Makeup Artist: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

Author: ProfGuide
Makeup Artist: what they do, how to become one, and where to study

Makeup artists possess the remarkable ability to enhance natural beauty and transform faces into stunning works of art. They are skilled professionals who use cosmetics and their artistic flair to create various looks for different occasions. The world of makeup artistry is captivating, ever-evolving, and offers exciting opportunities for those with a passion for beauty and creativity. By the way, recently the ProfGuide career guidance center has developed a precise career orientation test, which will tell you which professions are suitable for you, provide a conclusion about your personality type and intelligence.



Within the realm of makeup artistry, professionals often specialize in specific areas to further refine their skills. Some common specializations include:

  1. Bridal Makeup: Creating timeless and flawless looks for brides on their wedding day.
  2. Fashion/Editorial Makeup: Designing avant-garde and trend-setting looks for fashion shows, magazine shoots, and runway events.
  3. Film/TV/Theater Makeup: Transforming actors and actresses into characters by using makeup techniques that withstand the demands of stage and camera lighting.
  4. Special Effects Makeup: Utilizing prosthetics, cosmetics, and creative techniques to achieve realistic and fantastical effects for movies, TV shows, and special events.
  5. Airbrush Makeup: Employing airbrushing techniques for a flawless and long-lasting makeup application.

Tasks and Responsibilities

Makeup artists perform a range of tasks and responsibilities to bring their clients' desired looks to life. Some of these include:

  1. Consultation: Understanding clients' preferences, discussing desired looks, and offering professional advice.
  2. Makeup Application: Applying makeup products using various techniques, such as blending, contouring, and highlighting, to enhance facial features and achieve the desired appearance.
  3. Color Coordination: Selecting suitable colors and shades that complement clients' skin tones, outfits, and the occasion.
  4. Knowledge of Products: Staying updated with the latest cosmetic products, brands, and trends to provide clients with the best options available.
  5. Hygiene and Safety: Adhering to strict hygiene standards, including sanitizing tools and maintaining a clean workspace to ensure client safety.

Pros and Cons

Being a makeup artist has its fair share of advantages and challenges. Let's explore the pros and cons of this profession:


  1. Creative Outlet: Makeup artistry allows individuals to express their artistic abilities and unleash their creativity.
  2. Versatile Career Paths: Makeup artists can work in diverse settings, including salons, spas, fashion industry, film and television, and even start their own businesses.


  1. Irregular Working Hours: Makeup artists often work on weekends, evenings, and during holidays to accommodate clients' schedules.
  2. Competitive Industry: The field of makeup artistry is highly competitive, requiring continuous skill development and networking to stay ahead.


Makeup artists are in demand globally, with the following countries showing considerable opportunities:

  1. United States: The beauty industry in the United States continues to grow, providing ample opportunities for skilled makeup artists.
  2. Canada: The Canadian market offers prospects for makeup artists, particularly in metropolitan areas like Toronto and Vancouver.
  3. United Kingdom: With its vibrant fashion and entertainment industry, the UK provides a promising market for makeup artists.
  4. Australia: As a country with a strong emphasis on beauty and fashion, Australia presents opportunities for makeup artists.

Salary Ranges

While salaries may vary based on experience, location, and specialization, here are the general salary ranges for makeup artists in the mentioned countries:

  1. United States: $30,000 - $80,000 per year.
  2. Canada: CAD 30,000 - CAD 70,000 per year.
  3. United Kingdom: £18,000 - £40,000 per year.
  4. Australia: AUD 40,000 - AUD 80,000 per year.

Where Do Makeup Artists Work?

Makeup artists work in a variety of settings, depending on their specialization and personal preferences. Here are some common work environments for makeup artists:

  1. Salons and Spas: Many makeup artists begin their careers in salons and spas, catering to clients who seek professional makeup services for special occasions or regular beauty maintenance.
  2. Fashion Industry: Makeup artists play a crucial role in the fashion world, working on photo shoots, runway shows, and fashion events. They collaborate with designers, stylists, and photographers to create striking looks that align with the artistic vision of the project.
  3. Film, Television, and Theater: In these industries, makeup artists are responsible for transforming actors into characters. They skillfully apply makeup that withstands the demanding lighting conditions and ensures the integrity of the character's appearance throughout the production.
  4. Bridal and Special Events: Makeup artists specializing in bridal makeup work closely with brides-to-be, creating elegant and long-lasting looks for their wedding day. Additionally, they may provide makeup services for other special events like proms, galas, and red carpet occasions.
  5. Freelancing and Self-Employment: Many makeup artists choose to work independently, offering their services on a freelance basis. They build their client base, travel to various locations, and often have the flexibility to work on diverse projects and events.

The profession of a makeup artist is essential because it helps individuals feel confident and empowered. Makeup artists have the expertise to enhance natural beauty, camouflage imperfections, and create unique looks tailored to their clients' preferences. They play a vital role in boosting self-esteem, whether it's for a bride on her wedding day or an actor stepping into character for a film.

