What does a Make-Up Artist do?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
A make-up artist will be present for a shoot to apply the right make-up to the model or actress.
A make-up artist will be present for a shoot to apply the right make-up to the model or actress.

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.

Make-up artists apply cosmetics to their clients.
Make-up artists apply cosmetics to their clients.

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.

Make-up artists may teach others how to apply makeup to their own faces.
Make-up artists may teach others how to apply makeup to their own faces.

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.

Some make-up artists build a reputation by working on the sets of photo shoots for magazines.
Some make-up artists build a reputation by working on the sets of photo shoots for magazines.

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 can teach women the best way to apply blush for their face shape.
Make-up artists can teach women the best way to apply blush for their face shape.

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.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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Discussion Comments

Sunny27

Cupcake15- I had a friend that was a high end make up artist that made a six fiqure salary as a make up artist.

cupcake15

Subway11-A freelance make up artist can work as a wedding make up artist or a special event make up artist.

Many of the cosmetic lines at the department stores hire freelance make up artists for special in-store events. Some of these make up artists took make up artist classes, while most work their way up from cosmetic counters.

The best make up artist do the higher tier events that are exclusive to the V.I.P. clientele.

This is fun profession that makes people feel good. People that are natural artists do well in this field, because make up application is an extensive of painting. The only difference is that the canvas is a human face and not a canvas board.

subway11

Makeup artist training is usually offered in cosmetology schools. Often graduates find employment working in cosmetic counters and salons.

If you are artistically inclined your talent for applying makeup will show. Many make up artists study various skin tones and what colors would be most flattering.

Make up application techniques are also learned. The make up artist course should cover applying makeup to various types of eyes. For example, if the woman has close set green eyes, the preferable color for her eyes should be mauve and the application of eye shadow should be applied after beginning in the inner corner of the eye outward.

The eye should always be primed with color or nude primer on the lid. This helps the eye shadow last longer.

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    • A make-up artist will be present for a shoot to apply the right make-up to the model or actress.
      A make-up artist will be present for a shoot to apply the right make-up to the model or actress.
    • Make-up artists apply cosmetics to their clients.
      Make-up artists apply cosmetics to their clients.
    • Make-up artists may teach others how to apply makeup to their own faces.
      Make-up artists may teach others how to apply makeup to their own faces.
    • Some make-up artists build a reputation by working on the sets of photo shoots for magazines.
      Some make-up artists build a reputation by working on the sets of photo shoots for magazines.
    • Make-up artists can teach women the best way to apply blush for their face shape.
      Make-up artists can teach women the best way to apply blush for their face shape.
    • Make-up artists help actors capture specific looks for film and television roles.
      Make-up artists help actors capture specific looks for film and television roles.
    • Make-up artists work with models on photo shoots.
      Make-up artists work with models on photo shoots.
    • Make-up artists may help brides create a flattering and unique look.
      Make-up artists may help brides create a flattering and unique look.