Are you a total makeup junkie that’s become the go-to person to do makeup for all your friends? If this sounds familiar, it might be time to consider a career as a makeup artist. You can play with your favorite products while making money!
If it feels overwhelming to take a leap and become a professional makeup artist, don’t stress. We have a step-by-step guide for you on how to follow your dreams. This guide will start from learning about a makeup artist career and walk you through the steps needed to be successful in your career. The first step is reading this guide, so let’s get started!
Step 1: Research the Position
A passion and talent for makeup is a huge component to becoming a professional makeup artist, but there’s a lot more involved. Before you make the jump to starting a new profession, make sure you’ve researched the position.
Do some research into the requirements, salary, and duties of a makeup artist to make sure it’s the right fit for you. A career website is a great place to start this research. You will discover that:
- A makeup artist can work for various industries, such as television, film, or theater; or can work in a retail setting; or can work independently preparing clients for events or photoshoots.
- An advanced degree is not required, but experience is highly valued and some countries and states require a minimum number of training hours.
- Communication and customer service skills are extremely important in this field, and it might not be a good job for someone lacking those skills.
- Makeup artists need to continually be learning to ensure they stay up to date on current trends and products.
Once you’ve done research about the position, stop and make sure it’s the right fit for you. If you don’t want to pursue any formal education or training, perhaps makeup should remain a hobby rather than a profession for you. Have an honest conversation with yourself before moving on to Step 2.
Step 2: Practice, Practice, Practice
To become an expert, you have to practice and then practice some more! Make sure your friends and family are ready, Kutie! They’re about to become your most valuable asset.
Makeup experts recommend that you make practice a part of your everyday routine. You can practice on yourself by trying new techniques each day, such as a winged eye, or a contoured face. Make sure that you practice on others as well to make sure you get experience with different skin tones, skin types, and more.
Another great way to practice is to start working at a makeup counter or retail store. This work experience will allow you to interact with makeup products each day, so you will become even more knowledgeable about trends.
You will also get a chance to practice makeup techniques on new people and perfect your customer service skills. All of these skills are so important to becoming a makeup artist!
Step 3: Determine Your Path
Now that you’ve had a chance to practice, you’ve increased your exposure to the makeup profession and can start to think about which path is right for you. There are a few different kinds of professional makeup artists:
- Fashion Makeup Artist: This makeup artist will work on photoshoots and fashion shows, helping to design makeup looks that coordinate with fashion.
- Special Event Makeup Artist: This person will provide makeup services for special events in a person’s life, such as weddings, galas, etc. You could also work with celebrities to design red carpet makeup looks!
- Television/Film Makeup Artist: There is a lot of range for creativity for this type of makeup artist! Sometimes you will have regular makeup looks, but you could also become a makeup artist that specializes in horror makeup or zombie movies.
- Face/Body Painting Makeup Artist: Face and body painting are very trendy right now and it requires a specific set of skills to work in this field as a makeup artist.
Before you move to the next step, you should research each type of makeup artist and determine which path is a good fit for you. Make sure you consider what is interesting to you, as well as what will fit your skills.
For example, if your best and favorite makeup look is a natural look, fashion makeup might require you to step outside your comfort zone and might not be a good fit. Decide what’s best for you and keep it in mind when we move on to Step 4!
Step 4: Get an Education
It’s time for school, Kutie! Before you can become a professional makeup artist, you will need some type of formal education or training. You need to do research on what is the best fit for you.
American Cosmetology License
If you plan to work in the United States, look up the requirements for the state you will live and work in. Each state has different rules, which can make it tricky so make sure to follow the rules exactly.
Some states require makeup artists to have a cosmetology license, which often requires a lengthy training course and a minimum number of practice hours. This can take a few years to complete so make sure you give yourself plenty of time.
Professional Training Course
For states or countries that do not require a cosmetology license, you have a bit more freedom in the courses you take. The type of makeup artist you want to be should be factored heavily into the professional courses you take.
If you want to be a fashion makeup artist, look for courses that are relevant to that. You probably don’t need any horror makeup classes, but those classes will be important to someone working in television or film. Pick classes relevant to you to save both time and money and to ensure you have all the skills necessary to succeed.
Step 5: Networking Is So Important
Step 5 can occur at any time, such as when you are in school, or immediately when you finish your training course. In addition to learning valuable skills, school can also be a time when you meet other makeup artists, photographers, stylists, and artists.
These contacts are important to have as they might alert you to a job, put you in touch with someone that needs work, or can share valuable skills with you. If your school or workplace sponsors events for makeup artists, attend those events and network with everyone you meet. You never know when that contact will help you in the future, or when you’ll be able to assist them.
Step 6: Become an Assistant
If you’ve met an established makeup artist during your courses or work, consider asking them if you can work for them as an assistant. Chances are they need the help and observing a professional makeup artist’s environment will be extremely helpful for you. If you need working hours for your training or degree, this is a great way to fulfill those requirements!
There are a few other valuable ways this can help your career:
- Help build your network. We already talked about networking, but this is another way to make contacts with other artists and clients that can benefit you.
- Learn new techniques. No matter how much schooling or experience you have, makeup is always evolving and there are always new techniques to try. Working with a professional will give you a firsthand look at how to master those new techniques.
- Stay on-trend. If you don’t pay attention to what’s fashionable and trendy right now, you won’t succeed as a makeup artist. Make note of the looks clients are asking for and the products they love so you know what’s popular.
- Practice customer service skills. Clients can be tricky sometimes and it requires specific skills to satisfy them. Watching how a professional interacts with demanding clients is a great learning experience.
Step 7: Time To Work, Kutie!
It’s go-time! You’ve completed your coursework, worked as an assistant, and are ready to set out on your own.
To begin with, never say no to a job. Even if the makeup job seems small or something that doesn’t interest you, when you’re first starting out you shouldn’t be too picky about the jobs that come your way. View each job as a learning experience and practice your techniques, customer skills, and focus on getting your name out there.
As you complete different jobs, make sure you create a portfolio of your works. People hire makeup artists based on their pictures of clients, so never skip a chance to take a picture and show off your work. Show these pictures off on social media and any other forums you use to get clients.
As time goes on, you’ll collect a larger portfolio and client base. Your clients will share your name with friends and colleagues and you’ll have repeat clients that come back to you again and again. As your schedule fills, you can be more selective about the jobs you take and can focus on jobs that fit your interest best.
You’re a Pro
We’re so proud of you, Kutie! You’ve put in the work and are now a professional makeup artist! Hopefully, this step-by-step guide helped you through the various steps on your way to becoming a pro. We can’t wait to see your success!