Important Qualities of a Successful Makeup Artist

To excel as a makeup artist, certain qualities are essential. Here are some important traits that contribute to success in this profession:

  1. Creativity: Makeup artistry is an art form, requiring a strong sense of creativity to conceptualize and execute unique looks.
  2. Attention to Detail: A keen eye for detail is crucial for achieving precise makeup application and ensuring flawless results.
  3. Interpersonal Skills: Building rapport and effective communication with clients is vital to understand their preferences, address concerns, and provide a positive experience.
  4. Adaptability: Makeup artists must be adaptable to different skin types, tones, and styles. They should be able to work with diverse clients and adjust their techniques accordingly.
  5. Professionalism: Maintaining professionalism in all aspects of the job, including punctuality, hygiene, and ethical practices, is essential for building a reputable career.

Not everyone is suitable for a career as a makeup artist. Individuals who are impatient, have difficulty working with others, or lack an artistic inclination may find it challenging to succeed in this field. However, those who are passionate about makeup, enjoy working with people, and have a strong artistic flair are well-suited to pursue a career as a makeup artist.

Step-by-Step Career Path

While each makeup artist's journey is unique, here is a generalized step-by-step career path that aspiring professionals can follow:

  1. Education and Training: Enroll in a reputable makeup artistry program or attend specialized courses to learn fundamental skills and techniques. Many vocational schools, cosmetology programs, and makeup academies offer comprehensive training.
  2. Gain Experience: Seek opportunities to gain practical experience by assisting established makeup artists, volunteering for local events, or taking up internships. This hands-on experience will help build a portfolio and expand professional networks.
  3. Specialization and Skill Development: Determine your area of interest within makeup artistry and focus on developing expertise in that specialization. Take advanced courses or workshops to refine your skills and stay updated with industry trends.
  4. Build a Portfolio: Assemble a professional portfolio showcasing your best work. Include a diverse range of looks and styles to demonstrate your versatility and creativity.
  5. Networking: Attend industry events, fashion shows, and beauty conventions to network with professionals in the field. Establish connections with photographers, stylists, and other industry insiders who can provide opportunities for collaboration and exposure.
  6. Freelancing or Employment: Decide whether you want to work as a freelance makeup artist or seek employment in salons, spas, or other establishments. Freelancing offers flexibility and the potential for higher earnings, while working for a company provides stability and opportunities for growth.
  7. Market Yourself: Create a professional website, social media profiles, and business cards to promote your services. Utilize online platforms like Instagram and YouTube to showcase your work, engage with potential clients, and build a strong online presence.
  8. Continuing Education: Stay updated with the latest trends, techniques, and product advancements by attending workshops, conferences, and industry-related seminars. Continuing education ensures you remain competitive and relevant in the ever-evolving beauty industry.

How to Become a Makeup Artist

The requirements to become a makeup artist may vary depending on the country and the specific area of specialization. However, here is a general overview:

  1. Education: While formal education is not always mandatory, completing a makeup artistry program or obtaining a cosmetology license can provide a solid foundation. These programs typically range from a few months to a year, covering various makeup techniques, sanitation practices, and industry-related knowledge.
  2. Apprenticeships and Assistant Roles: To gain practical experience and learn from seasoned professionals, consider working as an apprentice or an assistant to established makeup artists. This hands-on training can provide invaluable insights and mentorship.
  3. Certification: Some makeup artists choose to pursue additional certifications to enhance their credibility and marketability. These certifications can be obtained through industry associations or specialized training programs.
  4. Ongoing Skill Development: Dedicate yourself to continuous skill development and learning. Stay updated with industry trends, experiment with new techniques, and explore different makeup styles to expand your repertoire.
  5. Residency or Graduate Programs (Optional): In certain cases, for individuals interested in pursuing advanced makeup artistry or specializing in fields like special effects makeup, enrolling in residency or graduate programs can provide in-depth knowledge and advanced training.

Where to Become a Makeup Artist

If you're considering a career as a makeup artist, here are five examples of reputable institutions in each country with hyperlinks to their websites:

United States:

  1. Makeup Designory (MUD)
  2. Empire Beauty School
  3. Cinema Makeup School
  4. Joe Blasco Makeup Center
  5. Chic Studios School of Makeup


  1. Blanche Macdonald Centre
  2. CMU College of Makeup Art & Design
  3. Canadian Beauty College
  4. Complections College of Makeup Art & Design
  5. QC Makeup Academy

United Kingdom:

  1. London College of Fashion
  2. Academy of Freelance Makeup
  3. Delamar Academy of Makeup Art
  4. The London School of Beauty and Makeup
  5. The Session School 


  1. The Australian Academy of Cinemagraphic Makeup
  2. The Makeup Technicians
  3. Elite Hair and Makeup Academy
  4. Napoleon Perdis Makeup Academy
  5. Sydney College of Makeup Art

Please note that the provided institutions are examples and there are many more reputable makeup artistry schools and academies available in each country.

Can You Enter the Profession with a Different Degree?

Yes, it is possible to enter the profession of a makeup artist without a formal degree in makeup artistry. While having a degree or certification in the field can be advantageous, many makeup artists have built successful careers through practical experience, apprenticeships, and continuous self-education.

Having a different degree in a related field such as cosmetology, beauty therapy, or fine arts can provide a solid foundation and transferable skills. It is essential to develop a strong portfolio showcasing your work, stay updated with industry trends and techniques, and continuously refine your craft to succeed as a makeup artist, regardless of your educational background.

Becoming a makeup artist requires dedication, passion, and continuous learning. With the right skills, knowledge, and a strong professional network, you can embark on an exciting and rewarding journey in the world of makeup artistry.

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