How to Become a Makeup Artist

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Every artist needs a canvas. For the makeup artist, their canvas is the face or even body of their model. When exploring how to become a makeup artist, it is essential to understand this goes well beyond someone who likes makeup. Professional makeup artists may work at a day spa, behind the scenes of a movie or at a wedding getting the bride ready.

Just as there are many techniques for doing makeup, there are many platforms available for the working makeup artists. Some makeup artists do special effects, and others focus on selling beauty products. While their outcomes may be different, there are similarities about how many got started in the business. Explore the following article about the basics of how to become a makeup artist.

What is a Makeup Artist

When figuring out how to become a makeup artist, you have to understand what is the most basic task a makeup artist does. A makeup artist is a professional who is trained to apply makeup. They can work to improve the natural beauty of a customer by applying makeup. They may also teach a makeup artist to use prosthetics to create special effects for plays, television or films. There are also makeup artists who train to create over the top looks for celebrities and runway models.

These examples are all makeup artists although they have very different end goals. Defining what it means to be a makeup artist depends on the work of each artist. Mostly, a makeup artist will find an area to specialize in that showcases their talents. Someone who does movie special effects is probably not going to look for work doing makeup for bridal parties.

Jobs & Duties

Because a makeup artist can work in a variety of settings, their job duties may vary. A few of these settings could include doing makeup for special events like weddings, working on a movie set and showcasing makeup via a specific brand of makeup to sell products. Even within work with a particular makeup brand, there can be a variety if the artist is selling their line of products, working for others or doing video demonstrations. Below you will find three different jobs that fall into the category of a working makeup artist with very different job duties.

Special Events Makeup Artist

Event sponsors would hire this makeup artist to do makeup for an event like a wedding or fashion show. Their duties could include meeting with the customers ahead of time to discuss their needs for the day of the event. Often this consultation would also be a time for the artist to do a sample of their work.

For brides, a week or two before the wedding their makeup artist will do a complete dry run of the wedding day makeup to make sure the bride gets exactly what they want for the day. On the day of the wedding, a single artist may do makeup for just the bride or the whole bridal party. Depending on the state and local license requirements, this artist may be a licensed cosmetologist.

Movie Special Effects Makeup Artist

Instead of using makeup to give a bride a glamorous look for their special day, this artist may create anything but a high fashion look. They can call professionals working on a set of a movie to both create and apply special effect makeups to create lifelike wounds, supernatural creatures or just about anything a moviemaker envisions.

Duties for this artist include making latex pieces to apply to the face and body of the actor. They then use these pieces and cover with makeup for a seamless look. Examples of this application could include creating a realistic looking burn on a victim or adding horns to a monster.

Brand Specific Makeup Artists

A makeup artist who works with one brand of products can work for the company at a retail store at a makeup counter. This makeup artist offers a short version of a makeover to sell the products they showcase. They can find an example of this at most department store makeup departments or in a standalone makeup store. Their duties include not only applying makeup but also selling products.

Another example of someone who works with a brand of makeup could be an established makeup artist selling their line of products. Here their duties can include doing promotional work to showcase their brand, marketing, and public appearances.

A final example of an artist that works brand specific would include those who create a whole business from a YouTube channel or other social media accounts. These makeup artists often showcase one brand as a paid spokesperson. Their duties would include creating a large influencer following, making video tutorials and staying up to date on emerging trends.

Tips on How to Become a Makeup Artist

While many people dream of becoming a makeup artist for celebrity clients or even the next YouTube star, the reality is that this does not happen overnight. Mostly, establishing yourself as a makeup artist takes time and commitment. There are also some other things you can do as you look at how to become a makeup artist.

Practice Every Chance You Get

No job is too small for an artist starting out. This might mean taking non-paying jobs to get the chance to establish yourself as a working makeup artist. Word of mouth is huge in this business.

For those wanting to one day become their boss, taking an entry-level position at a makeup counter is a great way to have time to work with a variety of customers. Many times the local makeup counter or store will hire new associates to train on their products.

Get An Education

Enrolling in a cosmetology program is a not only a solid foundation for a budding makeup artist, but they also require it in many states to work as a licensed makeup artist. This is where natural talent and interest can be fine-tuned into a real career.

Beyond the benefit of the classroom work and lots of opportunities to practice, this is also a great way to meet others in the field. Network every chance you get whether it is with other students, mentors or via an internship. Many classes not only give students the hours they need to get their license but also a kit that gives them the tools of the trade.

Choose Your Industry

Deciding if you want to do movie makeup, work special events or sell products is one significant way to shape your future educational path. In some industries including film work, the focus is on working under a well-established master artist. An artist looking to break into the highly competitive special effects field may not need to become a cosmetologist, but instead, find a mentor to learn alongside.

Create Your Niche

You may stumble into your unique signature look or technique. This can be anything from creating a social media brand centered on fantastic eye makeup to a new way to make special effects makeup even more realistic. When you find something you are good at and enjoy doing, turn it into a niche for business.

A unique niche can go along way in setting you apart from the rest of the industry. Many YouTubers get their start as influencers, and makeup artists to the stars take their place in the market because of a unique offering. Being a unique and different makeup artist is a way to create a demand for your skill set.

How to Become a Makeup Artist – The Conclusion

When we explore how to become a makeup artist, there are several things to consider. The first thing to consider is what industry within the makeup field interests you. For example, someone interested in special effects work will usually follow a very different career path than someone who wants to create runway looks for a Paris fashion show.

Second, consider the training needed to do the job you are hoping to do. This many times can mean enrolling is a program to become licensed or finding an internship. This is also the time to explore working in an entry-level position selling makeup to gain experience.

A third thing to consider within the makeup industry is exploring opportunities to not only practice but also network with others who share your passion for makeup. This can lead to those first few volunteer jobs to gain not only experience but also find new skills. Practice is vital for a new makeup artist, and there is a lot to learn from others in the field. This can also include watching YouTube videos about various makeup techniques and trying to replicate them at home. By all means, do try this at home.

Finally, stay humble within the industry. While many may dream about being the go-to artist for the stars, the reality is this isn’t something that happens often or overnight. Be prepared to practice on anyone and everyone that will allow you to do their makeup. Share your passion and talent because those test cases can become the client of the future. Everyone starts somewhere and gets better with each new project.

Featured image: CC0 by kaboompics via Pixabay

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