beauty career makeup artist

How to Become a Successful Makeup Artist

September 6th, 2019


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Whether makeup started as just a hobby or a way to express yourself, if you’re considering a career in makeup artistry, you’re probably wondering how you can turn what was once a hobby into a passion-filled career. Even more, you may be wondering just what it takes to become a successful makeup artist who thrives in their field and can make a name for themselves within the beauty industry.

Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to become a makeup artist and how your training, education, and personal experience can help you find satisfaction and continued success in your career.

What Is a Makeup Artist?

First things first, let’s discuss what a makeup artist really is. It’s easy to think that all a makeup artist does on a daily basis is create and apply makeup looks to clients, but there’s a lot more to the field than that.

For starters, aspiring makeup artists quickly discover that in many states, a license is required to perform makeup services, and that license most frequently comes from completing an esthetics program at an accredited beauty school.

Makeup artists are responsible for a lot more than just choosing eyeshadows that look good together and applying them. In fact, most makeup artists that find success in their careers have a whole host of knowledge around skin types, skincare practices, color theory, and makeup application techniques that goes much deeper than just brand preferences.

Apart from the training required and the breadth of knowledge you may need to become the best makeup artist you can be, there are also sub-specialties within the larger field of makeup artistry you should understand. Some makeup artists, for example, focus solely on bridal makeup and applying looks for wedding parties.

Others may choose to pursue makeup artistry as part of the entertainment industry as a special effects (SFX) makeup artist. You may choose to become a stylist that pairs makeup looks with entire outfits, focus on applying makeup for photo and video shoots, or pursue makeup artistry in a more general sense, helping those in your community look and feel good with more accessible services.

In short, there are a lot of things a makeup artist can do. Deciding what area interests you most will help you make the most of your education and seek out opportunities that lead you down your desired path.

Makeup Artist Training Requirements

Like we mentioned above, makeup artists require training and licensure before they can provide makeup services in most states. This training is often part of a larger esthetics program where students learn in-depth information about skin, skincare, anatomy, and how to address concerns or issues potential clients may face.

The specific course and hour requirements for licensure will vary depending on what state you attend esthetician school in and the field you go into after graduation. For example, Tricoci University has campuses in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, and the hour requirements to complete our esthetics program are: 750 hours in both Illinois and Indiana, and 600 hours in Wisconsin.

Once licensed, some states may require professional makeup artists to pursue continued education opportunities to renew and keep their license current as they progress in their career. For many students, continued education is simply part of the process of developing, evolving, and refining their skills as a makeup artist as the trends, techniques, and technologies available to the industry change over time.

Tips for Building a Successful Professional Makeup Artist Career

Becoming a makeup artist and becoming a successful makeup artist can be two completely different things. Far beyond the minimum training requirements, the most successful makeup artists also hone a variety of skills outside of the core training principles to push the boundaries of their artistic vision and find new paths to success in the industry. Let’s take a closer look at a few personal skills that will help you get a leg up as a budding makeup artist.

Hone Your Creativity

While the mechanics, application techniques, and foundational knowledge are incredibly important pieces of the puzzle, professional makeup artists who strive for greater success find that leaning into their creative side goes a long way. Whether you’re dreaming up unique makeup designs, playing with new application techniques or color pairings, or simply having fun expanding your creative knowledge of all things makeup artistry, there’s no denying that this field requires a passion for creativity.

Develop an Eye for Design

Hand in hand with honing your creativity, makeup artistry is an area of the beauty industry that benefits greatly from a solid understanding of design principles and how to apply them in different situations. From color schemes to look layout, symmetry, and more, having an eye for design can be one of a makeup artist’s strongest assets. Many aspiring makeup artists come by this trait naturally, but if you struggle with design concepts, try spending time studying the work of others, browsing design examples on pinterest and design websites, or taking an online course in basic design principles.

Understand Color Theory

We’ve mentioned color a number of times throughout this article, so it’s no surprise that color theory, color blending, and simply having a grasp of how all the colors of the rainbow work together, against one another, or in unique combinations will be the cornerstone of your makeup artistry career.
Color theory helps you more easily identify which colors work well together as well as which colors work best with different skin tones, eye colors, hair colors, and more. As you build your career as a makeup artist, never underestimate the power of deep and insightful color knowledge.

Get to Know Your Clients

Like many of the career paths students pursue after cosmetology and esthetician school, makeup artistry is a very people-centered career. One of the best ways to continually build your book of clients and become more successful in your professional makeup artist career is to get to know your clients and build a positive relationship with them. Word of mouth is such a powerful tool for building your client roster, and connections are critical to finding sustainable success in the beauty industry.

Focus on Marketing

Thankfully, makeup artistry is an incredibly visual art form, making it easier than ever to market often and well. Build a social media presence and utilize your social media accounts to showcase your best work, advertise specials, share information about your services, and invite potential and existing clients to interact with you on a regular basis. In short, get your content creator on! Keeping your name out there and your work visible is one of the more powerful tools you can capitalize on to build success and longevity as a makeup artist.

Pursue a Passion-Filled Career as a Makeup Artist with Tricoci University

Ready to make that dream of becoming a professional makeup artist a reality? It all starts with the foundation you build in your training program, and the expert instructors at Tricoci University are here to help. Contact us or find your nearest campus to take your first steps toward a fulfilling, passion-fueled career in makeup artistry today.

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