Painting in hot weather
Oh my goodness, shall we just talk about how hot it was on the 29th of June and how TOTALLY unprepared I was?! It was absolutely my busiest day this year so far, and my first 3 job day. I did a 9-12, 2-5 and a 7-9, and got home at about 10:30pm, having left home at about 8 am to get to job number 1. There were a couple of things I realised I could have done with throughout the day, nothing disastrous, just little things that would have made life a little bit easier, so I thought I would share them with you!
A Spare Top
I got to job number 3 after an hours drive in my very hot car with no aircon and was very conscious the I didn’t smell quite as fresh as I had first thing. I had remembered to bring deodorant, but I could have done with a spare top and possibly some perfume or body spray or something, just to feel a little less self conscious at this very nice venue for a 40th birthday party.
This is completely my own fault, I am an idiot, I know I turn into a lobster at the slightest hint of sunshine, I’m so pale I actually reflect sunlight. I didn’t even remember to apply any suncream in the morning! My only slight saving grace is that my foundation contains a small amount of spf, but I don’t know how long the spf in foundations are actually effective for once it’s been applied.
Luckily, job number one had put me indoors (although the small room did turn into a little bit of an oven), job number 2 was outside as it was a family fun day at a pub and they had all sorts of activities going on, and they did put me in the shade, but as time went on, the sun crept round and I was very aware that a) my forearms and neck waere very much exposed and b) some of my paints were turning to liquid (more on this in the next section!). And then job number 3 I had requested to be inside due to the sheer amount of rain we had had the week before. It did actually rain a little bit during the time I was there, but it was also much cooler in the room I was in than it was outside. If you are doing an event and you have the option, ask them to put you inside.
Ooooh god, it was bad. I was painting a galaxy at job number 2 (where I was painting outside) and I put my toothbrush in my uv pink and it was PURE LIQUID! I realised that the sun was directly on my paints at this point. I’ve got all my paints depotted into 3 little palettes, one for flat colours, one for pearls and one for uv’s. Before I had these palettes, I just kept my paint in the round containers they come in, but I would just leave the lids off over the course of a job. I normally bring 2 spare towels with me on any given job. They protect my one strokes and rainbow cakes from denting on the stuff on the bottom layer when they’re travelling in the craft n’ go ( I keep the lids off), and I have one to clean my hands and stencils etc on. (I am going to get there I promise). First I dented a couple of small holes with the end of a small brush into the worst effected paints and tried to let them dry out a bit (otherwise the top dries but underneath is still liquid), and used one of the towels to create some shade. For the rest of the afternoon I just keep my palettes under the towel and only pulled out what I needed fore putting it straight back. I do only have black towels at the moment, so maybe I could do with some white towels to reflect the heat for next time!
Ugh, isn’t it horrible, painting someones sweaty face, and then seeing them 10 minutes later with your design sliding off like it’s got somewhere else to be? This is where your eco cloths come in, or some spare tissue. Ask the parent to just wipe their childs face for you. There’s not a lot you can do about the paint sliding off afterwards, but its a bit more hygienic than getting all that sweat in your water, paints etc. I haven’t personally tried out the star blends or Elisa Griffiths powders yet, but I have heard brilliant things about them! Also Pro Aiir now do solids as well as the dips, which are water proof and need a special activator, and presumably have a special way of removing them, but I have seen images of people having used these paints at pool parties etc, so may be another good option!
Don’t forget to keep hydrated
So important. It’s also really important to make sure you eat something when you’re on a long, hot job. I did buy myself something in the morning but by the time I got round to trying to eat it, the temperature in my car had made it not so edible. I stopped off at Tesco (where I also cleaned my sponges from job number 1), and because I’m trying to be good, I tried to buy a salad, but they didn’t have any little plastic forks. Not to self, keep spare cutlery in the car! I always keep a big bottle of water in the car, but remember to keep it covered. The sun and heat can react with the plastic on your water bottles and it becomes dangerous to drink the water.
