Have you ever watched a TV show like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones and wondered how some of the characters look the way they do? A large part of what makes these shows and so many more so visually appealing comes down to the excellent work of the make-up department.
If you’ve got both a passion and a talent for make-up and a keen knowledge of the fashion industry, it may be worth your while to consider a career as a make-up artist.
Make-up artists are the people who make other people look great. It’s a craft that can be dated back to thousands of years ago, and is still going strong today as cosmetology gets more and more popular.
It’s also a career that does not require you to have a college degree. College isn’t for everybody – fees, debts and years of study put many off – so it is worth remembering that it is not an essential component in securing a job that you’re passionate about, like that of a make-up artist.
The purpose of this article is to shed some light on the occupation and answer some questions you may have such as what is the average salary of a make-up artist. We will look at that over the course of the article as well as so much more – starting with what exactly the job entails.
Table of Contents
What Does a Make-Up Artist Do?
So, what exactly is it that a make-up artist does? Well, the core task at the heart of the role is the transforming of a person’s appearance, be that facial or otherwise, to enhance their appearance or radically change it where necessary.
The job is most commonly found within the entertainment and fashion industry’s and artists can find themselves employed by companies, on a freelance basis or within their own businesses.
What does the job consist of on a daily basis? Well, for one thing, and this may seem blatantly obvious, but make-up artists apply make-up. This involves the applying of cosmetic products in order to obtain the desired or required effect and look.
Prior to the application of make-up, the artist must cleanse the skin of the client, and must do so once more when the make-up is finished with if required.
An artist must be able to demonstrate what a beauty product will do and also explain the different ways in which it can be utilised.
While this is the largest part of the role, there is so much more that is involved in the occupation. Make-up artists may also be required to establish budgets required for there materials and also keep track of accounts.
They may need to consult with scripts and directors to ensure the make-up is appropriate. They may also have to train and educate apprentices – it is a wide ranging role that may see you dipping your hand in everything from entrepreneurship to education.
What Skills Do You Need To Be a Make-Up Artist
Work as a make-up artist requires both strong intrinsic talent but also skills that are learned on the job. Below are some of the skills that could see you excel in the role:
Being a creatively minded person will hold you in good stead as a make-up artist. You are effectively working with a blank canvas and it is up to the artist to work their magic. While there may be some guidelines to follow, it is ultimately up to the make-up artist themselves to make their visions a reality.
Good Interpersonal Skills (Communication & Listening)
As a make-up artist you may have to spend a great deal of time with the people you’re working on – it is not a job that can be done quickly, as precision takes time. With this being the case you will need to be capable of putting your client at ease by conversing with them and letting them know what you’re doing. You must also listen to any queries they may have as you work.
Time Management Skills
Generally speaking, make-up in a professional capacity is applied in anticipation of an upcoming event – be that a production that is required for or a particular occasion. As such, the make-up artist is usually working towards concrete deadlines, meaning they have to work within time constraints to do their job correctly. This may involve multi-tasking to ensure jobs are finished in time, and as such, having good ability when it comes to time management is important.
Hygiene is essential within the make-up industry. As an artist, you must be incredibly tidy – both in your work and your workplace. You’ll also be required to be in close contact with people due to the nature of the work, meaning good personal hygiene is imperative.
Being a make-up artist may require you to be knowledgeable about many facets within the make-up industry. Everything from special effects to prosthetics may be needed from you (depending on where you are working) and you must be able to adapt to emerging trends in the industry as well.
How Do You Become a Make-Up Artist
There are no specific requirements to becoming a make-up artist, but in all likelihood to gain employment you will require some qualifications to set you apart from other people vying for similar roles and to help develop your skills in a professional capacity.
You will need to require some formal training from an accredited school of cosmetology to gain the skills needed to be an accomplished make-up artist. These schools have become more popular of late, so hopefully there is one in your near area.
If you would like to specialize in a particular field of make-up – prosthetics, costume, special effects etc. – you will require additional schooling. This may be unappealing, but it gives you a real foot-up in the industry and is a great way of continuing to nurture your skills in a particular area and make connections in the industry.
You will also need plenty of on-the-job training alongside your education. This can occur in tandem with your schooling or following it. For this training, you will either work as the assistant of a make-up artist or their apprentice. Shadowing a professional is a great way to learn and gives you an opportunity to practice your skills.
Once you have gained an education and done some work experience, you’re in a position to begin building your own client base if you choose to work outside of a company (even if you want to work within a company, this is a great way of building your reputation). This may require holding volunteering sessions to enhance your chance of being referred.
Salary & Additional Benefits
Working in the make-up industry may be something that you are passionate about but it can also be a lucrative career. The aggregated average salary of a Make-Up Artist is $63,953. This salary works out at approximately $30.57 an hour and is determined by looking at the salaries of jobs within the make-up industry.
To give a better idea of the pay scale, salaries for the job are listed as starting from as low as $21,208 (which pays approximately $10.20 per hour) to as high as an amazing $119,985 (which pays up to $57.69 per hour).
There are many elements that will determine how much money you earn per year as a make-up artist. How much experience you have, where and who you’re working for and how long the project you are working on will all come into play, as well as other mitigating factors such as how bug the production or project is.
In terms of additional benefits that come with working in the make-up industry, aside from working in an industry that you’re passionate about, there are more perks. For one, you’ll have access to an extensive amount of materials that you can use as you please, which will no doubt appeal to many.
There is also the opportunity to attend lavish events or premieres that include your clients, which gives you an opportunity to travel. You may also have to travel for your work – many people have teams that they can’t live without, so wherever they are, they bring their make-up artist.
There’s great scope for entrepreneurship as a make-up artist. It’s a recession-proof business; people will always require make-up for events such as weddings and fashion shows, so there will always be the opportunity to practice your wares, making it a good business opportunity.
You may have had your interest piqued by a career in the make-up industry but still be interested in hearing about other, similar jobs. Well, you’re in look because there are other jobs out there that share traits with that of a make-up artist and also do not require a college degree – jobs like that of a manicurist and a skincare specialist.
Manicurist’s are the people who keep you nails in check. Whether it’s your fingers or your toes, manicurists – or pedicurists – clean, shape and generally look after your nails. It’s a role similar to that of a make-up artist in that it is also in the beauty industry.
Skincare specialists often work in tandem with make-up artists with their work, but it is a broad ranging role. The main objective of a skincare specialist is to leave their client’s skin feeling cleansed and enhanced through specialised means, making it great for before and after the application of make-up.
Jobs like that of a make-up artist are proof that you do not need a college degree to gain access to a great job. It’s a rewarding, challenging and fulfilling job that pays a good salary.
College is a vital part of many people’s career paths but it is well worth remembering that it isn’t for everybody and it isn’t essential. Fees, debts and staying in the education system and outside of the working world can be off putting to plenty of people, so don’t feel restricted just because you don’t want to or cannot attend a college. There are great jobs out there – like that of a make-up artist – so consult your options!
I never went to college, and it ended up being the best decision I ever made. Almost a decade ago I learned how to create my first online business, and now I work full time from home. The best part is that I set my own salary, and set my own schedule. If I want to make more money, I work harder. If I want to work less, I just take the day off!