How to Become a Professional Makeup Artist
In makeup artistry, evolving with the times is what will keep you employed longer. You might even invent the next trend yourself!
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2 Years

The Definitive Guide to Becoming a Professional Makeup Artist

Makeup artistry as an industry has many facets. Broadway productions need artists. Advertisements need artists. Celebrities and other public figures need a makeup artist on their permanent staff. Other times, you may be a freelance makeup artist going from gig to gig building clientele.

No matter the avenue, makeup artistry is a necessary business to our modern world. However, making it in the industry can be extremely competitive and difficult. We have narrowed down a few steps you should follow that can help you find the success you deserve as a professional makeup artist.

Build a Portfolio of Your Work

One of the most crucial steps in becoming a makeup artist is building a portfolio. To start your education in a school, you might not need an extensive portfolio. However, sometimes a school would like to have a portfolio of your previous work as part of your admissions package.

Portfolios can include photos, videos, or a combination of the two. You can showcase specialties like

  • Glam makeup
  • Special effects makeup
  • Time-period makeup
  • Natural looks

It may also be helpful to have people with different skin tones featured in your work. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things when building your portfolio!

Attend and Graduate from a Makeup Artistry School

This is an important step and a lot of times it is a necessary one to “make it” in the industry. After graduating from a makeup artistry college, you can move on to get a job or an apprenticeship to continue your learning. Without the degree, that may be difficult.

There are so many makeup schools in the world. Depending on where you live or want to live, there might be a lot of options to choose from, or maybe just one or two. No matter what school you choose, be sure to pick a place that is not too rigorous for you in the curriculum, but will still challenge you to improve your skills and techniques as an artist.

Be Social with Clients and Other Beauty Industry Professionals to Build Your Clientele

Building clientele once you have completed your education is the second most crucial part of becoming a professional makeup artist. Without a wide client base, it will be hard to make a living.

Perhaps you can pair up with a hairstylist at their salon and offer beauty services for clients. Maybe you’ll become part of a large beauty storefront business and offer your services there. Both of these ideas are great options to expand your clientele, keep contacts in the beauty business, and hone your skills on many types of people.

Learn New Makeup Styles and Trends

In makeup artistry, evolving with the times is what will keep you employed longer. You might even invent the next trend yourself! Changing your makeup techniques to fit the latest trends is always good practice. It may not feel like a good choice at the time, but being versatile enough to work with anyone will help you in the long term.

Keeping up with the trends on the internet, in magazines, or even in advertisements, is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. This is a necessary tool to keep your skills sharp, learn new ones, and be ready for anything in the fast-paced world of fashion and beauty.

Put Your Work on an Internet Platform or Apply for an Apprenticeship

Similar to a portfolio, keeping a presence online – especially through social media – is a great way to consistently showcase your work. You never know who could be watching! If you do have a successful social media page, always put your contact and certifications in the biography portion of your profile. Be sure they know where to reach you if they have an opportunity for you!

Apprenticeships are common in the makeup artistry space. They don’t pay much – sometimes nothing at all – but they offer invaluable experience and an inside look to how the best of the best do it. Take advantage of these opportunities as they come!

Final Thoughts

Breaking into the makeup artist industry can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Follow these tips to help you get your foot in the door. Don’t be afraid to branch out and make more contacts in the professional field. It might seem daunting at first to hang with the people making the biggest impact on the industry, but if you get the opportunity to do it, go for it! It won’t be long before your sense of style and artistry stands out.