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What Does it Take to Be a Makeup Artist?

Makeup Artist Example Apply makeup to performers to reflect period, setting, and situation of their role.

Life As a Makeup Artist: What Do They Do?

  • Create character drawings or models, based upon independent research, to augment period production files.
  • Assess performers’ skin type to ensure that makeup will not cause break-outs or skin irritations.
  • Examine sketches, photographs, and plaster models to obtain desired character image depiction.
  • Attach prostheses to performers and apply makeup to create special features or effects, such as scars, aging, or illness.
  • Requisition or acquire needed materials for special effects, including wigs, beards, and special cosmetics.
  • Write makeup sheets and take photos to document specific looks and the products used to achieve the looks.

What Every Makeup Artist Should Know

Below is a list of the skills most Makeup Artists say are important on the job.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Other Makeup Artist Job Titles

  • Special Effects Technician
  • Special Makeup Effects Artist
  • Special Effects Makeup Artist
  • Prosthetic Makeup Designer
  • Hair and Makeup Designer

Is There Going to be Demand for Makeup Artists?

In the United States, there were 4,800 jobs for Makeup Artist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 12.5% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 600 new jobs for Makeup Artist by 2026. The BLS estimates 600 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Makeup Artists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Makeup Artist are North Carolina, Nevada, and District of Columbia. Watch out if you plan on working in Washington, Indiana, or California. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Makeup Artists Make A Lot Of Money?

The average yearly salary of a Makeup Artist ranges between $22,460 and $130,710.

Salary Ranges for Makeup Artists

Makeup Artists who work in District of Columbia, Tennessee, or California, make the highest salaries.

How much do Makeup Artists make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
California $79,820
District of Columbia $84,320
Florida $63,950
Georgia $58,100
Hawaii $47,720
Louisiana $35,720
Nevada $37,340
New York $77,030
Tennessee $88,090
Texas $42,550

What Tools do Makeup Artists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Makeup Artists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Email software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Facebook
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • Twitter
  • Appointment scheduling software
  • Blogging software
  • Instagram
  • Client databases

How do I Become a Makeup Artist?

What education or degrees do I need to become a Makeup Artist?

Makeup Artist Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Makeup Artist?

Makeup Artist Work Experience

Makeup Artists Sector

Makeup Artist Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Makeup Artists work:

Makeup Artist Industries

Those thinking about becoming a Makeup Artist might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Tiffany Bumgardner via Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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