First up, Licensing. An unpopular opinion of mine but this is what I find single-handedly the most important. Unfortunately, in most states, the state is not keeping a close eye on artists and stylists opening their own business with no licenses. With the rapid growth of social media such as YouTube and Instagram, anyone can become an artist. While this is a great tool for people to showcase their work give them a platform to be the artist they desire to be, it's hurting the actual professionals. If anyone can be an artist/stylist, where is the regulation? How do you decipher between a true professional and a non-professional?
Licensing vs Certification: You browse the web and come across a great artist, and in their bio, it says they are ‘certified.’ Great! That means your artist took the time to invest in themselves to gain further education in their craft. Not a bad thing - Bonus points, if you ask me. But this does not mean they’re licensed. Certifications should be used to further one’s education and skill. I like to compare it to teachers, electricians, lawyers, nurses etc. They all must take a state-regulated exam and must pass in order to be a professional. Makeup artists and hair stylists are not any different. Look for someone who holds a cosmetology or an esthetics license.
Sanitation: Hairstylists and makeup artists work with the general public. They come in contact with bodily fluids, skin conditions, conjunctivitis, cold sores, potential open wounds and whatever else the client may or may not have. Your artist needs to be able to know how properly handle any illnesses/diseases/contagious conditions of the client. (And in school, you learn all about contamination, proper sanitation, hygiene, anatomy, etc) You want to make sure your artist/stylist practices proper hygiene and sanitation. A few simple things to look for is disposables. Does your artist have mascara wands, cotton pads, q tips, alcohol, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant? Are they using mascara straight from the tube and double dipping? (Can you say pink eye!?) Are they using lipstick or gloss straight from the tube onto your mouth? (how about oral herpes?!) How about the brushes, are they dirty with the last client’s makeup still on them? It's equivalent to going to a makeup counter and applying testers, that thousands of people have used, all over your face. Yuck.