I hope this has been helpful to you all, you may well already know this and more, so if you have any advice of your own, please share it in the comments!
P.S although my paints got a bit melty, my glitter balms stayed surprisingly solid all day!
Let’s be Eco Warriors!
So, a couple of weeks ago, after a bit of a strongly worded conversation with Alex about who got to use the car that I pay for (which I lost so he could get to a brass band thing he signed up for AFTER I’d already been booked…) I had to get the train to a gig. Yes, I’m serious, but I’m still gonna marry the bastard. Not that I’m still annoyed about it. At all. I’m not going to lie, it was an absolute faff, but admittedly a lot less faff now that I have my Craft ’n’ Go, although I was still out the house for 9 hours for a 3 hour job. Really not still annoyed. But it did get me thinking about the environment and what steps we can take to do our bit in an industry that heavily depends on single use plastics and non recyclables. For the WBF in Austria last year, I made my headpiece entirely out of single use plastics I had collected in the 4 day run up to the competition, I couldn’t believe how much I collected, and I didn’t even use half of it! It makes me feel a bit sick thinking just how much waste we get through, but I’m hoping we’ll be able to discuss some ways we can each do our bit to help! If you’ve got any suggestions that I’ve missed off please comment below!
Let’s start with a biggie. I don’t know if the manufacturers are making any sorts of plans to package paint more sustainably but there are a couple of things we can do in the meantime. Until recently my council didn’t recycle any plastics at all, but now they collect all plastics. What they do with them and wether any of it still goes to landfill once they’ve sorted through it I have no idea. But if your council doesn’t take all types of plastics in recycling, you can save your pots up and go to your local recycling place where they’ll generally have a plastic recycling tip. Rosemary also suggested using empty paint pots for glitter gels as there is less space for air than in the dip pots. I know some people also use they’re left over pots to make confetti cakes and split cakes, but I know that can be a bit of an insurance grey area.
I know I know, we all love glitter, we are all a little bit guilty of this one and we all know how bad glitter is for the environment (did you know that it’s actually considered a micro plastic?) so I won’t talk about glitter for very long, and some venues actually have a bio only policy. There are gorgeous bio degradable glitters available, and something we can take a little responsibility for is ‘aftercare’ advice. A lot of the time, people will just wash the glitter off their face along with their paint, but what we can do is ask them to remove as much glitter as they can with sellotape and put it in the bin. As much as it is still going to end up in landfill, personally I would rather plastics end up in landfill than affecting our sea life. They have actually found plastic particles in the fish that ends up on your plates. Just something to think about.
Hands up who hates admin?! Met too! But got to be done right? There are a couple of things we can do here. I don’t print off invoices, booking forms, contracts etc, I do everything on my laptop and I have an external hard drive so at the end of the tax year, everything gets transferred off my laptop and onto that instead. However I did realise that I send my clients a booking form as a pdf and require them to print it off and sign with any amendments. This is because I didn’t want to send them a word document that they could edit and then not notice when they had changed things. However I have had a couple of digital contracts sent through to me, no printing required, and I know you can digitally sign for things now (isn’t technology great?!) So this is definitely something I’m going to investigate more. Also on the technology line, we all use devices as part of our business right? When they come to the end of their life, take them in to get a part exchange! I got about £150 off my new phone by returning my previous one, and the parts all get reused, saves you money and reduces waste!
While we’re on the subject of technology, has anyone got their own QR code? You can get QR codes that will send someone straight to your website or social media page, and you can change where the code sends people even after it’s been produced! It also establishes an immediate connection with your potential client. How many times have you given out a business card only to never hear back from someone? And how expensive are business cards?! I recently did a wedding fair and printed out my information and price list on nice photographic paper, but only one copy. I then painted up a little sign asking people to take a photo of the information rather than taking it away, and people were really keen on the idea! It also meant that I could tell people I was making an effort to be environmentally friendly, plus it saved me so much time and money! It also meant that they didn’t have yet another bit of rubbish that they were never going to look at again. Make real connections with people and exchange contact information. Follow up as soon as you can, and it will both be better for your business and save you in printing costs. If you do decide to print, have a look at using recycled paper!
