How to Become a Makeup Artist (A Helpful Guide + Pro Tips)

How to become a Makeup artist, Makeup artist salary, What is Makeup artist, How to become a Freelance Makeup artist

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How to Become a Makeup Artist in 5 easy steps!

If you love Makeup (Or want to learn more, why not?) and are interested in Makeup as a Career! You are in the right place.

In this post, I’m sharing the steps you need to do to become a Makeup artist and start to make money doing what you love.

It’s simple and super achievable by any interested in it but requires some specific efforts that I’m going to share with you next.

Let’s begin. 

How to become a succesful Makeup artist, How to become a freelance Makeup artist, how to become a Makeup artist

You probably might know by now, but exactly what professional makeup means?

What is Makeup Artistry?

Makeup artistry is the professional art of using different cosmetic techniques and products to enhance people’s natural beauty by altering their look with different purposes such as creating characters or improving the appearance for events, films, TV, photography, or theatre. And being paid for it.

Whether it is enhancing the eyes of a bridal or covering scars for professional photography, Makeup artistry is a profitable career that lets your creative part stands out.

It’s a career when you invest both time and money at the beginning but it pays the efforts off when you see the results on your clients. (and your pocket!)

How to Become a Freelance Makeup Artist

Starting any freelance business is a challenge and it requires braveness to start.
But once you start and IF you started the right way, you’ll get surprised by the success that comes to you.

So, my first step to becoming a Freelance Makeup artist is just to start!

1. Trust in Your Makeup Artist Dream

If you stopped by this post, it means that you are one step closer to become a Succesful Makeup artist. Don’t let that anything and/ or anyone stop your way to your dream.

Makeup will always be in our culture (because it has always been since of our ancestors) which means that is a profitable business and TODAY is the best day for you to start it.

Every famous makeup artist out there started at some point like you, and like me years ago.
Maybe without knowing too much about Makeup and with a little lack of confidence about it.

How you can stop feeling that way?

2. Get Formal Education (and stay updated!)

There are tons of youtube videos of makeup and beauty vloggers, and I have to say that learning from them is, in some way, helpful but is not enough.

If you know how to apply makeup, your makeup looks are great, and often people make compliments about you still need to get certified to apply Makeup professionally.

If you are super new to Makeup (Which is totally OK) get certified will improve your Makeup knowledge and skills to apply Makeup professionally on every skin type the right way than learning by yourself.

And If you have experienced with Makeup, getting a Makeup Artist certificate will give you another angle and different master techniques that you can implement (learning about Makeup never ends!), and a certified background that can attract more clients.

How to become a Certified Makeup Artist

To get certified as a Makeup Artist, you need to take a Makeup course that covers the Makeup theory and different Makeup tips and techniques that covers every different skin type, face shape, eye shape as well as Professional practices like hygiene, and business guidance, this accompanied by practice assignments to improve your Makeup skills.

As a general reference, to work as a Makeup Artist you need your high school diploma, Makeup artist certification, or Cosmetology license.

Do You need a License to Apply Makeup Professionally?

Let’s talk about the difference between Makeup Artists, Cosmetologists, and Esthethitian to clarify when you need a license and when you don’t.


A Cosmetologist is someone that offers different beauty services like Makeup, Skincare, nails, and hairstyling. In beauty school, cosmetologist learns about hygiene, scalp care, makeup, skincare, and cosmetic chemistry, and cosmetology school usually takes about 1 or 2 years. And you require a license to work as a cosmetologist.

A cosmetologist can apply Makeup professionally, but they also offer different services, they not focus just on makeup.

On the other hand


They also offer Beauty services but they deal with much more technical procedures and use specialized equipment. Estheticians need a license and their programs are much longer and more expensive than a cosmetologist or Makeup artist.

In both Estheticians and Cosmetologist, programs touch Makeup, although they not get in-depth and specialize because is not their focus.

Makeup Artists

They use cosmetics to superficially alter in some way the look of the face or body. Usually to enhance the natural beauty of the client. Basic Makeup certification with Makeup techniques and Expert advice is necessary to be a Certified Makeup Artist and these courses can be done online or in-class.

These type of courses offers new and expert makeup techniques that are updated and more focused on Makeup than the other programs.

