Guide to Becoming a Make-up Artist

These are some of the common areas that often people make mistakes in when they are not aware of the complete job description of a make-up artist and what the role really encompasses!


You need to be adaptable and flexible and be aware of how to conduct yourself professionally.

A common mistake that can be made is to not 'read' your clients. You need to be able to tell their mood as soon as they walk in the room, know whether they want to chat or be quiet and don't bore them with the details of your day!

You will be more likely to get booked for work again if you are able to work with many different personalities.


It's really important to not make the mistake of assuming you don't need to continue training, no one knows it all! There are always new products, styles and techniques to learn and practice so keep training. The best make-up artists are aware that unused skills need refreshing especially techniques such as special effects as the products used in this field are constantly developing and improving.

The most experienced make-up artists are always adapting and developing new styles and constantly striving to create new and innovative looks.


No one’s going to want to be made up by someone who hasn't got a clean kit; it's really important to keep your kit clean, tidy and hygienic. Always clean your kit and brushes after every job, you don’t want to turn up at a job unprepared to work as you have to clean your brushes first. That’s not going to make you first on the list to be booked for work again.

This also applies to how you look too! Remember you are at work even if there is no dress code it’s important to look well-presented and dress appropriately for work. Dress for your location, if you are working in studio, flat shoes may be more appropriate when walking on the studio floor or good waterproof outdoor clothing when you are working on location. A professional image is really important at all times so be aware not to wear inappropriate clothes and keep hair and make-up looking good, after all it's your job and if yours doesn't look good how will you give your client confidence in your skills?


One of the worst mistakes a make-up artist can make is not arriving to work on time; turning up late for work is an absolute no-no! Be prepared to be sent straight home if you miss your call time. In doing so you can delay or worse still hold up the whole production which costs money!

Turning up to set checks late or missing them is also very serious as you are responsible for the artist on set and they will be relying on you to make sure they look their best at all times.

This also doesn’t present a very professional impression to the crew and lets your team down as unfortunately one person’s behaviour can reflect on the whole team.

Leaving set early before your official time is a huge mistake, no matter how long your day has been you must never leave when filming is still going on or without prior permission.


Counts for a lot! Never take your role for granted , there are hundreds of aspiring make –up artists training and gaining work experience who can very easily replace you! No one is indispensable! Even on the longest days on set, night shoots or overruns remember how much you wanted this when you started out. It’s a mistake to become complacent as this will soon show in your work and attitude and people will no longer want to employ you.

It’s also really important to look at your approach at work, how do you interact with the team and clients, do you spend your time gossiping, or are you attentive and on-hand to help out? The make-up world is a surprisingly close and intimate one where someone always knows someone else and before you know it that idle piece of chit chat has reached the ears of the person it’s about with your name. This is something best avoided so don’t make the mistake of becoming known as a gossip especially if you want to work in certain mediums where you will be working with celebrities.

Make up

It's always best to admit your skill level rather than trying to achieve more than you are capable of. Don't be afraid to ask for help or assistance and ask people to show you something if you've never done it before. It’s far worse to try and do something you don't really know how to. If you have time before a job and you know a look will be required that you aren't sure of then practice and research.

Learn how to use the products you carry in your kit and have knowledge of what’s in them; this is really important if you have a client who has an allergy to a particular ingredient. It’s a mistake to think the products in your kit will speak for themselves; you need to know how to use them effectively.

Make sure you don’t fall into bad habits when using products, so stay up to date with new techniques and styles. It’s important that you really know what’s going on in the world of make-up and often you will be asked advice from your clients so make sure you educate them correctly!

Check how your make-up looks too; if you are advising a client on how to choose the correct foundation make sure yours colour matches and looks perfect or they won’t believe you know what you are talking about!

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