Makeup-FX.com

Answers to your most common questions.

This looks fun! How do you become a makeup artist and wigmaker?
The best way is to go as an apprentice on a theatre for 3 years, but this is easier said than done.
No theatre's seem to have any money to take on pupils any longer.
I usually recommend that you try to get some work experience with amateur theatre first, before you decide what you want to do with your life.
My profession is never as glamorous as everybody seems to think but a job with lousy work hours, bad pay and bad work conditions. Sometimes you can get an apprenticeship through a high school .
 

I have seen there are private schools that teaches makeup! Are they any good?
I have not been in greater contact with any of these schools but I ordered a few course catalogues and after reading them I can say that it is impossible to become a makeup artist in such a short period of time.
To my knowledge no one from a private school has ever gotten a job on a  theatre or television here in Gothenburg.
I usually recommend trying the way I wrote about above.

Save your money to buy stuff and try experimenting at home!!

There are some on-line courses I have seen. Are they any good?
I have only had experience of one of them and that is the Stan Winston school of character arts.
I love this one and I am a subscriber!
It will not make you a makeup artist from scratch but if you have some experience you will learn soooo much!

But I want, want, want to be a makeup artist!!!! Help me!!!!!!!!
I'm sorry but I can't help everybody that mail me! I get more than 10 e-mails a day (including Christmas day!) that all want get into the business and as you can understand I can't help 3650 people a year! I have to have time to work and play too!
You will have to start by reading books and experiment on your friends and family first.
We never accept students that have never played with makeup before.  Take contact with some local amateur theatre in your region and ask if you can do their makeup for free.
This way everybody will be happy, they get someone who help them and you will get free material to use and willing models. The keyword for beginners is PLAY and LEARN! Take pictures of everything you do and see your progress. when you have worked for a while (2-3 years) like this you may be ready to apply for an apprenticeship on a theatre.

I am doing a makeup project and I need your help. Can you help me if I write to you with all the details of my problem?
I am very sorry but if you had any idea how many questions I get every day you would understand why I can't. The info I have on my website is the only thing I can offer for free.
 
 The only way I can help your project is if you hire me as a consultant.
 Doing this may seem expensive but then I will be giving you my full attention.
 Check this page for prices Terms of employment 

Show me how to do SPLATTER He He!! (Blood, terror and horrible stuff)
No, no and again NO!!! I don't like to do splatter for it's own sake. If I will do blood I demand that the play is good enough to defend it. I don't do horror flicks! When I was a kid I loved it and that's how I started out but I have grown since then and I am not planning to go back.
The only professional gore on this site is  the abused woman from a movie I made for the Swedish police, in this case the effect was crucial to the scene as it had to show the damage a violent man can do.
 
Well, to be perfectly honest maybe some of the Halloween makeup's I have done is a bit gruesome but I feel like a kid that one a day a year!
Who's perfect??

Can I be your apprentice at the theatre?
At the moment we do not take on pupils.
If we take applications I will say so on my updates list.

I am going to cut off my hair. Do you buy hair?
No! Try a wigmaker in your area. Check the yellow pages.

Can you make teeth for me if I order them over the Internet?
No! I have to meet you to cast your teeth and then again to have a fitting.
You will not be able to convince me to do it whatever you say.
Wrongly made teeth might harm your real teeth and I do not want to risk that.

When will you open your web shop again?
My new web shop selling custom made human hair wigs and other hairpieces for very competitive prices is now open.
I am also selling wig making kits, hair punching needles and makeup brushes too.
I have no current plans to re-open my appliance shop.

What first got you interested in makeup?
I knew I wanted to become a makeup artist when I saw Planet of the apes and Alien when I was a kid.

What steps did you take to become a makeup Artist?
I played around in my parents basement and did monsters for a few years, taking photos of everything. Later I started working with amateur theatre and got the chance to play on someone else's face for a change. This led to a job on a cable TV show and I got more experience. I then felt that I needed to move on and applied to the only state owned makeup school in Sweden. I didn't get in as I was too young but they gave me some contacts and after that I have never been unemployed. Sounds simple doesn't it? 

Have you had a day where everything went wrong?
Ouch Yes!!! I don't want to talk about it! It's too painful ;)

What kind of makeup work do you do regularly?
My daily job is at the Folkteatern in Gothenburg, Sweden and I work 40 hours a week there.
Then on the side I often do special projects. Check my galleries for examples.

Do you have a favourite style? (Monster, injury simulation, cosmetics, etc.)
Age makeup's or any other prosthetic makeup's that is supposed to look real.

What is your biggest reward in being a Makeup Artist?
The biggest reward is probably when an actor tells you that the makeup did his/hers job for them. It feels great to know that you have been able to help them to perform better.
That is what the job is all about, making the performance and overall quality of show to become better. Makeup should never be for it's own sake!

