Do you want to become a makeup artist?
Or do you simply want your own make-up studio or makeup line?
Well, you're not alone.
Every big-shot makeup artist or brand that you know and admire today started as a newbie or amateur in the game, just like you.
And what set them aside was not just the passion to do makeup but the willingness to hone their craft and put in the necessary work to grow their makeup career.
Now, I know the beauty industry is a huge one, and starting can be quite scary, but the good part is, there will always be demand for good makeup artists and I'm here to walk you through the process of how you can become not just a good makeup artist but a professional one ready to work with clients and monetize your services.
Ready, follow these simple steps to get started!
Loving makeup or having a passion for the beauty industry is not just enough to jump in blind.
What most people don't know is that becoming a makeup artist is much like every other profession, and if you truly want to make a living out of it, you need to do proper research.
Research which part of the industry you'd want to work in, the certifications, skills, and experience needed, the average makeup artist salary in different locations, the duties, work hours, and every other little thing that will be required from you to become a successful makeup artist.
When you've carried out proper research, you can now decide whether you have what it takes to make a career out of it or to just leave it as a hobby.
Here are some things you'll discover during your research:
Once you've done your research, and have devised to carry on in this line of work, the next step you should take is to niche down.
There are different kinds of makeup and it is only wise that you pick a niche while you're starting.
This will help you stay focused, so you're channeling all of your efforts into becoming a master in that particular field which will in turn increase your pay range.
Here are some of the makeup niches you should consider:
Before we move on to the next step, you have to decide which of these niches you feel more comfortable working with. If natural makeup is your thing, then you'll love doing bridal makeup or special events makeup but if you're more on the artistic side, the. You could consider pursuing a career in special effects or body painting.
Now that you have done your research and decided on which field of makeup you want to specialize in, you need to get a formal education by taking some makeup artist courses.
Now, this is not compulsory. Of course, there are many self-taught makeup artists out there who have created a career as make-up artists, for example, Jeffrey Star, Nikkietutorials, Mikayla, and a host of others.
But that depends on the kind of makeup you want to do. For special effects, attending a makeup school and getting certified is a must.
But generally, you should get a formal education. It gives you an edge over other makeup artists in your field.
For example, it could take a self-taught makeup artist 2 years to learn all the necessary skills while you could learn all that and more plus the business aspect of it in 6 months or less when you enroll in a makeup school where you're taught by seasoned professionals.
And when it comes down to actually securing big contracts, especially in the film industry, your certifications will come in handy.
But before you enroll in a school, do your research on which school or the type of license you'll need.
There are two options, let's look at them:
American Cosmetology License: If you live in the United States and plan to work here, then you have to look at the laws and requirements of the various states concerning makeup artists. Each state has its own rules and some may require you to have a cosmetology license to operate your makeup business in the state. Others may require a lengthy training course and a minimum number of training hours which can take a few years to complete.
Professional Training Course: For some countries or states you don't need a cosmetology license to operate as a makeup artist. So you have a bit more freedom on the type of course you take. But while you do that, remember to put into consideration, the type of make you want to do. If you're interested in fashion makeup, look for courses specifically for that, you don't need to be taking horror classes unless you're going into film and television. Just make sure you pick only those relevant classes to save time and money and ensure that you have all the necessary skills you need to succeed in that field.
Becoming an expert makeup artist takes time and continuous practice. You need to keep practicing.
Especially now that you're new, aside from your professional class practicals, make sure you're always practicing at home.
It could be on yourself or you can practice on your close friends and family members.
Practicing on others is very important because you'll get to work with different skin types and skin tones.
You could also take up a job in a local retail store selling makeup products, there you'll get to familiarise yourself with makeup products and work on your customer service skills, plus some customers would be willing to let you try out your makeup skills on them.
Either way, you're gaining experience and honing your skills.
Networking with the right people in your industry is so important to growing your business as a makeup artist.
