Category Archives: beauty

Stage Makeup Artist Tips

Stage Makeup Artist Tips

by Cheryl Hosmer

Makeup can transform a character's words into an entire package of emotion.

Stage makeup artists are crucial to the success of stage productions. Before applying that first layer of makeup, makeup artists must read through the script to understand what emotions are being conveyed. They need to take into account the setting and get to know how the actors speak and act. Successful makeup artists do historical research, sit through rehearsals, and observe stage movements and lighting to determine how to apply makeup. A lot of makeup tips culminate from trial and error.

See the Big Picture

Take in rehearsals from various seats and angles in the venue to see what the audience might see. Watch the actors under direct lighting close-up on stage. Your expertise in gauging the entire production, then applying what you see to stage makeup, will make all the difference to a successful production — and your future in the business. Keep experimenting with the basic eight color pigments: violet, blue, blue-green, green, red, orange, yellow and purple under the same color filters. If you’re shooting for a dark violet, you won’t get it by violet makeup tones under yellow lights; you’ll just get a ruddy dark brown. Also keep in mind that what works for a man’s face, a woman’s complexion and a child’s delicate skin will differ.

Blend It Well

Perfect your skills at blending makeup, because your reputation as a makeup artist will depend on how others view your work on the stage. Spread creme foundation, pancake makeup, or greasepaint, the waxy, durable pan-cake makeup still used by some makeup artists, in thin layers, blending well. Most makeup artists choose creme foundation for its ease of use. All types of makeup can melt under hot lights, so don’t forget to set with a neutral, dry powder after application. When adding foundational highlights, opt for adding a little at a time. It’s easier to add than to take away and risk having to redo the entire face.

Apply Color Lighting

Stage makeup will look fake unless it meshes with the color and intensity of the light filters of the stage venue. To circumvent the effect, apply makeup under dominant color filters that will be used in the play while in the makeup room using high intensity lamps. Popular blue filters don’t transmit red tones well, making pinks and reds look dull and dead under the lights. Scientifically, color is not seen until parts of the light spectrum is absorbed and/or reflected.

Fine Details

Pay attention to the fine details, because those who hire makeup artists will be doing the same. Apply mascara in layers to darken eyes instead of putting color on all at once for thickness. Use only black or brown mascara, eyeliner and eyebrow pencils. Powdering eyelashes or eyebrows lightly between coats aid in thickening color, setting stage makeup so that it doesn’t run under hot lights.You don’t want an actor looking washed out or ghoulish.

What Skills Knowledge & Experiences Are Needed to Become a Teacher?

What Skills Knowledge & Experiences Are Needed to Become a Teacher?

by Freddie Silver

Teachers' colleges provide some of the skills, knowledge and experiences needed for teaching.

Teaching young people can be a fulfilling, yet demanding job. A combination of specific skills, knowledge and experiences are required to excel in the profession. Before you decide to embark on this career path, it’s worthwhile to do a self assessment to determine whether teaching is a good choice for your future.


Teachers need a variety of skills to become proficient in their careers. They need excellent communication skills so they can explain the material in the curriculum in a variety of ways to students who have diverse learning styles. They also need superior interpersonal skills, such as patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations. Collaborative skills enable them to work productively with their colleagues. Creativity and presentation skills are important when planning lessons to motivate students and hold their interest. As schools become more technologically advanced, teachers also need basic technological skills for audio-visual presentations and for reporting and taking attendance electronically.


It is essential for teachers to have a strong grasp of the material they are teaching. Elementary school teachers must have very good content knowledge in basic numeracy, literacy, social studies and science. High school teachers, who usually specialize in only one or two subject areas, must have a thorough knowledge and understanding of their area of specialty. Teachers also need to know how children learn. They need to know the expectations in development for children of different ages. They also need to know a variety of teaching strategies and disciplinary techniques.

Personal Experiences

Most teachers are initially drawn to the profession due to positive learning experiences they have early in their lives. There might be a favorite teacher who was instrumental in helping them fulfill their full potential or any opportunity they had to teach something to someone, such as a younger sibling learning to ride a bicycle or a friend needing help with homework. These experiences help potential teachers understand the dynamic of transmitting information from teacher to learner. Other experiences, such as being a camp counselor, scout leader or sports coach also contribute to increased awareness of how to interact with youngsters and how to motivate and inspire them.