We all love our brushes, and we can love our brushes and take really good care of them, but sometimes there is no stopping our brushes from getting to a point that they just won’t give you that gorgeously crisp linework any more. But don’t send your brushes to the grave yard just yet! Turn them into SFX brushes! Or cleaning brushes! I’ve got an old dead brush that I use to help me get into every nook and cranny of my airbrush, and that brush that might not be so good for perfect tear drops any more, might be great to give you a wash of colour with your alcohol palette or to put some blood in a scratch.
According to the UK government, transport is responsible for 25% of uk emissions. 25%! I’m not going to lie, getting the train with my Craft ’n’ Go, Directors Chair, Design board and back pack was not the easiest of journeys, but I did it. It’s not going to be the most practical thing to do for a birthday party, but if your doing an all day event in town and you happen to live near a train station, would you consider it? Or car sharing if you and another local artist are going to the same job? It can be quite easy to say only take work within a certain radius of where you live, but that’s also not always possible. I try not to do events that are too far away, but sometimes the opportunity is just too good to pass up!
I actually very rarely use baby wipes any more in face painting or my own life. I used to use them all the time for taking my makeup off, cleaning my paints and to have on hand for kids with messy faces. But they’re a) really bad for the environment and b) they can be quite harsh on your skin. A few years ago the pink makeup eraser started floating around on the internet and I just didn’t see how a cloth could get rid of all your makeup. I then started to come across more eco cloths last year and decided to do a bit of research into them and buy one. The difference between these eco cloths and a normal flannel for example is that the fibres in the eco cloths are knitted much tighter together and they actually lift makeup out of the pores and also act as a very gentle exfoliant. I am a complete convert! They get rid of the most stubborn gel eye liners, they great for getting rid of paint AND I tested it against alcohol based paint and it worked! I’m starting to build up the number of eco cloths I have in my kit so I can completely replace baby wipes. Because paints contain anti bacterial properties it can actually not be so great to clean them with baby wipes, so what I do to clean mine now is use a damp sponge. You could use your eco cloths to clean paints but they take in a lot more water than sponges and might eat into your paint too much!
Tupperware and Travel Mugs
How many ppf’s have you done where it’s really quiet, really cold and all you need in your life is a cup of tea? Most of the time we work over a lunch time too, and of course we want to support the other vendors (who often give trader discounts too) and sometimes we do bring our own pre made lunches with us. But what about bringing Tupperware to have your lunch put into if you are going to buy from a vendor? And what about bring a thermos or travel mug? It also means you can take a cup of tea for the road, rather than wasting not so recyclable coffee cups and and food packaging!
Vegan, Cruelty Free and ingredients
Every now and again I see posts on facebook with people asking about cruelty free pants due to a request from a client. This can be quite tricky. Cruelty free doesn’t always mean vegan, and one of the main culprit in paints and cosmetics that aren’t vegan is Carmine, a pigment made from crushed insects. Yummy. Cruelty free and vegan also doesn’t mean that a product doesn’t contain palm oil. That stuff is in everything, including a lot of lipsticks, and can be really cleverly hidden in ingredients lists under different names, including in some cases it can be labelled as vegetable oil. There are different regulations with regards to labelling depending on where in the world you are. It’s an absolute minefield when you start looking into ingredients, cruelty free and vegan etc, what we need to do is just take a little extra time to do the research on the products we buy. The new Fusion Body Art range is cruelty free, vegan, paraben free, perfume free and gluten free. And the beauty of it is that they tell us that information! A lot of other brands might have the same qualities but I don’t think I’ve seen it listed as clearly as the Fusion range, they’re not making us do any work! And the paints are great quality too! Sometimes I’ve found you have to sacrifice the quality of a product to get something cruelty free but these paints are incredible!
