Makeup artists may don many hats in the beauty business, behind the scenes and in front of the camera, as spokespeople, artists, teachers, and image transformers of both people and products. Earnings will be influenced by your clout and experience, and will vary depending on the field you choose to work in. Capitalize on your natural abilities and fine-tune your craft with continuing education.
Esthetic Makeup Artist
In addition to teaching grooming tasks such as shampooing, cutting and styling hair, a cosmetology program curriculum often includes training for esthetic treatments, such as applying makeup and providing skin care. Although makeup artists often work in a salon or spa performing personal care services, there are many places beyond the beauty shop where they are needed. At a department store, health products store, or personal care retailer, makeup artists can help educate clients on ingredients, and give tips and techniques for application. You’ll even find makeup artists in the medical field, from providing post-birthing cosmetics for new moms before photographs to operating salon sessions in nursing home facilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists, as of May 2011, was $26,460, but the top-paid 10 percent earned $41,490 or more per year.
Theatrical and Performance Makeup Artist
Everyone from our nation’s president to the meteorologist on your local nighttime news station utilize the services of a makeup artist to look their best when appearing on a TV broadcast. In film, television and the theatre, cosmetics are as integral to developing a character as the script and costumes. You can find makeup artists working in motion picture productions, performing arts companies, and even amusement parks, applying products to performers to create a certain period, setting or situation to suit their role. When working in entertainment, the most successful makeup artists have honed their skills even further to include the use of prosthetics and special-effect techniques that allow them to modify age and facial features. As of May 2011, the median wage was $53,090 for theatrical makeup artists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the top 10 percent of earners in the field reported making $120,050 per year or more.
Cosmetic Promotional Coordinator
Besides working hands-on in the field, a makeup artist can have a career in retail cosmetic sales as a promotional coordinator, explains five-time nominee and two-time Emmy award winner for outstanding achievement in makeup, Kevin James Bennett. As a liaison between the retailer and account executive, cosmetic promotional coordinators help monitor and reach sales goals by implementing major promotional events in a given geographical territory. The role of a promotional coordinator is to build buzz through product launches and seasonal promotions, with exciting visual merchandising and public relations outreach. In this role, a makeup artist is responsible for hiring, educating, scheduling and managing a team that includes salespeople and freelance makeup artists. In addition to technical abilities as a makeup artist, they must be organized with strong interpersonal and business skills.
Cosmetics Marketing and Development Manager
To constantly churn out the lines of products that keeps customers coming back for more, most beauty brands enlist a team of experts to stay on the pulse of pop culture and the public. As a cosmetics marketing and development manager at the corporate level, a makeup artist is responsible for “branding through development of a company’s DNA, background story and mission statement,” Bennett says. By forecasting the market through analysis of cosmetic trends and competitive product comparisons, they can develop innovative cosmetics by brand, season or product concept. They bring the concept to completion by implementing targeted marketing campaigns using advertising strategies such as inventive promotional programs and social media integration.