If you want to become a makeup artist, there’s no time like the present. While you may feel like you don’t have the skills and experience necessary, this is a career that is all about learning as you go, getting hands-on experience, and building your knowledge with practice.
Following these steps should get you started off on the right foot:
Not every type of makeup artistry is going to require formal training. For example, if you want to work freelance and start building your own roster of clients from networking, word of mouth, and your own marketing efforts, that’s great! This path generally won’t require you to get certified.
Having said that, in some states, if you want to work professionally as a makeup artist, you will need a license in order to do so. Attending a reputable cosmetology school where you’ll learn all about proper makeup application, makeup techniques, and specialized makeup skills can be a big bonus.
In fact, even if your state doesn’t require you to be professionally licensed to start your career, if you have the time and resources, formal education in this field can be extremely helpful in giving you a leg up.
Even if you attend cosmetology school, you should still take the time to educate yourself in this field. With so many resources and tutorials on YouTube, there is no excuse to not educate yourself.
In addition, be sure that you’re trying different products, practicing your skills on friends and family, and on people with different skin tones and skin types. Don’t be afraid to experiment on yourself during your spare time too.
As we mentioned, makeup artistry relies heavily on practice and real-world experience. Don’t discount this.
Keep in mind, during these earlier stages in your career, this is a great time to start offering your services for free or at a discounted rate. For example, volunteering to do makeup at your local community theater, seeing if you can get a job selling makeup at a beauty counter, and even offering to do children’s makeup at a birthday party are all experiences that can help you both with practice, but also with building up a makeup kit for future opportunities.
One of the most vital steps for any type of artist, you need to start building your portfolio ASAP.
Your portfolio is essentially your visual resume, not only showing who you’ve worked with, but probably more importantly, the quality of your work.
Even if you haven’t started working with professional clients yet, don’t let that prevent you from building your portfolio. Everyone needs to start somewhere in order to start obtaining jobs, and if you delay because you don’t think your work is “good enough” then you’ll never get anywhere with your career.
Having said that, you should avoid including every and all projects in your portfolio. You should only include your best pieces of work that you think shows off your style. With time, this might mean you curate your portfolio by removing past projects that don’t represent your current skills to the same degree. In other words, quality over quantity is always a good rule of thumb when it comes to portfolio building.
If you would like more tips and tricks for building up a portfolio, this guide all about building a makeup artist portfolio is an excellent resource.
You’ve started building your portfolio, but if you think that means clients will just start coming to you, unfortunately, this is very rarely the case.
In order to get clients and secure your dream job, it is important to start networking, especially if you plan on going freelance and opening your own business.
In addition, connecting with others in the industry can help keep you up-to-date on trends, best practices, and new product releases.
Bottom line: Whether you make connections in person, through referrals, or online, the more connections you have, the more likely it is that you start receiving jobs.
Once you’ve started landing jobs, your work does not end. Makeup artistry is one of those industries where things are constantly evolving. Whether it be a new product release, a new way to apply makeup, or a new trend that seems to be all the rage, you need to take the time to note these things and continue refining your skills.
For some makeup artists, you may choose to work exclusively with one brand or at one store. In these cases, you’ll find you have a lot more job security, which is a big bonus for a lot of aspiring makeup artists.
On the other hand, there are probably many of you who want creative control over who they work with and how. If this is you, you’ll have a whole other extra step in your journey where you’ll need to start building your business.
Building a business can be a long and tedious process that could be its own post itself, but in general, if you want to start your own makeup artist business, you’ll have to consider the following:
And so much more!
If this overwhelms you, remember, start slow by learning as much as you can about makeup, practicing, and building your portfolio. Your dream job might not come in right away, but with consistent effort, you’ll get there.
If you’re interested in getting your career started off on the right foot, we highly recommend this resource all about how to create a makeup artist portfolio.