What advice would you give an aspiring Makeup Artist?
Play and have fun! When it's not fun anymore maybe it's time to stop.
This tip doesn't only go for beginners but for everyone working with it too!

Where can I buy all this stuff?

Check my page with shops! I do not sell any makeup materials at all only wigs and other hairpieces.

Where can I learn more about this?

Check my page with books or my links list.

You didn't answer my e-mail? Why?
It can be one of the following answers:
1. You asked about something that I have answered on this page. If you did, I am sorry but I may have deleted your e-mail without answering it.
2. I have been incredibly busy working or been away on holiday so I have not been able to get to my e-mail. But I do try to take the time to sit down at least once a week to do my mail.
So if you have waited for more than a week with a non-FAQ listed question then I think the spam filter took you :(
Please re-write your e-mail.

What made you decide that make-up artistry was the career path for you?
I watched way too many horror films when I was kid!
I just had to know how they did the effects.
 
How did you start?  (ex.  schooling, first job, first opportunity)
I worked with amateur theatre for a few years and built my portfolio that way. Then I was suddenly offered a job on a real theatre. Most people won't be as lucky as I was.
 
Can you describe a typical working day?
A typical day is 8 hours long or more.
Either I work with future productions and work 8.00-16.00 or I have a performance in the evening and then I work from 15.00-23.00
The content of the day can vary sooo much so I won't even try to go into that.
 
What are the major frustrations of the make-up industry?
TIME! There is never enough of it...
And then of course the fact that I will never get rich doing this :(
 
How hard or easy is it to work in the make-up industry?  Why?
Once you have a name in the industry it is quite easy. I have never been unemployed. But when I started there was very few makeup artists and it was easier to build a name for yourself. Today the market is flooded with people from the many schools that has popped up. Unfortunately they rarely reach the standards we demand and they will have a quite difficult time finding work.
 
What do you look for in an employee or employer?
This may sound silly, but I look at a persons hands.
I can usually see quite quickly if someone is suited for the job or not.
When it comes to employers I only look at the project and if that seems fun. I make sure it will work for me. I can be really demanding when I want to be.
 
What is your best advice to a student wanting to work in the Fashion/film industry?
Sorry, but I can't answer that. There is no standard way into the job that works for everybody. Everyone have to find their own path.
 
How profitable is freelancing? 
It can be very good but only if you are a big name in the industry. Most people have to struggle to make a living out of it. I prefer having a steady job like I have now.
It's not as much money but it feels safer.

Could you recommend  another person that I could contact for more information?
Sorry, No. Surf the web for more info. You can find tons of links on my linkspage.

Do you have a My space page?
Yes, I do http://www.myspace.com/makeup_fx
But I have not updated it for years....

Do you have a Facebook page?
Yes, I do http://www.facebook.com/larsfx
This is the social media I use the most, but that is not very often either. A couple of times a week at most. And I don't hardly ever do status updates.

What about Twitter??
Yes, http://twitter.com/#!/makeupfx
but I never ever use it either. Who can find the time to say 140 characters about what I am doing??
And who would care what I had for lunch??

What about YouTube??
Yes, http://www.youtube.com/user/makeupfx1

What about Google+??
Yes, https://plus.google.com/u/0/117067846853979191997/posts

What about Linkedin??
Yes http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=107288442&trk=tab_pro

What about Instagram??
Yes,
http://instagram.com/makeupfx#

I'd really love advice on how to get into the industry and get paid. I'm in a vicious circle of getting some jobs but not paid ones.

The only good advice I can give you is to charge people!
The most common thing that happens is that someone needs something done but don't feel that they can afford it.
They ask around and find you who is willing to do it for experience.

What happens next is classic (correct me if I'm wrong). They ask for tons of stuff with no notice or money. You end up doing shitty hours and because the film makers are most likely new at this, your work won't look good and you can't brag about doing it......
And when you have done something great they won't appreciate it because it cost them nothing.
So you looooooose in all respects.
These people won't employ you in the future because you worked for free once and they will expect you to do this in the future too.

Well, if things were good and your work ended up looking good and the film/play/advert was good,  you still didn't make any money...
Will they pay your rent?? I don't think so.

If you are a nice person and your work is good then you will find paid work.
Don't be scared. Good work finds someone who wants to buy it.
Now your only problem is to do things good enough to be sold!
That is the scary part of the job.

Wig shop FAQ

Can you send me a catalogue?
There is no printed catalogue. To keep our prices as low as they are we have cut down all extra expenses such as the printed catalogue.

I would like to buy a wig.  How do I do it?
Just read the different "Order" pages on the menu and then you contact me for further information.