Professional Experiences

An essential component of teachers’ college programs is practice teaching. These practicum placements should occur early in the teachers’ program. It is only by preparing lessons and delivering them that teachers can determine which methods they are most comfortable with and which ones are more likely to ensure student success. Teachers need to be lifelong learners and take advantage of the many professional development opportunities that are available for them to expand their repertoire of teaching strategies. Throughout their careers, excellent teachers constantly adjust and adapt their approach as they reflect on their past experiences and improve upon them.

The Average Pay for a Mortuary Makeup Artist

The Average Pay for a Mortuary Makeup Artist

by Dana Severson

Makeup artists often earn more at funeral homes than in salons.

Cosmetology isn’t all about weddings, makeovers and skincare. Many cosmetologists branch out into other areas in this ever-widening field, and some even find their way into the offices of local physicians. But one of the top paying industries for cosmetologists and makeup artists is in the mortuary sciences — ranking fourth in the nation.

Salary Overview

In 2011, the average cosmetologist earned $26,460 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But cosmetologists working in death care services can often expect higher salaries. In fact, the average income of a mortuary makeup artist was almost $34,000 annually — over $7,500 more a year than the occupation as a whole.

Hourly Rates

Not all mortuary makeup artists earn an annual salary. Instead, they’re given an hourly rate for their services. The BLS estimates that half of all cosmetologists working in death care services earned less than $13.82 an hour. If, for example, you put in about 20 hours a week, you’re looking at an annual income of $14,373.The average hourly salary, however, was closer to $16.31 an hour. At 20 hours a week, your annual income increases to $16,962.

Other Income

In addition to your base pay, you may be eligible for bonuses. It isn’t uncommon for the bereaved family to tip the presiding official. This can range anywhere from $50 to $300 for the funeral service, according to FOX Business. The funeral home may then allot a certain portion of this money to staff, including the makeup artist. The gratuity may also be part of the itemized bill. It varies from one funeral home to the next.

Job Outlook

Through 2020, cosmetologists as whole can expect an employment growth of 14 percent over 2010. This is right on par with the national average. However, mortuary cosmetology is a fairly small field, estimated at 230 full-time positions in the nation. So, this works out to the creation of roughly 32 new jobs in death care services. That being said, you could find part-time or freelance opportunities in your area.

Going Independent: How to Establish Your Own Makeup Artist Business

Going Independent: How to Establish Your Own Makeup Artist Business

One of the most exciting times in your career is when you start considering the possibility of opening your own makeup business.

Kezia Henderson Edwards took the leap after gaining experience criss-crossing the nation working a variety of makeup artist jobs that included styling the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader squad as well as working on motion picture productions and national ad campaigns.

Eventually she had the opportunity to move back to her home turf in So Cal and make her dream come true, opening her own business in Ventura, which she lovingly named Cara Mia. Today she offers packages for prom, special occasions, weddings, and teen beauty lessons through her makeup studio, which has earned lots of local recognition, including an award for “Best Day Spa.”

Another makeup artist, Ellen B., also took a risk when she started her own makeup business based out of Brooklyn. Even though she graduated from college with a degree in marketing, her skills in makeup led her to land jobs at MAC and Nickelodian as she was getting her beauty career started. Through hard work and talent these jobs led to more opportunities in media production that included stints at CBS, Fox, CNN, Telemundo, and Good Day NY. By this time her name was definitely out there and she fulfilled requests for makeup sessions with the likes of Snookie, John Legend, Lalah Hathaway, Kelsey Grammer, Method Man, and Gladys Knight.

Currently Ellen B. maintains a home studio in Brooklyn but she does a lot of her work on the road in the greater NYC area. She travels to clients’ events or residences, studio sets, and runway back rooms to do her much-sought-after makeovers. Her business, which she calls Face the Day NY, has been so successful that she’s hired five staff members to help her keep up with demand.

Looking at Your Options as an Independent Makeup Artist: Open a Salon or Work Freelance and Go Mobile

Ellen B. and Kezia Henderson Edwards provide examples of the two basic types of independent businesses that makeup artists usually establish:

  • Beauty salons or spas
  • Freelance independent makeup artist businesses

Of course, your business can blend these two models, but consider these as the basic starting point.

Beauty Salon or Spa Model

This model involves you providing services out of a fixed business location that you rent, lease or own. You may decide to be a sole proprietor and offer strictly makeup services to your clients.

Because many makeup artists are required by state regulations to earn an esthetician or cosmetology license, you may also want to provide a broader range of services in addition to makeup. Many makeup artists also choose to build on top of their makeup foundation and add a massage license, yoga certification, or other type of related credential to offer their clients an even broader range of options.

