All You Need To Know About A Makeup Artist Career
You think about becoming a makeup artist but want to get additional information in this regard before making your final career choice?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about being a makeup artist in the following chapters.
Not only will you learn how much you can make as a makeup artist, but you will also get information on job satisfaction, working hours, work-life balance, duties, future outlook, educational requirements and much more.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of what working as a makeup artist really looks like and whether you still want to pursue such a career or rather want to go for a different job instead.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Table of Contents
What does a Makeup Artist do?
Makeup artists use cosmetic techniques to alter the looks of the human body.
They make sure that people look good for fancy events so that they can make a good impression on important occasions.
Makeup artists also often work with actors, celebrities and other important people.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Makeup Artist
- Improving the looks of clients
- Consulting clients on what makeup they should use
- Consulting clients regarding skin disorders and how to hide them
- Hiding minor blemishes
- Covering scars and other unpleasant visual marks
- Removing makeup
- Preparing people for movie sets
- Consulting people regarding what colors are good for their personal skin type
- Advising clients regarding skincare routines
What a Typical Day of a Makeup Artist looks like?
Makeup artists typically start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m.
After getting to their workplace, they will often get basic instructions of what they are responsible for from their boss or from celebrities they work for.
Makeup artists will often work on movie sets and prepare actors for their roles.
Hence, you need to be quite creative and also a good listener to fulfill the high expectations of your clients.
After doing the makeup for your clients, you will often stay available for minor changes during the scenes.
After many hours, your workday will be over and you can get back home between 4 and 6 p.m.
However, your working hours will greatly depend on the client you work for and you will have to be quite flexible in this regard.
Makeup Artist Salary 2023
Makeup Artist salary brackets 2023
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $87,000||> $43.41|
|Top 25 %||$69,000 – $75,000||$34.45 – $37.48|
|Bottom 25 %||$48,000 – $53,000||$23.92 – $26.39|
|Bottom 10 %||$37,000 – $42,000||$18.44 – $20.94|
|Range||$37,000 – $94,000||$18.44 – $46.97|
Makeup Artist salary 2023 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$37,000 – $46,000||$18.44 – $22.93|
|Junior||$42,000 – $61,000||$20.94 – $30.42|
|Professional||$58,000 – $69,000||$28.89 – $34.46|
|Senior Professional||$66,000 – $75,000||$32.88 – $37.47|
|Expert||$72,000 – $83,000||$35.91 – $41.48|
|Top Expert||$81,000 – $94,000||$40.39 – $46.94|
Makeup Artist salary by state 2023 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$62,400||$31.19|
Job Security of Makeup Artists
Makeup artists have pretty poor job security.
Since barriers to entry are quite low, almost everyone can work in this field and this means that competition will be quite fierce.
Consequently, you may lose your job from one day to the other if someone comes along who is equally good and is willing to do this job for a lower wage.
Future Outlook of Makeup Artists
Since an increasing number of people want to work as makeup artists, you will have a hard time competing in this field in the near future and you will also have to deal with lots of insecurity regarding how long you will be able to keep your job and whether you will find a new job once you get fired anytime soon.
Working Hours of Makeup Artists
If you work with celebrities on movie sets, your working hours greatly vary since you will always have to be available for changes in plans and you may also have to work at nighttime.
Hence, while you might start your workday between 8 and 10 a.m. and finish your workday between 4 and 6 p.m. most of the time, you may still have to be flexible in this regard since you will often not have fixed shifts but rather have to be available for working overtime whenever it is needed.
Job Satisfaction of Makeup Artists
Most makeup artists are pretty happy with their jobs since they really love what they are doing at work and are also able to make pretty good money from what they are doing.
Promotion Opportunities of Makeup Artists
As a makeup artist, you will do the same work for many years or even decades.
Hence, while your promotion opportunities will be rather limited, you will still be able to work with more important people over time once you have built a solid reputation in your industry.
Career Levels of Makeup Artists
- Makeup artist intern
- Junior makeup artist
- Senior makeup artist
- Senior makeup artist working with celebrities
- Globally-recognized makeup artist with outstanding expertise
Fields and Types of Makeup Artists
- Makeup artist focused on preparing actors for movies
- Makeup artist specialized in doing makeup for private persons
- Makeup artist following latest trends
- Makeup artist focused on doing makeup for kids
- Makeup artist with expertise in covering unpleasant blemishes
- Makeup artist specialized in skincare
- Wedding makeup artist
- Makeup artist for models
- Fashion makeup artist
Educational Requirements for Makeup Artists
Makeup artists don’t need a college degree to be able to work in this field.