You may or may not need a license to apply makeup professionally depending on your state, and in most places, you don’t need any particular level of training to become a professional makeup artist.

Internationally: It depends on your specific country’s laws and regulations to apply Makeup professionally.

The US States and their license requirements for Makeup Artists

States where you May required a LicenseStates where You may not require a License
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Washington DC, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Lowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennesee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.Arizona, California (for films, entertainment, or to sell a product), Connecticut, Delaware (for entertainment or to sell a product, you may require a license to work in a beauty salon), Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusettes, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washinton.

** Check the specific license requirements for your state. The majority of the states do not require a cosmetologist or esthetician license as long as you only apply Makeup and do not offer other beauty services.

How to Become a Makeup Artist Online

The best (and easiest) way to become a certified Makeup Artist is by taking an Online Makeup course that is self-peace and updated with new makeup techniques.

Whether you are a License cosmetologist or a Makeup beginner is important to take an updated course that involves new makeup trends, techniques, makeup theory, and advanced tips where at the end of the course you get a Complexion certificate.

You can find Makeup courses online at a wide range of prices and some of them includes also a Makeup kit. The price range for a Makeup course ranges from $300-$3,000 or more.

But my personal advice is to avoid a course that includes the Makeup kit.

I prefer to buy Makeup on my own and pick the right products based on my needs and clients’ needs.

You don’t need a certain brand of Makeup to build your Makeup kit and often these types of courses are unnecessary more expensive because of the kit.

I usually recommend start with what you have and progressively build your Makeup kit.

But definitively you need to invest in a good course and some essential Makeup products to start to work with your first clients.

Become a Makeup Pro Online! with our Master Makeup Program. Includes: Paperback Makeup Manual, online program, makeup artistry business toolkit, and earn a certificate with your name! Everything you need to get you started and turn your passion into business! -> Click here to learn more.

3. Practice makes Perfect

Makeup Artistry is a dynamic career that needs constant updates! If you are a Makeup beginner, you need to practice as much as you can.

You need to get experience with different skin types, skin tones, young skins, and mature skins.

A pro tip: is starting with offering FREE Makeup sessions to people around you, so you can get practice, improve your skills and build your portfolio.

Don’t forget to take pictures and videos before and after every client especially if you are offering the makeup session for free or with discounts.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Makeup Artist

Becoming a Makeup Artist can take between 4 weeks and 12-24 or more months. It will depend on your previous makeup knowledge, experience with models/clients, level of skills, the education program you choose, and the time invested in mastering the techniques.

Most of the courses are self-peace, which means you can study at your own schedule and this can take anywhere between 2 weeks – 6-12 months.

After completing your course, you need to start practicing your skills as much as you can because that will be the only way to become a better Makeup artist.

The Makeup techniques that you learned will get mastered by applying them over and over with clients of different.

Okay, now let’s talk about the money!

Is it worth all the initial investments that a Makeup artist has to do? Do Makeup artist get paid well?

Let’s get to it.

Makeup Artist Salary

Based on ZipRecruiter,
a Makeup Artist’s salary in the US is between 20k-90k per year, and the average yearly wage is 43k. With a slight variation between states and types of Makeup Artists (Bridal, photography, Films, Tv, or entertainment)

If you want to know the average salary for a Makeup Artist in your state, checks it out here.

The money you can make on your Makeup Artist business really depends on the type of business and Makeup role you want to do.

Depends on If you want to be employed by a Beauty salon or makeup counter or if you want to start your freelance business as a side hustle or full-time.

Usually, if you freelance you get more control over your schedule and your rates.

A Beginner Makeup Artist can offer freelance services anywhere between $35-$90 for a Makeup session.

If the Makeup session lasts 1 hr and a half or 2 hours, you are getting paid around $17-45/hour. Which is a realistic approach to your first makeup sessions as a freelance makeup artist by it depends on your location. 

While $20/hour is a LOW rate in this industry, this is the easy way to start to build your portfolio and get known around your market when you are starting. But I don’t recommend keeping this rate that low in further makeup services.

Especially if you know you have great skills and use high-quality products. Your time and knowledge are worthy!

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So, How much does a Makeup artist make?

A Full-time Makeup Artist can make anywhere between 20k-90k per year depending on the state.

