Posts Tagged ‘makeup artist’

September 17, 2013 8:30 am

Job Description of a Makeup Artist

Makeup artistry is an exciting, challenging, and incredibly rewarding career choice. While many set forth to become makeup artists, we regularly receive questions asking what it is exactly a makeup artist does, and what sort of working conditions she or he will have. In this post, we’re happy to share with you one version of the job description of a makeup artist. We hope this information helps you in making a wise career move, and invite you to contact us at QC Makeup Academy with any questions you might have. Our friendly team of student support specialists will be more than happy to provide you with more information.professional makeup artist applies makeup to red headed woman

Education Requirements

The education requirements for a makeup artist vary based on region. In certain countries and states, you must have  cosmetology license to work as a makeup artist. Since cosmetology programs typically touch on makeup very briefly, most aspiring makeup artists find it helpful to also pursue makeup-focused training, such as the online makeup courses offered by QC Makeup Academy. Other regions require no certification or license to operate as a makeup artist. It’s best to do your research in the area in which you’re hoping to work to ensure you’re well prepared and have all necessary documentation to get started – even as a freelance artist.

Working Knowledge

As a makeup artist, you’ll be the go-to person for product recommendation, advice, and makeup tips. It’s expected that you’ll be familiar with the most popular types of both pro and drugstore makeup, have a good understanding of application techniques, and know how to use different types of makeup – think: liquid foundation, powder foundation, cream foundation, etc. You’ll also need to understand basic color theory and have the ability to match skin tones to complementary colors. The same makeup will not produce the same results on all face shapes, skin types, complexions, or skin maturities. Knowing how to create a personalized makeup application for each of your clients is essential, and will come from hands-on practice as well as theoretical training.

Average Salary

The average salary of a makeup artist is a figure that’s incredibly difficult to pinpoint, largely because there are so many variables. If you’re working freelance, you are paid per hour or per project and can work more to make more, or work less and make less. If you’re salaried, there’s a little more stability – generally between the $27,000 and $35,000 range. Working in film or for television makeup could mean making between $60,000 and $90,000 – whereas working at fashion shows, for celebrities, or for a cosmetic brand’s HQ could mean $100,000 or well above.

Sample Career Path

Below is a sample career path of someone looking to establish themselves as a self-employed makeup artist:

Year 1-2
Working as an assistant makeup artist for a more experienced makeup artist, may take on side-jobs as your skills improve and when you feel you’re ready
Years 3-5
Working as a freelance makeup artist, building reputation, building client list
Years 6-8
Working as a senior freelance makeup artist, perhaps employing your own assistant at this point
Years 9+
Employing more than one assistant or intermediate makeup artist, perhaps working for a cosmetics brand or in a consulting capacity, continuing to take on preferred projects (with more experience comes more choice)

Striking woman poses for camera with red lipstickWorking Conditions

The working conditions of a makeup artist are always changing, and are completely different from one job to the next. You could be setting up in a hotel room to get a celebrity looking their best for a red carpet appearance. You could be asked to fly to a remote location for an on-location photoshoot and have to do makeup under the hot, hot sun. You could invite clients to your at-home studio or be visiting brides at their parents’ house the morning of their weddings. What you can bet on, however, is that there will be plenty of travel! You’ll need to be able to manage your time well, work under pressure, and be able to deliver your best on a tight schedule.


A makeup artist’s duties largely involve applying makeup. This could mean makeup for someone headed to their prom, a special event, or a wedding. It could be a special event makeup, makeup for television, or makeup for photography. It could be makeup for fashion show models, performers, or character makeup for the theater. At some point in your career, you may become a “Key Makeup Artist” or “Makeup Designer” and act in more of a designing, consulting capacity rather than a hands-on application capacity. There are many different options available to you – which is fantastic, as it gives you more control over the future of your career.

Interested in a career as a makeup artist? Don’t delay. Get in touch with QC Makeup Academy today and learn about its innovative online makeup courses – available to students around the world.


August 7, 2013 9:32 am

How to: The Five-Minute Face

Here’s a question I hear from my clients all the time: “I lead a busy life. Is there a trick that can have me looking great in just a few minutes?” Let’s face it – even the biggest stars do not have a makeup artist living in their house. They love what we do for them, but they want a fast way to feel great on the days we are not there. Below you will find quick steps for a natural-looking glow that I recommend to all my clients!

Step 1: Foundation

Nathan Johnson's five-minute faceImmediately after applying moisturizer, work one pump of a liquid foundation into the skin. Use a brush or your fingers to blend it. This little touch will even out the skin in an effortless, natural way. (If you have oily skin, use powder instead.)

