If you have a passion for applying makeup to your own face, you might find a career as a makeup artist fulfilling. Some makeup artists choose to work as employees in local salons and spas. Others choose to have more freedom and flexibility working as freelance artists. To work as a freelance makeup artist, you have to develop a clientele — people who need your services and hopefully, will recommend you to others. State have varying rules and regulations in place that makeup artists must follow. Failure to abide by those regulations can result in fines and penalties.
1. Contact your state board of cosmetology to determine whether or not you need a cosmetology license to work as a professional makeup artist. A freelance makeup artist is considered a professional position, as long as you are getting paid for your work. Most states require makeup artists to have a cosmetology license.
2. Attend an accredited cosmetology school to learn professional makeup application — and earn your license (if applicable). Consult with your state board of cosmetology to get a list of accredited schools in your area. For example, in New York State, you must complete a 1,000-hour, New York State-approved course of study and pass both the New York State written and practical examinations to get a license to operate in the state. Some states have reciprocity arrangements, which means if you are licensed in a particular state, you can waive the schooling requirements of another state as long as you pass the licensing exams in that state if you want to work there as a makeup artist.
3. Gain experience working as a makeup artist. Apply for makeup jobs at local salons or retail makeup counters.
4. Start building your own clientele. When you’re first starting out, you might have to do pro-bono work to showcase your skills. Take before and after pictures of your clients’ faces. For the best quality, hire a professional photographer to take the pictures. If you can’t afford a professional photographer, take the pictures yourself using a high-resolution camera.
5. Create a professional portfolio that showcases your skills. Insert your before and after makeup photos into a binder. Separate the binder into sections based on different types of makeup application. For instance, you can have one section for film/television makeup examples, another for beauty and fashion — and then sections for corrective makeup, airbrushing and bridal.
6. Market your makeup artistry services to attract more clientele. Post fliers in local bridal shops. Pass out business cards and fliers on the street. Create an online website to include an electronic version of your portfolio.