Some people may find that working as a makeup artist in a funeral home (such as Linnemann Funeral Homes) is a little disconcerting. The faces you work on do not talk back, and they are cold to the touch. It is a sharp contrast to working on living people in a salon. However, you will never have a dissatisfied customer ever again. If you think you would enjoy a job working as a makeup artist in a funeral home, then there are a few things you should know.
Deceased Men Get Makeup Too
The idea behind applying makeup to a deceased person's face is that you want the body to appear as though the person is still just asleep, relaxed and peaceful. Therefore, deceased men, as well as deceased women, get an application of makeup. The only difference is, men get far less makeup (unless they were known drag queens or transvestites and the family has requested their deceased to be made up this way). Usually, you will only apply just enough liquid foundation to even out the facial skin tone and give it a healthier color than pale white or ashen gray.
Only Oil-Based or Water-Based Makeup Is Used
The preservation chemicals used in funeral homes to keep the body from decaying too quickly has an unpleasant side effect--it pulls all the moisture out of the skin. The deceased's skin becomes papery and rough, and oil-based or water-based makeup helps put some of that back, just long enough for the viewing of the body by friends and family. Oil-based makeup also stays put better, especially if the viewing and/or funeral occurs during a very hot and humid time of year.
You Need to Listen to Family for Female Makeup Applications
Some women go their entire lives without makeup, and family members may want to keep it that way. If all you do is curl the deceased's eyelashes and apply enough foundation to hide the pallor of death, that is sufficient. Other families may make special requests (e.g., the deceased should wear this color of lipstick or that color of eyeshadow, etc.). The special makeup requests are often followed with the deceased's own personal makeup tray, and that is perfectly acceptable when the family wants to remember the deceased as she was.
Where to Learn Makeup Techniques for the Deceased
Quite often, you will earn your certificate or degree in makeup artistry from a beauty school and then a funeral home owner will teach you makeup techniques for the deceased. Sometimes you may also be apprenticed to someone who has spent years applying makeup to the deceased before becoming a full hire employee of the funeral home where you are/were apprenticed. In some rarer instances, beauty schools will offer an additional course for credit in "makeup for the deceased."