According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, makeup artists earned a median annual wage of $63,710, and top earners made more than $120,000 per year, as of May 2011. Celebrity makeup artist Leora Edut of New York City says that training is part of a trifecta to ensure success as a pro in her business. You also need hard work and a connection with your inner artist. “Beyond colors and textures, makeup has so much to do with pushing yourself out of your comfort zone,” she says.
1. Attend a formal makeup school to learn basic techniques. According to two-time Emmy-winning makeup artist Kevin J. Bennett: “There are amazing makeup schools in the U.S. such as Make-Up Designory — better known as ‘MUD,’ EI School, Cinema Makeup School and Joe Blasco.”
2. Supplement formal training with private lessons, workshops and seminars taught by industry heavyweights. Courses in art, editorial makeup and special effects techniques can help fine tune your craft and save you from making novice mistakes on the job. For example, transparent high-definition finishing powder becomes fully visible on film when flash photography is used instead of an HD camera — a rather basic detail taught in an HD beauty course, yet quite an unfortunate lesson to learn with your first bridal client.
3. Seek mentorships with the best makeup artists with whom you can connect in the industries where you wish to work. Consider whether you want to be a retail, wedding, salon, print, theatrical and performance or celebrity artist. Reach out to makeup artists in these areas, introduce yourself and inquire about training opportunities.
4. Volunteer to lend a hand with another professional artist and learn on the job. Of her former students, Edut says, “Many began as my assistants and then spread their wings and went off to begin their own businesses!”
5. Read books and check out YouTube tutorial videos to brush up on makeup styles, tools and techniques. Learning the particular products and tricks recommended for use on magazine, TV and video shoots will help you understand how the makeup will translate and perform after a client leaves your chair.