Forums > Hair, Makeup & Styling > Increasing speed as an MUA?

Makeup Artist

Sahily Anais MUA

Posts: 101

West Palm Beach, Florida, US


Right now it takes me an hour to complete a full makeup look. I think I can be overly detailed at times. However, I need to increase my speed to about 45min per face for an upcoming event. Any tips or advice on how you have increased your speed while still creating a flawless look?

Apr 04 12 04:15 am Link



Posts: 271

Moscow, Moscow, Russia

Practice. I don't see any other way of becoming faster at something, while keeping the same quality, other than by practicing practicing and practicing some more.

Apr 04 12 04:20 am Link

Makeup Artist

KC hmua

Posts: 183

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

being organised, cut down on setup time and work by a rhythm. Have everything within easy reach and know exactly in your head what your next move is and keep it in time. Having your tools organised and in order and within reach makes it easy to clean as you go so there is next to no time cleaning between clients and no packing up. if your too comfortable or breeze your way you will waste time. do what works what you know and what your good at so your speed comes with it.

Apr 04 12 04:52 am Link

Makeup Artist


Posts: 3791

New York, New York, US

If you dont talk to your model you will gain an additional 15 min.

Besides they rarely remember what you were just talking about after 5 min anyway.

Apr 04 12 06:04 am Link

Makeup Artist

Beauty by Natalie

Posts: 252

New York, New York, US

So true!  Think of everything else as a distraction.   No talking or checking cell phone, etc. 

Organize your station in a way that makes sense to you, so you're not taking extra time to look for things. I try to take out what I know I absolutely need.  Sometimes we unload every single thing from our kit and all it does is take up extra space and make it harder to find things quickly.

Apr 04 12 06:20 am Link

Makeup Artist

Sahily Anais MUA

Posts: 101

West Palm Beach, Florida, US

These are great tips. I'm definitely going to organize my space better and cut out the small talk. I feel like these two things are probably some of my biggest down falls.

Apr 04 12 02:44 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Ernesto M Casillas

Posts: 305

Los Angeles, California, US

Also, cut out unecessary steps.

For example, primer, cream AND powder contour, 5 shades of brown eyeshadow and not always necessary

Apr 04 12 05:07 pm Link

Makeup Artist


Posts: 3088

Washington, District of Columbia, US

Sahily Anais MUA wrote:
...I need to increase my speed to about 45min per face...

° Reach agreement and acceptance on the concept(s) and storyboard prior to the event.
° Always Arrive & Setup Early... this alone will take you to the next level...
° Setup your station in a logic workflow order
° Have all product/equipment laid out and ready BEFORE the talent arrives
° Try to work with good illumination, creating a flawless look is unlikely under poor illumination
° When doing multiple talent have a separate brush roll for each
° After finishing a talent quickly collect used brushes into soiled brush bag
° Grab a fresh brush roll as the next talent sits down
° Have a "trash" container attached to your station and discard all disposables as you work...
° Best for your station to be immaculate upon completion of each talent...   
° Yes, silence is golden... let the talent talk, focus on your immediate task
° This is all about work-flow... write yours down, study it... analyze it... optimize it...

Sahily Anais MUA wrote:
creating a flawless look?

° As oft said, continuous practice painting face always learning from errors and omissions...
° speed/efficiency comes with time/tenure...
° relax... be in the present moment...


Apr 04 12 06:02 pm Link

Makeup Artist


Posts: 886

Brooklyn, New York, US

These are all great tips. Another one that I have found when I'm in a pinch is looking at the person in my chair and assessing what is needed the most. Do they have very dark under eyes? What condition is the skin in? Do they have a beautiful eye shape with a well defined crease? Etc. I try to hit the areas that need the most work first and move on from there.

I think it helps to have products that work well the first time. I love things that are highly pigmented for that reason. I can get it right the first time.

Apr 04 12 06:08 pm Link


Images by MR

Posts: 8847

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Sahily Anais MUA wrote:

Right now it takes me an hour to complete a full makeup look. I think I can be overly detailed at times. However, I need to increase my speed to about 45min per face for an upcoming event. Any tips or advice on how you have increased your speed while still creating a flawless look?

I kind of like the less is better rule...  sometimes I see new mua's applying to much makeup.

Apr 04 12 06:09 pm Link

Makeup Artist


Posts: 197

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When I started, it also took me around 45 minutes for a complete look.
Now, 20 minutes and it's done.


Apr 04 12 07:28 pm Link



Posts: 17966

Los Angeles, California, US

you need muscle memory, until then you will be hampered by the fact that you have to concentrate very hard to accomplish each part of the process. Give it time

Apr 04 12 10:11 pm Link

Makeup Artist


Posts: 1926

Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Lots of good suggestions already. One more; use artist disposable mixing palettes. … d=PPS-0008 With multiple sheets on a pad, you finish with one model, tear off the sheet and toss it, then on to the next. Saves time cleaning a metal palette in between models.

Apr 04 12 10:39 pm Link

Makeup Artist


Posts: 1621

Boston, Massachusetts, US

It's easy to space out when you're doing what you love, tinkering and tweaking and so on. And unless you have a clock right in front of you, you'll lose track of time. Lately I've been setting my smartphone timer to 20mins, just to provide that alert if I go over the time I've set for myself. You might start with 35 or 45 mins. Just knowing that you're "on the clock" can help keep you on task.

I definitely agree with setting up your station with the things you know you'll use (nothing worse than rooting through a bag looking for that one pencil you use all the time - set it out in advance), analyzing the face and determining what you do (and don't) need to focus on, and skipping redundant steps. And, of course, practice. I'm a lot faster now than I was a couple of years ago.

Apr 06 12 06:08 am Link

Makeup Artist

Jenni Defalco

Posts: 456

Stevenage, England, United Kingdom

All these tips are really helpful!

I find my speed is my downfull, i get in my own little world and easily lose track of time getting everything just perfect as im sure many of you do too! My aim is to nail looks in 30mins but its still hard for me!

I find from trial and error, eyes are always easiest to do first, no matter what the look.  Always do the thing you find hardest near the beginning (for me its eyeliner) that way your not rushed and can speed up with other areas your more confident with such as base and lips. 

By doing eye make up first it doesnt matter if im messy or get fall out as i tidy up after (eye make up cotton buds are a god send!) and then conceal around the eyes to get a lovely fresh look.

if you can multitask do so, i skinprep then while my moisturiser is working into the skin, i get the eye make up done so theres no waiting around x

Apr 06 12 06:57 am Link