How 10 Makeup Artists + Hairstylists Are Adjusting Their Businesses As Clients Practice Social Distance


In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series, we ask 10 makeup artists and hairstylists: How has COVID-19 forced you to adjust as you cope with the impact? Read how our fellow pros are handling the shift.

EVIE RY Makeup Artist and Hairstylist, Evie Ry

The situation that the world is facing right now is really devastating for so many businesses and people and, when it comes to my specific area, I can only say that the whole market changed in as little as three days. Within those three days, I had all my work cancelled until the end of the month of March and, in the following weeks, everything for the months of April and May has been cancelled as well. 

At this time, I’m also experiencing some cancellations from my private clients for the summertime as well, so it looks like people are being extra cautious. I do support that, but that leaves me without any prospects until midsummer. I’m also here in a very interesting position. I’m in the U.S. on an O-1 visa, which doesn’t let me apply for any benefits such as unemployment.

I’ve been trying to stay positive and am now offering services that can be done online, which aren’t many for makeup artists/hairstylists. I help people who want to declutter their makeup bags or do some makeup shopping. I’m also doing some Instagram how-tos for anyone who wants to learn how easy makeup can be. I feel like it helps people stay positive. In addition, I’m offering future bookings with a 10% discount.

STEPHANIE FLORMakeup Artist and Founder, Around the World Beauty

I had just closed a dream deal with The Body Shop the Friday before we shut down completely, a partnership that took me over six years to bring to life. As a makeup artist at CNN, and also the founder of Around The World BeautyCOVID-19 has affected my business and made it disappear overnight. Like some other industries there is a clear vision of how it will come back, but for us artists everything will have to change in how we interact with our clients since we touch their faces and use our products on them.

I have not worked since March 6th, which was my last day as a freelancer at CNN. Besides being a creative in the industry, I run beauty tours inspired by trends and the global beauty culture of the world. We had to cancel our global journeys to Morocco (Sept) and Japan (Nov), and with travel being on pause our beauty tour groups have been postponed to 2021. To say this lightly, it’s like my whole world has gone upside down.

I was scared to death at first because as a small business owner who is an S Corp I knew I would hit walls when trying to apply for the loan programs. I have been able to receive unemployment and the stimulus check, but being that I live in NYC all of that has gone to my rent and all I’m left with are my savings. I’m lucky that I’m a saver, but I am extremely worried about my community. I have turned to my freelance networks like Crystal WrightThe Powder GroupJoy In Beauty and The Makeup show to collaborate during this time. 

I have pivoted to focus on selling my beauty boxes full-time now and elevating my voice online as an expert, offering classes on certain topics like cleaning out your beauty bag since everyone is home. It’s difficult because I’m not an influencer and personally it’s not what gives me joy. Realistically, I could turn to partnerships with brands, but I dont have the millions of followers that they’re looking for even though I’m an authority in the space. 

For support, I have turned to Start Small, Think Big a non-for profit that helps with small businesses, and also my co-working space Luminary that has been supportive in offering workshops to stay positive during this time and save our business. Another great space has been I-fund women who have offered coaching seminars to brainstorm on how to keep our campaigns going to raise money for our projects. 

As an artist and entrepreneur, I’m used to an uncertain future, and I’m always in it to win, but I would love to see the brands we work for offer support to the freelance community in major cities that are really in need. It’s hard enough making a living in NYC as an artist, and after this I’m unsure how our community will survive if our rates will be cut shorter than ever using COVID as an excuse.  

I’m staying positive, and know that we will prevail, but I hope we as a community can join forces and also be part of the conversation for financial economic growth. Yes, we love what we do, but we want to be able to make a living that can also have us thrive in 2020 and after COVID-19. We cannot take less than what we’re worth moving forward so that we can better prepare if this happens again.


As a self-employed freelance makeup artist and business owner, COVID-19 has affected my business tremendously. Many of my clients have been forced to cancel their weddings and parties through July 2020. I’ve had to reimburse all those who had cancelled and placed deposits. 

With all of this new found time at home, I am trying to leverage my Instagram platform to engage with my clients and followers. I am finding that many of my followers are interested in taking better care of their skin and improving makeup routines at home. 

Being a licensed aesthetician and makeup artist, graduate of Christine Valmy School of Esthetics and MUD School, I can offer my professional advice and product recommendations on a personalized basis. I am also devoting time to provide private makeup classes and tutorials through platforms like Zoom and FaceTime.

I very much look forward to the day where we are able to go on with our celebrations, photoshoots and meetings. In the meantime, I am trying my best to ensure my clients feel heard and appreciated. 

