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How to Become a Make-up Artist

By The Arty Teacher - November 6, 1989

What is a Make-up Artist?

A make-up artist is a professional who applies cosmetics and uses various techniques to enhance or transform an individual’s appearance for different purposes such as fashion, entertainment, or events.

FYI: In the UK the spelling ‘make-up’ is used, and in the USA ‘makeup’.

What Skills does a Make-up Artist need?

To become a make-up artist, you should have a good sense of colour and style, be skilled with brushes and makeup products, and love making people look and feel their best for special occasions or in the world of fashion and entertainment.

What Qualification Does a Make-up Artist Need?

Becoming a make-up artist involves a combination of formal education, training, and artistic skill development. While a formal degree is not always required, many aspiring makeup artists pursue specialized courses or certifications from reputable beauty schools or academies. These programs cover fundamental makeup techniques, skincare, color theory, hygiene practices, and the use of makeup tools and products. Hands-on experience through internships, apprenticeships, or assisting established makeup artists is invaluable for practical skill development. Building a diverse portfolio showcasing various makeup styles, from natural looks to more dramatic or specialised effects, demonstrates creativity and proficiency. Strong communication skills, adaptability, and staying updated on industry trends are also crucial for success in the field of makeup artistry.

How to Build a CV whilst at School to Become a Make-up Artist

If you want to become a make-up artist, you can start building a CV for your career whilst still at school:

  1. Opt for Art Course: This will develop your manual dexterity and as courses become more independent you can steer what you do towards makeup related things such as faces, eyes, changing appearances and more. Ask your art teacher to help you.
  2. Practice Make-up Techniques: Experiment with makeup application techniques on friends, family, or yourself, exploring different styles, looks, and effects.
  3. Enroll in Cosmetology or Beauty Courses: Look for cosmetology or beauty courses offered at school or in the community to learn basic makeup skills, skincare, and hygiene practices.
  4. Attend Makeup Workshops or Seminars: Participate in makeup workshops or seminars offered locally to gain insights into different makeup techniques and industry tips.
  5. Build a Portfolio: Document and photograph your makeup creations, whether it’s everyday looks, special effects, or themed makeup, to create a portfolio showcasing your skills and creativity.
  6. Volunteer for Events or Theater Productions: Offer makeup services for school events, theater productions, or local performances to gain practical experience and expand your portfolio.
  7. Assist Make-up Professionals: Reach out to local makeup artists or beauty salons to inquire about shadowing opportunities or internships to observe professionals at work and learn from their experience.
  8. Explore Make-up Tutorials and Resources: Watch online tutorials, read makeup blogs, or follow makeup artists on social media to learn new techniques, trends, and product knowledge.
  9. Networking: Connect with others interested in makeup artistry, attend beauty events, and engage with makeup communities online to expand your knowledge and network with industry enthusiasts.

Different Types of Make-up Artist

Make-up artistry encompasses various specialisations, each focusing on different aspects of the field:

  1. Fashion Make-up Artist: Specialises in creating makeup looks for fashion shows, photoshoots, runway events, or editorial spreads, emphasising creativity and artistic expression.
  2. Bridal Make-up Artist: Focuses on creating timeless and elegant makeup looks for brides and wedding parties, considering longevity, photography, and enhancing natural beauty.
  3. Special Effects Make-up Artist: Creates makeup effects for film, television, or theatre, involving prosthetics, creature designs, injuries, or fantasy makeup for storytelling purposes.
  4. Theatrical/Stage Make-up Artist: Designs makeup for theatrical performances involving character transformation, exaggeration, and visibility from a distance.
  5. Beauty Make-up Artist: Works in beauty salons, spas, or as a freelance artist, providing everyday makeup services like natural, glam, or corrective makeup for clients.
  6. Editorial Make-up Artist: Focuses on makeup for editorial shoots, magazines, or publications, experimenting with avant-garde looks and styles to convey artistic concepts.
  7. Cosmetic Retail Make-up Artist: Works for cosmetic brands or retailers, providing makeup demonstrations, consultations, and product recommendations to customers.
  8. Body Painting Artist: Specialises in painting on the body, creating designs, patterns, or artworks using makeup or body paint.

These different specialisations within makeup artistry cater to various industries, settings, and client needs, requiring distinct skill sets, creativity, and expertise.

Useful Links:

Follow some of these famous Instagram Make-up artists to discover what you do and don’t like: Pat McGrath, Hugo Vanngo, Mario Dedivanovic, Lisa Eldridge, and Joy Adenuga.

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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