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What Does it Take to Be a Makeup Artist?

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

A Day in the Life of a Makeup Artist

  • Cleanse and tone the skin to prepare it for makeup application.
  • Evaluate environmental characteristics, such as venue size and lighting plans, to determine makeup requirements.
  • Write makeup sheets and take photos to document specific looks and the products used to achieve the looks.
  • Provide performers with makeup removal assistance after performances have been completed.
  • Establish budgets, and work within budgetary limits.
  • Requisition or acquire needed materials for special effects, including wigs, beards, and special cosmetics.

Makeup Artist Skills

When polled, Makeup Artists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

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 Makeup Effects Artist
  • Commercial Makeup Artist
  • Beauty Therapist
  • Makeup Artist
  • Special Effects Designer

What Kind of Makeup Artist Job Opportunities Are There?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 4,800 jobs in the United States for Makeup Artist. 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.


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 salary for Makeup Artists ranges between about $22,460 and $130,710 a year.


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

How much do Makeup Artists make in different U.S. states?

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

Tools & Technologies Used by Makeup Artists

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

Becoming a Makeup Artist

Learn what Makeup Artist education requirements there are.


What work experience do I need to become a Makeup Artist?


Where Makeup Artists Are Employed


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.


Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those interested in being a Makeup Artist may also be interested in:


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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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