How to Become a Professional Makeup Artist

If you dream about making people beautiful for special occasions and you love makeup, becoming a makeup artist may be the best professional decision you’ve ever made. After all, you’ll have the chance to spend the day making clients feel great and learning all about the latest beauty trends. Of course, you’ll also want to experiment with several different looks on yourself, and when you get the right referrals, you’ll be working with clients who can help move your career forward.

Even though being a professional makeup artist can be extremely fun and rewarding, it does take hard work to be successful in this career, as with any other field. If you want to know how to go from being obsessed with new eyeshadow shades for yourself to applying makeup on others professionally, taking some of the same advice that industry insiders follow could prove helpful.

Start Learning and Observing

The first thing you’ll want to do when you want to become a full-time makeup artist is take notes. Try to find a mentor in your area who doesn’t mind showing you what it’s like to pursue this career full time. Your mentor(s) will likely tell you to practice as much as you can. Practice applying makeup on yourself as well as your friends and family members. The more you practice with makeup, the more comfortable you’ll become. You can watch tutorials online or go to a few makeup classes to perfect your skills and learn about new trends. For instance, you’ll need to know about primers that are ideal for oily skin, primers that are suitable for drier complexions and primers that work well on sensitive skin. When you improve your skills, you’ll feel much more confident when you take a job and have to apply what you’ve learned on a client.

Get a Makeup-Related Job

If you want to start booking your own clients, you may want to apply for jobs at makeup counters at the local beauty store or mall. You’ll encounter several different types of customers who prefer several different makeup styles, which will give you a lot of practice. Working at a beauty counter will also give you experience in helping people with questions about makeup and skin care, and you can provide recommendations for people who need makeup for special occasions or events. You’ll be seen as an expert, so this can motivate you to learn all you can about the makeup brand you’re representing and the various products that produce different effects on skin. Working at a makeup counter also gives you extensive customer service experience, so you’ll learn how to interact with people whether they’re experienced with makeup and know exactly what they want, or are novices and need you to guide them through the makeup purchasing process step by step. You’ll have the chance to work with people of various face shapes and skin types, so it’s best to take advantage of this so you can become more comfortable with doing professional makeup in a reasonable amount of time.

Learn from the Pros

You should also research the masters in the field of makeup and learn about the history of professional makeup artistry. You can do this by figuring out the looks that are most appealing to you and research the trends that were popular decades before you were born. Learn about popular makeup artists who were famous in Hollywood and known for creating iconic looks for movies and television shows. Pay attention to the things you like about the work of each artist you learn about. Take a look at magazines and books for more insight and visit as many beauty vlogs and websites as possible to learn about makeup looks of the past.

It’s also helpful to research celebrities who are known for specific makeup looks and the artist(s) that created the looks. This will help you determine which styles appeal to you, and which makeup styles you’re most comfortable with. As you grow your client base, you can enhance your skills and try your hand at makeup styles that don’t come as naturally to you. It’s best to try these looks on yourself first so you can become more comfortable with them before you advertise these makeup styles to your customers.

Get the Right Training

When you’re serious about becoming a professional makeup artist, a formal education is recommended. While makeup artistry is a hands-on profession, you should seriously consider going to school for your field. The school you choose should cover all aspects of applying professional cosmetics, including instruction on how to apply makeup for television and film, as well as fashion and beauty photo shoots and magazine spreads. Choose a school that offers a program that gives you intensive training, so you’ll feel comfortable with receiving your certification and being recommended for jobs at the end of your training. Talk to your instructors about the best ways to reach out to modeling agencies or television studios and let them know about your qualifications and interest in working with the team.

Marketing and Promotion

Once you’ve officially received your training, you’ll need to market your skills and services as much as possible. The internet is one of the best places to promote yourself as a professional makeup artist. You can start a social media page where you upload photos of your various makeup looks. It may also be helpful to upload short videos of you performing specific makeup tasks, such as applying a cat eye or choosing the best nude lipstick based on skin tone and undertones. Take advantage of the impact social media has on business marketing. Once you have your own social media page, clients are more likely to take you seriously, especially when you upload content regularly and make it easy for followers to get in touch with you and schedule appointments.

