How to Become A Makeup Artist

Becoming a makeup artist is truly landing the dream job. Getting paid to learn about and experimenting with the latest beauty trends, creating new looks and working with famous clients is what makes the work of a makeup artist amazing. In addition to makeup application, a lot of cosmetologists and makeup artists are well-versed in hairstyling as well, to create a complete look.

Besides this, some makeup artists are specialists in areas like theater and performing arts. These artists help create outrageously unique looks to bring different kinds of fictional characters to life.

If this line of work sounds like something you would be interested in, then continue reading the following guide on how to become a makeup artist in the US.

Should I Become a Makeup Artist?

Working as a makeup artist has its benefits. For instance, you get to meet all kinds of people at work, giving you the opportunity to build your network and learn new things. In addition to that, you can benefit from the endless scope of makeup artistry by specializing in weddings/special occasion makeup, working in a salon, working in a magazine editorial creating different looks for photoshoots or even for television.

As a freelance makeup artist, you can set your own schedule, along with enjoying continuous development with changing trends in the industry. And with the world of social media and influencing generating more and more interest, online makeup artists enjoy a good wage, along with big fan followings.

The following table provides a quick look into the career of a makeup artist. Since the exact category is not available on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, we will be using the categories of “Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists” and “Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance”

Education Required

Postsecondary Nondegree Award

Major Requirement



License is Required



Key Skills

Creativity, customer-service skills, listening skills, physical stamina, tidiness, time-management skills

Annual Mean Salary (2019)

Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance - $81,600

Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists - $31,530

Job Outlook (2018-28)

8% - Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook for a Makeup Artist

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment for Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists is expected to grow by 8%, which is faster than the average for all other occupations.

The field for makeup artists is also expected to experience a growth, resulting from a renewed interest in creative makeup and celebrity-backed makeup brands. With big names like Kylie Cosmetics, Fenty Beauty and Huda Beauty, the makeup market is becoming more and more diverse by the day. If you end up becoming the personal makeup artist for an A-list celebrity, you can make exuberant amounts.

Aspiring makeup artists can also open up their own salons and offer a variety of services such as hairstyling, haircutting, facials, manicures, pedicures etc.

Steps to Become a Makeup Artist

In order to become a part of this industry, makeup artists have to get some education and experience, along with develop strong networking skills. The following steps will shed some light on this process:

Step 1: Enroll in a Makeup Program in a Cosmetology School

The best way to master the art of makeup and styling, is to start off with a formal education program. You will learn numerous techniques to be successful in the industry. In addition to that, most cosmetology programs prepare students to appear for the State Board exam to become a licensed professional.

Step 2: Get a Cosmetology License

To be able to apply makeup and cosmetics on clients, makeup artists need a license in all states. The requirements for a cosmetologist license may vary from state to state. However, typical requirements involve completing a training program and passing a written exam.

Step 3: Build a Portfolio

A portfolio is an essential tool for makeup artists and it contains photographs of the artist’s work. You are advised to build up this portfolio by taking pictures of your clients for different kinds of makeup.

Step 4: Market your Makeup Services

This is the step which will actually get you clients. There are many ways to promote your makeup business. You can go for business cards, brochures, online marketing or can even attend networking events to get your talent across to potential clients.

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