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Becoming a Commercial Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist: Time Management Strategies


Welcome to Part 2 of this 4-Part Series of Key Transition Strategies which builds a bridge from your current makeup & hair career into commercial opportunities. It covers: pricing, timeline management, communication and marketing. These strategies provide the powerful baby steps you can take right now to make a smooth transition into becoming a commercial makeup artist and hair stylist. Read Part One on Pricing Strategies.

No matter where you are right now, these strategies will not only help you define your makeup and hair career approach but also your mindset to take those vital steps into the fascinating and lucrative world of commercial makeup artistry and hair styling working on TV commercials, advertising campaigns, corporate communications, TV and live events. Let's get started!

Effective time management strategies are critical in being a successful commercial makeup and hair stylist. This is not a regular job where you can make up time at the end of the day or have a co-worker takeover until you arrive. It is a machine with lots of moving parts (crew, location, talent, schedule, shot list and on and on) and if one of these moving parts doesn’t start at the time scheduled or when the others do, then everything is at a standstill.

And in this business time is money and lots of it. So for the end client who is counting on a well-oiled machine to produce a commercial for their product or service to grow their business and who is also “footing” the bill (paying the company who also pays your day rates and kit fees) is . . . should we say “not a happy camper” if things come to a standstill?

And your “commercial production” is not a personal client or bride who you can call and say I’m running a few minutes late but on my way. It’s not a salon appointment that can be worked in between other clients. Your “commercial production” requires your full focus, priority and attention while you are working on it. This leads us to the first time management strategy . . .



  • Create a habit of arriving at least 15-30 minutes early to the location for each and every shoot you work on.

Have you ever heard the phrase “If you’re not 15 minutes early, you are late?” Well, this rings absolutely true in the commercial production industry. And actually, it’s to your advantage to arrive 30 minutes earlier than your scheduled “call time” at the location of the shoot. It allows for any possible traffic problems, time to park, unload, set up in your staging area and be ready when the talent starts arriving! This ensures you as the makeup & hair stylist will be keeping your portion of the shoot on schedule! One goal to always strive for is . . .Never have the production waiting on makeup & hair. This means work quickly and efficiently so you have all the talent ready before they are actually needed (of course without sacrificing quality of work). So, when you hear the 1st AD or producer ask about the ETA (estimated time until talent is ready) of talent, you can respond by saying “they are ready, would you like them on set?”



  • Create a habit of getting each talent ready within these timelines

10 minutes-Men’s grooming

20 minutes-”No makeup, makeup look” and hair style or touch-up

You as the makeup & hair stylist are truly gifted in so many ways. You are a master “juggler” of mental, physical and emotional tasks while working on set. You’re not only creating makeup & hair looks for each talent but you are their cheerleader, hype person, confidante, go-to person. You’re meeting these people for the first time, quickly connecting, juggling all of the tasks AND the production clock is ticking. This doesn’t even include all the duties you perform on set. Wow! Writing this makes me realize there should definitely be more awards & accolades given to makeup & hair stylists!!!

The above guidelines are typical of the time involved in prepping talent in a commercial setting. On occasion, you will have more or less time. Always approach the talent by identifying the main priorities first; especially if you are in a time crunch. This means, you do not have a “cookie cutter” process for each talent. This means from the moment you see the talent arrive, start identifying the priorities needed to get them camera ready. The process for each talent will be different.

So you see commercial time management strategies are more fast paced than those in bridal party or salon settings. Both still have deadlines but the process of reaching them is different. At a wedding, the client is the bride. And the ceremony does not start without the bride. You have 45 minutes to 1 hour just for makeup for the bride alone to ensure they look amazing! So whatever the bride says goes. Whereas on a commercial shoot, you are one piece of the puzzle. The talent is another piece of the puzzle as is each and every crew position. The chain of command goes beyond who you are directly working on. It takes teamwork of each member doing their key role in an effective and efficient way to create a successful commercial production.


Time Management Strategy #3

  • Create a verbal highlight “reel” of how you got started and your background story.

It’s inevitable that on each shoot, at least one of the talent will ask how you got started in commercial makeup and hair as well as a little about your background. The reality of the shoot has it that you MOST definitely want to engage and be personable with the talent. However, you need to continue working in order to have them camera ready, before the 1st AD actually requests them on set (remember that goal from #1 above).

So, take a few minutes, sit down and write out a bullet point list of your background, makeup and hair journey highlights. Organize those highlights into a simple statement (similar to that of a personal “elevator pitch”). Practice saying this statement so it flows easily off your tongue. Now when you are racing against the clock, prepping talent and they ask “how did you get started?”; you can easily convey the answer by offering that statement up to them and keep the conversation going and stay engaged while you work without distraction.

Early on in my career, I noticed my work process slowing down as I easily became distracted when talent asked me questions about how I got started and my background. This is why I created a verbal highlight “reel” to share when talent asks these questions. Anything to make the makeup & hair process more efficient on set is worth it!


You can trust not every shoot will be high intensity, racing against the clock. However, the more prepared you are, the more polished your process is and the more insight you acquire . . .you will literally crush any set you step on! These time management strategies are just the tip of the iceberg. Add them to your process to continue becoming more than a makeup & hair stylist but a set savvy makeup & hair stylist.

Personal note: Each blog post, article, social media post I share with you provides trueinsider insight to do just that . . .teach and guide you to become more than a makeup and hair stylist but a set savvy makeup & hair stylist who will repeatedly book jobs over and over.


Grab these guides and kickstart your Commercial Makeup, Hair and Wardrobe Styling Career!

JOIN "ON THE SET" FACEBOOK GROUP HERE A Private Group for aspiring & professional makeup artists, hair stylists and wardrobe stylists transitioning & working in the commercial industry on TV commercials, advertising campaigns, corporate communications, TV and live events.

JOIN THE YOU'RE BOOKED! WAITLIST You're Booked! The Blueprint for Booking Commercial work as a Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist is the only comprehensive, proven step-by-step course of its kind that not only maps out the exact process to book commercial makeup and hair jobs like a pro–but shows you exactly what you need to know, who you need to contact and how to become that in-demand makeup and hair artist!

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