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.

The Education Required to Pursue Becoming a Makeup Artist

The Education Required to Pursue Becoming a Makeup Artist

by Forest Time

An aspiring makeup artist needs a basic knowledge of cosmetology techniques.

Makeup artists generally find employment with theater and production companies, television stations or movie studios. To be successful in this occupation, you will need to be a skilled and licensed cosmetologist. Basic knowledge of the dramatic arts, film technique, stagecraft, and anatomy and physiology can increase your skill set as a makeup artist and can be obtained in high school or on the job. You can enroll in few types of post-secondary programs to obtain the education required of a makeup artist.

Cosmetology Program

General cosmetology programs are commonly available throughout the United States and are an excellent preparation for a career as a makeup artist. General cosmetology programs give students the aesthetic skills to manipulate makeup based on a subject’s skin tone and appearance and also teach students other basic salon skills such as hairstyling, haircutting, manicure, pedicure and facial treatments. One advantage of a basic cosmetology degree is that it will allow you to find work in a salon or barber shop while you pursue a job in the visual arts.

Permanent Cosmetology

Some makeup artists combine knowledge of basic cosmetology skills with knowledge of permanent cosmetic techniques. According to the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, permanent cosmetology skills are most commonly obtained by taking a workshop or by attending sessions with an SPCP-approved trainer. Permanent cosmetology skills are also applicable to a wide variety of occupations other than the visual arts, including tattoo artistry and medicine. A list of approved trainers is available on the SPCP website at spcp.org.

Makeup Artist

Some courses of study prepare you specifically for work as a makeup artist. While you’ll gain experience and training in basic cosmetology techniques, you’ll concentrate on specialty techniques applicable to the visual arts, such as synthetic mask-making, wig application and period hairstyling. You’ll also gain training in other aspects of working in theater, such as safety on set and typical relations between cast and crew. Training specifically as a makeup artist might give you an advantage over other job candidates.


To work in a field related to cosmetology, including within the visual arts, most states require that you be licensed and that you keep your license current. Although specific requirements vary by state, most require that you graduate from an accredited school of cosmetology and pass an examination before you can be licensed. Some also require that you be of a certain age before you can be licensed. For full regulations and requirements, contact the office responsible for professional and occupational regulation for the state in which you plan to practice.

How to Become a Makeup Artist

How to Become a Makeup Artist

makeup artistMakeup artists apply cosmetics for their clients, who may be models, actors and actresses, television reporters and personalities, or individuals who want a special look for an occasion like a wedding. Makeup artists must know how to communicate with their clients to determine what kind of look they want, and they must have the skincare and cosmetics knowledge plus the physical and artistic skill required to create that look.

Makeup artists may work independently, or they may be employed in the motion picture industry, in television, by photographers, or by salons and spas.

What kind of training is required to become a makeup artist?

Many makeup artists complete a training program offered by a makeup artist school. Students in these programs learn about different types of cosmetics and cosmetics tools. They also study facial features and how to emphasize or de-emphasize them with makeup. Makeup artist programs also introduce students to the various kinds of looks they can create with cosmetics, including daytime, evening, and special event looks.

Makeup artists who want to create looks for photography, the stage, television, and movies can take courses in the different techniques and products used in each field. Students may learn how to design looks that will hold up to the scrutiny of a high definition camera, while others may study the use of prosthetics to create special effects for film or theatre.

Are there any certification or licensure requirements?

Makeup artists may be required to obtain a makeup artist or cosmetology license to provide services to clients in their state. The practice of cosmetology includes hair styling and other services, so earning a cosmetology license typically requires the completion of more than just a makeup artist program. A state-approved cosmetology program can take a year or more to complete. Cosmetologists may also be required to complete a certain number of training hours and pass a licensing exam.

How long does it take to become a makeup artist?

Makeup artist training programs vary in length. One course may take several weeks to complete, and a whole program can take several months. If your state requires you to obtain a full cosmetologist license, it could take a year or more to complete the required training program.

What does a makeup artist earn?

The wage a makeup artist earns can depend on his or her experience and place of employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for makeup artists in entertainment and performance was $32.49 in 2012, and the median hourly wage was $30.99.

Makeup artists who worked in the motion picture and video industry made the highest average wage, at $40.04. Those who worked in personal care services earned the least: $14.35. These figures did not take into account makeup artists who work independently.

What are the job prospects?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of makeup artists will increase at a slower rate of growth than most other occupations in the United States. Jobs will be available, but competition will be strong. Makeup artists may have the best chances of employment if they seek work in certain states with good job markets for the profession, including California and New York.

What are the long term career prospects for makeup artists?

As makeup artists gain experience and training, they can build a body of work that will allow them to charge higher rates for their services and give them better chances of landing higher-profile work in the fashion and entertainment industries if that is their goal.

How can I find a job as a makeup artist?

Like with any other profession, finding a job as a makeup artist depends on one’s experience and connections. Makeup artists put together a portfolio of professional photos of the work they’ve done in school and for past clients. An impressive portfolio and positive referrals from clients can help you start and expand your business if you’re working as a freelance makeup artist.

Some makeup artists build experience by starting out in retail, working at the makeup counter of a drug or department store. Others may start by providing services for community theatre groups.

How can I learn more about becoming a makeup artist?

Many professional makeup artists have blogs and you can learn more about technique, current trends, and the profession by following some of them. You can also check with your state’s licensing board to determine the specific requirements for becoming a makeup artist in your state.