How to become a Make-up Artist

Make-up artists apply make-up to fashion and photographic models; actors and other performers involved in stage, film and television productions; brides; and other clients for special occasions.

Personal requirements of a Make-up Artist

  • Artistic ability
  • Good colour perception
  • Patient and tactful
  • Good communication skills
  • Good hand–eye coordination
  • Able to work under pressure

Education & Training for a Make-up Artist

You can work as a make-up artist without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job through experience in beauty salons, cosmetic companies or amateur theatrical companies. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in make-up, specialist make-up services, cinemagraphic make-up or beauty services. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a make-up artist through a traineeship in Make-Up or Beauty Services. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Make-up Artist

Make-up artists may perform the following tasks:

  • prepare the skin for make-up application and remove make-up as required
  • demonstrate cosmetic products to clients
  • instruct clients about make-up application
  • apply a wide variety of professional make-up products
  • design wigs, beards, masks and prosthetics (artificial body parts) and apply them to achieve an appropriate character appearance
  • use make-up to produce effects such as ageing, illness, scars and bruising
  • alter or maintain make-up during productions to ensure the continuity of a performer’s appearance
  • advise hairdressers on the hairstyle required for character parts.

Employment Opportunities for a Make-up Artist

Make-up artists are employed in the film, stage and television industries. They may also work on photographic shoots, promotions, fashion parades and in the make-up and cosmetic retailing industry. They are often self-employed and may work on a freelance basis. Competition for jobs is strong, and interstate or overseas experience is often needed to enhance employment opportunities.

Related careers