You want to network with people you can learn from, and collaborate with and people who will refer you for jobs when the opportunity arises.
I'm talking about fellow makeup artists, hair stylists, fashion designers, photographers, and filmmakers.
The good part is, you don't have to wait till when you're fine with makeup school.
You can start networking while taking your professional courses. Go to makeup fairs, fashion shows, and other events where you can meet these types of people, and remember to always put on makeup, and be ready to sell yourself with your looks and with meaningful conversations.
Trust me, you'll one or two of your contacts may be of help to you in the future and you may end up working the biggest job of your life just from referrals from the contacts you made.
As a professional makeup artist, you'll be needing a professional makeup kit. Now, I understand that makeup products can be expensive but you can still buy quality products for lesser prices.
First, make a list of the basic or essential makeup products and tools you'll need, then secondly, do your research on affordable products with high quality.
Instead of going for a $100 foundation, why not get a more affordable option of £10 - £15 that'll serve the same purpose?
Keep in mind that the makeup kit you start with will evolve, because you'll need to keep buying new products as your earnings progress, so for now, start small.
Here's a list of the basic things you'll need in your professional makeup kit as a beginner:
Also invest in a makeup box to neatly store your products, that way you look organized when you go for jobs. And remember, you can always expand your kit as you go, but you can use this list as a guideline to get started.
Another way to gain field experience and put your skills to work is to get a job as a studio assistant or you could ask to intern at your makeup school.
Chances are they'll need your help and observing or working in a professional makeup environment is also a great way to get your complete training hours, that is if your degree or school requires it.
Some other benefits of working as a makeup studio intern/assistant include:
Now that you're done with makeup school, you have your fully equipped makeup kit and you've gathered experience from practicing with other people or working as a studio assistant. It is time to start your own freelance business.
Freelancing as a makeup artist means you're the boss of yourself. While this may sound like a dream to some, not everyone can excel as a freelance makeup artist.
You'll have to source clients yourself, get your makeup studio, and other expensive gear such as lights. But the good part is, once you've established your brand, there's no limit to how much you can earn.
If you feel freelancing is a little bit risky, then you could apply for jobs as a makeup artist in a beauty parlor or other beauty-related companies that need one. There you'll have a steady paycheck.
Your network should not be your only source of getting clients, you can attract people from far and near through your online presence.
Building an online portfolio containing your best makeup looks is one way you can do this.
If you have the money, you could get a website designed for you.
It will have your brand name, brand story, pictures, and videos of your work, testimonials from previous clients, and even a beauty blog. This method has a more professional look to it.
Another cheaper option is to leverage social media. You can create an Instagram, tik tok or Pinterest account where you get to showcase your work to millions of people around the world.
What's more, if you're good at creating viral makeup content and have loyal followers, you may start attracting big brands who will pay you huge amounts of money just to work with you.
Lastly, if you decide to start up your make-up studio, you should consider listing your business on "Google My Business". This will attract more local clients and make it easier for people to locate your business.
If you want to remain relevant in the makeup industry, you need to stay up to date with makeup trends.
Know what looks and makeup products are in hot demand and adjust your services to suit them.
For example, in 2016, the makeup trend was all about full-face makeup, with well-defined eyebrows, lots of highlights, and contour and bold lips.
But now in 2023, people are leaning towards the "natural skin-like" makeup look where u have fluffy brows, more blush in place of contour, and nude glossy lips. Check out the full history of makeup here
Also, full coverage foundations trended a while back but now more people are opting for BB creams as they offer a more natural finish.
Becoming a professional makeup artist is simple but not easy. It requires passion, skill, and effort.
First, you have to decide what kind of makeup artist you want to be, are you solely going to focus on bridals or special effects?
Next is getting the necessary training and certifications required and the willingness to keep learning and put yourself out there.
Remember, that many makeup artists including celebrity makeup artists you see today started as newbies and amateurs, so focus on perfecting your skills and take it one step at a time.
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