How to Become a Professional Makeup Artist

Makeup artists are anesthetics who provide general makeup services or work in the field of prosthetic design. Their primary duties include creating custom looks for clients, and working with actors on set.

In today's article, we will be talking about some important tips on how to become a professional makeup artist. So without wasting much time, let's get started. To become a professional makeup artist, you need to invest in your education. 

There are a few options to consider:

Makeup Artistry Programs and Certificates

Enrolling in a makeup artistry program at a beauty school or cosmetology institute is a great way to get comprehensive training. 

These programs usually take 3-6 months and cover topics like:

  1. Makeup techniques for various events like weddings, proms, TV, film, theater, and photo-shoots.

  2. Tools of the trade such as brushes, sponges, palettes, airbrushing equipment, etc.

  3. Color theory and how to determine the right shades for a client based on skin tone and hair color.

  4. How to properly sanitize tools and apply makeup hygienically.

  5. Business skills like building a portfolio, client consultation, and marketing your services.

Building Your Makeup Artist Portfolio

To build a stellar makeup artist portfolio, you need to start creating looks and shooting photos of your work. This portfolio will be your calling card to land jobs, so make it professional and showcase your skills.

1. Finding Models

Ask friends or place ads on local Facebook groups and makeup artist forums looking for volunteer models. Explain you're building your portfolio and will do their makeup for free in exchange for photos. Provide examples of the types of looks you want to create.

Once you find willing models, discuss the looks you both want to achieve and schedule a shoot date. Make sure to get model release forms signed so you have permission to use the photos in your portfolio.

2. Creating the Looks

Do a variety of stylized daytime, evening, fantasy or special effects makeup looks. Show diversity in the ages, skin tones and genders of your models. Focus on current makeup trends as well as timeless styles.

Bring a makeup kit, brushes, and products suited for different skin types. Take your time and pay attention to details. Have good lighting and a mirror for your model. Get shots of the look from different angles.

3. Shooting the Photos

Use a high-quality camera to take well-lit, close-up shots of your makeup looks. Get shots of the full face as well as detail shots of the eyes, lips, and any special effects. Have your model pose in a simple outfit in front of a plain background.

Review and edit the photos, then add the best 15-30 images to your online portfolio on a platform like Makeup Artist Portfolio or Behance. Include before and after photos when possible, a list of products used, and descriptions of the inspiration or themes for each look.

Different Types of Makeup Artistry

To become a professional makeup artist, you need to understand the different avenues of work available to you. There are many types of makeup artistry jobs, and the path you choose will depend on your interests, skills, and experience.

1. Bridal makeup

As a bridal makeup artist, you focus on creating flawless and timeless looks for brides on their wedding day. Bridal makeup is all about enhancing a bride’s natural beauty and ensuring she feels comfortable yet stunning. It requires expertise with both daytime and evening makeup applications. You’ll work closely with brides to understand their vision and ensure they look radiant walking down the aisle.

2. Fashion and editorial makeup

Fashion and editorial makeup artists conceptualize and create cutting-edge looks for runway shows, fashion shoots, magazines, and advertising campaigns. This fast-paced work requires you to stay on the cusp of makeup trends and have a strong sense of color, shading, and contouring techniques. You may travel nationally or internationally for fashion weeks, photo shoots, and shows. Fashion makeup artistry typically offers higher pay but also longer, demanding hours.

3. TV and film makeup

As a makeup artist for TV, film, and entertainment, you help transform actors into their characters. This involves intensive work to create custom looks, often using special effects makeup, prosthetics, and wigs. You’ll work closely with directors and actors to bring characters to life through makeup. Film and TV work can be competitive to land but also rewarding. It may require frequent travel, long hours, and work on location.

4. Salaried artist

Some makeup artists work as salaried artists for a specific cosmetics brand, retailer, or salon. As a salaried makeup artist, you provide makeup applications, lessons, and consultations to promote the company’s products and services. This typically offers a more stable schedule and income but potentially less flexibility and creativity. Many salaried artists start out freelancing to build their experience first.


In conclusion, becoming a makeup artist is not too hard. all you have to do, is to make sure you are fully prepared and ready to start. Get all the necessary details you may need and if you have any questions regarding this article, do well to drop it in the comment section.

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