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A make-up artist is a professional in charge of applying cosmetics to clients. Often found in the celebrity world or working as movie or stage professionals, make-up artists are a vital part of the entertainment world. Whether getting a star ready for an awards ceremony, or putting just the right amount of scarring on an actor for a hospital scene, a cosmetic professional truly earns the title of artist.
Training for a make-up artist may be practical or in an educational setting. Many start in high school or college, learning to apply makeup for theater productions or for friends. Theater and film programs at universities and community colleges will often offer classes and even specialized degrees focused on stage or screen makeup. For those who prefer realistic make-up work, training and certification is often available at beauty schools.
A make-up artist must carve out his or her reputation through word of mouth and portfolios. Many carry a design portfolio with them at all times, in order to show potential clients their capabilities at a moment's notice. In addition to formal portrait examples of past work, some may include samples from jobs with fashion magazines or even candid newspaper photographs of their work. Film, television and stage make-up artists may also include a DVD of their work with their portfolio.
Working in film, television or stage make-up is a great way to stay on the forefront of makeup design. Some make-up artists specialize in fantasy and creature make-up, blending prosthetics, airbrush, and traditional makeup techniques to create ghouls, ghosts, fantasy creatures, and special-effect designs. Other entertainment professionals prefer to do realistic makeup for the stage and screen, applying just the right amount of eyeliner, blush, and concealer to make a starlet's face glimmer in the moonlight, or a leading man's eyes gleam over candlelight.
Make-up artists who do not work in the entertainment field often find employment at salons and spas. Many offer special occasion services for bridal parties and special events like school proms. They may also team up with hairdresser to provide more complete services and packages.
A make-up artist may also find employment with make-up companies. In these positions, the artist may be involved in the development of new products, colors, and trends. Some may also get to create iconic examples of the company's products for advertising and marketing purposes. A make-up artist employed by specific companies may also perform makeovers and work with fashion publications in order to promote the capabilities of their products.