How to Become a Makeup Artist

How to Become a Makeup Artist

A Makeup Artist at work.

Whether you’re interested in the bright lights of Hollywood or simply helping teens look good for their first formal dance, makeup artistry may be a calling that’s right for you. Makeup artists specialize in all forms of makeup design and application and are able to work in a creative and unique industry.

What Is a Makeup Artist?

Makeup artists usually work with either performance and stage makeup or with general salon styling. A makeup artist is extremely skilled with a variety of makeup techniques and tools so they can create desired effects. Artists that work in salons may also be able to teach clients how to apply their own makeup. Those that work directly with clients will often need to learn quite a lot about current makeup products and be able to advise their clients on the proper products that will work well for them and fit within their budget.

Makeup artists that work with performance or theatrical productions usually need to be able to create convincing makeup quickly and consistently. Those that work with Hollywood or advertising media may need to be able to create specific effects, such as making models look thinner or by changing the skin tone of a model to suit the background colors of an advertisement. Overall, makeup artists can cover a comprehensive range of skills and techniques. According to O*Net Online those within the industry make significant wages and are usually self-employed.

What Does a Makeup Artist Do?

A makeup artist will often need to develop their own designs based on a client or production’s wishes. The makeup artist may begin by sketching their design first before actually starting their work. This will let them create a palette that is suitable without having to adjust their model or client. Once the design has been created the makeup artist will work from the very basics of foundation to build the makeup until they have their desired effect.

If the makeup artist is with a production they will usually do this behind the scenes before every show. Otherwise, a makeup artist with a salon will either work on clients that walk in or work on a client’s site, such as on the site of a wedding. Some makeup artists may work directly with makeup companies to promote their products and may be stationed in malls or stores to show customers what they can look like by using certain products and techniques.

How Do You Become a Makeup Artist?

A makeup artist is usually a licensed cosmetologist. These artists go through significant amounts of training and usually acquire a degree before licensing. Different states have their own boards, such as the Georgia State Board of Cosmetology. The artist will need to have a certain amount of hours of work in a salon before they can be licensed, in most situations, and they will need to have a certain amount of hours in training.

How Do You Advance as a Makeup Artist?

A makeup artist can advance in multiple ways. Those that work with productions may get jobs with more prestigious productions if they can show that they are creative, dedicated and professional. Those within the advertising and television industries will likewise build their reputations up and slowly gain additional projects.

Makeup artists that work directly for salons will be able to move up in the ranks based on seniority or as they grow their client base. Those that work in salons will often have clients that ask to see them specifically. Eventually a makeup artist may be able to open up their own makeup studio and hire other employees or become entirely self-employed.


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