You say it's real hair, but what kind of hair is it?
All the hair is Asian hair that has been bleached and dyed to the different colors.
Bleached Asian hair has excellent qualities when dry, but extra care has to be taken when washing the hair as it might tangle while wet.
Read more about this on the wig care page.
If you want a wig made from European hair then this is possible on special order.
European hair is much softer but incredibly much more expensive.

I have no or little hair and want to wear a wig when I go out. Can I use your wigs for this?
These wigs are not designed to be worn on a daily basis.
These are special wigs for theatre and film.
Wigs made for daily use must be made with a stronger and thicker foundation.
You can use them for daily wear with fantastic results, but don't expect it to last very long.
Other websites that sell similar wigs might say that they will last for years, but that is just advertising.
A wig gets worn fairly quickly if used on a day to day basis. It doesn't matter who you buy it from.

What is the material of the foundation?
The wigs and other hairpieces are made completely on nylon lace.
Nylon lace (also known as Swiss lace or French lace) is very thin and should be handled with care.
Read more about this on the wig care page.
The nylon front lace on some of the standard wigs are theatre quality.
For film, you should make a special order, with a film lace or check if I got any in stock.

How is a wig made?
The technique is called ventilating and you use a small needle, which looks like a little fishing hook to take one to three hairs at a time, and tie it in the foundation.
It takes more than a week to make a full wig.
You can see a step-by-step demonstration on how to make a wig on this page
and you can also see more general information on this page
.

I want to learn how to make my own wig. Can you recommend a school or book?
I don't know of any schools anywhere in the world that teaches wig making and the only books I have found are all out of print.
So sorry, no I can't help you.
I have plans to make my own instructional book and DVD but so far I have not had the time to write it. When it's done it will be advertised on this website.


How do I put the wig and hairpieces on?
I have some step-by-step instructions about this on the wig care pages.

Do you give discounts to people who need to wear a wig for medical reasons?
As I've said before, these wigs are not meant for daily use. 
So I do not have a program for giving discounts for medical reasons.


I saw that you want payment before delivery, why?
I have decided to do it this way as these products cost quite a lot, and as soon as I have started to make changes for a customer the wig becomes worthless to me.
My ambition with this shop is to keep my prices as low as possible so that more people can afford to use wigs. This becomes impossible, if I am making losses because people do not pay for the things they have ordered. 

I have an idea on how I would like to use a wig or hairpiece.
Can you style a wig or hairpiece and send me pictures so I can see if it works?

In short, No! I am sorry, but I can not perform tests for people on my products.
If you want me to style a wig or hairpiece for you, then you need to buy it and then I can do it for you.

I have never used a wig before.  Is it difficult?
Taking proper care of a lace wig can be difficult if you have no instructions to follow.
So I will try to provide instructions for you!
You will need a wig block of the correct size and some tools.
The lifespan of a properly treated wig is very long, but if mistreated,
it can be destroyed in minutes!!


Read more about how to care for your wig on the wig care page.
I will try to make as many step-by-step guides as possible for the most common things you will do.
Makeup-FX cannot be held responsible for damages made by the customer.

How long will it take before I get my wig?
It depends on what you want me to do with the wig.
If you want a custom lace front on a standard wig the minimum time for delivery is four weeks, but it might also be more depending on how much work I have at the moment.
Contact me for more information on current delivery times.

Wigs without custom hairlines, beards and moustaches can be delivered more or less immediately as long as I have the size and color you want in stock.
Special orders, that are manufactured in China may take up to 7-9 weeks delivery time.

 

I have a shop and I would like to re-sell your wigs. Can I get wholesale prices?
Yes, you can. Contact me for more information.

I don't live in Sweden, can I order wigs from you?
Yes, I send things worldwide!

How do you send things?
All wigs and hairpieces are always sent with insured, registered mail using the Swedish mail or EMS. (EMS is a delivery company like UPS or DHL)
EMS costs a lot more, but can be worth it as we are talking about expensive products that neither you or me want to lose. You also get a guaranteed delivery date with EMS. Normal registered mail can take longer than they promise and no compensation will be given from them or me for shipments that has been delayed this way.
We also use UPS, Fed-Ex and DHL but only on request.

It seems difficult to decide which color I need. Can you send me a small sample of hair?
Yes, I can do that but unfortunately I have to take a small charge to cover the postage expense and to make sure that people are serious about purchasing a wig.

What about the moral of using Chinese labour then??
A few people have contacted me and feared that the wigs are being made with illegal child labour.
I can guarantee you that this is not the case.
 The employees at the Chinese factory are all between 23 to 49 years of age (2012).
They do have a full licence to export products to Europe and are under constant control by Qingdao city council.
It is a small family owned company and I put my full trust in them.

Some pictures from the Chinese wig factory:

 

More questions and answers will follow!


 

       




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