It can be really overwhelming to think about the environment, but there are so many little steps that if we all take can make a huge impact! How much paint do we all get through a year, and how much of a difference would it make if we all instead of throwing empty pots away, saved them up and took them to a recycling plant? How much paper could we collectively save by switching to digital alternatives? Not only will taking these small steps be a positive way for us to change our behaviours, but it can be a selling point to our clients. Why should I use you rather than the other painter? I’M AN ECO WARRIOR PICK ME! Well not quite, but you know. They will be happy to think that they are making better decisions too, plus, as I said earlier, how much money are you going to save on printing costs?! I’ve tried to cover as much as I can think of in this post, but if there is anything you do that I have missed out, let me know in the comments!
The Pixie Tribe
Trying to be an Eco Warrior
Here are the MSDS saftey sheets for Fusion Body Art - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/e9be420n2lmkqwb/AACLelfwh62AbKcbugRjEI2Ca?dl=0
Festivals – A Quick Guide
By Joni Nettleship
Do you do them? If so, do you pay pitch fees? How much? Is it pay per face and how much do you charge? How long do you paint for and what time do you pack away? Do you paint after sunset?
Festival season is looming and you need to keep your wits about you if you want to remain sane and end up with a profit. If this is your first festival experience here are my top tips:
-Keep your prices up, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been asked to work for free/my best rate. Your current rate IS your best rate so don’t be haggled down. Any talk of no budget/small budget is not your concern.
-Pitch fee. Unless you’re turning a huge profit you shouldn’t be paying big daily fees. Similarly ‘donations’ at the end of the day should be reasonable, for example 10-15 percent of profit (not takings) and always discussed in advance.
-Remember that the start of a festival or music event can be slow. If you can, think about setting up early then returning when you know it’ll be busier. In my first years face painting I wasted hours sitting in empty fields wondering why no one else was there. Now I set up early, leave and go back mid afternoon sometimes having squeezed in a birthday party. Time is money.
-You will always get good natured souls trying to get you to paint them for free, if you’re lucky you may be offered different payment, for instance a slurp of their drink or a sweaty embrace. It is always their birthday. Do what you will.
-A headtorch is invaluable after the sun goes down and the evening crowds arrive, stay focussed and paint your ass off because it will get to that point where..
...Drunk people will stumble into your kit.
Good quick festival designs are one stroke swirls, flowers, rainbows, anything involving a stencil and good old glitter. Guys like the Bowie stripe and Mike Tyson (I know I know). Pack extra water, don’t drink alcohol until you’ve finished and enjoy!
Face Painting and Autism Awareness Month
Hi all, well here we are in in April already, if you didn’t know it’s Autism Awareness Month so I thought I would write my blog this time on face painting children and adults with additional needs. Before I had my two little boys, my career was spent helping people on the Autistic Spectrum, so it is a subject close to heart – you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t use the most current terminology, or if I leave something out. This is just my take, and my experiences! I don’t just cover children with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) in this, but kids with disabilities or health problems as a whole. I’m lucky and privileged enough to volunteer my face painting services at a wonderful hospital, and at my local children’s hospice (also my Business’ nominated charity) so I take my experiences from there too.
It goes without saying that all children are different, and this of course applies to all children with additional needs too. Although there are some common traits in behaviours, and different things you can look out for, the first and BEST thing you can do when a child sits down in your chair is a quick and subtle check with his parent or carer that he is going to be ok with what you’re doing. The chances are, that if the kid is sat in your chair, he will be! But it could be his first time, or it might cause an unexpected reaction, so saying something like “are we ok with painting on the face buddy?” would hopefully prompt a response from the child or the parent. Many children with ASD will be very happy to tell you EXACTLY what they want and don’t want, down to the tiniest detail.
Some things to look out for with children or adults with ASD, are that sometimes textures and feelings on the face feel alien or strange (as per ‘normal’ kids right?). Sometimes the sensation of touch, or even smells can be really intense for them, so go slow and steady. If it’s their first time, let them feel it on their hand initially, and explain what you are going to do next so they have the time to process it. Look for any non-verbal cues that the child/adult is uncomfortable and stop and reassure them if so. There may or may not be some repetitive movements/sounds that the child makes, if he does just give him some time to do so – these movements/sounds are important to help the child make sense of their situation and often to help them to feel safe.