While you can take some classes in schools specialized in makeup artistry, you can also start your makeup artist career right after finishing high school if you have a talent for this kind of work and also have some contacts with important people working in this field.
How to become a Makeup Artist
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a makeup artist
- Finish your high school diploma with decent grades
- Apply for schools specialized in makeup artistry
- Apply for an internship as a makeup artist
- Make a good impression during your internship
- Stay in touch with your colleagues
- Finish your makeup artist education
- Apply for jobs in this field
- Master the job interview
- Sign your labor contract
Character Traits you need as a Makeup Artist
- Attention to detail helps you do your work as best as possible
- Passion for improving and altering the looks of people
- Ability to deal with difficult people in an emotionally healthy manner
- Ability to questions yourself
- Motivation to always learn and improve
- You should be a spontaneous person
- You should not be afraid to work with many new people on a regular basis
- You should be outgoing and friendly
- You should be willing to work exotic hours
Hard Skills for Makeup Artists
- Good knowledge of different skin types
- Knowledge of how to hide blemishes
- Expertise in covering scars
- Knowledge of current makeup trends
- Expertise in hiding skin disorders
- Knowledge of latest makeup products
- Knowledge of potential health problems related to using makeup
- You should know whether makeup will trigger certain allergies
- Knowledge of legal rules and regulations related to makeup artistry
- Digital skills help you promote your business
Soft Skills for Makeup Artists
- You need to be flexible
- Ability to deal with negative people in a healthy manner
- Willingness to work in a rather stressful job
- Ability to deal with snarky comments
- Strong mindset helps you deal with drawbacks
- Ability to do good work under time pressure
- Confidence helps you overcome difficult times
- Creativity is key to make your clients happy
- You should be able to figure out what’s important to your clients
Exit Options for Makeup Artists
Makeup artists have pretty poor exit options.
In fact, once you work in this field, you will be pretty specialized and will not learn many skills needed in different industries.
Consequently, you should make sure that you are willing to work as a makeup artist for quite a long time so that you don’t get trapped in this field in the long run.
Makeup Artist – Similar Careers
- Tattoo artist
- Set designer
- Costume expert
- Doctor focused on skin disorders
Makeup Artist Career FAQs
Is working as a makeup artist physically demanding?
While you will have to work with your hands, you will still not have to work in a heavy physical manner as a makeup artist compared to welders or other people who have to lift heavy things and work with heavy machines and tools on a regular basis.
Is working as a makeup artist mentally demanding?
Working as a makeup artist is not extremely mentally demanding.
However, you still need to be creative to meet the high expectations of your clients to stay in this game in the long run.
Is it dangerous to work as a makeup artist?
Working as a makeup artist is not dangerous at all.
You will work in a rather safe environment and your risk of suffering from serious accidents at work will be rather low.
How long do makeup artists stay in their jobs?
Makeup artists work in their jobs for many years or even decades.
On the one hand, most of them really love what they are doing and can’t imagine doing anything else.
On the other hand, makeup artists are pretty specialized and also have serious problems finding a job in a different field and may get trapped in this industry.
Is it easy for makeup artists to find a new job?
Your employability as a makeup artist greatly depends on how good you really are.
While outstanding makeup artists have an easy time finding a new job, standard makeup artists without special expertise or skills will often have a much harder time in this regard.
Is it hard to switch from being a makeup artist to another field of work?
Since makeup artists are pretty specialized in what they are doing, it will also be hard for them to make the switch to working in a completely different field since they will often lack the skills necessary for making such a transition.
Do makeup artists have a high social status?
Makeup artists have a pretty low social status.
In fact, many people in society may belittle you and some of them will even make fun of you.
Even your own family and your friends may not understand your career choice and you should be able to deal with snarky comments in this regard.
Can you help out your family and friends as a makeup artist?
You will not be able to help out your loved ones a lot as a makeup artist since you will be pretty specialized and while craftsmen will be able to fix many things around the home and financial analysts will be able to consult you in all sorts of financial matters, you as a makeup artist will not be able to add much value to the lives of people.
Can makeup artists work remotely?
Makeup artists are not able to work remotely but rather have to be present at their workplace in person.
Consequently, they have to spend lots of time and money on commuting to work and back and will also be less flexible compared to people who are able to work from home on a regular basis.
Is it easy to find a partner as a makeup artist?