REBECCA CASCIANO Makeup Artist and Founder, The Sacred Beauty Collective

As a clean beauty makeup artist, the pandemic has required me to suspend makeup artistry and makeup lesson bookings indefinitely. I’m not sure when we will all feel safe enough to work together again. While the uncertainty is challenging, this time has allowed me to fortify other aspects of my business that I’m really passionate about. Before all of this started, I’d been working on bringing my community, The Sacred Beauty Collective, to a virtual platform. I’m excited to share that we opened the virtual doors to this on May 1, which definitely feels more needed than ever.

Since the quarantine started, I’ve also been offering free virtual beauty sessions, and it’s been a great way to be of service, connect with new people and potential clients. I’m grateful that I’ve had these offerings in the works for a while and look forward to finding new ways to create and grow personally and professionally.

JOY FENNELL Founder, The Joy In Beauty

COVID-19 has severely impacted my business because I am not able to work on anyone at the present moment. I’m a makeup artist, and our job is basically to touch people by applying makeup all day. This virus has halted all productions, jobs and events that normally need makeup and hair talent. No one is working at the moment. I’m both a W4 and a 1099 worker. Both sides have been severely impacted. I applied for unemployment, but haven’t heard back, and I didn’t receive the PPP or EIDL. Every day, I constantly think about what is going to happen, and it’s caused a bit of anxiety, but I’m also trying to stay positive and hope for the best. 

KRISTEN ARNETT Makeup Artist and Healthy Beauty Expert, Kristen Arnett

Clearly, the most significant impact is the loss of all in-person makeup clients for private lessons, group workshops, photo shoots and events, and being able to work on filmed productions. Now more than ever, the pivot towards remote learning is vital. I’ve been cultivating an online presence as a green beauty educator with a global audience since 2009.  Because my background includes makeup artistry, cosmetics product development, retail sales and training, years ago I began offering online classes and developed a unique method for astoundingly accurate virtual makeup lessons. 

Recognizing the ever-growing importance of video in their marketing mix, forward-thinking brands, retailers, distributors and even aesthetic institutes have been reaching out in greater numbers for my help crafting strategic training tools that “touch” beauty advisors and/or consumers in a virtual landscape. 

The biggest pivot here is that I’ve devised a way to offer fully remote, professional productions at a significant cost savings and in a format that greatly relieves key managers from diverting energy away from their core responsibilities. What we create aims to bolster sales, engagement, brand awareness, loyalty and authority in the marketplace. And, with a higher ROI, it’s a win for everyone. However, to meet my clients’ needs for immediate content in the interim while I can’t film with models and a crew on set, I’ve already come up with a creative solution to that, but I’m not revealing it just yet!

Support your favorite artists by promoting them! Sappho recently promoted one of my online classes simply because they wanted to help me get the word out, not because they had any stake in the content. That’s generosity. That creates solidarity. Brands often ask artists to work for small or no fees, or in trade for exposure or products. That was never sustainable. So, I really encourage folks to get creative and work with artists to see how you can leverage their skills and create a truly win-win scenario.

There are funds being started to support stylists. I’ll likely contribute my skills to supportcreatives.org. However, before giving money to any of them, make sure you know how the money will be distributed and to who.

KHAT BRIMCEO and Co-Founder, Hair Are Us

Being a full-service brick-and-mortar beauty salon and hair extension retailer, COVID-19 has impacted the operation of my local business immensely. Due to California’s stay-at-home quarantine order, my shop here in Los Angeles was ordered to close amongst many others that do not fall under the exception of essential retailers.

We are a small business, and it’s very unfortunate for my staff and hairstylists because the majority of them are completely out of work at this moment. However, there is no price worth jeopardizing your health and well-being, so we all understand the importance of why the shop had to close. All we can do is be creative and make the best out of this current situation.

We have been able to pivot through this by the grace of e-commerce and social media. I’ve been able to transition certain in-store employees to online positions with our social media team and e-commerce customer service. The internet is it’s own separate world that never turns off and, as long as e-commerce is continuing to import, export and deliver items to businesses and consumers, us small businesses still have a chance to rise out of the loss of income we are experiencing from our brick-and-mortars. 

Therefore, now is the most important time to build an online presence, consistently engage with your followers and create products or intellectual items that your consumers need. It is not always an easy task developing these alternatives. However, myself and the team are making the necessary strides to do everything we can to succeed through this.

SHAUNÉ HAYES Owner, Red Carpet Ready Makeup

I talked about this very topic in my Heart Talk video series. As the owner of a small, service-based business, COVID-19 has greatly affected it. My main income has been significantly hit and will be nonexistent until the coronavirus is under control. I’m a makeup artist that has been forced to apply social distancing precautions when my business is all about the human touch. 

