Be kind to your body

Prioritise your physical health as a make-up artist.

It’s not something you’d expect to hear but surprisingly, a make-up artist has a very physically demanding job. Something I wish I had learnt when training to be a make-up artist. I passionately hope that professional make-up courses will teach students some of the things I go on to speak about.

It’s coming up to 13 years since I trained in make-up and I’ve been suffering with lower back pain for many years. When I was 16, the last thing I was thinking about was keeping fit and strong for my future career but at that time, my body was still growing and changing. The wrong shoes, the wrong chairs, leaning/bending, lifting wrong, standing wrong, the list goes on. I didn’t pay enough attention and now at 29, I began questioning if I can physically manage my career further. It’s something I accepted as part of the job (which to an extent it is but you don’t have to suffer) I ‘put up with it’ took pain killers and carried on. I feared looking lazy or not productive enough and put on a brave face. Hiding an attached tens machine under my clothes, stretching in the toilets or letting the tears flow when no one was looking but enough is enough and I won’t let it defeat me!
I’m still no where near where I want to be but I am now prioritising my physical health. I am trying my best to make changes to improve my quality of life, so I no longer have to question my career choice and can continue doing what I love!

If this blog can help anyone avoid similar issues to me, that would be all I hope for and that is my purpose for writing this.

In my industry I’ve seen friends and colleagues suffer too. If you want your career to be long lasting then it’s crucial to take care of yourself. One of the last things you want when self employed is to have time off.

If you’re training to be a make-up artist or even a hairdresser, beautician, nail technician etc. the following may apply to you too. Or maybe you’re many years into your career and this will give you some help or guidance.

Some things I wish I had known when I had started (or taken more seriously)

• You will work long days, some days will be 12 hours or more. Sitting and standing.

• You will lift heavy kit. Up and down stairs, up and down hills, lugging across fields, sand…in all the elements.

• You will drive/travel for long periods. On busses, trains, planes, boats- you name it.

• Keep fit and strong in any which way.  Your overall strength, flexibility and mobility is so important. You can seek help and advise from personal trainers, physios, chiropractors, osteopaths etc.

• Work on your posture; Pilates, Yoga and Ballet seem to be helpful for this.

• Stretch before and after you work if possible. In between work if you can, body conditioning is important.

• Keep instant ice packs and instant heat packs/hot water bottle in your kit. Freeze gel/heat cream. A tens machine can help with the pain too. Check with your doctor before using any of these things.

• Keeping mobile is key. 

• Keep hydrated.

• Invest in a chair/bed/desk that will have your clients at the right height for whatever job you do. I use the pro artist directors chair:

• If you’re mobile, keep your kit light in weight (something I really struggle with 🤣)

• Wear suitable footwear and comfortable clothing where possible.

• Research supplements that will aid your strength.

• Try to sleep well and reduce stress, this doesn’t help pain (easier said than done I know) 

• See your GP for help if you’re struggling. There’s lots of help out there! Osteopathy, physios, chiropractors and holistic approaches too. Pain management programmes are even a thing! PMP is a group treatment which uses education and practice sessions to help people with persistent pain to manage their pain and everyday activities better. Research what’s best for you.

• Ask for X-rays or MRI’s if you want to know more. Be persistent and listen to your gut instincts! You may have an underlying cause to explain your pain. Knowledge is power and when you know what you’re dealing with, it will hopefully mean you know what to do about it. I recently found out some issues from X-Ray’s, MRI’s and specialists. Nothing too serious but these things are good for me to know so I can understand my body, I can educate myself on what my body needs, which experts I need to see, improve what I can physically and ultimately this will result in a better quality of life for me and benefit me mentally and emotionally too.

• I’m personally referring to lower back pain but many professionals in the hair and beauty industry suffer with sciatic pain, repetitive strain injury, plantar fascia and many more common conditions, you can get help for these too and you don’t have to just ‘put up with it’

•Whether it’s acute or chronic, there is help available. You don’t have to suffer! I know it can be so debilitating- physically, mentally and emotionally, so don’t give up!

I’m not a medical expert and I’m still learning /working out what’s best for me but I hope you can find the right help for you.

‘If you take care of your body, it’ll take care of you’

Here are some links that may be able to help you; (Dr Andy King)

A great read:  The Secret Cure To Back Pain

Let me know if you feel I can add any top tips for others in the beauty industry.

Best wishes,

Alexia Jade x