This model can also involve hiring employees or working with booth renters.

Independent Professional Makeup Artist Model

Lots of makeup artists love the idea of being flexible and mobile, and start their own independent business based on this model. This is for you if you plan to focus on any of the following:

  • Work on-set at runway events, photo shoots, and media production studios
  • House calls
  • Travel to different cities to participate in exhibitions and events
  • Contract with businesses or corporations to do makeup events at on-site locations
  • Makeup for theatres and other performance arts
  • Makeup at on-site locations for weddings, graduations, and other special events

Choosing this model means you will likely work as an independent contractor with a variety of clients. You may also eventually get to the point where you want to hire staff.

Necessary Business Considerations

Whichever model you decide to go with, to be successful you’ll need to have at least a basic idea about key aspects regarding the business-side of your makeup endeavor:

  • State board of cosmetology and health department regulations
  • City or county business license regulations
  • Code and facility requirements if you’re planning to establish a physical business location, even if that is in your home
  • Business tax regulations

State Board of Cosmetology and Health Department Regulations

You’ll find that one of the best resource available to you when starting your own makeup business is your state’s board of cosmetology. They should be able to help you with everything you need to know to get the ball rolling, from city business requirements to health department regulations.

Boards of cosmetology regulate spas, salons, and any other business activities involving the beauty industry. You’ll want to find out if you need a special permit from your state’s board of cosmetology to open a business location or work as an independent freelancer.

You also need to abide by your state’s board of cosmetology and health department regulations regarding sanitation and infection control. Examples of these types of regulations include:

  • Disinfection and clean storage of your makeup brushes
  • Having a waste receptacle for soiled items
  • Having a storage area for items that are awaiting disinfection

City or County Business License Regulations

No matter what kind of makeup business you plan on operating, if you take money for your services then you probably need a business license. Your city hall or county administration office usually issues these licenses.

When you apply for a business license you must specify details like:

  • Your business name
  • Your business address – your home address can be used if you plan to conduct your business at on-site locations
  • What type of business you plan to have – sole-proprietorship if you plan to be an independent practitioner and to not hire employees, or possibly an LLC (limited liability company) if you plan to open a franchise, salon, or spa where you hire employees

Code and Facility Requirements

This section applies if you plan to start your own salon, spa, or fixed-location makeup business. Your state’s board of cosmetology and other public safety departments require regulations like:

  • Sinks with hot and cold running water
  • Public bathrooms
  • Square footage requirements
  • Maximum occupancy requirements
  • Working ventilation system
  • Potable drinking water

Check with your state’s board of cosmetology to understand the specific requirements for your state. Code requirements cannot be overlooked, and if the place where you plan to open your business is not adequately equipped you can expect to spend a significant amount of money to get it up to code. This can involve architects, plumbers, and electricians.

Before you open you may need to pass any number of official inspections:

  • State board of cosmetology inspection
  • Fire marshal inspection
  • Health department inspection
  • Building code inspection

Business Tax Regulations

As an independent business owner you are responsible for fulfilling your state and federal tax obligations at least once a year. Check with your state’s department of revenue to know what you’re responsible for at the state level.

At the federal level you can expect to pay a tax rate of at least 15 percent for Social Security and Medicare combined. If you’re making (gross) more than about $6,300 as a single person, or $12,600 as a married joint filer, you can expect your income tax to increase proportionally the more you make.

If your business is a sole proprietorship then your taxes have the chance of being relatively easy. You’ll need to keep a tally (receipts) of all your business expenses in a file for five years, and you can deduct these from your personal income/business taxes.

If you elect to form a more complicated business like an LLC, and especially if you hire employees, your taxes will be more complex. You can try asking an experienced makeup artist in a similar situation for tax advice and try doing them yourself, or you can outsource this to an accountant. If you’re feeling brave, the IRS has even developed a tax booklet specifically designed to help salon and spa owners.

How Do You Know if You’re Ready to Start Your Own Makeup Business?

Are you prepared to tackle the business-side of things as mentioned above? If yes, good. Then you can proceed. If not then you’d better be prepared to hire someone who can, or think again about going into business for yourself. Maybe you will get lucky too. Kezia Henderson Edwards, founder of Cara Mia, was fortunate enough to marry someone who was a veteran of the marketing and advertising industry.

