makeup artist at work

Starting a Career as a Freelance Makeup Artist

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Johnny Depp, or Drake. You’ve seen how people can transform themselves to look like these celebrities with just the use of makeup. Some even transform themselves into ghastly-looking monsters with gnarly teeth and bulging eyes. These are the transformations that none of those photo touch-up services could alter.

You’ve done a couple of your cousins’ makeup at their weddings, but you haven’t done it professionally. It’s something that you are aspiring to. But you don’t know where or how to start to become a professional freelance makeup artist. Is there formal training required?

Here are some things to think about:

A Brief Background of the Cosmetics Industry

You certainly will not run out of supplies that you need for your career. The global cosmetic manufacturing industry is worth $357 billion as of September 2019. It employs nearly 554,100 people.

If you’re looking to breaking into the scene, you might want to consider what industry you will focus your services on. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics industry categories for employment includes film and video industry, performing arts companies, cable and subscription programming, radio and television, broadcasting, and personal care services.

Even if you’re going to go freelance, it’s worthwhile to find a focus and then perhaps later expand your coverage.

Turning Pro

maekup cluttered

There are formal training courses and certification programs offered in various states. Some states require that you be certified before being able to practice your craft. But regardless if it’s necessary or not, getting approved should be part of your initial moves to become a professional makeup artist. Here’s a few more to add to your to-do list.

  1. Beyond the knowledge about makeup. Ok, you know what blush-on goes well with whatever kind of skin tone. But to be successful in freelance work, you must also possess qualities like excellent organizational skills and a dependable work ethic. Don’t overbook or schedule work with no time buffer between clients. Your customers want you to pay careful attention to what you are doing on their face. You don’t want them to catch you looking at your watch because you need to be at another appointment. Aim for customer satisfaction, which could lead to referrals.
  2. Updated tools. As mentioned, the cosmetic industry is a vast market, with new products coming out frequently. Make sure that you invest correctly in the tools of the trade, from foundations to lipsticks, and from eyeshadows to brushes.
  3. Value your expertise properly. You have invested in training and certification. You’ve built a portfolio. You have top-of-the-line tools. Don’t ask for change when you provide your service. A freelance makeup artist can earn between $35,000 to $45,000 in monthly salaries on average. Some make northwards of $75,000. You can reference these numbers when you structure your fees.
  4. Mastering the ‘Gram and your portfolio. There’s no better platform today to market your services than the use of social media, like Instagram. It’s free, and with other social media platforms, you can gain significant marketing mileage without breaking your bank account.  Developing a clear digital marketing strategy, which includes building your website and creating content, like a blog, will be crucial to your success.

Like in any business or career, you need to be constantly aware of how the industry is changing. Invest in continuous learning, connect with people, especially experts in the industry, and have an unwavering dedication to your craft.

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