Gain a Following on Social Media

Of course, you may also want to start a YouTube channel where you provide tutorials on how to apply makeup. You can also use the channel to share many of the other skills you’ve learned during your training, such as how to apply lashes, shape the brows and how to properly care for your skin before and after makeup application. When you upload videos to your channel regularly and you answer follower questions in a timely and professional manner, you’ll attract more people to your YouTube channel, which can lead to more appointments for you.

Become a Beauty Influencer

Once your channel gains popularity, cosmetic and beauty brands may also reach out to you, asking you to advertise their products on your website. Be sure to choose products that fit with the brand you’ve created as a makeup artist and try the products yourself before recommending them to your followers. Remember that you’re building a reputation for yourself as a professional, and people need to know they can trust your product reviews. When you create YouTube videos, be honest with your followers about which videos are sponsored. When you’re open with your potential customers about your relationships with cosmetic and beauty companies, your followers won’t be able to accuse you of being unfairly biased.

Instagram is another way to gain more popularity as a makeup artist. You can upload short videos on Instagram and include your makeup blog or website in your description so followers can easily get in touch with you if they want to book an appointment or have additional questions.

Always Be Professional

As a makeup artist, your ultimate goal is likely to get celebrity clients. While you may be extremely excited to meet someone whose work you admire, remember to remain professional. Remember that your reputation is on the line. There’s a time to talk to your client, and even to mention that you’re a huge fan, but your objective should be to perform your job with quality and precision and to make the client feel relaxed. You can accomplish this by playing nature sounds in the room for a soothing effect, or simply being quiet for long stints so your client will have time to think, answer emails or take phone calls.

Focus on Positive Experiences

As with any business that requires referrals, people will remember the overall experience they had when working with you. If celebrities feel that you were professional, they are satisfied with the way you apply makeup and they enjoyed your demeanor, they are much more likely to recommend you to other wealthy clients.

Be Presentable and Comfortable

When you welcome clients into your workspace, make sure that you’re comfortable, since you’ll be on your feet for long periods of time. Wear flats while you’re working, so you won’t have to keep stopping to remove your shoes or experience leg, foot or ankle pain. You may also want to wear all black, since this is chic and professional, and your clothes won’t look worn and stained if you get cosmetics or skin care products on your outfit while you’re working.

Represent Your Brand

It’s also a good idea to wear your makeup in a style that is associated with your brand. If people know you for having a natural makeup look that works for both office and formal occasions, your own makeup should reflect this. If you’re well known for outrageous makeup looks that involve lots of color, you can showcase some of this on your eyes and lips. People are more likely to trust you if they see that you use some of the products you recommend on yourself.

Customize Your Business

Don’t forget to tailor your makeup business so that it reflects your training and personality. Some people are more attracted to makeup artists who also concentrate on skincare and a holistic lifestyle, while others want to use beauty products that will immediately get the attention of others and promotes a message of boldness and individuality. Your clients should feel as though they had a worthwhile experience after spending time with you. This means being true to yourself, being organized and paying attention to the customer’s preferences and needs.

Don’t Forget the Details

Playing music in the background while you work can be appealing for some clients. Relaxing music that showcases the sounds of nature, jazz music that embodies the theme of looks inspired by the 1920s and 1930s and 1980s music that reminds clients of bold eye and lip makeup from that era will help make your clients feel more at ease. You can also offer books or magazines for your clients to read while you work, and if you have additional training, let your clients know whether you’re qualified to provide facials or apply lashes or brow services. The more you create a space for clients to take care of all their beauty needs in one place, the more people will rely on your makeup business to look and feel their best.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about how to become a professional makeup artist interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a professional makeup artist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

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