Makeup Artist Dreaming: The Intro

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How to be a makeup artist, makeup artist school

Is this your dream job?
Photo: Trevor Holden Photography
Hair: Alexandra Wilson for Allison Barbera Beauty
Makeup: Allison Barbera


You like makeup. You like applying makeup on yourself, and on family and friends. You like reading about and trying new beauty products. Does this translate into a career as a professional makeup artist? It can!

In this “Makeup Artist Dreaming?” series, I’m going to go over all of the basic info you need to figure out if makeup artistry is your dream job and if so, what you need to do to get there.

To figure out if makeup artistry might be the right job for you, I would first ask yourself these questions. (I will expand on these topics individually in future posts.)

  • Do I need to get licensed or certified in my state? The legal requirements vary from state to state, so your first step is to find out the laws where you live. Don’t be afraid to contact your state Cosmetology Board or Health Department with questions.
  • Should I go to school for Esthetics or Cosmetology, or take a makeup certification class? If you live in a state where you do not legally need to be licensed or certified, should you do it anyway? Keep in mind that while these programs cost money, they can make you more credible as a makeup artist. If you decide to attend a school or course, do your research, make visits, and of course, get everything in writing.
  • What kind of makeup do I want to do? Wedding makeup? Film makeup? Editorial makeup? Special effects makeup? There are many different areas of makeup artistry, and having a basic idea of what you are interested in will help narrow your focus and make starting your career easier. You can decide now and change your mind later, but having an idea of what you like best will give you direction.
  • Do I want to work for myself or for a company? You can work for yourself as a freelancer, and/or open your own company (and hire others to work for you). Or you can work at a salon or spa, a makeup counter, or for a beauty products company. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these options, and a lot of it comes down to personality type and what kind of business environment you want to be in.
  • Am I truly passionate about makeup? If the answer is no, then don’t do it! Makeup artistry is a highly creative career, and it is my personal opinion that if you don’t love what you’re doing, it shows up on your client’s face. If you look at makeup artistry as just something you do to get a paycheck, and you count down the hours until you have to leave each day, you will never advance in your career. Your passion for the job has to be clear, because not only will that allow you to create quality work, but it is one of the components needed to book further jobs.

If you have answered these questions and think you are interested in becoming a makeup artist, stay tuned for further posts.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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