What does a hair and make-up assistant do?
Hair and make-up assistants work for designers, stylists or artists. The types of make-up and hairstyles they help with depends on the type of production they are on. They could be helping with the hire or purchase of wigs for a designer, sourcing make-up products for a make-up artist or assisting a stylist with a celebrity’s hair.
The role of a hair and make-up assistant can vary in seniority too, depending on the show. On many productions this is the entry-level role, where you may be required to run errands for your department, clean brushes and prepare make-up kits. Or you could find yourself working as junior stylist, assisting a hair or make-up artist with the appearance of on-screen guests. Assistants with more experience are often given more responsibility for key performers or presenters.
On big-budget shows, hair and make-up assistants may be part of a team ensuring everyone on screen looks ready for recordings. Once shooting starts, they are often on set to touch up make-up or maintain hair, and when filming is over they assist with make-up and product removal, cleaning and storing equipment.
Hair and make-up assistants are usually freelance, unless attached to large in-house art departments. They will often be requested by designers or stylists they’ve worked well with before.
What’s a hair and make-up assistant good at?
- Styling hair: be trained and have experience of working with every type of hair and the use of hair accessories, products and equipment
- Make-up: understand colour, shading, skin tone and texture, trained in using make-up; consider entire appearances, including hands, nails and any visible skin
- Knowledge of products: be up-to-date and able to use the latest products and equipment safely and effectively, understand allergies, how to test and what to do should a client react adversely
- Attention to detail: spot and deal with any design or styling flaws or issues during filming, keep the department or location organised and tidy
- Communication: work well with others, listen and respond to designer’s or artists’ needs, be trustworthy, build good relationships with PR and brands who may supply products