Entity reports on what it takes to become a successful makeup artist in the beauty industry.

When you were younger, trying to walk in your mom’s heels and playing dress-up with elegant gowns weren’t the only things that made you feel like a woman – you also loved wearing makeup. You grew up collecting brushes instead of buttons, lipstick instead of stickers and shadow palettes instead of dolls.

Now, you follow the work of British makeup artist Pat McGrath the way other people follow their favorite sports teams. You love people and you’ve decided you want to earn your living making men and women feel beautiful and confident.

Well, if you’ve got a creative spirit, unwavering determination and a steady hand, you may be ready to make your mark in the inspiring and competitive field of makeup artistry. Here is your guide to doing just that.

1 Consider what kind of artist you’d like to be.

According to the Love to Know website, there are at least seven different types of make up artists. In order to be a beauty artist, for instance, you would have to start at the entry-level position at “the department store counter or the neighborhood sales lady.” Fashion artists, on the other hand, are more sought after. These MUAs get gigs painting faces of supermodels at runway events and magazine photoshoots. Many fashion makeup artists are expected to be “particularly creative and edgy to simulate a particular ‘look.'”

Other artists focusing on glamorizing movie stars, television actors and theater performers. Each of these MUAs require different skills. For example, theater artists need to be well equipped to apply makeup that can be visible from a long distance since the audience sits far from the performers. Aside from that, makeup artists can also work as a body and face painter or can be hired specifically for special events.

2 Consider your goals.

What do you want from being a makeup artist? Do you aim to star as a YouTube makeup guru, start a makeup blog or get out there and do makeup for others? The Internet has broadened the horizons for makeup artists everywhere; you just have to aim at the target you want.

Teen Vogue suggests taking the time to “figure out what kind of looks catch your eye and who your makeup artist role models are.” It’s important to know the market, the artists who have come before you and to understand what you like about their work in order to develop your own style.

You can start by looking at magazines, YouTube videos, websites, beauty blogs and celebrity images to find what makeup style and designs you’re most attracted to.

3 Consider going to school.

Each state has its different requirements for those who wish to practice makeup artistry. Some require a cosmetology license, others an esthetician’s license and still others have little to no regulation. So look up your state’s rules and consider going to school. Although makeup is an art, a certification from a beauty school will help you be viewed as a serious professional.

Teen Vogue says, “If you’re serious about becoming a professional makeup artist, going to school is an option to consider.” To get you started, look at this directory of beauty schools to view your options. There are various programs across the country, such as the Make Up For Ever Academy in New York. This school offers a master program “comprised of four levels: beauty, stage and artistic, fashion and TV and film.”

Start researching and find the one that best suits your style and beauty needs.

4 Practice, practice, practice!

Makeup educator and businesswoman Marlena Stell advises aspiring artists on her website, Makeup Geek, to practice! According to her, “This is your most important preparation as makeup artistry is a skill to be improved on. You need to practice on tons of different people — various face shapes, eye shapes, skin colors, eye colors and ages.”

If you don’t know where to start, practice on yourself and your friends. You could even practice by mimicking different movie and TV character’s iconic looks (think Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” or Angelina Jolie in “Maleficent”).

You don’t need to splurge on high-quality brushes and products to begin with, but Stell says “you do need to invest in a variety of brushes and use makeup primers.” Different brushes provide different looks and allow for experimentation.

Also, Stell suggests you sign up to be a makeup assistant for more opportunities to learn. You can go to websites like Makeup Mentors to apply.

5 Create a diverse portfolio.

A portfolio is a professional collection of your best work that you can present to your clients. According to Stell, you can have two types of portfolios — a print portfolio and an online portfolio.

Print portfolios should have a standard size of 9×12 or 11×14. These pictures should be in a professional looking leather binder with plastic sleeves to protect your photos. While this may be a pricey investment, it is useful if you plan to take it when you meet with potential clients.

If you do bridal makeup, make a separate portfolio from your other makeup looks. Brides often want to see a separate folder that is tailored to them for their special day. We recommend hiring a professional photographer for your portfolio shoots and using models who will reflect the diversity of your clientele.

For online portfolios, Stell says you can purchase your own domain name and use WordPress to post your pictures online. Similar to print portfolios, you want your website to look professional.

In order to strengthen your portfolio and to broaden your skills, your clients should have diverse facial shapes, features, skin tones, eye colors and skin types. Try choosing a variety of models so that you can prove to your clients that you’re well versed in your craft. This will help your clients better imagine what you could do for them.

6 Show off!

Congratulations, makeup-artist-to-be! You’ve gotten this far and you’ve got a collection of photos to show for it. Now you’ve just got to get yourself out there!

Create business cards for yourself. If you work at Sephora, hand them to any women who enjoyed their makeovers. Contact any local wedding planners with a discounted offer of your services. If it’s prom season at the local high school, post a link to your portfolio in their school hashtag.

It’s all about networking, publicizing and advertising. In the case that anybody needs a makeup artist, you’ll want your name to be the first that comes to mind.

7 Be patient and consistent.

Even when you make all the right moves by networking, making good impressions and building a clientele, a career in the arts isn’t necessarily notorious for taking off from the outset.

If you have to, don’t be afraid to work another job while you pursue makeup artistry. It’s okay to have a side job that helps you make ends meet while you work on making your life’s passion your profession. Not everybody has the courage to do so, so the fact that you’ve even chosen to begin this journey shows that your determination will see you through until the end.

Wanting it is the first step and as long as you shoot for the stars, you’ll be designing makeup looks for the stars in no time.

Edited by Angelica Pronto

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