What is the Average Salary for a Makeup Artist?
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Makeup artists enhance, alter, augment, transform or otherwise change a person’s appearance to achieve a desired effect.
Depending on the goal of the assignment or client, makeup artists may use a variety of techniques and materials ranging from ordinary cosmetics to specialized prosthetics in their work. They may be responsible for design conceptualization and planning as well as executing the actual transformation.
Makeup artists are responsible for understanding the client’s needs, creating a plan to achieve the client’s desired effect, and then using the appropriate tools and supplies to get the job done. They frequently provide “dress rehearsal” services in which they carefully try out certain techniques to make sure they are well-prepared to make their clients shine for the actual event.
Makeup artists often collaborate closely with other professionals who are also contributing to the overall effect including costume and apparel designers, hairstylists, and personal stylists.
A wide variety of celebrities rely on makeup artists to ensure that they are always optimally prepared to be in the public eye, which means their makeup artists use their skills to enhance attributes, minimize imperfections, and direct attention away from blemishes.
These makeup artists have a keen sense of how to use the right colors and techniques to bring out their clients’ best possible appearance at all times. They are particularly important to their clients for special events such as galas, fundraisers, openings, and other public or private gatherings at which they are appearing.
Makeup artists are also frequently employed by non-celebrities to maximize their appearance for special events. Bridal party members, honorees, guests of honor, attendees to important personal and professional functions, interviewees, politicians, guest speakers, presenters, and ordinary people who want to look their best rely on makeup artists to make sure it happens when needed and is absolutely perfect.
Theatrical makeup artists are employed by film, television, advertising, and theater companies and stars to create certain desired effects on actors and actresses to better fit the roles they are playing. This work ranges from using makeup techniques to create subtle effects such as a certain age or condition for the character, or very dramatic appearances, such as injuries, wounds, scars, deformities, or even non-human appearances.
Some makeup artists specialize in truly special effects. They are called upon to transform actors and actresses into beings from other planets, animals, or make them appear to be something significantly different from their regular appearance. These makeup artists are adept at using small and large prosthetics of all kinds that they seamlessly attach to the face in order to create a dramatically different result.
Over the years in television, film, and advertising, makeup artists have been the creative genius behind some of the most memorable characters and faces in pop culture, including mythological creatures, aliens, and animals played by actors.
Makeup artists play a critical role in the fashion world for print publications as well as live runway shows. Makeup artists are responsible for ensuring that models fit the desired aesthetic “look”. Designers, show producers, and models rely on makeup artists to create the right “feel” of the models’ appearance so that the show reflects the desired tone of the clothing, line, and season, in addition to maximizing the models’ natural attributes.
Makeup artists may be called upon to help design a concept that helps the designer highlight certain aspects of their creations by highlighting certain features of their models.
The advertising, fashion and lifestyle journalism, and fashion photography fields all depend heavily on makeup artists to bring to life the desired “feel” of their projects. Makeup artists work side-by-side with designers, writers, stylists, celebrities, models, lighting crews, and photographers to ensure that the people featured in these productions are contributing to the desired look of the result.
A makeup artist is a professional artist who uses specially designed cosmetic products, techniques, and tools to maximize the natural attributes of an individual’s face and minimize unwanted blemishes or features for a certain occasion. Makeup artists provide applications of materials that are temporary and intended only to last for the specific event for which they are applied.
A cosmetologist is a licensed professional who is trained and certified to give a range of beauty treatments that are intended to enhance or alter a person’s appearance for a longer period of time than makeup application alone. They may also apply makeup, but their primary focus is on a variety of services that address a longer-term look and may include hair, skin, nail, and body treatments that are semi-permanent, permanent, or intended to become more lasting with repeated application.
Makeup artists can work in a variety of settings, and depending on their position, may also work across multiple different settings. Theaters, entertainment venues, production companies for all varieties of media, fashion companies, boutiques, beauty supply retailers, spas, and salons frequently have in-house makeup artists, while others may retain contracted positions on an as-needed basis.
Makeup artists who are freelancing or own their own business may work out of their homes or go to their clients’ homes or the event venue at which they are needed.
Makeup artists who are not employed full time or on a regular schedule for a particular company or employer may freelance or contract their services out for additional income and work. Freelance and contract work might include part-time hours at another entity or taking on private contracts such as weddings and special events when they are not otherwise scheduled by their primary employer.
The requirements to become a professional makeup artist can vary depending on the state in which you plan to work. Some states require licensure as a makeup artist or as a cosmetologist, and licensure may or may not require the completion of an educational program.
In some states, makeup artists do not have to be licensed at all, with or without having completed an educational program, or having a GED or High School Diploma, and on-the-job training and demonstrated proficiency will be sufficient to start working in the industry. In other states, licensure is required but an educational program may not be a prerequisite licensure eligibility.