Step 2: Concealer

Using your pinky or a brush, apply a light touch of concealer under the eye. Apply it only where needed. To find that spot, tilt your head forward when you look into the mirror. A half-moon of darkness will leap right out. That is what you conceal. Done properly, this is the step that will give you the well-rested look.

Step 3: Powder

Set your foundation and concealer with a mica or silica based setting powder like the ones by Make Up For Ever or Cover FX. These look the most natural and will not change color through the day like talc based ones will. (If you used powder foundation, use this powder only on the concealer.)

Step 4: Eyeliner

Apply a dark brown liner to the upper lash line. Use a brush or cotton swab to smudge the color into the lash line for a really natural liner look. This small step makes the eyes pop!

Step 5: Highlight

It is the features that make this natural face so magical, so we need to make the right areas pop. With a brush, sweep a touch of highlighter across the high point of the cheek bones, along the brow bone and on the upper lid above the tear duct.

Step 6: Mascara

A touch of black mascara on the top lashes will make the eyes the focal point.

Step 7: Blush

For an effortless glow, add a little outdoorsy color to the face with a peachy-pink blush. When swept over the apples of the cheek, a fluffy brush will leave the perfect amount of color.

Step 8: Lips

A sheer, pink gloss adds freshness to the lips and face.

Final look

This natural look can be done in 2 to 5 minutes and will have any of your clients ready to face the world when you can’t be there!


nathan johnsonWritten by Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment – his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.




April 18, 2013 9:00 am

Is high-end, luxury makeup better?

It seems a lot of beauty bloggers, vloggers, and industry pros rely more heavily on “luxury” brand makeup than anything else. You rarely see a celebrity makeup artist using Covergirl, or an editorial makeup artist using anything aside from Cover FX, Make Up For Ever, and other big name brands. I’m regularly asked if pro makeup artists should ditch their drugstore makeup and use only high end products, and I’m here to answer the question: is high-end, luxury makeup really better?

Do you prefer luxury brands for your makeup?

There seems to be many negative connotations surrounding the use of drugstore makeup products. I understand how it can be easy to associate low price with low quality, as this is usually the case in life. Therefore, it makes sense that makeup artists would think the same when it comes to building their kits. I’d like to point out that just because something is usually true doesn’t mean it’s always true – and it’s definitely not the case with all drugstore makeup products.

Some of my favorite products can be picked up at Wal Mart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Walgreens, or Primark. Take Rimmel’s Stay Matte pressed powder, for example. This is the only powder I will use to set my makeup. I’ve tried Make Up For Ever powders, MAC Cosmetics powders, and just about any other powder imaginable but Rimmel is my favorite – and at a mere $4 at that.

Another product I swear by is the L’Oreal Colour Riche Balm. I rotate between using Pink Satin and Caring Coral in my everyday makeup routine and love these products. Sure, I love my MAC Russian Red and NARS Heat Wave too, but nothing beats the silky texture of my Color Riche balms.

So, is it possible to work as a professional makeup artist with only drugstore brand makeup? I’m sure it’s possible, but there are certain products I leave to the luxury brands – like foundation and concealer. In my opinion at least, luxury brands tend to do a better foundation (and this goes for concealer, too) than drugstore brands. This is simply because you’re paying more for the product, so the luxury brand can afford to put more higher quality ingredients into the product.

My all-time favorite is the Laura Mercier Silk Creme foundation. I’ve never encountered any other foundation quite like it, and love how little I need to use to get a great, medium coverage that lasts all day long.  Check it out on the  finish is truly unmatched. You can read more about it on the Laura Mercier website.

As a pro makeup artist, your focus should always be on creating a gorgeous base on top of which you can work your magic. Without a good base, the rest of the look falls apart. If I were to give you advice on where to spend the extra money and where to save a bit, I’d say to invest in anything that’s going to give you that great base – a beautiful complexion – and save on other products like lipgloss, lipstick, blushes, etc.

To answer the question in short, luxury brand makeup can be better. There are also plenty of instances in which I’m sure it can be worse, or simply unnecessary. Anyone wearing makeup, or using makeup in their job, is best off going with what they’re most comfortable using and what they know works best for their needs.

When you’re able to invest a little more heavily in professional products, do so in base-builders like concealer, foundation, eyeshadow primer, and setting sprays. If you’re looking to save, save on lipsticks, lipglosses, eyeshadows, mascaras, and blushes. At the end of the day, the choice is really yours, and these are just my personal suggestions!

Let me know what you think! Leave me a comment below and tell me if you prefer drugstore or luxury brand. Me? I’m a mix!