There will be others with more profound disabilities that need their parents/carers to be their voice and say what makes them happy, maybe how they have been known to respond positively in the past etc. With these more profoundly disabled kids, it’s really important to be really verbal, talk about what you’re doing, show them the colours, let them hold a sponge or spray their hand with water so they can feel the texture and add to their sensory experience, and absolutely give them that mirror moment when you’re done.
When you’re working with children or adults that are suffering from a serious illness, and for example may be receiving chemotherapy, or are hooked up to lots of machines there are other things to consider. There are the practical matters of seeking guidance as to where would be the best place to paint these little ones, and then navigate the best you can around the tubes/ whatever may be in place. You need to be very careful with glitter, both fine and chunky in these scenarios just in case it gets into the tubes – and in some places it’s best not to take it out at all. It might sound really obvious but if you have the slightest cold or cough, do let your events organiser know, as the immunity of some of these people can be really threatened by the simplest virus. Psychologically it can be hard working with this group of individuals, but it is one of the most rewarding thing I have done in my painty career – and to be able to bring a smile to that child’s face is a huge privilege.
I thought I’d finish my blog by teaching you a few useful Makaton signs! As I used to teach this wonderful sign language as a communication tool in my previous career, I am always delighted when every now and again I get to use it in my painty life..
(I thought I’d give you a few options of what to sign, depending on how the face paint went! ;-) Remember that when you sign Makaton you always speak at the same time. If you’d like to know more there’s lots on youtube to learn from and I’m really happy to help out too – just send me a pm or contact me through my social media handles below.
I hope that you may have found this blog useful in some way, do you have any more tips on how to best support children or adults with additional needs that you can share with us? I’d love to hear them.
DO FACE PAINTERS NEED A DBS CHECK? By Jane Harding
Hi everyone, I’m going to talk about something that’s pretty boring today, but it’s really essential as a Face Painter to know about this stuff. Firstly because we work directly with children, but also because you will inevitably get asked by potential clients if you have a current DBS Check and it will benefit you to know how to respond to these requests.
Having previously worked in Children & Young People Services for almost 20 years I have a very good understanding of what the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) is and what is required when working with Children and Vulnerable People. In my old role within Social Care it was essential that I had an Enhanced DBS with Barred List for obvious reasons, but it’s not so clear to everyone, if the same checks are required or even available for Face Painters. Hopefully this blog can help clarify that for you.
Please note: Some of the information I am sharing is from my own knowledge, but I have also cross checked this with the information shared on the Government website for the Disclosure & Barring Service. Here’s the link to the website so you can read and check for any latest updates.
Disclaimer: As with anything where the law is concerned. I will always encourage you to do your own research and contact the relevant professionals and/or government dept. for guidance.
WHAT’S A DBS?
A “DBS” refers to The Disclosure & Barring Service that was formed in 2012, when the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) merged together. The DBS are an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the home office and their job is to help employers make safer recruitment decisions, preventing unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups Inc. children.
Firstly let me explain about the different types of DBS. Unfortunately it is not as easy as someone asking if you have a current DBS. Because there are different types of DBS and they all have a different level of ‘check’ to them. I am not going to list what they all exactly check for, as this is easily found on the website above and there is really only two types of check that I want to talk about and that are relevant to this topic, those being the ‘Basic Check’ and ‘Enhanced Check with Barred Lists’.
The Types of Checks:
DO YOU NEED A DBS TO BE A FACE PAINTER?
In short the answer is NO. As a Face Painter you will most likely be self employed as a sole trader. Currently, the only DBS Check available for individuals to request on their own behalf is a ‘Basic Check’ and these will not provide the level of check that a potential client would be hoping for. So what does a Basic Check, ‘check’ for?
As explained on the DBS website, ‘A basic check will contain details of convictions and conditional cautions considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.’