Since makeup artists have a rather low social status and also have to work exotic hours, they often have a hard time finding a partner for a long-term relationship since many people out there just search for stabler options and better providers.
Do makeup artists have to work on weekends?
Depending on the niche you work in, you may also have to work on weekends as a makeup artist quite often.
Hence, while many other people are able to enjoy their leisure during those days, you may have to work and may not have time to make nice weekend trips with your family.
Do makeup artists have to work on holidays?
Makeup artists don’t have to work on holidays.
However, if you want to make additional money on the side, you may be able to work during those days to increase your income in case you urgently need it.
Do makeup artists have to work at nighttime?
Makeup artists sometimes also have to work at nighttime.
For instance, if you work in movie production, some scenes will take place at nighttime and your work and your expertise may also be needed during those late hours.
Hence, if you don’t want to work in the evening or at nighttime, you should not become a makeup artist but rather work as a financial controller or in another classical 9 to 5 job.
Do you have to travel as a makeup artist?
You may also have to travel as a makeup artist, especially if you only have short-term gigs and often have to switch the people you work for and the location you work in.
Consequently, you may be away from home quite often and may not be able to spend enough time with your family.
Are makeup artist pensions good?
Since makeup artists can make decent money from what they are doing, also their pensions are pretty solid.
However, you should still save some money on the side to avoid getting into financial trouble once you quit your active career and retire.
Are makeup artist salaries going up?
Salaries of makeup artists have been going up moderately over the past years.
However, since an increasing number of people aspire to a career in this field, chances are that salaries may drop and that overall level of competition you will have to deal with will be fiercer in the near future.
Can you have a positive impact on society as a makeup artist?
While you can improve the looks of many people, you will still not have the same high social impact as professors or teachers who can really change the lives of many people in a significant positive manner.
How long does it take to become a makeup artist?
Since you will not need to get fancy formal education and also don’t have to get a degree, you will be able to become a makeup artist right after finishing high school.
Is it difficult to become a makeup artist?
It is not difficult to become a makeup artist since you don’t need to get extensive formal education.
However, you should still have a talent for working in this field and you should also be creative to meet the high expectations of your clients and to stay successful with what you are doing in the long run.
Do you need to be smart to work as a makeup artist?
You don’t need to have a high IQ for working as a makeup artist.
What’s much more important is that you are a creative person and are also passionate about improving and altering the looks of people so that you stay motivated with what you are doing in the long run.
Do makeup artists have a good work-life balance?
Since makeup artists sometimes have to work on weekends and also often have to work exotic hours, they don’t have good work-life balance and many makeup artists complain that they are not able to spend enough time with their loved ones.
Do makeup artists have to work many extra hours?
Makeup artists have to be quite spontaneous regarding their schedule and their working hours.
Hence, during busy times, you may have to work many extra hours to get your work done while you might have a pretty relaxed time during other months and you should be able to handle those peaks and valleys in an emotionally healthy manner.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a makeup artist?
If you really want to maximize your chances of becoming a makeup artist, you should go to a school that is specialized in makeup artistry and also has a pretty good reputation.
Moreover, you should also work as an intern to get some practical experience and to make some contacts with important people who could help you find a job in this industry later in your life.
Can makeup artists work part-time?
While some makeup artists are able to work part-time, you will have to work full-time and be committed to your job if you want to build a strong reputation and personal brand in this industry to stand out from the crowd and to make really good money from what you are doing.
Do makeup artists work indoors or outdoors?
Makeup artists work both indoors as well as outdoors.
Consequently, you should not be afraid to work outdoors during times of bad weather and in case you don’t want to work outdoors at all, you may rather want to work in a classical office job instead.
What does the workplace of a makeup artist look like?
Makeup artists often work on movie sets.
However, they are sometimes also requested for marriages or other special events and your workplace will therefore change quite frequently.
Thus, you should be a rather spontaneous type of person who is not afraid to work in ever-changing environments.
Do you have to look good for working as a makeup artist?
You don’t have to look good for succeeding as a makeup artist.
However, you should still look professional so that your clients will have trust in your abilities and will also recommend you to other people which is crucial to scale your business in the long run.
Is a makeup artist career beneficial for your private life?
A makeup artist career is not beneficial for your private life since you will often have to be quite flexible regarding your schedule and your working hours and you will have to deal with high levels of insecurity in general.
Consequently, if you want to have a family sooner or later, you may not want to become a makeup artist but rather search for a regular 9 to 5 job.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a makeup artist?
You don’t need a college degree to be able to work as a makeup artist.
