Makeup artists are beauty practitioners who provide makeup services or apply prosthetics. The makeup artists’ services enhance the beauty of entertainers, individuals, performers, or people getting ready for events such as weddings. To produce desirable visual results, makeup artists should have in-depth knowledge of makeup products and procedures.
The fashion and beauty industry offers lucrative career opportunities for people passionate about expressing their artistic abilities through makeup. The demand for this job has grown in recent years and provides the opportunity to partner with a diverse clientele. Experience is essential for gaining recognition as a makeup artist.
This guide will help you to get a detailed description of the job and help you create a proper resume for it.
Let’s begin by viewing three resume formats you can use.
See What People are Saying About Us
Job Duties of a Makeup Artist
A makeup artist is responsible for working with clients to transform their appearance through makeup. In the entertainment and fashion industry, makeup artists collaborate with celebrities, costume designers, and other fashion and design artists teams to create the desired look.
Some of their most common job duties are:
Interacting with clients to understand their requirements and creating custom looks.
Combining artistic and creative skills to create desired visual results.
Studying character descriptions and storylines to recommend makeup choices, which can vary from person to person. Some might need sharp eyebrow shaping while others require razor-sharp contouring, for example.
Tracking expenses and preparing budgets for makeup supplies. They have to buy compact powders, brushes, eyebrow sets, eyeshadow palettes, concealers, and more.
Adhering to best practices, standards of safety, and hygiene to avoid infections.
Working with stylists and costume designers to finalize makeup based on the presentation. The types of looks include “natural” no-makeup looks, wedding, smokey, matte, and others.
Determining special effects requirements of clients such as FX prosthetics.
Ensuring quality of products used by cross-checking manufacturing and expiration dates.
Recommending suggestions based on the latest fashion and beauty trends.
Assisting clients with makeup removal using cotton pads, makeup removers, cleansing oil, and other related products.
Instructing clients on makeup application or skincare routines.
Makeup Artist Median Salaries
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, makeup artists in the motion picture and video industries earn an average mean salary of $92,200 per year while those in the personal care industry receive an average yearly wage of $43,790.
Top Skills for Makeup Artists
While some makeup artists' areas of expertise only require them to exert formal, day-to-day makeup application, others need to flex their creative muscles to go far in the world of fashion. Being a makeup artist is a high-skill job depending on the area of specialization. Therefore, excellent aptitude in the skill sets listed below can help you succeed.
Here are some of the key skills required:
- Good manual and hand-eye coordination: Perhaps the biggest reason why people seek a professional when it comes to makeup is that they need a steady hand. Aside from the obvious reason of needing to hold a powder brush or a lipstick, good hand-to-eye coordination, dexterity, and precision allow you to come up with great designs and to put on makeup in an exacting, professional manner.
- Knowledgeable about makeup techniques and products: It is a makeup artist's duty to research beauty products, both old and new, famous and obscure, to be able to offer alternative solutions to clients. Be sure to know the proper makeup procedure for every type of look you offer, what products are good for which skin type (especially for sensitive skin), how much and how little to apply, and what suits best according to face shape and skin color. Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation, for example, is suitable for oily skin. You can boost your skills by attending cosmetology schools, apprenticeships, or self-teaching.
- Attention to detail: You need to know if not enough base has been placed that a surface will crumble or if there is too much shiny coat on a makeup composition. A client pays makeup artists to receive the best service and if you don’t know how to follow instructions while also providing the best advice, you won’t make it in this career. You have to assume every mistake is going to be noticed as the job is all about visual presentation.
- Excellent communication skills: Being on top of emails, phone calls, or texts. Creating an easy booking experience through social media. Talking clearly and directly to your client about what you believe is the right makeup for them and why. These are all aspects of a good communication practice you need to develop to stay employed and thrive. Your attitude should always be welcoming and trusting — remember that some clients may be nervous about makeup changes!
- Time management: If you’re a freelance makeup artist, you get to choose which days you work and which don't. If you’re on staff, you need to work the time specified by your boss or company. Either way, you have to be fast and efficient because the more clients you can take, the more money you can make. You also always have to make appointments on time — being late is not an option.
- Social media marketing and research: A lot of this career now goes into promotion. If you have good photo and video editing skills, you can develop a substantial following that can lead to in-person business. Platforms to promote your skills include YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and your own site. You can keep track of post engagement by measuring likes, comments, and shares, helping you tailor future ideas around client tastes. Sifting through creative posts of other artists can also help you learn about the latest fads to keep your knowledge base fresh.
- Understanding of color composition: Color theory — the relationship between different colors and how they match with each other when paired — is the foundation for everything a makeup artist does. So you need to be aware of color theory models and the color wheel to correct unwanted tones and use shades on client skin.
