How to Become a Makeup Artist

Three Methods:Develop Skills as a Makeup ArtistGet Education and ExperienceCraft Your Career

Have you perfected the ever-coveted smokey eye? Can you tell what color lipstick would look great on someone based on a quick assessment of her complexion? If you have an eye for aesthetics and a desire to use your talents and creativity to make other people look beautiful, becoming a makeup artist might be the right career path for you. Learn how to what it takes to build a career in makeup artistry.

Method 1
Develop Skills as a Makeup Artist

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    Develop your skills. Practice applying makeup on both yourself and your friends so that you can develop your technique and perfect your craft. Remember that even though you may be a superstar at doing your own makeup, applying makeup on others takes a different set of motor skills and coordination.
    • Practice applying makeup on people with different colored skin, different face shapes, different eye colors, and different ages. Find people with fair, medium, olive, and dark skin. This will help you develop a breadth of skill so that you can work with a wide range of clients.
    • Experiment with different brands of makeup. Many makeup artists prefer certain brands of makeup over others, because the quality of the finished product varies between brands. You should also experiment using different textures like liquid and powdered foundation, and learn which ones work best on different skin types (i.e. dry versus oily skin).
    • Try using different kinds of brushes, makeup wands, and other tools. Makeup brushes come in different shapes, sizes, and textures.
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    Familiarize yourself with different "looks." Read magazines, scour fashion blogs, watch films, go to plays, and pay attention to the different trends and styles of face makeup. It is important to be able to deliver a look that your client describes to you, and be up-to-date with the current beauty trends so that you can advise him or her on what looks best.
    • Learn to determine between day and night looks. Keep the following pointers in mind:
      • In general, daytime makeup should be minimalist; stick with pink tones when it comes to lips, and keep the color within two shades of the persons' natural lips. Eye makeup should be subtle, with nothing more than some mascara and a neutral shadow.
      • Nighttime makeup can pop more, with either a dramatic eye or lip (but not both), and defined cheekbones.
    • Another timeless look is having a stand-out red lip with little to no other makeup. Learn to identify which shades of red look best on which skin tones. For example, people with very dark skin look good with wine-colored lips while people with very fair skin look good with orange tones.
    • Clients will oftentimes request that you recreate a certain look that a celebrity had at an awards show or in a magazine. You will need to learn the terminology involved in makeup artistry so that you can effectively bring your clients' descriptions to life.

Method 2
Get Education and Experience

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    Enroll in beauty school. Many makeup counters will hire people who haven't gone to beauty school, but if you have the time and money, it's worth learning techniques from people who have been in the business for years.
    • The curriculum will vary between schools, but usually covers both basic skills like wedding makeup and more advanced skills like special-effects makeup. Remember that while these courses help, they cannot replace the benefits of practice, experimentation, and natural talent.
    • Consider becoming a licensed cosmetologist, as this will give you an advantage over your competitors.
    • Decide which field(s) of makeup artistry you would like to work in to determine which classes will be most beneficial for you.
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    Find a job at a cosmetics counter. Apply for positions at department stores and beauty stores. You'll have the opportunity to practice your skills on hundreds of people with different complexions, styles and expectations. Best of all, you'll get paid to practice your skills.
    • Retail experience is helpful for landing jobs in department and beauty stores, since your job will be selling cosmetics in addition to your makeup artistry services.
    • Positions in beauty salons and spas may require more experience, but don't hesitate to apply if you're interested.
    • If finding a job proves difficult, try landing an internship instead. Go to your favorite spa and salon to ask about internship or apprenticeship programs, making it clear that you're eager to get real-world experience in the makeup industry.

Method 3
Craft Your Career

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    Decide on an industry. Do you want to work with movie and TV stars, or perhaps models and musicians? Do you plan on starting your own business doing wedding and special events makeup in your city? When you decide on the path that's right for you, start building your "brand," letting the world know that you specialize in a certain type of makeup artistry.
    • Fashion, theater, special effects, bridal and airbrushing are a few of the fields you could enter.
    • Network with stylists and makeup artists in your chosen field. Look for entry-level jobs and internships to help you get your foot in the door.
    • Get creative with collaborations. Ask your friend who's making a music video if she could use your makeup artistry services, or offer to do your coworker's wedding makeup. You'll hone your skills and start making a name for yourself at the same time.
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    Build a portfolio. Your portfolio allows you to showcase your talents to prospective clients and employers. It should contain photographs of your best work and reflect your unique style and skill.
    • Invest in a high quality camera or hire a photographer to help you put your portfolio together. The quality of the photos can make or break a portfolio.
    • You will need to find models to showcase your talents on. While they by no means have to be professional models, find people whose makeup you enjoy doing and whose faces are compatible with your style. Consider including "Before and After" photos of your models.
    • Consider making an online portfolio (i.e. blog or website) in addition to a print portfolio. The benefit of an online portfolio is that it reaches a larger audience and can be promoted through various forms of social media.
    • Your portfolio, whether its print or online, should reflect the brand you are creating. Your best, most creative work should be showcased at the front so prospective clients get an immediate impression of your unique talent.
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    Market yourself. Whether you want to land a full-time job with a particular company or work as a freelancer on a project-by-project basis, start marketing yourself to get the word out that you're looking for makeup artistry work.
    • Conduct research in your area to find available positions, and bring your portfolio and résumé with you on interviews.
    • You may need to volunteer your services in the beginning stages of your career, if only to develop more content for your portfolio.
    • Consider doing trade-for-print work with models.
    • Use word-of-mouth to promote your talents. Ask friends and family to consider hiring you to do their makeup for weddings, parties, or other formal occasions.
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  • The most important factor to consider when pursuing makeup artistry is whether or not you are totally committed to the craft. Because it is a competitive field, you may spend your first few years working very hard for very little pay. Eventually, though, your hard work will pay off if you only stay committed and love what you do.

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Categories: Makeup