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Become a Makeup Artist

The path to becoming a makeup artist can be a confusing one. Across the United States requirements vary so greatly that it can be difficult to dig up what are the necessary steps for your area. For example, in Colorado and California, you have to be a licensed esthetician in order to practice makeup artistry. Meanwhile, Connecticut has absolutely no guidelines or laws which govern how makeup artists need to go about becoming licensed. Louisiana is currently the only state which has a specific license just for makeup artists. Florida is also unique in that it doesn’t require makeup artists to be licensed but it does require them to take a 260 hour skincare program and then register with the Department and Business and Regulation.

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With such a wide range in requirements, hopefully, this article will shed a little bit of light on the process to make it a little easier. In order to become a makeup artist, the first step you need to take is to contact your state’s Board of Cosmetology. They will be able to tell you the exact requirements and steps you need to take in your state in order to become licensed. As you may find out, many states require that makeup artists complete either an esthetician or cosmetology education program. Following completion of the program, you have to apply for and meet state licensing requirements. Last, you must take and pass any licensing exams that your state requires. While not every state requires all or even any of these steps, most employers do prefer that those that they hire have at a minimum an esthetician's license. On your journey to become a makeup artist, there are two main types of education programs you will come across. The first is an esthetician program and the other is cosmetology.


Estheticians are people who specialize in skin and skin care. Typically, it is a quicker and easier process to become an esthetician than to become a cosmetologist so there are many more estheticians working as makeup artists than there are cosmetologists. In esthetician school, you learn how to take care of skin including how to perform a detailed skin evaluation, give facial massages, use chemical peels and masks, refer clients to the proper medical professionals, assist in administration of medications or treatments, and much more. In good esthetician programs there will also be a makeup element to your studies. You should learn how to advise clients on colors and types of makeup, how to instruct clients on makeup application, how to select and apply cosmetics, and how to tint eyelashes and brows. The length of esthetician schools varies but generally is around three hundred total hours. Cosmetology is school is much more in depth than esthetician school and covers far more topics and areas than the other. Cosmetology covers hair, skin, nails, and makeup. In cosmetology school you’ll study topics such as barbering, hair styling, waxing, hair coloring, wedding and prom makeup and hair, business basics, state laws, manicures, and more.


While it can be incredibly useful to have some of these additional skills, if you truly just want to be a makeup artist, it may be best to go the esthetician route. You can see why many prospective candidates tend to go with esthetician programs over cosmetology. Most cosmetology programs come in around 1250 hours total. While the program is nearly a thousand more hours than the esthetician program, it does offer some great information, such as business basics, that the other does not. Be sure to weigh both options carefully before making your final decision. Once you’ve completed your state’s necessary requirements for becoming a makeup artist, the next step is to find employment. There are many different options for makeup artists out there. The most obvious is employment in a salon as a makeup professional. As an employee of a salon, it may be beneficial to have a wide range of cosmetology skills to offer. Employees who are capable of doing more than one task are often more desirable than someone who is only skilled in one specific area. This is why many employers prefer to hire makeup artists who have a background education as an esthetician. Another potential route to employment is by working as a freelance makeup artist.


As a freelancer, clients will come to you for special events that they need to look beautiful for. Common events include weddings, proms and other dances, and formal parties. Many freelancers also offer makeup counseling or teaching sessions where they instruct clients in how to apply and choose makeup for their personal needs. As a freelancer, you have to spend time building up a reputation and clientele which can take a lot of patience, marketing skills, and time. A good way to do this is by creating a personal website with a portfolio of your work and profiles on popular social media websites and apps in order to show off your skills. As a makeup artist, the median salary is about $23,500 a year or around $11.40 per hour. Depending on where you find work as a makeup artist will determine what kind of salary you can expect initially and over time


Between 2014 and 2024 the job outlook is very positive and job growth is greater than the average.¬care¬and¬service/barbers-hairdressers¬and¬cosmetologists.htm