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Why is my Halloween makeup more expensive?

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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.

Halloween makeup at the studio

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.

The speciality
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.

Burns Zombie

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!

Halloween banner

© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2015.

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September Beauty Favourites


I’m always glad to see the back end of September purely for the fact that it means October has arrived along with orange leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, crisp mornings and dark berry lipsticks!

Autumn beauty is always a firm favourite of mine and the fall influence has been slowly making its way into my favoured beauty products throughout September. So, here are my September beauty favourites – some beauty, some not. Enjoy!

Urban Decay’s Medium Matte Bronzer
When I first purchased the Naked On The Run palette back in 2014, I instantly loved the matte bronzer. It was enough to either contour with, add to my eyeshadow colour as a transition shade or simply to add a little more colour to my face and warm up my complexion. Every now and again, I like to rotate my makeup and revisit old favourites which is exactly what I did this month with this lovely palette. I also love the packaging of this palette and it always makes me feel happy inside seeing it inside my makeup drawer every morning (I love makeup, okay?!)

Arbonne Lip Liner in Peach
After my friend introduced me to Arbonne’s makeup and let me test out his products, this became a favourite. It makes overlining lips a doddle and looks lovely and natural while staying put all day even after eating or drinking. The roll up design makes it convenient in the respect that you don’t need to hunt around for a pencil sharpener every few days and the stick is really firm yet has a good color payoff. I like to wear it with a little gloss over the top so that it doesn’t feel too drying as I’m prone to getting chapped lips if I don’t keep them moisturised.

Urban Decay Mascara in Perversion
“Bigger. Blacker. Badder.” Again, another old favourite I got in the Naked On The Run palette that I found in my makeup trolley and decided to try out again. I’d forgotten how lovely this little mascara is! A creamy, lengthening and volumising formula which contains Hairdensyl – a blend of proteins and amino acids including marine glycogen – and won’t clump on the lashes even if you go for a triple coat. I love the sleek packaging and the fluffy wand!

Eylure Shape and Shade Brow Pencil and Tamer in Mid Brown
I originally bought this pencil for my brows but still preferred my old faithful No7 pencil (which is now shorter than my little finger). But this month, I’ve been loving this pencil to draw in and use as my base for a cut crease. It’s the perfect texture to draw in the crease then blend out.

Marks and Spencer La Maison De Senteurs Verveine Citron Verbena candle
This gorgeous candle was gifted to me from a bridal client as a thank you for her wedding day makeup. I burn it when I’m working to help me relax and create a nice ambience to my makeup room. The candle smells beautiful – the scent is really different from the sugary sweet scents I usually go to which makes it feel all the more like a relaxing spa candle to me and a little treat. The fresh aroma is scented with lemon verbena which helps to awaken and revive which is probably why I enjoy burning it as I’m working so much.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
I can’t even tell you how excited I was for this delicious drink to come back to my local Starbucks. Starbucks blend their signature espresso and milk with flavor notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove to make a spicy, warming drink that’s just perfect to take along on autumnal walks. I love mine with the Guatemalan beans and a dash of whipped cream for an extra special treat.

Autumn Wreath
A few years ago, I made an autumn wreath full of beautiful orange leaves, berries and dark black leaves for a halloween contrast. Each year, I put the wreath on the door on the day of the Autumnal Equinox and I always so look forward to doing so. It’s so lovely to arrive back home to see the wreath hanging on the door. It was the first wreath I ever made and most of the products came from either Country Baskets or eBay. Hello autumn!

What are your September favourites?

© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2015.

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Last appointment left for Halloween makeovers in Barnsley

One appointment left

This year my Halloween bookings have gone absolutely through the roof and I’m already almost at full capacity for the actual day (Saturday 31st).

I have one last appointment left for Halloween makeovers in Barnsley this year and as always, my appointments are all first come first served and require a booking fee to secure the time and date. If you’d like to snap up the last appointment, please do contact me as soon as possible and we can discuss your requirements.

For those of you celebrating before or after actual Halloween, I do have some availability left so please do message me with your enquiries!

For the full information and terms and conditions of booking, please see my Halloween/SFX PDF here.

© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2015.

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