In fact, you can start your makeup artist career right after finishing high school if you are really talented and are also willing to work hard.
Do you need to be certified to work as a makeup artist?
You also don’t need to be certified to be able to work as a makeup artist.
Instead, what’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you have passion and motivation for what you are doing so that you can improve your skills in a natural manner in the long run.
How much does it cost to become a makeup artist?
Since you don’t have to spend many years on college education, you also don’t have to spend lots of money on tuition and other expenses related to college.
Hence, while many other people have to spend a fortune on their education, you will even be able to make money at a rather young age.
Is being a makeup artist a good career?
While you can make decent money from being a makeup artist, you will also have to work rather exotic hours and may also be away from home quite often.
Consequently, working as a makeup artist is not considered a good career by the majority of people if you take all relevant factors into account.
Is it easy to start your own business as a makeup artist?
It is relatively easy to start your own business as a makeup artist since you don’t have to spend lots of money upfront and can also start working as a one-man or one-woman shop until you build a solid client base and can scale it from there.
Can makeup artists teach themselves?
Makeup artists are able to teach themselves many skills they need to succeed in this field.
In fact, you will also learn many things on the job and you can also use the internet to get additional schooling and to become a real expert in your industry.
Do makeup artists make good money?
Makeup artists are able to make decent money from what they are doing.
Even though you will not be able to make as much as investment bankers or doctors, you will still be able to make more than the average person out there and if you are really good at what you are doing, you may also be able to make really good money as a makeup artist.
Is it ever too late to become a makeup artist?
Since you will not have to get extensive fancy education and also don’t have to work in a heavy physical manner, you can become a makeup artist at almost any age.
However, still note that your chances in the job market will be higher if you are younger since you will just have more power and will therefore be able to provide more value to your clients.
Do makeup artists have to quit their careers early?
Most makeup artists don’t have to quit their careers early since they don’t have to work in a heavy physical manner compared to construction workers and many other people who have to lift heavy things on a regular basis and may suffer from serious physical health issues over time which often force them to quit their careers relatively early.
What is the most challenging thing about working as a makeup artist?
The most challenging part about being a makeup artist is that you always have to work with new people and your clients will have completely different preferences and expectations.
Consequently, you will also have to deal with many complaints and you need a strong mindset to deal with those things in an emotionally healthy manner.
Can you provide for your family by working as a makeup artist?
Since you will be able to make decent money if you become good as a makeup artist, you will have a rather easy time providing for your family and you will often not have to deal with financial problems as many other people who work in low-wage environments have to do on a regular basis.
Will makeup artists suffer from old-age poverty?
Most makeup artists don’t suffer from old-age poverty since they can make decent money during their active careers and can save and invest some money for retirement purposes.
Moreover, also their pensions will be pretty decent and old-age poverty should not become a problem for you as a makeup artist unless you spend too much money on useless consumption.
Can makeup artists retire early?
Even though makeup artists are able to make good money, it will still not be enough to retire early in most cases and most makeup artists therefore have to work until official retirement age.
Do makeup artists get a fixed or variable salary?
Makeup artists often get a mix of fixed and variable salaries.
Hence, you will often have to deal with significant income swings and have to save money during good times to have a buffer for bad times that may come sooner or later.
Can you get rich as a makeup artist?
While you can make decent money, you will still not become wealthy or even rich as an employed makeup artist.
Thus, if you want to make really good money, you either have to start your own business in this industry or become a doctor, judge or financial expert instead.
Do makeup artists need a second job?
Since most makeup artists are able to make decent money from what they are doing, most of them don’t need a second job.
However, if you live in regions where rents and living costs are extremely high, your makeup artist salary may not be enough to cover your expenses and you may still have to work a second job.
Do you get continuous training as a makeup artist?
As a makeup artist, you will get lots of training at the beginning of your career.
However, once you get more experienced and senior, it will be on you to hone your craft and to get really good at what you are doing over time.
Do you get sick pay as a makeup artist?
Makeup artists often don’t get sick pay.
However, if you want to be 100% sure in this regard, you should ask people who already work in this industry in your local region.
Do makeup artists have a high level of responsibility?
Makeup artists don’t have a high level of responsibility since they will just care about the looks of people and their mistakes will not have the same high impact on the lives of people compared to doctors whose mistakes could even take away the lives of many people.
Can makeup artists work abroad?
You will also be able to work abroad as a makeup artist.
However, before you decide on moving to a different country, you should inform yourself about the salaries and working conditions abroad since they are often quite different from what you are used to at home.