Before you start your business you’d better ask yourself if you can answer “yes” to all of these questions:

  • Do you have enough experience and skills to know what you’re doing and attract/retain regular clientele?
  • Are you ready to take care of everything from advertising to inventory?
  • Are you ready to invest in business supplies that can include sinks, chairs, and mirrors, as well as all your makeup brushes and supplies?
  • Are you ready to take your work home with you every day? Starting your own business inevitably means you will always be thinking about it.
  • Are you ready to take the risk that you might not succeed? Success depends mostly on your own drive, motivation, and skills, however many are too afraid of failure to even take the initial risk.
  • Are you financially ready to start your own business?

This last point has less to do with psychology than it does with objective reality. Starting your own business involves a financial investment.

Financing Your Business as a Makeup Artist

Whatever business model you choose you must make an initial investment in your business. This could be as simple as acquiring all of your makeup artist tools and supplies, and could be as involved as hiring an architect to redesign a property you’ve rented for your spa business.

If you’re thinking about the mobile independent makeup artist model then you likely won’t need a lot to invest in a headquarters – you’ll be doing your services on-site at a variety of different locations. However, you will definitely still need funds to support the following:

  • Purchase of all your tools and supplies
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Business supplies like a webpage and business cards
  • Insurance – business and liability insurance if you choose, but you still need to pay for things like health insurance, car insurance, etc
  • Down time – you should have enough savings to support yourself in the event that your business slows down or you have unexpected interruptions from work

If you’re thinking about establishing a permanent location then you will likely need some capital. In addition to all the expenses mentioned above – and if you have your own physical business location then business and liability insurance is strongly recommended – you’ll also need to fund the following:

  • Shop supplies – chairs, sinks, mirrors, product lines, flat screen TV and a cable subscription, wifi, magazine subscriptions, coffee machine, and more
  • Getting your shop up to code – it can cost a lot to install a public bathroom or redesign the interior of the facility you work out of
  • Monthly lease or mortgage payment

And of course, when you’re funding these you want to have plenty of cushion to support any unforeseen expenses.

How you come up with the initial capital to fund your own business is up to you. Plenty of makeup artists will tell you that it’s not worth going into debt to open a business; if you can’t support yourself with what you’ve already earned from clients then you shouldn’t be taking the leap to ownership.

However, there is also another school of thought: If you have a stellar business plan then you should be able to take out a loan and after a few years be well ahead of the game.

Just remember that going into business for yourself is not for everyone. On the other hand, many makeup artists feel that running a successful independent business is the ultimate goal.

How to Become a Freelance Make-up Artist

How to Become a Freelance Make-up Artist

by Faizah Imani

Start a flourishing career as a freelance makeup artist.

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.

How to Train to Become a Professional Makeup Artist

How to Train to Become a Professional Makeup Artist

by Tricia Chaves

Get on-the-job training as an assistant makeup artist.

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.

Types of Makeup Artist Jobs

Types of Makeup Artist Jobs

by Tricia Chaves

Makeup artists help politicians prepare for the camera.

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.

How to Become a Theatrical Makeup Artist

How to Become a Theatrical Makeup Artist

by Dee Dee Smith

Theatrical makeup artists work closely with costume and wig designers.

A quality makeup artist is crucial to the success of a theatrical production. You will help transform the cast and bring the vision of the script writer to life with the use of stage and special effects makeup. With makeup tools and tricks, you can age an actor, create wounds, and turn someone into an alien or monster.


1. Graduate from high school. A high school diploma or its equivalent is needed to pursue professional training in makeup artistry. Some classes to take in preparation for the field include art, drama/theater, math, communication, and the sciences.

2. Pursue training in cosmetology. In many states, a license in cosmetology is required to apply makeup. Additionally, this education will teach you all about skin care, color selection, and proper makeup application.

3. Enroll in theater or drama classes at your local community college. These classes will help you better understand theater and the performing arts. Further, you may consider getting a degree in a related field such as theater design or acting.

On-the-Job Experience and Practice

1. Get involved in your school or local theater production. In addition to gaining valuable experience, this is an opportunity to meet actors, costume designers, prop managers and others who may be able to help you in finding future work.

2. Practice on family and friends. Find pictures of characters in movie or theater publications. Transform your family and friends into these characters using your makeup skills. Be sure to take pictures of the good ones for your portfolio. Remember, practice makes perfect.

3. Pursue employment as a makeup artist. Gain transferrable makeup skills by doing bridal, fashion, or photography makeup. In addition to helping you perfect your skills, this work will give you professional references and build your portfolio.

The Yearly Salary for a Makeup Artist

The Yearly Salary for a Makeup Artist

by Forest Time

Makeup artists get actors and performers ready for the camera or the stage.