Makeup artist programs typically require between 300 and 800 hours of combined classroom training and applied experience. These programs cover topics including fundamentals of makeup, product and color, facial anatomy, different kinds of makeup styles, and skin care. There are also specialty classes that will train students to work in specific areas such as media, theater, fashion, spa/salon, and beauty product companies.
Full cosmetology programs may take over a year to complete and usually require a GED or high school diploma for eligibility. Cosmetology programs are typically around a year in length and have courses that cover technical skills such as hair styling, hair treatments for perming and straightening, hair coloring and lengthening, hair cutting, manicure and pedicure treatments, facials, and other beauty treatments. Programs include classroom and applied components and are typically between 1,000 and 1,500 hours that can be completed in a variety of timeframes.
Educational programs for makeup artists vary in the specific courses, but all provide students with the foundational skills to begin their careers and develop their specialty interests. Subjects covered in a makeup artist educational program usually include:
A wide variety of online makeup artist courses are available for individuals who want to develop their skills in certain areas. These courses provide direction, but do not provide personal practice opportunities like those available in classroom-based programs. In addition to real-world practice, students are responsible for supplies, tools, and documenting their practice.
Online makeup artist education is frequently a part of a certificate or non-credit program offered by a professional school.
A successful makeup artist is not just good at creating beautiful faces. It is also important to have business savvy, dedication, excellent time management, commitment, and a dedication to perfection. Having the “talent” to create exceptional results is not enough without the other important business skills that set professionals apart from amateurs.
In addition to makeup skills, successful makeup artists have:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of makeup artists is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026.
Makeup artist career opportunities vary within specialty areas. With the increased use of CGI, digital photography alteration, and other computer-related technologies, the role of makeup artists is somewhat different than previously. This is particularly true when it comes to special effects in movies and television, where many digital alteration technologies have replaced human actors with generated images.
Geographic location can be a significant factor in the employment outlook for makeup artists. While spa, special event, and media-related makeup artist services are widely in demand, television, advertising, theater, and film work is largely found in major metropolitan areas where these industries are centralized.
It is challenging to predict the job outlook in some of these specialty areas due to the rapidly changing nature of the work. However, the spa, salon, personal care, and bridal industries continue to grow rapidly. Additionally, the expansion of the online, DIY personalized product market such as promotional materials, gifts, and scrapbooking has created a new demand within the private sector for personal makeup artists who can help ordinary people look their best and create beautiful images of themselves, their friends, and their families for a wide variety of occasions and purposes.
Advancement opportunities for makeup artists are relative to the location and market in which they are working. Once a makeup artist has a great reputation and references, the advancement opportunities are almost endless. Makeup artists can continue working as independent artists for VIP clients, while moving forward as beauty consultants or writers, product development experts, brand representatives, educators, retail managers, and personal stylists.
For makeup artists already working within a large company, there are likely advancement opportunities in management, sales, promotions, and other important areas of the industry. Advancement as an independent artist will come with experience and reputation, as artists are able to charge more for their services and maintain a regular client base.
Makeup artists employed by large companies such as cosmetic companies or beauty product manufacturers, or even production companies, may find that they have opportunities for promotion and advancement within the same organization based on experience, seniority, and reputation. These promotions may provide artists with the chance to learn more about different aspects of the field and gain invaluable experience in ancillary sectors such as marketing, finance, management, and operations.
A personal stylist advises clients on how to achieve their desired look through the use of clothes, shoes, makeup, accessories, hairstyles, and other elements of an individual’s presentation.
Personal Stylists serve a broad spectrum of clients, from professionals and celebrities who need to look impeccable every time they step out into public, to regular individuals who want assistance making better use of the clothes they already own, upgrading their wardrobe, or to get help achieving a new look for themselves. These professionals may work on retainer or on an as-needed basis for special events, or even one time consultations, depending on the need of the client.
Estheticians are individuals who are trained and licensed to provide a wide range of beauty treatments for skin, but not hair or nails. Estheticians can perform limited, superficial cosmetic treatments including some chemical peels, waxing, other hair removal techniques, facials, and some hair processes that do not include chemicals.
Estheticians may also provide relaxation services such as aromatherapy treatments. Estheticians have a wider scope of practice than cosmetologists, and are frequently hired in salons, spas, premium workout facilities, and retreat centers, as well as companies and businesses specializing in hair removal services.
A fashion stylist is a savvy and creative professional responsible for selecting clothing, accessories, and the other elements of a “look” for a wide variety of high profile visual mediums including print features and advertising, television and other media productions, live events, concerts, and other notable appearances.
Stylists often work as a member of a team alongside fashion designers, hair and makeup professionals, photographers or directors, and editors, to ensure that the overall presentation contributes to the goal of the individual or the project.
Makeup artists are uniquely positioned to truly demonstrate the scope of a product or product line to potential consumers, including individuals and commercial vendors. That means that makeup manufacturing and branding companies benefit from having sales reps who can show audiences the versatility and maximal application of the products as part of a sales presentation. Sales reps enjoy unique opportunities to travel and benefit from industry insider exposure at the myriad of events attended by the companies they rep for.