Is it stressful to work as a makeup artist?
Working as a makeup artist can be stressful since you will have to work with many different people who often have completely different tastes and expectations and while person A may love your work, person B may not be happy with it at all.
In turn, you will have to deal with high levels of insecurity at work and need a strong mindset to deal with those things in an emotionally healthy manner.
Is it boring to work as a makeup artist?
Working as a makeup artist barely gets boring since you will work with many different people who all have different tastes and you will always have to adjust to new situations.
Consequently, you will simply not have time to feel bored but rather have to give it your all to stay successful with what you are doing in the long run.
Is being a makeup artist hard?
Being a makeup artist is not that hard.
Even though you may have to deal with significant stress at work, you will still not have to work in a heavy physical manner as many people who work in craftsmen jobs have to do on a regular basis.
Are makeup artists at risk of burnout?
Since makeup artists often have to deal with lots of stress at work and also have to work rather exotic hours, many of them are at significant risk of suffering from burnout sooner or later.
Is there a dress code for makeup artists?
There is no official dress code for makeup artists. Instead, you can wear whatever you feel most comfortable with as long as it looks professional so that your clients will keep trust in you and your work and will also recommend you to other people.
What kind of makeup artists are paid the most?
The more experienced you become as a makeup artist, the more value you can provide to your clients.
Consequently, if you really want to make good money, you should get really good at what you are doing and hone your craft every day to stay ahead of the competition.
What percentage of makeup artists are women?
Around 80% of all makeup artists are women while only 20% are men.
However, this doesn’t mean that chances for men to work in this industry are worse. It just means that more women are interested to work in this field.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a makeup artist?
You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a makeup artist.
What’s much more important is that you hone your craft every day and that you also build a strong network of people to get fancy jobs and to build a strong reputation in this industry.
Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a makeup artist?
You will often not be personally liable for mistakes as an employed makeup artist.
However, if you have your own business, things will be quite different and you should therefore get proper insurance to be covered in case of emergency.
Do makeup artists have a high life expectancy?
Since makeup artists often have to deal with lots of stress at work and also have to work rather exotic hours, they will often have a hard time relaxing and may suffer from serious mental issues, which may lower their life expectancy quite a bit compared to the average person.
Do makeup artists suffer from sleeping problems?
Since makeup artists often have to work in the evening or at nighttime, they often also suffer from sleeping problems since they are not able to maintain a healthy sleeping pattern.
What states are best for working as a makeup artist?
As a makeup artist, you should work in a state or a region where makeup artists are in high demand while living costs are still low so that you can afford many nice things from working as a makeup artist and don’t have to spend all your money on rent and other basic expenses.
Who do makeup artists work with?
Makeup artists work with many different people.
Hence, it is crucial that you are friendly and competent so that people will recommend you so that you can scale your business and build a strong reputation.
Is working as a makeup artist cool?
Being a makeup artist is considered cool by many people out there.
However, you should still not care about the opinions of others when it comes to your career choice and rather do what’s best for you in this regard in the long run.
Can you start a side hustle as a makeup artist?
It will also be relatively easy for you to start a side hustle as a makeup artist.
For instance, you could start a YouTube channel or a blog, build an audience and monetize this audience in the long run.
Do you have to be creative as a makeup artist?
You have to be creative to succeed as a makeup artist in the long run since only if you are creative, you can impress your clients on a regular basis and stand out from the crowd.
Do makeup artists suffer from being overweight?
Many makeup artists suffer from being overweight since they don’t get sufficient exercise at work and also don’t burn enough calories to stay fit in the long run.
How employable are makeup artists?
If you are really good at what you are doing, you will get many job offers as a makeup artist.
However, the average makeup artist is not that employable anymore and you may have a hard time finding a new job in case you get fired for various possible reasons.
Are makeup artists happy with their jobs?
While makeup artists are often happy with their tasks, they often also complain about overall working conditions since they often have to work much overtime and sometimes also have to work on weekends and at nighttime.
Consequently, many makeup artists don’t have enough time for their families.
Is working as a makeup artist exciting?
Being a makeup artist can be exciting since you will work with many new people on a regular basis and you will always have to hone your craft to stay ahead of the game.
Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a makeup artist?
You will not have a big positive impact on our environment as a makeup artist. In fact, some makeup ingredients are pretty harmful to our planet and you will just work in an industry where looks are more important than protecting our environment.
What are the pros and cons of working as a makeup artist?
If you are still interested in becoming a makeup artist, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a makeup artist career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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