The RB Chanco issue: What to expect from your makeup artist

If you’re part of Facebook beauty groups or currently involved in wedding planning, you may have seen the viral post that sent the online beauty community into a frenzy over the weekend. Originally shared by a user named Makiko Yoshizawa, the post is a scathing review of celebrity makeup artist RB Chanco. Makiko claimed that RB was unresponsive in the months leading up to her wedding, leading her to cancel their service agreement. She also detailed how RB insisted on keeping the reservation fee despite the cancellation of the contract, which happened mere weeks before the event. The post includes screenshots of OP’s exchanges with the artist.

While the screenshots do show that RB responded rudely to her client, the select portions that were shared don’t fully support what the OP asserted in the caption.

RB was unresponsive for fifteen days to the wedding ceremony invitation. Not an acceptable timeframe for business replies, but still not “months” as claimed by the OP and RB replied that she had given her confirmation for the booking several times over. The screenshots also don’t show who made the formal cancellation, but we do see RB explain that the fee is non-refundable. The conversation later turned into the bride offering the deposit to RB, RB confirming if the bride was sure of the offer, and the bride insisting that RB keep the fee.

I have so many questions because the screenshots only show select parts of the conversation and not the full story. There are other parties involved (Ellaine, Marie, and Chinky) and there are allusions to verbal agreements and other documents exchanged outside of FB Messenger. As such, it’s impossible for us to know what really happened.

What is 1000% clear, though, is that there was a complete breakdown in communication. Insults were exchanged, accusations were thrown, and a service contract was cancelled on bad terms. While I’d love to just have a Tea segment on Project Vanity, the reason we’re sharing this story to help prevent messy situations like this from happening in the first place. As a professional makeup artist, I follow an ideal contracting process between myself and my clients to ensure a smooth and pleasant experience for all. Do note that there are no formal industry standards as makeup artistry is not regulated in the Philippines, but this is my own ‘formula’ combined with industry experience and expectations.

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Consultation

Whether you’re fixated on a one-stop celebrity MUA goal, looking for an aesthetic that matches what you want, or simply shopping based on budget, the consultation is where MUAs and prospective clients can align their expectations. This is a mutually beneficial exercise as the MUA can better explain their services while the client can establish rapport and build trust in their chosen supplier.

The consultation is also a good place to request the portfolio. Look for photos with zero to minimal post-processing. Determine if their body of work is something you appreciate and respect, not just in terms of the makeup style, but also with their affiliations. I have had people book me based solely off of my work in some local pageants because they wanted to feel like a queen and expected me to deliver!

An artist who can’t show a portfolio is a wild card. I’m not writing them off as untalented, but it’s really hard to know their skill level when there’s no face to evaluate. How do you know if they can match foundation to skin tone? Maybe they do only one kind of eyebrow, and it’s in a style you hate. Makeup artistry is very visual, and words leave room for misinterpretation. So don’t just take anyone’s word on their makeup style or skill.

Don’t be shy about giving a peg. Many people assume it is offensive to artists to show them an output expectation, but it’s actually really helpful. Used as a guide and reference, the artist can know what exactly what look you want, and do their best to recreate it. If your MUA is dismissive of your makeup preferences or appears intimidated by the requirement, then they might not be up to the job. Worst of all, if they cannot pick out the details you like, then you can more or less tell it will not be a good match.

Contract

Written and signed contracts should contain everything each party expects from the other, so that there is little room for misunderstanding. As the incident with RB shows, a contract could have allowed the two parties to settle any disputes fairly. Here are some details that should be you should be able to find in the contract:

  • Time, Date, and Place: This is basic, but I still get clients who try to book me in churches or PICC! Indicate where you’ll be doing preps and what time you need to leave. A good MUA will assemble their team (if any) for at least an hour before departure to ensure that schedules are followed.

  • Down Payment: The ever-controversial down payment that aggravated the OP is a normal practice, if not a standard one. This actually serves as an insurance for both the client and the makeup artist. For MUAs, it is income protection as they will need to reserve the date and time, and thus turn away other clients. For clients, it is provides further contract insurance as accepting the down payment makes the MUA liable for any breaches in contract, such as reassigning to a different artist. Down payments are non-refundable because both parties recognize it as the start of the contract, although I personally extend a courtesy and do refunds when there are acts of God involved (storms and other calamities), or if I need to cancel it myself (due to health or other issues.) When clients that have made down payments still seem insecure about me actually showing up, I remind them that our contract is clear and that small claims is easily processed for amounts P300,000 and below. If you opt not to do a down payment with signed contract, you forfeit all the securities mentioned above.

