Hair stylist finds passion for mortuary makeup

Jun 21, 2022

A longtime hairstylist and Main Street fixture, Christine Andrews is dedicated to helping her clients look their best, even in death.

She has recently embarked on a new venture: hair and makeup for funerals. 

While her focus has been on hairstyling, she said she’s always “dibbled and dabbled” in make-up. Years of hairstyling left her with back pain and looking for something different. 

Andrews’ first experience doing funeral makeup was for a friend who had passed away. During the pandemic, she styled more friends and family members who died. 

“I go into it with the attitude that this is the last time you’re going to see the person,” she said. “You don’t want to go in there and see them looking horrible.” 

Andrews said she remembered being a child and hearing people bemoan how their loved ones looked in the casket — an experience she hopes to protect people from.

“I wanted their last image of their loved one to be a nice one, a beautiful one,” Andrews said. “I go the extra mile. I put fake eyelashes on, I make them look the best they could have looked.” 

Andrews said she aims to make her clients look “the way they always looked.”

“I got so many compliments on my work every time that it hit me — ‘It doesn’t bother me to do dead people,’” Andrews said. “It makes me feel good that when they see them, they’re like ‘Oh, wow. She looks great.’”

One particularly memorable experience was styling a client whose hair she’d been cutting for 40 years. This client, she said, loved golden tones and always made sure she looked her best. 

Andrews said that when saw the woman’s body, she “looked nothing like herself.” Her hair was gray — not the blonde tone she’d carefully maintained — and her skin had lost its color.

So the stylist got to work. She added color to the woman’s hair and used the gold-toned makeup the woman loved. She finished the look with a gold lipstick — a favorite of hers and the woman’s.

Andrews said she got so many compliments at the service that she felt she should pursue the work professionally. 

For one woman, who had gone bald late in her life, Andrews visited a wig shop with the woman’s daughters to purchase a wig. She then cut and styled the wig just as she’d cut and styled the woman’s hair when she was a client. No one at the funeral was able to tell the woman had been bald, she said. 

Andrews said that the first few times she did makeup for a funeral, she was nervous. She always begins with a prayer, asking God to guide her hands to make the client look the way their families remember them. 

“I turned it into gratitude,” she said, adding that she feels privileged to do this work.

Andrews said she’s received particular interest from people of color, who often don’t feel comfortable with the in-house makeup services at a funeral home. Andrews, herself a woman of color, works with a full spectrum of airbrush makeup so she can carefully match the color the person’s skin was when they were alive. 

She said she works to follow the person’s features and enhance them. 

“I don’t leave until I feel happy with my work,” Andrews said, noting that she once re-curled a woman’s hair three times until the style held the way she wanted it to. 

To contact Andrews, call 508-291-1551.