How To Become A Makeup Artist: Advice from Top Professionals

Do you dream of becoming a makeup artist yourself? It’s not hard to see why. It’s a dream job. Being a makeup artist is a great way to get paid to think about beauty trends and experiment with new looks. However, like all other amazing gigs, it takes hard work. How do you transform from a lipstick junkie into a professional makeup artist? We asked industry professionals to help us.

John Stapleton has been working for M.A.C. Cosmetics has been in his employ for 18 years. He has been a senior artist with the brand for 18 years. He has discovered and applied new trends all over the world, from Japan to Brazil to Lebanon. Then there’s social-worker-turned-makeup-artist Katey Denno, who’s made a name for herself working with models, celebrities, and big-time photographers. Simone Ciafardini, Make Up For Ever’s vice-president of education and artistry is also a key figure. She has developed many techniques for Make Up For Ever teachers over her 25+ year career in the beauty industry.

Artists aspirants, stop wallowing in your brushes and start taking notes. These professionals were kind enough share valuable career advice. Start with…

1. Practice. Practice. Then, practice more.

It’s a well-known fact that practice makes perfect. Makeup artistry is no different. You will be better at makeup artistry if you practice it more than once. Simone says that practice is the key to success. Simone says that while it is essential to learn from professional artists, making practice a part of your daily routine is equally important.

John recommends that you get hands-on experience at your local beauty shop or mall makeup counter. He says, “There’ll be a revolving doors of personalities, skin types and ages.” Counter artists are the people that people turn to when they need help with beauty. Counters are the best place for customer service and to gain the most experience and exposure in makeup services.

Katey says, “Find out what you are good at and what needs more practice.” “Play with product as much as possible on all skin types and facial features, as well as all ages!”

2. Look into the careers of makeup artists who have come before you.

It’s worth taking the time to discover what looks appeal to you and who your role models in makeup are. Katey suggests that you research the careers of those who have come before you and learn what you enjoy about their work. Find the styles that you are most drawn to. Start by reading magazines, websites, blogs, beauty vlogs and celebrity photos.

3. For formal education, enroll

Going to school is a great way to get started if you are serious about being a professional make-up artist. There are many programs available across the country. Do your research to find the best one for you. The Make Up For Ever Academy is one such school. Simone says that it offers a master’s program. It includes four levels: beauty and fashion, TV and film, stage and artistic, and TV and film. The program is six months long and provides certification upon completion. You can also choose from intensive programs lasting anywhere from one to seven days at the Academy.

A local community college can also offer an associate of arts in cosmetology. They can help you prepare for any licensing exams or requirements that your state requires, regardless of whether you go to a traditional college or beauty school.

4. Market yourself online.

The internet has revolutionized the beauty industry. John states that social media has had a significant impact on makeup artistry. Think of all the Instagram and YouTube sensations! It’s incredible that you can experience new ideas in a completely different way. Simone concurs that social media can be a great tool for artists to stay relevant. “The more you expose and are exposed by others, the greater your growth.”

Katey has seen it firsthand for her career. She says, “I wasn’t able to believe it until my agent gave me a hard talking to.” “I launched my blog shortly after and got a piece on my favorite products. At that moment, I realized how important it was to be a brand in this sector and also establish a daily presence on social media.

5. Don’t get too obsessed with fangirling, no matter what.

Many people dream of working as professional makeup artists. Katey stresses that even if you are lucky enough to have a celebrity client, it is important to keep your professional image. She says, “Remember that your job is to perform a service and not become best friends with someone who you’ve seen on the screen.” It’s great to build a relationship, but it is your job to ensure that your client is at their most relaxed. This can often mean knowing when it’s appropriate to talk and when to keep quiet. Let them think, listen to their music, and then let them go.

6. Do whatever job you can, and always bring your best attitude.

You can take on any job that you find to gain experience as you move up the ladder. “Nothing is too small or too big for you. Katey says that you never know who you will meet or where they might end up. So treat everyone as you would like to be treated.

7. Love your job.

Don’t lose your passion for makeup artistry and artistry. “Enthusiasm and passion are important!” 18 years later, M.A.C. is still my home. My passion is as strong today as it was on my first day. John says that it encourages John to be creative and express himself through makeup art.

8. Flats are best.

Long days of work as a makeup artist require you to be on your feet all day. Simone says it’s a simple but important tip: “Never wear heels to work.”

9. Find a mentor.

Try to find a makeup artist that will allow you to tag along with them. It’s even better if you can be their assistant or intern! It’s invaluable to have a mentor to help you get started. Simone says, “And one day pay it back.”

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