Discover the Art of Face Painting
by Kate Matthews
SEVERAL news reports from the US in early 2013 alleged a make-up artist at a Rihanna concert may be responsible for infecting a woman with the herpes virus. The report in CBS New York on May 31, 2013 noted a lawsuit was underway against MAC Cosmetics in the Manhattan Supreme Court.
This should have face painters and make-up artists all around the world paying close attention.
It could easily happen to any one of us. It doesn’t matter if we’re volunteers or professionals, this kind of thing doesn’t discriminate. And while liability in this case is yet to be determined, the situation highlights the very real possibility of spreading infectious diseases – in this case a lifelong one – and the subsequent legal and financial implications of such an allegation, whether or not it is proved to be true.
Imagine for a moment it was your name or business being accused of spreading herpes; on the front page of your local paper. Do you feel confident your current hygiene practices could reasonably defend your reputation? Have you taken the time to put your procedures into writing and into your contract? If the answer is ‘no’, then it’s time to reassess and put things in order. Without delay.
Let’s face it, hygiene should be on the top of any list of priorities for face painters. Right up there with using quality cosmetic paints. Your reputation and livelihood depends on it.
I’ve heard some professionals laugh it off, saying kids will catch more germs standing in line, or at the local playground. This may be true. Or it may not. Either way – as face painters we have a duty of care. If you don’t know what that means – at the end of this article I have a video that explains it perfectly. Please take a moment to watch it.
How you operate your business is your business. It’s up to you to decide on your priorities. But if you want to prevent playing a part in the spread of infectious diseases, like herpes, then you’ll need to take hygiene seriously through decisive action to minimise the risks. As I said before, it doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or a volunteer. You have a duty of care to everyone you paint. Ignore it at your own risk. As the Rihanna example proves, the consequences can be very real.
We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out for the woman who has been reported to be suing MAC Cosmetics (update: Feb 2014 – since the original reports in May 2013 I am yet to see the results). In the meantime I encourage you to do your own homework and put in place a hygiene plan you feel comfortable with, and which meets requirements of your local, state and national laws, should there be any that apply to your jurisdiction.
Disclaimer: the information contained within this blog is general in nature and is not intended to be viewed as legal or medical advice. It is strongly recommended you contact a registered legal or medical advisor to discuss your individual circumstances before making any decisions.
Here’s a great explanation on the concept of ‘Duty of Care’ by David Puttnam. Although it focuses on the news and industry, his real life example should get you thinking.
Got something to add? What practices do you employ to minimise the risk of spreading infection and disease? Or do you think having a hygiene plan is an over-reaction. Your comments are welcome below.