My clients have cancelled or postponed their birthday parties and anniversary celebrations, weddings, conferences, media events, video shoots, photo sessions, private lessons and more. Future income from these bookings has been lost or will be delayed until the fall or 2021. I’m also not able to service clients in-studio or on-site due to stay-at-home orders.

Some steps I have taken to pivot include: 1). Developing a crisis strategy. COVID-19 underscores that we must have a crisis strategy to survive in a time when things are not in our control. In other words, what is plan B to keep things running? We always want to hope for the best but plan for the worst. 

2). Changing my medium. Most of my services are in-person. I’m now offering a number of services virtually including consultations, e-commerce, pop-up shops for my makeup inventory, live one-on-one makeup lessons and group classes. I also have a mentor program for makeup artists that I teach online.  

3). Revisiting my goals. This national crisis has upended the goals I set for the first quarter of this year. I am now having to re-map and rebuild some of my goals and tweak my business plan for 2020. 

To help during this time, simply reach out to see how people are doing and ask what support they need. If you know of online events makeup artists or hairstylists are having, support them if you can and share with people in your circle. Word of mouth is still important for our businesses. Also, if you have a skill or expertise that could benefit someone during this time, let them know about it. Maybe you already have a strong online business and can share advice to help another business owner. We’re all in this together!

MICHAEL DUEÑAS Hairstylist and President, Support Creatives

COVID-19 has put me out of work completely. I had jobs lined up for a few months instantly gone, with understandable reason. I am not the type of person to wait for something to happen, I need action. If I am in this situation, I know hundreds of thousands of artists are in the same or a worse scenario. I have pivoted completely from “What can I do to grow my own career?” into “What can I do to help others pay their bills, move forward and grow their careers?”

I have filed for unemployment, but, being freelance, it is difficult to acquire. Unemployment is the only resource I can reach out to. It is tricky waters, and I want to make financial assistance easier for others.

GREGORY PATTERSON Hairstylist, Gregory Patterson Hair

I know I’m not alone in feeling like our whole world has been turned upside down—and it has, especially in the business zone. Now is not the time to panic. It’s the time to accept, adapt, prioritize and prepare for when we are able to begin serving our guests once more. 

A big part of this was a thing I learned through therapy called “radical acceptance.” Fighting and resisting the shift and change could potentially elevate my anxiety, fears and worry, and may keep me in a state of fog blocking out any creative thought processing or ideas that may spark during this time. Limiting the amount of news information to one time a day for 10 minutes has helped immensely. Also, boundary setting with phone friends has been proving helpful so as to avoid any overload fogging my creative-solution seeking thought processing. 

Now is the time to radically accept where we’re at, acknowledge it and look for the gratitude in this space. Maybe you’ve been wanting to jump into education, learn how to braid, create social content, etc., this is your time if you’re able to let go of the fear piece and accept where we are and seek solutions. There’s a space for gratitude even in challenging times that offers up what we may have been asking for, and that’s OK to be in that space. Have no guilt and no shame that you’re acknowledging that space. It’s OK. 

Which leads me to my adapting phase. How can I make money now, how long can I sustain not working, and what is going to happen after this? I’ve partnered with some hair brands as an ambassador. I filled out an online application, awaited an approval process and, then, became a verified stylist through Virtue Haircare. They created a special shopping link for me to offer for anybody that may be looking for haircare replenishment and unable to purchase through a salon. I receive a commission paid out for every sale. So, really my income can flex depending on my hustle. That’s one way. 

Prioritizing tasks is key for me right now. I jotted down two columns on a piece of paper, one column for personal goals the other for professional goals. I am tackling one goal from each list daily. This could be content creation, signing into a free online tutorial or Instagram Live to stay connected to community and learn.  Now is the time to put down on paper and follow through with the wish lists you’ve not been able to tackle while working a full-time schedule behind the chair. 

Lastly, I’m preparing big time while I have the time. I’ve partnered with Artist On Go, a booking system that allows me to take clients in any participating salon, to rent a chair by the hour, day or week for an hourly rate ($20-$28) while keeping 100% of my service. I’m stacking my clients now by ensuring I have every single email and contact from my clients lined up and, when it’s time for us to join together again, I’m booking them at the closest salon and rockin’ out some hair!

We’re hairdressers and creative people so now more than ever we have to think outside of the box, focus and use our time wisely and productively.  Stay committed to your tasks, keep connecting to your community and do not forget to move your body and set all of “this” aside – even if it is for a walk, some meditation, cooking, coloring, knitting, instrument learning… just stay connected, stay focused and we will be stronger together through this. 

Original article posted here