This means it WILL NOT highlight ‘Spent’ convictions or if someone is on a ‘Barred List’ i.e. sex offenders register. The only check that will currently provide all this information is an Enhanced DBS with Barred List and this can only be requested by an employer. When our clients are asking for a “DBS Check”, it is very likely that they do not have a full understanding of what the DBS is or the different checks available; and so the information they think they are going to get, is that this person has been “checked” and has therefore not had any current or prior convictions in relation to the job they are doing and are not on any barred lists, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is our responsibility to educate people on what it is they are requesting and what the actual law says with regards to this.
The law states that you are only required to have a DBS check if you are working in a regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults. As face painters we do not meet this criteria. Here’s a link to the information on the DBS website explaining this:
WHAT DO YOU SAY IF A COMPANY ASKS IF YOU HAVE A DBS?
This has happened to me on many occasions and following my response, I have never had to get a DBS or lost the job because I told them I haven’t got one. This to me proves that it’s mainly the client thinking that we need one and by asking for that information they can tick a box, rather than knowing what the law states.
I always reply professionally, I acknowledge their request and their reason for asking this, however I then politely explain that by law Face painters are not required to have a DBS check, firstly because we would never be left unattended or have sole care of a child or vulnerable person. I explain that as a sole trader I would only be able to obtain a ‘Basic Check’ and that would not provide them the relevant checks they are hoping for. I explain that only employers can request an Enhanced DBS with Barred Lists. I provide them with the contact details to the DBS so they can contact them directly and clarify that this is what the law states. Every single time I have replied in this way, the client has replied quite quickly that this is absolutely fine and they no longer require it.
WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE AN ENHANCED DBS THROUGH MY OTHER JOB?
This is quite common, as many Face Painters come from a background of working with children in schools or nurseries etc. so may well have the Enhanced Check with Barred Lists. I was certainly one of these people before I left my old job and focussed full time on my face painting business.
It really is down to the individual how you manage this. I am not saying what’s right and what’s wrong. I know some people advertise they have a DBS and/or would reply to clients that ask, that they do have one. It’s certainly the easier option than explaining why Face Painters don’t need one. But my personal feeling on this is that it doesn’t really help our community as a whole and actually only exacerbates the problem of clients thinking that we need one. If they see one Face Painter advertising that they are DBS Checked, it would be very easy to assume that this is expected on some level across the industry. So ultimately I believe it would be most beneficial for everyone in the face painting community to re-educate all those people that ask us if we have a DBS check. It doesn’t take long to share this information with clients; you could literally type up a standard response to copy and paste to them if you are asked. As long as you reply in a professional, polite and informative manner, clients will actually appreciate you sharing your knowledge, at the end of the day it will save them time if they know they don’t need to check for something they don’t need!
And that my friend is basically all you need to know. I could go into explaining the ‘update service’ and exactly what each level of check covers, but that’s all available via the link above and it’s a lot of information that’s not really relevant to us.
I hope this has helped you to understand a little more why we don’t require a DBS, and how you can share this information with clients or anyone else asking you… lets share the knowledge and change people’s expectations for the benefit of everyone.
Keeping It Simple
By Joni Nettleship
We all want to paint fast, easy faces and as a busy face painter I need my designs to be done in 2-5 minutes. All these photos are on the job and were done super quick. I didn’t use any one strokes at all, I love one strokes but spend too long loading the things. When I really have to knock out a design I prefer metallic and pearl paints, rainbow cakes and stencils plus glitter and fake blood.
Hope these are useful.
Rainbow tiger – Pearl white base, neon rainbow and a few strokes of black with my favourite Bolt brush.
Dog – Superstar gold and something like 13 black lines. Really quick.
Butterfly – Plumeria rainbow cake, Global black with Bolt brush. Blue chunky eco-glitter applied with Vaseline and cotton bud.
Road accident – tyre stencil, global red flicked on, fresh scratch. Really popular with older kids.