  • Additional fees: Is there an out of town rate? Transportation allowance? Parking allowance? Food? I generally request the client to secure all that are applicable on top of the makeup rate, especially if they haggled to a discount rate! Some makeup artists are okay with receiving these in kind such as Grab credits, food, and parking stubs. Check which your makeup artist prefers!

  • Hair: Most MUAs do hair but that is not a given, so if you need this service, check if the quoted rate includes hair styling. Do you have a peg for hair you want? Will you need extensions and hair accessories? Your artist will need to know that, too! Show them your pegs so they can they can either prepare accordingly (whether as part of the rate or an added charge) or give you tips on where to buy the items. You need to settle this in advance as HMUAs generally don’t pack a huge assortment of hair knick knacks, especially for just one client.

  • Freebies: Makeup artists generally provide false lashes but costume lashes and hair extras may have an extra charge or may need to be arranged in advance. I’ve heard of some MUAs offering mini spa treatments to their brides or doing a free sheet mask sessions prior to makeup application. Still others do men’s grooming or children’s makeup for free when the package is big enough. If you want a simple hairstyle (just waves or just straight,) some MUAs will even do this for free. Personally, I offer free colored contacts on my full rate! Don’t be shy about asking an MUAs if they have any freebies, but do check yourself especially when you’ve haggled the price down or if you were given a “friend” rate. Freebies should also be enumerated clearly (and without a price) on the contract as I’ve heard of an MUA who sold up a lot of freebies to get a contract during a bridal fair, but ended up swindling the couple and charging for those things anyway.

  • Terms: I am paranoid about hygiene, and I tell clients I am not liable for any dermatological issue if they insist on me using their own makeup. I also have a ton of reminders: no using conditioner, or doing peels, waxes, or lasers on the day of the booking. I also indicate requests such as tables, power outlets, a certain size of space. This is to communicate that whenever my working conditions are not met, the client should expect that it can affect my output. Clients don’t always know what MUAs need, but the two should work together for the best outcome.

  • Transparency: I’ve heard horror stories of how brides and debutantes pretend to just be guests so they could book a lower rate. A friend tells me that she had a client who even went out of her way to hide her white gown and the photography team, but she saw the bride’s name on the hotel signage and put two and two together. She met her client and secured a bridal upgrade. The client was livid about being found out but their hands were tied. The MUA did the right thing and since the client entered the contract under fraud, that contract was void and MUA could completely walk away with no repercussions.

If there’s one thing you should take away from this article, it’s that contracts are so important. Even without people trying funny tricks, you just never know when things will go south and people suddenly back out on their obligations. As the professional, it is the makeup artist’s burden to clarify and outline all of the above.

Once you see the contract and are good with the terms, don’t feel pressured to sign right away. Feel free to ask questions or negotiate some clauses whenever you have a concern. It is totally within your rights to even request a rewrite on the contract! If you really feel unsure of your MUA though, don’t sign with them at all. Remember, that there are many MUA options available so choose one that you feel confident about.

And if your artist doesn’t “do” contracts?

It is still your final call to trust an artist without a contract. I personally issue contracts consistently for the smaller, home-based jobs because these individuals need more security. Big events and established groups generally do not need this much security because they can easily replace me, and we all know my career would take a huge hit if I try to mess with them.

Nobody wants any of the horror stories mentioned above to happen but if you don’t at least try to get insurance against it, anything is possible. Verbal contracts are valid, but so easily disputable. At the end of the day, opinions don’t solve issues. FACTS DO.

As for Makiko’s post, it was taken down from Facebook after her cousin Ellaine (who was mentioned by RB) called her out in the comments section of her post. Guess that’s the end of that story!

Update: We were able to source photos of Makiko’s original caption and are adding it here for further clarification. Thanks to reader Nikki Blanco for sending this!

And to our fellow thirs-tea titas, seems like we have to take our words back and the issue is not yet over! Makiko has released new screenshots of the conversation, this time with Ellaine (who appears to be her cousin and a mediator with RB). The screenshots are again, not complete, but they do give more clues on the “cancellation.” You can find them here: https://imgur.com/a/G0As7n4

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