Make-Up Artist

What does it take to become a Make-Up Artist?

What qualifications and experience do I need?

For entry level positions in theatre experience is essential but very much desired, this does not have to have been gained in paid employment though, perhaps you volunteered with your local amateur dramatics club or school? A portfolio of work showcasing your skills, techniques and creative talent will be looked at during the interview and this is your chance to impress enough to be invited back for the short list trade test. It will also be expected that you have qualified in level 2 hair & media make-up and level 3 in theatrical make-up. Beauty Skills Academy offers learners the opportunity to provide the hair and make-up services for local events such as school/college productions. For entry level positions in TV and film you can expect to have completed significant work experience on a voluntary basis, have kept your portfolio up to date and hold a minimum level 2 make-up qualifications. To succeed as an editorial make-up artist, you will have to be qualified to level 2 make-up, talented and be able to demonstrate good experience of working with photographers, this could have been gained on a voluntary basis or perhaps you share your work on YouTube? Personal make-up artists need to be qualified to level 2 make-up and will also benefit having qualified in aspects of hair and other beauty treatments. Beauty Skills Academy offers our level 2 diploma in hair & media make-up which includes a range of complimentary hair and beauty units enabling the personal make-up artist to offer a complete service to the client.

What personal skills and qualities do I need?

This is a highly competitive industry and your ability to network will be vital. As a make-up artist you will need good artistic skills and be able to understand how use of contouring and colour can be used to create a range of looks. You will also need to be able to interpret the client’s expectations, whether this be a simple make-up, TV, film or theatre. If you’re working in TV/Film or theatre you will be expected to work with others to ensure continuity. You will need to be organised and committed to building a portfolio of work. You can expect to work days, evening and weekends depending on the setting and be comfortable working on short term contracts in film and TV. Once you are working you will need to move around different theatres/studios to gain varied experience. In these demanding, time critical environments a thick skin is sometimes necessary as is an ability to work well under pressure.

Where could I find work?

Theatres, TV studios, film productions, hair/beauty salons, cosmetic counters, photography studios are some of the places that would require the services of make-up artists. Where you will find work will somewhat depend on your locations and ability to travel, theatres are generally in big cities as are TV studios but film productions can be either on location or in set film studios. Make-up artists are generally responsible for their own equipment and this can be physically demanding during a long day. Most larger towns will have stores with cosmetic counters and airports worldwide offer opportunities across a vast array of brands.

What progression opportunities are there?

Self-employed make-up artists can build a reputation that means they are always in work, some will be able to pick and choose contracts, this takes talent, ambition and resilience. Some make-up artists become brand ambassadors or write books. Talented and experienced make-up artists working for cosmetic houses will find opportunities in management.