How to Become a Makeup Artist

how to become a makeup artist

How to Become a Makeup Artist

Being a makeup artist is not easy. It is a really demanding and often a thankless job. No matter where you want to end up a basic foundation course in hair and makeup is essential. Most of the major cities in India have such courses for hair dressing and beauty experts.

A makeup artist is employed usually by:
• Salons and spas
• Retail stores
• Cosmetic companies- for events like ramp shows, publicity events
• Entertainment industry- theatre companies, celebrities for personal services, film and television production houses

It is advisable to not be very choosy at the beginning of your career as a makeup artist. If you only want to practice make up professionally for theatre, there are very few production houses who would employ a makeup artist who can’t do hair. So it is important to take a foundation course for both hair and makeup. Also when work happens to be thin on the grounds of makeup, hair dressing will bring in some money.

Makeup, especially in the entertainment industry, is progressing as quickly as any other technical aspect. Makeup artists of big budget bollywood movies are highly trained artists, computer technicians, sculptor, and prosthetician. While a course from a reputable college will train you for that, there are other important aspects to look into.

You need to start working. Grab any little opportunity you get to do people’s makeup and hair. Volunteer to do it for free in your area’s theatre group, school/college theatre, dance performances; family functions; student films; for student photography portfolios or amateur model portfolios. This training will make you more efficient than any course will ever. But just doing all this is not enough, you need to document your work. It is never too early to start making a portfolio of your work. Get hold of a friend who has a professional camera and is some good at it. Get your work clicked in well lit and decent sized pictures. It could be what you did for your younger sibling’s school play or a friend’s friend’s friend’s wedding. Or ask your mom to model for you. Just get the proof of your work in a portfolio. An interesting way to spice up your portfolio is to add sketches and other research material of the look you tried to achieve, what was the given brief and what the inspiration was.
makeup artist
Alternatively, you can choose to skip school if you are confident about your capabilities. Self taught artists are the best as they are not limited by rules and norms. You can choose to join a makeup company for training. These companies have a bond that makes it compulsory for all candidates to join the company after completion of the training. Some of the biggest brands in India have such schems. VLCC, Lakme and Revlon have their own training institutes.

Learn to be creative if you want to be a successful makeup artist. You should be able to visualize a particular look, play with it, and produce it in real life. Not only that, you should be well-versed with cosmetics ingredients, skin care, possible allergic reactions or skin irritations on your clients. You should also be able to identify skin tones and color in order to adapt your makeup from one client to another.

The majority of good schools and good work opportunities for a makeup artist in India is at Mumbai. However if you are in delhi and dont want to shift base, you can find amazing opportunities in Film City, Noida. Many popular tv shows and almost all TV news production happens here.

Some Popular Cosmetology Schools in India

Fat Mu Pro Makeup

Shahnaz Husain International Beauty Academy

Polytechnic for women

LTA school of Beauty

Christine Valmy International school of esthetics

Butic College of beauty

VLCC Institute

Lakme Training Academy

Vidya Tikari

Schnell Hans Academy

Habib’s Hair Academy
Address : 203/A, Anupam Garden,
Neb Sarai, Sainik Farm , New Delhi – 110049
Phone : 011-26516786, 26517786

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One critical question that arose while researching this article was ‘how much does a makeup artist earn?’ There are no given salary levels of makeup artists in India so I would quote that of makeup artists abroad. Although you can surely apply at companies such as MAC to become a makeup artist at their cosmetics counter and find out about their salary structures.

Makeup artists’ income varies widely according to experience and the nature of the job. Median annual earnings in 2004 were $32,630. Salaries for those who are new in their career tend to be quite low. Those with established careers in television, film industry, or the theater business may command substantially higher wages. Makeup artists working full time for large companies usually receive health insurance, paid vacation, and other benefits, while those on the fringes of the industry must often provide their own insurance and retirement plans.

According to a makeup artist makes $27,666 – $45,805 per year. These figures will have to be reduced for India.

Earnings of a makeup artist- whether he/ she is working on commission, hourly or freelance basis- depends on three factors:
Location- Needless to say, you can charge high for your services in cities such as Delhi or Bombay but not in lower-tier cities. Not only that you would have more clients here for you to spread your name.
Industry- Your earnings depend a lot on whether you are working for theater and performance, show business, or a cosmetics/ skin care company.
Brand Name- At the end of the day, your earnings would be widely similar to that of a lawyer or a doctor- the bigger your brand name, the more you shall be able to charge.

Helpful Links

Makeup Artist Magazine
Makeup Artist Network

How to Become a Fashion Designer
How to Become Fair Naturally
Professional Makeup Courses and Makeup School/ Academy in Delhi
MAC Makeup Course & MAC Must Haves
Lakme Training Academy
Makeup/ Fashion Lessons from Bollywood Actresses
Bridal Makeup Artists in Delhi


20 thoughts on “How to Become a Makeup Artist

  1. Thanks everyone..
    bt i need to mention here that Rati and team had great inputs to add to this post that helped in making it informative and interesting. thank you IMBB :waytogo:

  2. I loved this article..Let me tell u how tough it is to sustain as a reputed makeup artist and find work in freelancing…Years go in assisting senior makeup artists and nothing comes in hand as unfortunately it is said that if u cant do anything be a makeup artist.

    I am very inspired from some of the tips given here (though I would not compromise with money at any times now) and shall try them to reinvent myself again.


  3. hi any gud academy or institute in chennai for beauty and make up
    How is pivot point by blossom kochar in chennai
    please to tell me i want to do a course in beauty and makeup

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