Makeup Artists, Where do they work?

on set of a photo-shoot in Boston

Makeup Artists at work on set of a photo-session with Maria Cristina Ochoa (right)

There are so many areas in the world of makeup for aspiring and professional makeup artists to work. The information I am covering here will help you decide how you want to begin or expand your artistry level.

Residential Makeup Artist work primarily in department stores. Usually you represent one cosmetic brand and your focus is to have the ability to do makeup fairly quickly (within a 20 minute timeframe) and help sell the products you apply to the customers face. Residential Makeup Artists must have in-depth product knowledge and strong ability to sell. This is a great starting point to gain experience working on many faces. It is also a good job for someone who does not want to travel and want to collect a weekly paycheck and have health benefits. You are expected to work a flexible schedule including nights and weekends as well as meet and exceed sales goals.

Freelance Retail Makeup Artist is an independent contractor, this means you work for yourself. You may possibly work for more than one cosmetic brand and assigned to various retail locations. Most of your work is during events that are held at the cosmetic counter. Your hours for the most part are late morning to early evening. Appointments are usually set up in advance, but you must possess the personality and sales ability to convince potential customers who are walking through the store to sit down to for a makeup demonstration. Event days can be stressful. There is always a counter sales goal that must be met. In addition, there can be a product focus goal too. Your job is to be helpful to the customers, apply makeup under the direction of the key artist, account executive or counter manager, and sell to everyone who sits in your chair in order to contribute to the success of the counter. Do you love a retail environment? Can you apply makeup quickly? Do you have the ability to sell? Can you take direction well? Are you available to work Thursday thru Saturday (otherwise you won’t get many hours)? Are you okay with traveling to different locations? This can be the job for you.

Regional /National Makeup Artist represent one cosmetic brand. This personal not only has strong artistic ability, but also possess showmanship or the ability to excite an audience. They are booked to headline major retail store events, fashion events, photo-sessions, television appearances and other venues requiring makeup artists with strong industry knowledge and skill.

Salon Makeup Artist work in a full or limited services salon environment. You must be a licensed cosmetologist or esthetician to work in this setting. Salon makeup artists typically charge a set fee for services for basic, prom and bridal makeup application. Depending upon the salon the makeup artist may offer products for sale.

“Applying makeup to yourself does not demonstrate your ability to makeup others.” – Lorrie Pearson

Bridal Makeup Artists are booked for wedding and wedding related events. Services often include the bride and members of the bridal party. Additional services can include doing the makeup for bridal fashion events and personal appointment sessions to create makeup looks for work, vacation and other important events.

Personal Makeup Artists work with individual, corporate and celebrity clients for a variety of projects including speaking engagements, press appearances, book signings, dinner parties, and other special events.

Print – makeup artists who specialize in print book themselves on projects  for magazines, catalogues, CD covers, advertising campaigns, book covers, movie posters, press images, corporation annual report books and more. In addition to the photographer you may be part of a team that include hair stylists and manicurists. It’s important to have the ability to leave your ego at home, hone in on your team player skills, and take direction without hesitation. Knowledge of lighting and experience working with color are invaluable when working in print.

Commercial makeup artists work on commercials, infomercials and web projects.

Video artists work on music videos, industrial videos and educational videos.

Live performance artists work behind the scenes on concerts, road tours, runway fashion events, theater, dance performances, and musicals.

Television artist work include sitcoms, drama series, soap operas, reality shows, mini-series, comedy shows, talk shows and award shows.

Film artists work on feature films, documentaries, short films, student films and Indie film projects.

Character and special effects makeup skills come in handy especially for music video, film and live performance jobs.

“A professional makeup artist is someone who is skillful at applying makeup to others and utilizing the appropriate products and tools to enhance features, define a look or create and deliver work in accordance to the standards and expectations for the client whom they represent. “-Lorrie Pearson


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