Wedding Makeup Artists Are Putting Safety First
Wedding Makeup Artists Are Putting Safety First
Over the last year, many brides, grooms and wedding party members have acted as their own glam squads, while other couples continued to hire in-person makeup artists for their wedding events — albeit with pandemic safety plans in place.
Since coronavirus precautions began affecting the wedding industry, business has undoubtedly changed for makeup artists who conduct their services face to face. Here, three makeup artists share how the pandemic has changed their businesses.
Fewer Weddings, Smaller Wedding Parties
When the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey got married on Oct. 10 in Acworth, Ga., Alexandra Butler was hired as an on-site makeup artist to provide beauty services for Ms. Bailey and members of her bridal party.
Ms. Butler, 37, the owner of Alexandra Butler Makeup Artistry in Atlanta, has spent 13 years in the industry. While she typically works five to 10 weddings annually, Ms. Butler’s only wedding client since March 2020 was Ms. Bailey. “Everyone has had to replan their wedding or cancel it,” Ms. Butler said.
In Dallas, Stephanie Nelson, 33, and her 30-person team at Stephanie Nelson Hair & Makeup typically provide services for 120 weddings a year. In the past 12 months, that number dropped to 40. Along with the decrease, the majority of bridal parties dwindled from about 10 bridesmaids to zero. “Girls either didn’t have a bridal party or just a couple of friends,” Ms. Nelson said.
Even though there are fewer weddings and smaller wedding parties, the pandemic has prompted more paperwork to ensure safety. Before arriving to work on location, Ms. Butler provides Covid-19 risk acknowledgment forms to brides.
“It explains that I wouldn’t be liable if she or anyone in the bridal party were to contract coronavirus,” Ms. Butler said. “I have every member of the bridal party — whoever’s going to be around — sign that.”
Additionally, Ms. Butler requires everyone having makeup applied to complete a Covid-19 self-assessment five (or fewer) days before the event. Screening questions resemble queries found on physician intake forms, she said, including if an individual has recently had a fever.
Safety for All
While booking a variety of makeup jobs, Ms. Butler has been tested for Covid-19 seven times since July. “The biggest thing that has changed during Covid is trying to protect myself as well as the client,” she said. “I definitely limit myself to being around a lot of people or going into spaces where I know folks are not going to wear a mask.”
At venues and on sets, Ms. Butler will ask for a work space near a window, separate from where people are gathering. “I request if people are within a six-foot radius of me, they will have on a mask because the client I’m working on won’t have a mask on.”
Similarly, Ms. Nelson asks her clients to keep their masks on up until the point at which they are receiving services.
Protective gear on makeup artists is nonnegotiable. Monica Nguyen, 31, a makeup artist of nine years who lives in New Jersey, wears two masks and a face shield, or a pair of protective goggles when her face shield fogs up from extensive use. .
To avoid spreading germs, Ms. Nguyen uses nine varieties of clean makeup brushes per person. She also circumvents tool contamination by using disposable palettes and spatulas, wands for mascara and brow products, single-use sponges for concealer, cotton swabs for lip balm and throwaway lip brushes for color applications.
Between clients, Ms. Nguyen washes her hands, disinfects chairs and tables, and sanitizes every product used as well as each package she touches. “I’m sanitizing my hands every five seconds, much more than normal,” she said. “How much sanitation we’re doing … it’s the more exhausting part.” She deep cleans tools with Barbicide, a disinfectant solution used by barbers and cosmetologists, at home after events.
Advice for the Wedding Party
In preparation for wedding events, Ms. Butler recommends her clients drink lots of water to promote healthy skin, get rest and arrive with bare faces (including removal of residual eyeliner and lash glue) to limit their time spent in close quarters.
As simple as it sounds, patience is key for couples, wedding party members and makeup artists alike. “Prepare for some extra time,” Ms. Butler said.
Ms. Butler designates 45 minutes to one hour per person, and an extra 15 to 20 minutes for the bride, in case there are distractions. “Sometimes they’re emotional or sometimes they get pulled in different directions,” she said. “You don’t want to run over and spill into the actual ceremony.”
As safety remains a top priority, makeup artists have expanded their offerings to include virtual appointments in order to maintain income while social distancing.
Within the past year, 15 brides booked two-hour virtual sessions with Stephanie Nelson Hair & Makeup. These digital meetings, scheduled a couple of weeks before the wedding, include step-by-step digital tutorials, written instructions, products and tips for makeup longevity, so brides and guests can apply their own makeup for weddings.
For parties who prefer in-person services but have to postpone, changes are often accommodated with empathy. “We were able to work with our clients, transfer services to a future date and pivot to make sure clients felt they could still get the wedding of their dreams, just in a different capacity,” Ms. Nelson said.