Top Tips for Professional Makeup Artists

Here are my top 10 tips that have helped me in my career!

1/ Training

This shouldn't stop once you have qualified and started working. The world of makeup doesn't stand still and you need to ensure neither does your career. Look into furthering your skills with technology such as Airbrushing which is becoming increasingly popular and essential in some areas of make-up work. Also look at courses that can develop your make-up styles and skills, it’s also really interesting and beneficial to watch how other mua's work and you never stop learning!

Expand into other areas such as SFX or hairdressing too, this will open up the amount of jobs you can do and also adds great variety to your work.

2/ Practice

‘makes perfect’ as the saying goes and this really does apply to make up; the more you do something the better you get, so if there are areas that you need to work on invest time practicing these skills on friends and family. There are so many ways to find out how to do different styles and techniques on the internet so spend time studying these and then go for it!


You need staying power to endure the bad times along with the good ones. This particularly applies to freelance work as some times are so busy without a day off, whereas other periods you feel like you may never get work again. Commitment to your profession is vital to endure through the tough times, particularly when you start out as it can be really hard to get a break.

You will also be required to work weekends, unsociable hours and bank holidays so you need to be committed to your job to make up for missing out on social times with friends or family. This is definitely not a Monday – Friday, 9-5 job!


Being a makeup artist allows you to work with your creative side, so don't be afraid to experiment with make-up. This could be using make up products in alternative ways rather than just as they are described. Use your lip colours as blushers, gel eyeliners as cream eyeshadow, the list goes on! The same applies with brushes too; fine, angled eyeliner brushes are great for intricate lip work.

Experiment with styles, fashion and colour; don't be afraid to try something different. Be inspired by other make-up artists but always be unique and create your own looks.

5/ Collaborate

With other professionals who work in your field , if you want to work in fashion get together with upcoming models ,photographers and hairdressers for test shoots to create your portfolio . Creating great working relationships will help you to become part of a team so when the paid work starts coming in you will be booked too! Make yourself a valuable part of a team and they will always want you to be booked for jobs they are working on.


If you are applying to work with a make-up designer do your homework. Find out all that you can about them and the company or production that they are working with. Researching them and building up your knowledge of who they are and what they do shows that not only are you interested in working with them but that you also know what may be expected of you. Research also pays off if you are asked to do a trade test; you should know the style of make-up that will be required as you have done your homework so you can showcase the exact skills that they are looking for.


Don't forget that you are also your CV. How you present yourself is really important. Presenting a professional demeanour and being well groomed is important in an industry that is all about image. You have to learn to be flexible as you will be working with many different people in many varied situations so if you can demonstrate that you can fit in well in any situation this will help further your chances of work and repeat bookings. Also, don't forget your kit. A well looked after, clean kit will speak volumes and portray a professional image. Would you want to be made up by someone who has a dirty, broken kit?

This also applies to your portfolio. You are better off having fewer great quality pictures than a portfolio crammed full of unprofessional shots. Tailor your portfolio to the person viewing it too, so if you are going to interview for a high fashion editorial shoot you probably won’t need to take pictures of your bridal work.


Is crucial in this role. If you are late turning up to a job you can cause a whole production to run behind and cost more money due to the extra time waiting around. You also have to be punctual with delivering your work; this is crucial to keep the production running to schedule and very important in live programming when things can’t be put on hold to wait for you!


In the world of make-up you soon discover that reputation can make or break your career. Although there are hundreds of people working in this industry everyone know someone and you will soon gain a reputation. Make sure it’s a good one! Be on time for jobs, work hard, be an asset to the people you work with and you will get booked time and time again! Personal recommendations can really help you to get on and there’s nothing nicer than people asking for you to work with them!


Your work! When you are enthusiastic and excited about your work this really shows and people will love working with you. Even when days can be long and slow remind yourself how lucky you are to be working in such an exciting, innovative exhilarating business!

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