How to Become a Professional Makeup Artist [3 Important Things to Consider!]

Oct 21, 2021

Deciding to become a makeup artist is an exciting and fun first step in your career-building journey. Once you’ve made that decision, the process of becoming a practicing makeup artist and/or esthetician is next. Wondering how to become a professional makeup artist? This starts with school and proper training from licensed estheticians. 


By going to school for makeup artistry, you will not only learn the proper techniques for applying makeup, but also specific techniques for specializing in certain areas like fashion, special events, or special effects makeup. If you’re more specialized in one type of makeup but want to build your skills in other areas, going to school is likely the best option for you. 


Being a makeup artist is something that you can practice while you are still in school, so if you are looking at how to become a professional makeup artist and how to get started with your career or looking to build your career now that you have graduated, get started with these recommendations! 

1. Networking

An important part of answering the question of how to become a professional makeup artist and building your personal brand is networking. Having strong connections will help you strengthen your reputation and meet many potential partners and clients. It’s best to start networking right at the start of your career and continue whenever possible. 


When you first start out as a makeup artist, you’ll likely have a small network and you might not have many clients. But don’t worry, you can actually use this to your advantage if you actively search for new opportunities. Professionals recommend that new makeup artists take any job presented to them, no matter how big or small. This is a great way to not only meet new people, but to showcase your skills and add more work to your portfolio. 

2. Building Your Brand 

As a young professional, however, taking a job is only the first step. When you arrive at any job, the way you represent yourself is the most important thing you can do. This perception affects how others think of you. When clients perceive you in a positive light, they’re more likely to rehire you or recommend you to others. A few things to keep in mind when you are working any job are: 


  • Skills: Ultimately you are being hired for your makeup skills so now is the time to showcase your talent. Always do research into the job you are hired for and do your clients makeup accordingly. If it is for a photoshoot, make sure you are doing makeup that will photograph well. If it is for an event, make sure your look is long-lasting and compliments your client in-person and on camera. Most importantly, make sure your skills are tailored to each person you are working with. 


  • Professionalism: Make sure you treat every job with the same level of professionalism, regardless of what kind of job you are hired for. Show up to the job fully prepared with a clean and professional set up, a schedule, and anything you might need in a pinch.  


  • Attitude: Similar to professionalism, show up to every job with a positive and professional attitude. Your attitude will likely be one of the most important factors people consider when rebooking or referring you to others. Regardless of the job, it is vital that you treat every person on the job with respect. 


Another great way to build your brand through a strong social media presence. Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, Facebook, and TikTok are great ways to reach a new audience and showcase your skills and portfolio. Word of mouth marketing is great, especially within the beauty industry, but people can also build their entire careers on the internet. 


While building your personal brand, new makeup artists also tend to work at a makeup counter between other jobs to help build their skills, meet new clients and peers, and have a steady income if you are struggling to find jobs as an independent makeup artist. 

3. Showcasing Your Work 

Another important thing to consider when questioning how to become a professional makeup artist? Makeup artists should always be looking to build their portfolio. Portfolios are used to showcase your skills to potential clients and help with inspiration for future looks. It’s recommended you have a physical copy of your portfolio you can bring on job sites with you, but—similar to building a strong internet presence—you should also share your portfolio on your personal website and/or social media accounts. 


When you are working on clients, it is always good practice to photograph your work and add it to your portfolio so future clients have a good understanding of your capabilities. Makeup artists should also practice on themselves, so if you don’t yet have a big client list, you can still have a robust portfolio. 

Want to learn more about becoming an esthetician? Start by checking out our Ultimate Guide: How to Become an Esthetician.


I hope you learned how to become a professional makeup artist. If you’re looking to enroll in classes to kickstart your career as a makeup artist, get started today by talking to an advisor at Chattanooga College! Once you fill out our form and schedule a meeting, our advisors are ready to talk to you about scheduling classes, financial aid, and any personal questions you might have.