How Do I Become a Makeup Artist?

If you are naturally creative and have a knack for applying makeup beautifully, you might be wondering how to become a make-up artist. Make-up artists are professionals who expertly apply makeup for a living. They create fashionable looks for special occasions and produce special effects looks for movies, television shows and theater performances.

Unlike other types of artists, make-up artists create art with the human body rather than a canvas or clay. Make-up artists must be creative to develop new looks and disciplined to learn how to perform the many different techniques that are used in the beauty and style industry. They often specialize in fields of makeup application such as fashion and bridal makeup or theater and special effects makeup. In fashion makeup, make-up artists determine how to apply makeup in ways that flatter their clients’ face shapes and skin tones. Theater make-up artists match actors’ looks to their roles. Special effects make-up artists use prosthetics and special tools and techniques to make actors look older, deformed or otherwise different from their usual selves.

Aspiring make-up artists practice their art as much as possible. They may experiment with different types of makeup, various application techniques and assorted styles. Often, aspiring make-up artists develop their skills by applying makeup on friends and family members. To begin gaining experience, they may take jobs as beauty advisors or cosmetic sales associates at the make-up counters of department stores. Make-up artists typically build their portfolios by working with local theater groups and small film and television companies. Though they often work for little or no pay, the experience is valuable for securing future jobs.

Make up artistry is a competitive field, especially for those interested in working in the motion picture industry. To prepare for the career and improve their chances of securing the job they want, candidates can pursue formal education in makeup and beauty from a professional makeup school or a licensed cosmetology school, where they will study various make up products and application techniques and earn a certificate. Upon graduation, aspiring make-up artists can further improve their job prospects by pursuing a license to work as a cosmetologist.

Make-up artists earn an average salary of $67,580 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Actual wages differ sharply by industry. For example, make-up artists in the personal care services industry earned a mean annual salary of $29,850, while make-up artists employed by performing arts companies made $65,120 per year. In the movie industry, the mean annual salary rises to $83,290. Make-up artists in the theater and movie industries need to possess a wider range of expertise than those who work in personal care services in order to apply special effects makeup and prosthetics. If you are creative, have a good eye for beauty and feel confident that you can master makeup application techniques, knowing how to become a make-up artist could be your entrance into a glamorous new career.

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