Career as a Makeup Artist – How to Start

Introduction of how to start a career as a makeup artist

Hi friends! Today we are here with an interesting topic on how to start a career as a makeup artist? By the end of this article, we will let you know detailed information about how to become a successful makeup artist. The relationship can last a lifetime between a celebrity and their makeup artist. Once the trust and shared vision is established, the preferred behind-the-scenes team of artists tends to accompany a celebrity on every shoot, film, and project, setting the mood and making everyone on the job feel comfortable.

Makeup artists are not only trained to change the way the characters look but also to enhance the characterization. Makeup now has become a habit that both men and women have. With time, makeup has evolved to become a career chosen by hundreds. Not only are there makeup artists that work for TV, theatre but there are bloggers that run their channels on online platforms like YouTube. Good makeup can turn the visual appeal of a show completely. For instance, a game of thrones or even superhero movies. They wouldn’t have had the same appeal without the right kind of makeup and graphics.

A guide on how to build a career as a makeup artist

Beauty has a way of capturing attention. Beauty treatments and fashion trends have always been in trend but today more and more people have become conscious about their looks. Being a makeup artist is not easy. It is really demanding and often a thankless job.

So, let’s see how to become a professional makeup artist. In this article, we will let you know the skills needed to become a successful makeup artist, types of makeup artists, how to become a makeup artist, and some do’s and don’ts of makeup artists. Let’s get started!

Skills needed to become a successful makeup artist

To become a successful makeup artist, one should be creative and should know how to experimentalism. One should also be well-versed with cosmetic ingredients and skin allergies, skincare routines, and color palettes. Listed below are some of the skills required to become a makeup artist:

  • Sense of color mixing
  • Creativity
  • Skincare
  • Skin allergies
  • Chemicals found in makeup products
  • Ability to make conversations with the clients and to understand what they need
  • Visualization

Types of makeup artists

It is important to define your niche as a makeup artist. To find success, defining your identity, choosing your specialization, deciding on your niche is important for clarity on the part of your clients to approach you for work.

  • Bridal makeup
  • Editorial makeup
  • Camera makeup: for ad shoots, films, TV shows, etc.
  • Prosthetic makeup

How to become a successful makeup artist

There is no place like home where you can start experimenting with the makeup process. You can play around different products and apply the same or try the techniques on friends. This can be an excellent way to start honing your skills. Start taking small orders for events like weddings and other functions, especially of friends. This will help in giving confidence in you to push your profession ahead. Now let’s dive into the steps involved in becoming a makeup artist.

Step 1: Get a high school diploma

Now let’s check out the career steps for make-up artists. Completing a high school diploma provides the basic skills needed to understand the field of make-up and prepare for college. In some states, a high school diploma or equivalent is also needed to get a cosmetologist’s license. Helpful classes include drama, art, design, and English.

Step 2: Complete training

After high school, one training option for this career path is to earn a diploma or certificate from a cosmetology school. These programs can last anywhere from nine months to one year. Some offer concentrations in special effects make-up for a film with courses in lifecasting, body-parts casting, mold sculpturing, using foam-rubber silicone, design, and drawing.

Prospective make-up artists may also obtain associate’s degrees in drama or theater from a community college. Such programs typically offer courses in stage make-up, lighting, stagecraft, and production. An associate’s degree can provide a solid foundation for future education, training, and advancement.

Upon completion of either program, individuals are eligible to take state cosmetology licensing exams that typically include a written exam and practical portion. 

Step 3: Gain experience

Students in cosmetology programs can gain hands-on experience working in school salons. Make-up artists can also earn early experience by volunteering services for independent films, student films, or local theater performances. This provides both credited work and the chance to meet other artists in the film and theater fields, which can lead to further job opportunities.

Step 4: Build a portfolio

Taking photographs of completed work can help build a portfolio that demonstrates skills and techniques for future employers and clients to review. While building a comprehensive portfolio, you should always focus on broadening your network of contacts by attending industry events, volunteering your services, being active on social media, and taking the time to meet new people and learn new techniques.

Because so many makeup artists work independently, offering their services on a freelance basis, you may also take the lead in promoting your makeup skills and establishing your name before going on to rent a station in an established salon or offering your services as an independent, mobile artist for special events.

Step 5: Find work

Theatrical and performance make-up artists may work for theaters, television stations, or production companies. They may work as employees or contractors as freelancers. Employment opportunities are typically strongest in areas with numerous film production companies, theater groups, and other media and performance companies.

Aspiring makeup artists, whether they want to work in theater, film, or on a freelance basis, should complete a training program in makeup arts and skincare before gaining licensure, building a portfolio, and seeking work.