So yes, this is a Profitable business that can be done as a good side-hustle to do on weekends or free time, or as a Full-time career.

Either way, you are now one step closer to getting that improvement on your financials by getting paid for doing what you love to do. Now what’s next?

Successful Makeup Artist Step by Step guide

4. Getting in the Market

Do a quick research on your market, search for other Makeup artists that offer similar services to you, and analyze their prices and marketing strategies to see what is working now in your market.

If you are just starting, you want to keep your prices low but high enough for you to make business.

Please never underrate your services! The right clients will come for you if you keep improving your skills and have great customer service and experience.

Start with low rates to build your relationship with new clients and build your portfolio but as soon as you can, increase your prices. 

5. Finding your first clients

Nowadays, the best way to find new clients (even as a beginner) is by building your portfolio and sharing it on social media!

People spend a lot of time on social media platforms like facebook, instragram, tiktok and others and you want to get exposed there.

In your marketing publications specify this information:

  • What are the particular services you offer? (Bridal Makeup, Natural Makeup, Special effects, Professional Makeup for any occasion) and what is included (like a prep-skin facial and/or false lashes)
  • Specify your rates
  • Specify if you offer services on a Makeup studio and/or if you can go anywhere your client need! (This is important for weddings and another type of events that needs a Makeup artist on the location, and usually includes more than 1 client)
  • Special promos or discounts (if you have!)
  • This can be a special discount if the location where you are going have more than 5 clients, for example.
    Contact Info like a phone number and Address (as well as your social media)

6. Always keep your skills and techniques Updated

This is the first mistake I see in Makeup artists. The Makeup trends that you learned 10 years ago are probably no longer the “thing” and this can cause you to lose clients or not find as many clients as you want.

Taking masterclasses and Makeup courses (with new trends Makeup techniques) is the best way to always stay tuned to the latest Makeup trends and techniques.

Never hesitate to invest in your Makeup knowledge since the Makeup trends are always changing.

For example, outlining the lips with a deep dark tone darker than the lipstick was a thing 10-20 years ago. And now is actually a makeup mistake you want to avoid. 

That’s why I recommend cosmetologists or estheticians taking a specialized Makeup course if you want to offer Makeup services.

7. Get a Professional Logo and Business Branding

Another thing to consider is professional branding!

Start promoting your makeup portfolio with your PROFESSIONAL LOOKING LOGO, not have one yet? I got you! Get 15+ different logo templates specially designed for Makeup artists below.

It’s super easy to make!

You’ll need a canva account (its free), access your templates, pick the design that match your personally and style, change the text with your name, change the colors and download a beautiful professional-looking logo for FREE!

Conclusion on How to Become a Makeup Artist

Makeup Artistry is a fantastic Career that, for me, it has become into time freedom and financial improvements!
You can become a part-time makeup artist and work some days and get good money while doing what you love.

OR start a full-time professional Career that can end working with celebrities on TV or Films.

Anywhere do you want to go, you can go! Everyone starts at some point with a lack of makeup knowledge. But the key is always to seek to improve, and the practice will make the master!

Turning your passion into a business is possible.

I hope you find this article helpful in your Makeup journey; if so, don’t forget to join the waitlist for the Makeup Artist and Bridal Makeup Program by completing the form below!

Related Makeup post: 

25 Best affordable Makeup kits for Freelance Makeup artists!

Best Professional Makeup Brushes sets for every budget

The Ultimate Guide to Apply Makeup Like a Pro (for beginners)

How to Apply False Lashes Like a Pro (best false lashes to start!)

2 thoughts on “How to Become a Makeup Artist (A Helpful Guide + Pro Tips)”

  1. I’ve always wanted to be a professional makeup artist ever since I was a child, so I want to get the proper training for it to get certified for the job. It’s good that you mentioned how getting a certificate for makeup training can help you master different techniques and attract more clients. I’ll have to look into schools that offer makeup training so I can enroll for the course.

    1. Of course, having a makeup artist certificate gives you that validation which, combined with your skills, clients will feel more confident in picking you, resulting in more bookings. You should join our email list. I’ll have a program available soon where you can get a complete makeup manual, do some assignments to verify your skills, and get certified. Everything from the comfort of your home. Stay tuned! Join the waitlist here:

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