While the occupation of makeup artist is only practiced by a handful of people, it can certainly lead to one of the most lucrative careers for candidates with training in cosmetology. As of 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that only 2,040 makeup artists were working in the United States.

Average Annual Salary

According to the BLS, makeup artists working in the United States earned an average annual salary of nearly $64,000 and average hourly wages of about $30.50 as of 2011. However, BLS statistics indicate a wide pay scale for this occupation. While half of all makeup artists reported yearly incomes of between $27,000 and $89,000, the lowest paid 10 percent of makeup artists earned less than $20,500 per year, while the highest 10 percent of makeup artists earned more than $120,000 per year.

Salary by Industry

As of 2011, nearly half of all makeup artists found employment in the motion picture and video industries. Those working in movies also tended to earn the most, averaging more than $88,000 per year. Makeup artists working in theater and other performing arts earned annual salaries very close to the national average for this occupation, about $61,000 per year. Nearly 100 makeup artists worked for amusement parks and averaged nearly $41,000 per year.

Geographical Pay Variations

Jobs for makeup artists tend to be concentrated in urban areas, and those working in the area surrounding New York City and White Plains, New York, and Wayne, New Jersey, earned the highest average salary in the nation — close to $100,000. Unsurprisingly, New York also reported the highest salary for makeup artists by state, an average of $93,500 per year. Driven by the motion picture industry, the second highest average salary for makeup artists as of 2011, $73,000 per year, was reported in California.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of makeup artists to grow at a very slow rate of just 3 percent over the coming decade and expects around 100 additional jobs to be available by 2020. Accounting for retirement or turnover among existing makeup artists, the BLS predicts a total of only 800 job openings in this profession between 2010 and 2020. Given this slow growth rate and the popularity of the movie industry, competition for makeup artist positions is expected to be extremely fierce.

Skills Needed to Be a Makeup Artist

Skills Needed to Be a Makeup Artist

by Barbara Bean-Mellinger

Makeup artists learn to use tools and techniques for creating many looks and conditions.

A career as a makeup artist can be exciting and different every day. The satisfaction comes from using makeup to help people look their best or become characters far different from their usual selves. Makeup artists work in entertainment, theater, television, film, retail stores and on their own. They learn the necessary skills through courses at local colleges, universities or community colleges and on the job.

Before the Makeup

Makeup artists must learn important skills even before picking up a sponge or brush. They learn to assess a client’s skin type, including coloring, condition and sensitivity. These factors determine the type and colors of makeup to use. Learning color principles is an intricate skill that takes into account race, ethnicity, obvious skin color and undertones of color. Makeup artists must also study a client’s bone structure to decide where and how to apply types and colors of makeup to achieve the desired results.

Applying Makeup

Makeup artists learn to properly prepare the skin before applying makeup, using cleaning, toning and moisturizing techniques for different skin types. They practice applying foundation, blush, eye and brow liner, shadow and lip color. They also learn how to alter makeup application for work, evening and other looks. They may go beyond the basics to learn how to apply makeup for high fashion runway looks, theatrical productions, bright and low light, and indoor and outdoor events. They learn how to apply and touch up makeup for on-camera talent, for photo shoots under varied lighting conditions, and for indoor and outdoor stage performers.

Tools of the Trade

The makeup professional uses many tools, from sponges, brushes and high-tech airbrushes to a wide range of makeup types. Aspiring artists learn the uses for the many types of brushes and the pros and cons of makeup types. They may specialize in covering imperfections with makeup or covering tattoos with airbrushing. Makeup artists who work in the theater may use more than makeup to achieve a character’s look, bringing in wigs, beards, false eyelashes and prosthetic body parts.

Attributes and Traits

To be a successful makeup artist, you should be creative and artistic, enjoy experimenting with ideas and materials, and have a good eye for color. Makeup artists may work long hours, mostly on their feet, requiring both stamina and fitness. The job can be stressful at times, too, with early mornings and travel for photo shoots and late evenings for theater work. Preparing for performances can put added pressure on everyone. Good communication skills will enable you to talk effectively with producers, writers, actors and your bosses so everyone agrees on the goal.

Qualifications and Licensing

Makeup artists must have at least a high school diploma or GED, and most have also taken college courses or earned a certificate in cosmetology. It is also possible to learn makeup skills on the job. Some jobs require you to be licensed, however, and licensing requirements vary from state to state. Most states require that you pass a written exam and spend about 1,000 hours in education, either in school or on the job.