Stars – Superstar silver, DFX white, Global black, chunky glitters and star stencils. Can be used for little children through to adults.
Minecraft – pale and dark greens, Graffiti eye stencil, reptile scale stencil, black and white.
What are your go-to fast faces? What products do you swear by?
Hello everyone! Today I am tackling that question that I see asked nearly every single day (ok not quite, but a lot!) about INSURANCE! I sent out the following email to various companies in the hope that they might be able to help.
I was wondering if you would be able to put together an email or a chart for me detailing PLI insurance cover for face painting, Special Effects, Makeup, and hair styling, separately and together, with details of cost at each tier of coverage, and any limitations to the environment at which you will cover someone, plus information about insurance cover for tools and equipment used on the job. Can you please also let me know your policy on UV face painting and wether this is covered under Face painting insurance or wether you would need to be insured for special effects, what your policy on repotting face paints is, and what information you need from people to insure them, if you have a minimum amount of experience or if you require a specific qualification?
The only companies that replied were Hencilla Canworth and Blackfriars, so I have focussed this blog post on Hencilla Canworth, Blackfriars and Salon Gold (who I didn’t email because they have such a simple online process). If you are a member of FACE then I believe you will be with Rees Astley as per their regulations so I haven’t talked about Rees Astley here. I did email them to see if they would take insurance from non-members of FACE but they didn’t reply.
Hencilla Canworth, BECTU
Before I began this process, I was with Hencilla Canworth via BECTU. I was insured to do ‘Any activity related to the members employment within broadcasting, entertainment, cinema, theatre and live events’ for £38 a year which gave me £10m cover as long as I was a member of Bectu, which costs £11.25 a month. This was what was recommended to us when I was training, so I went with them and never thought twice. However when I sent them the above email I was HORRIFIED to discover that I had potentially not been covered for a lot of the work I have undertaken in the last 2 and a half years. This is the email I received from them
Good morning Mazz
The best option for your self it to join an organization called BECTU and take out their Public Liability (costs approx. £38) which will cover you for all of your work relating to theatre and entertainment industry and then we can provide a top up to this cover which will then cover you for any personal work you do away for these industries such as weddings etc.
Now, that’s completely my fault for not being pro-active about this beforehand, and I am VERY lucky that no-one has ever needed to make a claim against me. I actually decided to undertake the research into insurance because I don’t actually do very much film and tv work, so I wasn’t sure if being a member of BECTU was really worth it for me, but I have actually now left BECTU and therefore Hencilla Canworth in favour of another insurer.
Blackfriars were very easy to deal with. They even sent me a link to their policy on UV Face paint which I know has been a bit of an issue for people recently! I have included a link to their policy for all of you to see, as well as their reply to my email below.
Thank you for your email, we will cover all of the mentioned items under the one policy for the same cost regardless of how many of them you actually want to insure the premium will be £67.93 for £5M Public Liability and Treatment Liability for 1 person. The hairstyling will not cover any cutting, perming, dying etc purely for styling only.
The insurers do not require you to have any qualifications but would expect you to have whatever your Governing Body say you should have.
This was the first email I had back, so this definitely put things into perspective for me when I thought about how much I was paying for my insurance with BECTU! However, not being able to cut hair was an issue for me, and after a little more digging I discovered that they do not offer kit insurance at all. I also didn’t find their application form the easiest, but they were really easy to deal with over the phone and email.
I went through the Salon Gold form a few times to see if adding various services would change the policy price. The price didn’t change regardless of how many services I added (including the ability to cut hair!), it really came down to the level of cover I wanted and any add ons like kit insurance etc. For the sake of comparison for this post, I did not include any kit cover and kept the liability level to £5m (the same as Blackfriars), which came to £73.44, however if you only want £3m cover it was £60.
I didn't have to prove that I was qualified, however they do state that you are required to show your certificates in the event of a claim, and that by purchasing insurance, you are declaring that you are suitably qualified.