Step 6: Network with people in the makeup industry

In the beauty industry, it’s all about who you know. Most of your work and clients will come from referrals, so your network is crucial. The more connections you have, the better your chances are of landing the job you’ve always wanted.

Your education doesn’t stop at graduation. The beauty industry is constantly changing with new trends growing in popularity every day. A true professional is always curious and learns all about the latest styles and techniques.

You can follow the above steps to become a successful makeup artist.

Scope of professional makeup artistry in India

Following are some of the career options that an individual can look for after completing a course in makeup artistry:

  • Celebrity makeup artist
  • Celebrity stylist
  • Retail store makeup artist
  • Makeup artists for salon and spas
  • Theatre makeup artists
  • Makeup artists for public events

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How much does a makeup artist can earn?

The kind of earning deeply varies in multiple aspects. But mainly based on the clientele and the network you have created through your stint as a freelance makeup artist. Makeup artists’ income may vary widely according to experience and the nature of the job. Salaries for those who are new in their career tend to be quite low. Those with established careers in television, film industry, or the theater business may command substantially higher wages. Makeup artists working full time for large companies usually receive health insurance, paid vacation, and other benefits, while those on the fringes of the industry must often provide their insurance and retirement plans.

Some institutes to become a make-up artist

If you are interested in this field and want to acquire the professional skills, here are some leading institutes of makeup artists in that you could explore:

  • Lakme Academy (Mumbai & Delhi)
  • Aashmeen Munjaal’s Star Salon and Academy (Delhi)
  • VLCC Institute of Beauty, Health and Management (Multiple Locations)
  • Pearl Academy (Delhi, Mumbai, Noida)

Career opportunities as a make-up artist

There is a high demand for skilled make-up artists to work with actors/actresses, theatre productions, film sets, and various media houses. Where the usual employer is the entertainment industry (Film, Theatre, and Fashion), professionals are also required to work with salons, modeling agencies, fashion designers, etc. You can also write your column or blog, and even become an editor for beauty and style magazines. 

Do’s & Don’ts

The following is a list of do’s and don’ts of makeup artists to follow if you want to find success in the world of makeup artistry.

Do’s of a makeup artist
  • Your homework
  • Share your secrets with others
  • Know the trends
  • Use social media to promote yourself
  • Always test the foundation shade on the side of your neck, not the inside of your wrist
  • Be friendly and approachable
  • Trust your instincts
  • Consistently network with others
  • Create a complete makeup portfolio
Don’ts of a makeup artist
  • Don’t apply makeup using bad lighting
  • Don’t be negative
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for a new job
  • Don’t use poor quality beauty products
  • Don’t lie! Once you tell a lie, it’s going to be very difficult for you to gain any trust back
  • Don’t take short cuts
  • Don’t ignore any beauty related events that may be taking place in your area
  • Don’t buy any makeup until you’ve done your research


If you want to be a successful makeup artist learn to be creative. You should be able to visualize a particular look, play with it, and produce it in real life. Not only that, but you should also be well-versed with cosmetics ingredients, skincare, possible allergic reactions, or skin irritations on your clients. You should also be able to identify skin tones and colors to adapt your makeup from one client to another. 

Some commonly asked questions about a career as a makeup artist

Makeup artist.
Makeup artist.
Do makeup artists need a business license?

Most states require any type of business to obtain a license to legally operate within the state. Few makeup artists are considered independent or self-employed business owners. If you are planning to sell cosmetics, you may also need a resale license.

What subjects are needed for a makeup artist?

There are associate degree programs and certificate programs in esthetics, cosmetology, and makeup artistry. With the help of these programs, you can cover important topics like hair styling, makeup products, nail application, skincare products, and methods of hairstyling and makeup application.

Which course is best for a makeup artist to make it a career?

For a makeup artist to be successful, aspiring artists need to have a strong foothold in the industry and may need to be a licensed cosmetologist. There are associate degree programs and certificate programs in esthetics, cosmetology, and makeup artistry.

Is a makeup artist a good career?

It is a good career to look at becoming a makeup artist because you can do whatever you want to. You get satisfied with your work in this profession with happy clients when you make them look more beautiful with your makeup skills on their special occasions by making sweet memories with your skills.

What are the qualifications you need to become a makeup artist?

Some of the popular makeup artist qualifications available include a BTEC Level 3 Diploma, a VTCT Level 3 Diploma, an ITEC Level 3 Diploma, a City and Guilds Diploma, and a Makeup Standards Authority (MASA) diploma. These courses are offered by colleges, creative arts schools and beauty academies.

What is the highest paying job in the beauty industry?

The highest paid jobs in the beauty industry are:

  • Hairdresser/Hair Stylist
  • Cosmetic Surgeon
  • Beauty Blogger or Vlogger
  • Private Cosmetic Dentist
  • Beautician or Cosmetologist
  • Modeling

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