Written by NZINGHA for TheGlamSquadFiles™
I’ve been asked this question on several occasions about why Makeup Arists always wear black. My response is not just about wearing black but about what we wear and how we present ourselves in general. You may not be the top fashionista but at least be presentable and groomed. You may not have the money now to build your wardrobe but in time you will and then you build your wardrobe piece by piece.
With that said here’s my answer to the question.
A: The real reason why Makeup Artists (and work crews) originally started wearing black was because in the live theater world backstage the crew wore black so they could still keep working backstage and not be seen by the audience while working.Crew would blend into the background with the black curtains and walls and usually everything backstage is black.
Just a few of My personal suggestions.
1) Personal hygiene
…lets just say we work extremely close to people in their faces and in tight places most times
2) Keep a clean kit
…most people think that this is not important to what you wear on set BUT a clean kit is part of your wardrobe! It speaks volumes about how you are personally, how you keep yourself and the health, care and hygiene of the products you use and how you will ultimately care for your clients.
3) Wear comfortable shoes and clothing
…being comfortable is key here because you will find yourself in some situations where you will be working exceedingly long hours or varied weather conditions. Also a word to the wise as a caution… Never be too flashy with you dressing i.e. your designer wear and jewelry collection (save it for your personal down time). I once heard my client fire the wardrobe stylist because she felt like she was attempting to out dress her, look better than her (yes it’s they’re insecurity but I can cost you your job). Stay well groomed yet dress smartly.
4) Wearable workable nail length
…simple clean manicured nails for the men and clean groomed mid length nails for the ladies.
5) Know what time it is
…in other words get info about what,where, whom, time, location and weather conditions are going to be. This will put you ahead of the game so you don’t look or be prone to act the fool.
LETS HEAR FROM OTHER MAKEUP ARTISTS…
A few more answers from other Makeup Artists about what they wear to work and why. All great answers…check it out.
A: A call sheet (the document supplied by your agency prior to a shoot, which contains all the details about the job you have been booked for) very rarely mentions clothing, but there are exceptions. On occasion for instance, it might say “dress warm” if the shoot is going to be outside on location. Once on a trip to Barbados, I remember we were instructed not to wear army camouflage clothing, and another time when we shot a campaign at a working men’s club in central London, the guys in the creative team were told they had to wear long trousers. At fashion shows when you are working for a brand, you might be given a team T-shirt. At the ones I’ve done for MAC, for example, I was supplied with a MAC Pro tee and it was requested that I wear it along with their signature shade (black). Beyond this, it’s really up to you. ~Private
A: Luckily, when I’m working everyone’s eyes are on the model, not on me. Most of my work wardrobe is black. I typically prefer pants or jeans and like flat shoes for the sake of comfort and practicality. Skinny black jeans teamed with a plain sheer T-shirt or crisp white bat-wing shirt and a pair of black sneakers is my usual uniform. If the conditions are cool, I will throw a jumper on and add a coat with leather lapels to the mix. Sometimes I will wear a cute little black dress paired with tights and pixie boots, and depending on my mood and the weather, I may pop a cashmere chunky-knit cardigan on top. Once I’m dressed, it’s all about getting my makeup kit in the car and getting to the job on time.
A: Black simple clothes (T-shirt, pants, skirt & tights, etc)
Closed in black flats, some sets and workplaces require closed toed shoes for health and safety reasons. Avoid dangly bracelets, earrings, necklaces etc.
The idea is to look chic & stylish yet be comfortable because you’ll be on your feet all day long. Try to avoid trends that are too out there as your outfit will detract from your work.
Same goes with your makeup, hair and personal grooming. Simple elegant makeup and well groomed hair that is styled well for medium to short length or tied/pinned back if long will enhance your image as a professional makeup artist. ~Private
A: I’m not trying to look cute on set, not trying to impress anyone with my outfit. My makeup and hair are always done professionally. I figure the scrubs help me blend into the background when I am not needed, I don’t disappear on set when I am doing touch-ups, and no one forgets who the makeup artist is on crew. ~ Samantha Reeder
A: When I went to my makeup training schools, they always advise us to wear black. They say it’s the signature “makeup artist attire.” The same thing was followed when I was in L’Oreal. I did retail training for the beauty advisers of Shu Uemura and the rule was to have all our makeup artists wear black. Well it only makes sense — black looks professional, it almost never looks unpolished and it any dirt hardly looks obvious on it. ~Dior
THIS COMES FROM AN UNDISCLOSED MAC COSMETICS EMPLOYEE.
Wow!!! Who knew? And Yes, after reading the ryder, I strongly agree with MAC’s policy, with the exception of Artists who are working freelance and not for MAC but on location sets. Most freelance Artists are not sales people on freelance fashion, music, misc. projects or Union film, TV and Broadway projects.
MAC is a “brand” and has irrefutable standards and that I applaud. In addition the same grooming standard should apply to all makeup professionals. If you are a Pro Freelance Makeup Artist you should consider yourself a “brand” too. It’s simply wise business on the behalf of a freelancer.
“Here’s word for word in my paperwork”
*All M.A.C Staff are required to wear 100% professional black.
*A white shirt may be worn with a buttoned-up jacket or cardigan/sweater.
*Black clothing must be clean, not fade, pulling or torn (cotton is not recommended due to fading).
*Materials with Lycra of some stretch are ideal (more durable and color fast).
*Translucent or sheer clothing must be tasteful and worn over/under solid black clothing.
*Clothes must be tastefully fashionable and appropriately fit.
*No brand logos permitted.
*Pinstripes and stitching detail need to be minimal.
*Scarves must be black, but ties may have some color.
*A M.A.C pin, chain must always be worn.
*Jewelery and accessories such as belts must be black fashionable and appropriate.
*Shoes must be professional , black and not scuffed. Tennis shoes, flip flops, “nursing shoes” or slippers are not permitted.
*Hosiery is optional, but if worn must be black or neutral. Socks also be black.
*Athletic wear such as fleece, or yoga pants and “hoodies” are not permitted.
*M.A.C theme/even shirts such as Viva Glam should only be worn on theme days as a group and not individually.
*Hair accessories and black hats may be worn at the counter so long as it does not obscure or shadow the face.
*Baseball caps are not permitted.
Hair must be neat, clean, well groomed, styled and should reflect the current trends in the industry.
*There is no restriction with hair color.
*A full well executed make-up must be worn to work at the start of shift. (For example, foundation 3 eye shadows, mascara, blush, three lip products are required (lipstick, liner, lip gloss).
*Employees may be required to wear applicable “look” associated with a new product launch. The requirement of wearing such look shall be determined by “your market” for the product(s) being launched and the current industry trends, and may be changed at discretion of M.A.C at any time.
*Personal hygiene needs to be regularly monitored bt the individual. Nails should be manicured and toes should have a pedicure when open toes are worn. M.A.C nail polish must be worn.
*Deodorant or other personal alternative to odor prevention must be qorn at all times.
*It is preferable for fragrance to be worn. If worn, the fragrance must be a M.A.C fragrance.
*Fresh breath is mandatory. If you smoke, please be sure to wash and sanitize your hands prior to returning to te counter and serving customers. Breath mints are required ater smoking.
*Absolutely no gum – small mints are acceptable.
*Cell phones, pagers etc. should be turned off and kept with personal belongings and are not permitted to work on the counter or in your brush belts. Emergency calls can be accepted at the counter.
M.A.C is admired for respecting and embracing individuality. However, it is important to remember that while at work you are expected to look, act and service our customers in the most professional manner possible.