Safety on set for makeup artists in a Covid-19 era

With the creative industries experiencing a huge amount of change during this difficult climate, it can be tricky for professionals to understand what it means to be ‘safe’ on set. The Mandy team recently attended a virtual event with leading makeup artist Coco Hirani. She has over a decade of experience working across fashion, music videos, TV, film and red carpet projects and, during this talk, highlighted best practice methods in which makeup artists and employers can ensure safety on set during Covid-19. Check out some of the highlights from her talk below.

Planning before you shoot

  • Prior to the shoot, ensure you have a plan for all talent that will require makeup. This way you know exactly what to bring on set - you won’t be able to dip into your full pallets when you want to preserve both your kit and the talent’s health.
  • Put makeup in sample containers, and use multi-use pigments (i.e. using the same core product mixed with add ons to make it useful for eyeshadow/blush/lips/etc.)
  • Ensure production lets you have communication with talent prior to the shoot so you can learn what they are most comfortable with.
  • If you are a producer wanting to ensure your set is as safe as possible, don’t be afraid to ask what safety precautions are being taken by your MUA. Some productions are requesting each department provide them with a checklist of what they will have on set and what they would like provided. These details should be discussed and agreed upon prior to stepping on set.
  • It is important to remember that as a MUA that your own safety is just as crucial as that of the talent and employer, so don’t feel obligated to accept a job that makes you uncomfortable. Open and clear communication is key to navigating the industry during this climate.

During the shoot

  • Some MUA are getting cheap disposable brushes that are designated to one actor or model each and, at the end of the shoot, the brushes are thrown out rather than disinfected.
  • To further mitigate the risk of infection, it is advised that MUA ask talent to bring their own brushes and have production provide sanitisation materials to clean the handles/brushes afterwards for the talent to bring home (alongside this, hand sanitiser should be readily available wherever possible).
  • Some items are simply needed and cannot be put into a sample-size containers to function properly e.g. setting powder. Here’s a pro tip: aggressively dab cotton pads in setting powder. Make sure they are coated extra and good to go, then put pads into individual ziplock bags so no cross-use needs to take place.
  • As an alternative to MUA best practice on set, it is possible to request talent bring their own makeup/brushes and instruct them on exactly what to do in the mirror. Yes, this still means production pays you your normal rate, as you are still doing the work. In fact, you are teaching the talent how to do it themselves, which some might argue is of extra value.


After the shoot

  • Make sure you recycle all of the extra plastic bags that you’ll have on set, as well as cleaning and sanitising all equipment used.

This guidance has been delivered by leading makeup artist, Coco Hirani. We continue to post hundreds of exciting jobs on our platform, including opportunities for MUA! Why not create an account for free and browse our Jobs Directory here?