I’m currently compiling posts based around some of the most common questions that I have come across on forums and other websites and the issue of cost is something that tends to crop up a lot. “Why is my Halloween makeup more expensive?” is a prime example.
I can only speak for myself as I have no idea how other artists run their business or the reasons behind it, but the reason my Halloween makeovers are more expensive than another artist who might live in the same area is a question of materials, experience and professionalism. My work is also mostly prosthetic rather than straight up face painting.
Here are a few factors to consider when debating the cost of your Halloween makeover this year.
The SFX Materials
Most makeup artists offering SFX work will probably be offering looks using Liquid Latex and tissue paper – the cheapest material you could probably buy in. For my Halloween clients, I flit between liquid latex, a silicone modelling compound, Prosthetic Adhesive, Spirit Gum and Rigid Collodion alongside my usual makeup in my professional kit. A silicone set will usually last for me for around two clients, whereas a liquid latex batch can last me throughout the whole Halloween season just to put it into perspective. So why don’t I use liquid latex on all of my clients if it lasts longer? Three reasons – the overall finished effect, the allergic reactions it can sometimes cause and the application process. I can get a much cleaner, professional effect with silicone for some looks and it’s less likely to cause an allergic reaction, it also has a much quicker drying time meaning I can fit in more clients thus disappointing less of my regulars who I probably wouldn’t be able to fit in should they choose liquid latex.
The prosthetic pieces that I buy in or make for my clients are also expensive and take a lot more time and skill to apply and blend onto the skin. You can buy cheaper prosthetic pieces but they look unprofessional and don’t adhere or blend to the skin properly so you run the risk of the piece peeling away halfway through wear which, to me, is unacceptable.
The Makeup Materials
For SFX work, I tend to use colour palettes that are more expensive than a regular makeup base. They are purpose made for media makeup and are all high performance materials from grease paints and cream paints and water paints. Amongst these products are names such as Ben Nye, Kryolan, Graftobian and Mehron. As well as the stage makeup, I also have my regular MAC, Make Up For Ever, NARS and Illamasqua makeup that is frequently used in the makeover process. And alongside all this is the fake blood and props (like fake spiders and flies, Swarovski elements crystals or cotton wool and yarn)…from coagulated blood and stage blood to silicone flow blood and simulated blood, it’s not just a case of buying a cheap tube from a supermarket and whacking it on. Quality products make a huge difference to the overall look and bring realism and added gore, you also want to make sure the products won’t stain the skin and linger around afterwards. A lot of my products are sourced from America and it’s been a huge learning process in identifying the best products for the job over the years.
Not everybody offers SFX makeup alongside their usual makeup artistry – it’s a specialist area that takes a lot of time and practise to master. I still learn new tricks every day and spend each evening and sometimes allocated time throughout the day to train and learn new techniques and looks. The time, effort and investment I put into each one of my looks means that I can offer a more unique service to my clients to help them stand out from the crowds.
When a client comes to me for their Halloween makeovers, they are visiting a fully insured makeup artist who will ensure that their safety needs are catered to. In the relaxing environment of a professional studio, each client is required to fill in an information sheet along with an allergy and contraindications form. Each client must sign a contract put in place between myself and them before I will even so much as touch their face. It’s important to remember that people have skin allergies just as people have allergies to food and something you put on somebody’s face could cost them dearly. It’s important to have a professional practice in place and legalities dealt with before any makeover takes place. As a makeup artist, you may think this sounds extreme, but consider whether you could afford to be taken to court over neglect – do you really want to risk the cost and the massive dent to your reputation? And as a client, would you really want just anybody applying prosthetics to your face and running the risk of them causing damage to your skin if proper procedures weren’t followed? I certainly know what I’d rather do.
There are many fabulous Halloween/SFX makeup artists out there who don’t use overly expensive materials and do a great job, and it’s the clients prerogative who they decide to have their makeup applied by, however, there are a few out there who are in it for a quick buck and don’t care about the repercussions. Consider your options carefully and make sure you have an amazing Halloween to remember!
© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2015.