- Sensitivity: As a makeup artist, you will have to work with a diverse clientele, each having different requirements, preferences, and dislikes. The ability to understand a client's emotions allows a makeup artist to create flawless looks that not only complement their facial characteristics but also align with their expectations. Ask the right questions to help clients gain comfort and trust by knowing about their complexion, concerns, imperfections, and allergies.
Makeup artists education and certifications
A degreePursuing a formal college degree is not mandatory to become a makeup artist since skills can be learned through practice. However, a degree is suggested as some companies and salons will require you to have one to be employed.
To enroll in a cosmetology program, a high school diploma or a GED is required, and some jobs require state-based licensure to legally perform as a makeup artist.
While some states offer licenses specifically for makeup artistry, others require you to complete a full cosmetology program. Some makeup artists opt for completing specific makeup courses instead, either for immediate use or to prepare for the state licensure test. The licensure test typically consists of a written exam to test your knowledge of safety regulations and theory, and a practical or verbal exam to demonstrate your skills. Options for education include the JLS Makeup School, The New York Makeup Academy, or the Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry.
Completing a specialized course in Special Effects (SFX) Makeup is mandatory for those interested in becoming an SFX makeup artist in the film industry. Schools such as Cinema Makeup and Tom Savini’s Special Make-Up Effects Program at Douglas Education Center in Monessen, Pennsylvania. teaches you how to design and create unique looks for characters using cosmetics and prosthetics.
LicensureBefore we jump into licenses, there is a difference between having makeup “certifications” and owning a "license". Certification means you are talented in a particular technique, but it does not officially qualify you to act as a makeup artist, nor does its education reach the level of a license.
To complete a license, makeup artists must have a degree from a recognized makeup school and complete the requisite training hours under expert supervision.
CertificationsNecessary certification will vary depending on the area of specialization which can range from film/television, theater, cosmetics companies, salon and spa industry, event and bridal, and fashion.
Many for-profit organizations offer makeup artist certifications such as the Diploma in Makeup Artistry offered by Alison, and the FAD Academy that offers Certification in Fashion and Commercial Makeup. On the other hand, Udemy and the International Make-up Association have long lists of beauty and makeup courses, as well as workshops from Bobby Brown and tutorials from MAC.
Makeup Artist Resume-Writing Tips
Growing your client base and grabbing the right opportunities is crucial to embark on a successful career as a makeup artist. Stand out in competition by implementing the below-given tips to write an attention-grabbing resume.
- Mention relevant work experience. The purpose of your resume is to help employers understand who you are and whether your qualifications and experiences fit the role you are applying for. Therefore, while listing your job history, include only work experiences that are recent and relevant to the applied job position. Resist the urge to mention irrelevant work experiences as they only make your resume lengthy.
For example, if you are applying for the post of Special Effects Makeup Artist, including your experience as a bridal makeup artist from the early days of your career will not help. However, if you are a recent graduate or a beginner without any related work experience, mention your internship details or any previous work history that demonstrates you have the skills required for the job. For those aiming to switch industries, include any transferable skills in your resume.
- Insert links to your makeup portfolio. While a resume only conveys work experience and skills, including links to your portfolio, a personal website, or an Instagram page helps you display your work samples. Redirecting attention to your portfolio is a great way to provide a comprehensive overview of your creativity, client testimonials, and diverse work. Insert links at the right places and in accessible formats so that the readers can easily copy-paste the links.
- Mention details of your license, educational institution. Include details about your education and specializations to get an added advantage. Highlight your graduation degree with date, related certificates, name of the institution, the state license you hold, and hours of training completed. Including your educational qualifications increases credibility as employers prefer individuals with the necessary background.
What is the work of a makeup artist?
You are responsible for using the right cosmetic products to enhance your client's visual appearance, features, and concealing imperfections. A makeup artist working in the motion picture and entertainment industry is responsible for creating custom looks for actors based on character descriptions and plots. They also use prosthetics to create special effects. Makeup artists also work for events such as theater, weddings, corporate events, modeling photo shoots, and advertisements. Makeup artists also work in the retail industry, where they assist clients with purchasing the right cosmetics.
Do you need any degrees to become a makeup artist?
Though you do not require a formal college degree, most makeup artists enroll in a makeup artistry program to learn about makeup application techniques and to get hands-on experience. However, in some states in the United States, makeup artists must have a valid license to work as aestheticians or cosmetologists. Many successful makeup artists are self-taught and are freelancers.
Do makeup artists have a well-paying career?
The fashion and beauty industry is continuously evolving and has booming demand for makeup artists across various fields. Specific careers within the makeup industry are higher-paying. Therefore, as a makeup artist, you can have a well-paying career depending on your industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 10.2% employment growth for Makeup artists from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.