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Makeup Artist Overview

Makeup artists are professionals with a profound knowledge of beauty and skincare products and can create a range of looks—from blushing bride to sci-fi monster. 

While most makeup artists work at salons or makeup retail counters, many also work in the entertainment industry on specific productions or for companies who work with entertainers. If you’re a chatty, creative person, who is great with makeup, working as a makeup artist could be a fun gig.


  • Apply makeup and discuss products with customers. You’ll need to understand how your customer wants to look and create that style for them. In retail, this may mean doing demos of new products or devices, and showing customers how to apply the look on their own.
  • Get regular clients. Businesses look for makeup artists who draw in new customers and offer friendly advice that keep clients coming back.
  • Keep up on new looks and trends. You may be asked to attend trainings or seminars to get tips on this season’s lip look or learn about a new bronzer.
  • Maintain your supplies. Whether you’re working with your own makeup inventory or one of a company’s, you’ll need to keep track of how much of each product you’re using, when it’s time to order more, and if a product isn’t delivering.


  • Communication. Makeup artists are always part of a team. It’s important for them to converse with customers, co-workers, and vendors to provide information and receive feedback.
  • Time management. Regardless of who makes their schedules, makeup artists are expected to be punctual and to work quickly. In a production setting, makeup artists often collaborate with hair and clothing stylists who have to meet deadlines together.
  • High level of makeup technique. Knowing how to use a range of products to work with all face shapes, skin tones, and aesthetics is what makes a good makeup artist. The more versatile you are, the more attractive you’ll be to employers.


Many makeup artists get their training through school programs in theater or cosmetology, and some jobs will require that you’re a certified cosmetologist. A smaller number of businesses are willing to train people who are the right fit and show potential. 

Regardless of the position, employers will want to see a portfolio, so keep a good record of your work and let them know if you have other experience in areas like hair or nails.

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