I’m currently compiling posts based around some of the most common questions that I have come across on forums and other websites. 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 them, 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 which can greatly affect the cost.
Here are a few factors to consider when debating the cost of your Halloween makeover this year.
The SFX Materials
Many makeup artists offering SFX work will probably be offering looks using Liquid Latex and tissue paper – the cheapest materials you could probably buy in. For my Halloween clients, I flit between liquid latex, a silicone modelling compound, prosthetic adhesives, spirit gum and rigid collodion alongside my usual makeup in my professional kit. A silicone set will usually last for me for around one-two clients depending on the look, 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 for 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 has a much quicker drying time too.
The prosthetic pieces that I buy in or make for my clients can also be very expensive and take a lot of time and skill to apply and blend onto the skin. Sure, you can buy cheaper prosthetic pieces, but they look unprofessional and don’t adhere or blend to the skin nearly half as well. This means you can run the risk of the piece peeling away halfway through wear-time 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 right through to water-based or alcohol-activated paints. Amongst these products are names such as Ben Nye, Kryolan, Graftobian and Mehron – all professional, sought-after brands.
As well as the stage makeup, I also have my regular MAC, Make Up For Ever, NARS and Illamasqua makeup that is frequently used during the makeover process. And finally, 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 standard tube from a supermarket and whacking it on. Quality products make a huge difference to the overall look and bring realism and added gore. I also want to make sure the products won’t stain the skin and linger around for days afterwards. A lot of my products are sourced from America and believe me, it’s been a huge learning process over the years in identifying the best products for the job.
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 constantly dedicate time to learn techniques and looks, and there’s always something new to master. The time, effort and investment I put into each one of my looks means that I can offer a unique service to my clients to help them stand out from the crowds.
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working for amazing companies like Coca-Cola, and have been featured in the press globally in recognition of my Halloween and SFX work.
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 for. In a relaxing environment of a professional studio, each client is required to fill in a consultation form which requires detailed allergy information. Each client must sign a contract 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. An allergen that’s applied to somebody’s face can trigger an allergic reaction that can be fatal. It’s important to have a professional makeup artist that puts your welfare before making money.
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? 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 your prerogative who you choose. However, there are a few makeup artists out there who are in it for a quick buck and don’t care about the repercussions – this is not unique to the makeup industry, it happens across any trade.
Consider your options carefully and make sure you have a Halloween to remember for all the right reasons!