup notes right onto the image on the phone. Scene numbers, and other script information that provides the continuity info (we’ll go into this another day, my newbies, promise!) can be kept as an entirely digital format, nowadays.

Apps like Makeup Continuity Pro and Sync on Set provide somewhat convoluted systems to keep track of characters and their makeup looks for entire projects. Though they might be perfect for the right scenario.

For me personally, I like the old-fashioned folder – with all the characters, and all the different makeup styles in a film (and different eras – if it is set across years, or decades) and I find that this method is way more user-friendly, and communal for access within a makeup trailer for all members of a team to refer to.

Having said that, your shooting location may offer certain challenges that mean a digital approach may be the best way.

Perhaps you work out of a different hotel room every day, or don’t even have the luxury of a trailer as your home base, or even a printer. These limitations may force you to think a bit more laterally in order to stay on top of your continuity.

Either way, a face chart is always invaluable.

Every job is different, but I digress.


How Do I Color on the Face Chart?

Here’s the best news.

You can actually use your real makeup to color the face chart design to communicate your makeup look. Yep, straight onto the paper.

How cool is that?

That way you can keep track of products used, by literally using them on the face chart. It’s a good idea to write down these products in the convenient notes sections as you color the face chart.



What does a Good Face Chart Consist Of?

A solid face chart will have a large face shape for you to add your makeup colors to. I like to use a face chart with open eyes on the design. This is so you can see your creative look, as you would on a real person.

You can also use a gel pen or colored pencils if you like. But there is something nice about using the exact products that you use for makeup.

The face chart should also document your model, actor, or client’s name. Plus your name as the makeup artist.

And underneath this information, the face chart should include ample space in a separate section for product information on your detailed makeup design.

Regardless of where you are on your makeup journey, a makeup face chart is an invaluable tool to get you in the routine of creating the designs for your fabulous looks.

After 27 years of professional make-up artist work, I still use them on every job I work on, and I’d say 90% of my bosses and peers do as well.

So don’t disregard the beloved makeup face chart!

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