Tackle with me if you will, a vital aspect of our daily grind as makeup artists: time management. I’ll share three essential tips that will help you make the most of your precious minutes in the makeup chair, ensuring you stay efficient and stress-free. So, if you’re eager to enhance your skills and streamline your process, let’s jump right in and save some time!

three little known ways to save time with your makeup applications
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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Pre-communication with your cast or clients can save valuable time on the actual makeup day.
  • Putting pen to paper can change the game entirely.
  • Lists, lists, lists are everything.

Episode 72: Show notes

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As a makeup artist, navigating the snakes and ladders of the film and television industry for the past ample minutes,I’ve focused intensely on honing my techniques and learning new skills.

But I’m sure, like myself, you realize quickly that there’s so much more to being a successful makeup artist than simply being able to cover a black eye or conceal a pimple perfectly (I’m pointing my finger at you, color theory).

This notion inspired me to explore one of the profession’s more often overlooked aspects.

Today, I want to share some invaluable tips about managing your oh-so-precious time effectively, which will undoubtedly improve your work process and overall productivity as a makeup artist.

In our industry, time is money, and money is time, so there’s always a lot of pressure on us to work as quickly as possible so that the production can get their talent where they want it – in front of the camera.
But what they may not witness or care to understand is that what happens inside the makeup trailer is an awful lot more than just applying makeup to people’s faces.
​We juggle so many roles and responsibilities, and have to do so delicately. And usually with little time.

So regardless of whether you are applying a full face makeup, or simply a little bit of lip tint. Let’s take a look at a few different things you can begin implementing immediately to help you not only be aware of your time “in the chair”, but how you can make the most of that time, and use it wisely, regardless of the important event you are doing makeup for.

First and foremost, respect the clock.

Time is a precious commodity (and if you’re a subscriber to “The Blend,” you would’ve heard me wax particularly passionately about the preciousness of time in a recent newsletter. This applies (puntastic!) like a beautiful bb cream in our industry where every second counts.

One of my key strategies for saving time is setting aside moments specifically for conversation.

By meeting with your actor, model, or client before the actual project day—whether that’s during a makeup test or a fitting session – this is a great way you can get acquainted with their needs and preferences beforehand.

This approach allows you to discuss any known allergies or specific skin concerns, their preferred beauty routine. It also gives you a chance to observe their skin tone, skin type, and assess their entire face.
And on a deeper level, you can also use this opportunity to engage in the necessary small talk, and establish a rapport that will help the actual makeup application be more streamlined and focused.

By strategically handling these interactions in advance, you remove the distractions that can otherwise slow you down.

And then, on the day, you can focus entirely on creating your flawless look, and putting your best self forward when you may not have a lot of time.

Secondly, I’m a big fan of writing things down. And in this instance, writing down your start time. This is such a good idea, and one I have done for many years, on so many different jobs.

By taking a few seconds to write down your start time, is the best way you can accurately measure exactly how long your actual makeup application takes. Not how long your actor was physically in the makeup trailer. because these two times can often be dramatically different.

It doesn’t have to be a big deal, and just jot it down somewhere close by.

Documenting the exact moment when your actor sits in the makeup chair—not when they arrive at the trailer—provides an objective bar line for managing your time.

This very subtle approach ensures that you’re not eating into your scheduled makeup time because of delays that aren’t necessarily due to you. Whether it’s someone making a coffee or taking too much time to stop for a chat before getting into your chair. Tracking this ensures you can accurately document the time you’ve spent on the makeup itself, helping you stay on track and be more efficient.

Such an easy way to keep on top of your times.

Lastly, adopting a detailed timeline or checklist of your makeup process can be a game-changer.

Inspired by our very own Godfather of makeup – Dick Smith, this method involves writing out each step of your makeup routine along with the anticipated time required for each part.

Whether it’s five minutes for prepping the skin (or even a five minute makeup routine) or ten minutes for applying an appliance, breaking down each component helps you stay accountable and prevents you from getting bogged down by minor details.

This technique ensures that you keep moving forward, especially when scrutinizing small elements that you can easily get caught up on. It’s an excellent way to maintain a consistent pace and ensure you complete your overall look efficiently.

Engaging in such time-management techniques not only helps in adhering to tight schedules but also can also help to create a chilled, calm and enjoyable working environment.

It’s all about staying ahead of the game and refining your process, which ultimately reflects in the quality and timeliness of your job.

If these techniques speak to you (think Morgan Freeman gently but assertively guiding you through), I think you’ll love my brand new and improved free checklist, which is filled with even more tips for making the most of your time. This guide is in no part a result of so many years of having to race through makeups just to get them out the door on time, and I still practice these techniques to this day.

So learn how you can save time in your makeup applications – there may be something there that can help you with the precise aspects of application you stumble over time and time again.

 A special thanks to Mark Vigniello, who confirmed with lightning speed some invaluable insights about Dick Smith when I needed them for this post. Sharing knowledge and information is vital in our field, and it’s a principle I hold dearly (to follow suit with Dick’s ethics entirely).

I hope you find these tips as transformative as I have throughout my career. And I hope these tips can help you in this profession of ours, not just about perfecting the makeup, but about perfecting the process, too.

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