I found the website very helpful (I won’t even deal with a company if their website isn’t easy to use, I am going to do a blog post about websites in the near future) and if you hover your mouse over any section it tells you what is or isn’t included within that. They have a list of documents towards the end of the process detailing what services are included in the trades you have selected which is really helpful! Although not specifically listed on their makeup artist documents, they do cover SFX makeup too, (I phoned to double check), which is great, particularly for those of you who like to get involved at halloween.
Things you may need to check or think about when you are sorting your insurance
Period of insurance
Be careful on this one! A lot of insurance companies work April to April, so if you sign up in March, you will pay a full years fee, and it will expire in April when you have to pay another full years fee.
Level of Cover
With BECTU I automatically had £10m cover, however when I started looking at other companies, this really pushed the price up. The highest level of minimum cover I have ever been asked to make sure I have for public events is £5m, so that’s what I went for. It largely depends on the events you do, and obviously, the higher the level of cover you want the higher the insurance fee will be. Some companies offer cover from £1m, some start at £5m, so think about the types of events you want to do, and if you have any application forms hanging around, check how much cover they want you to have.
On the Salon Gold website when I hovered over the Public and products liability I discovered that I would be covered up to 14 days abroad except US and Canada. Before this, I didn’t even consider that working abroad could have the potential to invalidate my insurance! So if you are thinking about working abroad just double check what your insurance says about this, you may need to pay a little extra. After a quick chat with Blackfriars, when I asked this question they said it also depended on what happens with Brexit. I guess a lot of companies are going to be in the same position, so if you are planning on working abroad just get in touch with your insurer and double check where you are covered and how long for, and don’t forget to get travel insurance!
This is entirely up to you. We spend a lot of money on our kits, and if you have a craft-n-go, that’s not an insignificant amount of money to lose if something were to happen to it! Until now I didn’t have kit cover. I really wondered wether I wanted to pay the extra money when I was already paying quite a bit, but I now have a few big ticket items, not only for my face painting kit but for my hair and makeup kit too. For the sake of an extra £40 I now know I’m covered. I did actually have an incident about a year and a half ago, and I still didn’t get kit cover! I had been doing my makeup in the car on the way to London (my mum was driving don’t worry!) I use the same brushes on myself as when I’m on the job in one big brush belt, and I have a particular palette with all my essential eyeshadows etc magnetised to it. We left the car at Richmond Car Park and I left the makeup I had brought in a little tote bag apparently on view. Idiot. We got back to the car to see the hazard lights going off and the passenger window smashed in and my tote bag gone. I was absolutely devastated and in a total panic because I was supposed to be doing hair and makeup at a wedding fayre in a couple of days time. All of my brushes were in that bag, as well as some pretty key items. We had a quick look around the area in case whoever had take it had realised what was in there and dumped it, but couldn’t find anything. We reported it to the police but didn’t expect to hear back from them. About 10 minutes into our very cold journey home, we had a phone call saying they had recovered it!! I could not believe it! Apparantly they had been chasing someone on a moped earlier in the day and he threw the bag with my bits in it off onto the pavement, and do you know what? Out of the roughly 30 or so eyeshadows on that palette I only lost 2 due to breakage, and I only lost 3 makeup brushes. In case anyone was wondering, they didn’t catch the guy. He took off his helmet, and apparently they have to stop chasing when someone does this because health and safety. Also, my mum was pretty annoyed at me. I cost her a new window. But I don’t think kit insurance would cover that…
Just as a little note, Blackfriars do NOT insure kit and equipment.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on UV at the moment. Blackfriars made a very helpful document about this https://www.blackfriarsgroup.com/face-painting-uv-and-neon-paints/ and I am sure each insurer has their own policy.
So Who did I go with?
We all have different needs with our insurance. I ended up going for Salon Gold because it was the best decision for me and my business. They cover all the services I need insuring under one policy and my kit for less than my yearly BECTU membership, before the insurance on top of that!
I hope this has been useful to you and that I have answered any questions about insurance! If you still have questions, please pop a comment below or get in touch with me.
The Pixie Tribe