Most people head to cosmetology school to become a cosmetologist, nail technician, or hair stylist. However, there are many careers open to you that you may not have realized existed. One lucrative career option within the cosmetologist industry is makeup artist. Depending on your state and goals, you may be able to use your cosmetology license to enter this career field.
What is a Makeup Artist?
A makeup artist uses cosmetics to enhance the appearance of other people. As a makeup artist, you can apply makeup for special events, such as a job interview, wedding, prom, first date, photo shoot, or other events. If you want something more creative and dramatic, you can also work in fashion, film, TV, or theatre. You can learn some of the tricks of makeup artistry in cosmetology school, but if it is really your passion, then you may want to choose a school that specializes in makeup artistry.
Makeup artists often work as a freelance employee, although you may find jobs in salons, spas, or specialty stores. It can be one of the most creative areas of cosmetology. Although makeup artists typically concentrate on cosmetics, some may also style hair. If you do choose to combine hair styling with makeup, then you will need to have a cosmetology license.
If you want to see some makeup artists in action, then you can find some amazing videos on YouTube. Beauty Schools Directory has compiled a list of some of the current industry leading artists.
What Does a Career in Makeup Artistry Look Like?
When you choose a career in makeup artistry, you have a choice of two main trajectories. You can work with the general public to apply cosmetics, provide tips, and give makeovers, especially for special events. This can be done in a salon or spa, or you can also work at a makeup counter at a department store or specialty cosmetic store. Another area in which you may work is with photo shoots, especially for advertisements and fashion shows.
The other path is the one that focuses more on production. In theatrical and performance makeup artistry, you typically do more than just apply cosmetics. You use makeup to create dramatically different looks for the actors, including making them appear older or younger. You may also use makeup to create sci-fi characters, much like the SyFy show Face Off. It is a much more creative area in which to work; however, it can be very difficult to enter, especially if you want to work on stage in Broadway or in Hollywood productions.
How Much Does a Makeup Artist Earn?
The amount of money you earn is highly dependent upon the type of job you do, as well as your level of experience and expertise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual wage of a makeup artist can range from $18,780 to $115,030. The highest paid makeup artists tend to work for the motion picture industry, with an annual mean wage of almost $80,000. The lowest paid are those who work in personal care services, which would include working at a makeup counter or in a salon or spa, with an annual mean wage of $26,110.
If you want to ensure that you are paid well and find a decent job, then you might want to head to one of these five states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Georgia. They have the highest number of jobs, as well as higher median salaries than other states. New York has the highest median wage at just over $85,000, while California comes in second with around $71,000.
Do You Need a Cosmetology License?
Whether you need a cosmetology license or not to practice makeup artistry largely depends on your state. Some states have a special makeup artist license, while others include this job in the overarching cosmetology license umbrella. You will have to check with your state governing board to see what type of license you will need in order to legally practice as a makeup artist
How Do You Start?
There is no one path to getting started as a makeup artist. The best initial step is to attend cosmetology or makeup artistry school. If you choose to go to cosmetology school, you should expect to be in school for one to two years before sitting for your state license exam. A dedicated makeup artistry school will typically have fewer requirements, so it lasts around six months. You will have to check the requirements of your state, including whether you have to get a cosmetology license or makeup artistry license.
You can also work at makeup counters in department stores or volunteer at the local theatre in the makeup department. If you want to get into production makeup, whether for makeup, TV, or film, then you may want to look for any type of internship or assistantship. This will help you make the right connections while you learn from professionals.
Becoming a makeup artist is one available career path with your cosmetology license. However, it has a smaller expected growth rate than some other jobs, and it can be difficult to break into it and succeed as one of the top artists. However, if you are creative and have a passion for cosmetics, then it might be the right path for you.