What's the difference between hiring a makeup artist and going to a cosmetic counter to get my makeup done?

I decided to write this post after a bridal client of mine had cancelled on me to have a Dior counter do her and her party's makeup instead. I knew she was headed for disaster, but sent her a simple polite "wish you the best" email. A week later she emailed me back to tell me she had made a terrible mistake and wanted me back.

So what really are the differences between an artist that comes on location to do your makeup, and someone who works at a counter to do your makeup?

1. 95% of the time, the people at the counters are sales associates, not makeup artists. Every now and then a makeup artist will apply for a job at a counter, but likely they are regular retail associates with no prior beauty experience whatsoever. They get product training within their own line, but do not get makeup artist training. There are very few brands that provide artistry training. This doesn't, however, make them professionals, and doesn't mean they have extensive experience in doing bridal makeup, either. Hiring a professional artists means you get someone who is doing this not just as a hobby, but as their career. They are not selling makeup, they are applying makeup!

2. The associate doing your makeup needs to help other customers as well, lengthening your appointment time. The majority of the time, your associate will need to step away a few times to help other customers who are walking up and need to buy something. Even if there are other employees there to help, chances are there will be times when it gets too busy, or they might have appointments of their own, and everyone will need to take turns helping out the walk up customers. This results in a makeup application that could last an hour...or an hour and a half! When you hire a makeup artist to come to you and do your makeup, you are given the peace of mind that she is there for YOU, and she knows how long it takes her to do a makeup application. For most experienced artists, that time frame is usually 30-40 minutes, meaning you have more time to do other things you need.

3. You get the luxury of having your makeup done where you choose, no more driving back and forth! Sit back on the bed or couch in your hotel room with your girlfriends and have a mimosa. You can't do this if you're worried about driving to the mall for an appointment. It's simply just inconvenient to have to drive anywhere (whether that be salon or department store for a counter) to have your makeup done on such a stressful day.

4. Are their products and brushes clean? This is important. A professional artist cleans his or her bushes in between each and every client. They will also use proper sanitation methods such as scooping cream products out with a clean spatula instead of dipping/double dipping their brushes directly into the product and spreading bacteria. The same cannot be said about the majority of counters. Although I'm sure they're all advised to take proper sanitary measures, most do not. You also can be sure that the customers are dipping their dirty fingers into each and every product. I've seen countless employees at various counters NEVER clean their brushes. It's absolutely horrifying. Save yourself from getting a staph infection and hire someone who knows how to work in a clean manner.

5. You cannot get airbrushed at a counter. Airbrush is not something that everyone gets, but you can be sure that you will not even get that option if you go to a counter.

But wait, what about the cost? Well, if the last 5 bullet points haven't been enough to persuade you that it is worth it to pay to have your makeup done professionally...consider this: employees at a cosmetic counter are there to sell. They are not all happy and dandy to do your makeup for free. They have a sales goal to reach. They will be pressuring you to buy -- a lot. In fact, most counters have a minimum purchase rule if you are going to schedule an appointment.

Save yourself time, heartache, frustration, and a potential infection by hiring a professional artist!

Posted on May 20, 2013 .