What is a Make-Up Artist?

A make-up artist uses various mediums applied to the skin to transform or enhance the appearance of a person. Make-up artists are often referred to as cosmetologists or beauticians, but are unique in that they specialize only in make-up, and do not offer other services such as hair, skin care, or nails.

There is a high demand for skilled make-up artists to work with influencers, models, celebrities, and actors. A make-up artist is typically part of team that includes other professionals, such as hair stylists, wardrobe specialists, and photographers.

What does a Make-Up Artist do?

The art of applying make-up goes back at least 6000 years. Ancient Egyptian pharaohs would employ specially trained servants to apply cosmetics in order to make them appear more like the gods.

A make-up artist applying eye liner to a model's eye.

A make-up artist knows how to skillfully transform the human canvas into a desired character or appearance. They will often work with influencers or celebrities to enhance their physical features and create a flawless appearance.

Special effects make-up artists spend hours developing a person into the desired finished product. They often work with prosthetics and can spend several hours tediously creating the perfect illusion. Theatrical make-up artists work with directors to bring their vision for the actor to reality.

Professional and well established make-up artists can also serve as columnists or editors for beauty and style magazines. They may serve as experts on panels and write books and have their own blogs on the subject of make-up application. Some make-up artists collaborate with cosmetic companies to develop products, and may even create their own line of cosmetics.

A make-up artist needs to have a broad range of common skills, but can specialize in various types of make-up and application techniques including:

  • Special Effects
  • Prosthetics
  • Theatrical
  • High Fashion
  • Airbrushing
  • Light Bending
  • High Definition

Are you suited to be a make-up artist?

Make-Up artists have distinct personalities. They tend to be artistic individuals, which means they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive. They are unstructured, original, nonconforming, and innovative. Some of them are also social, meaning they’re kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly.

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What is the workplace of a Make-Up Artist like?

The entertainment and fashion industry currently employs the largest margin of make-up artists today. Make-up artists may be employed by a company, an individual, or work as freelance artists paid per job. In large entertainment areas, make-up artists have unions and associations that they belong to.

Some make-up artists have their own studios that they work out of, but most will travel to see their clients. Make-up artists are sometimes hired by private individuals for special events such as weddings and parties. They also may be employed by politicians before televised debates and speeches, and may travel with them exclusively to meet their needs.

Special effects make-up artists usually work behind the scenes on movie sets and photo shoots. Due to the often complex nature of their application, they typically have designated areas and rooms. Theatrical make-up artists will also be on set for movies and provide applications and touch-ups between takes.

High fashion make-up artists often have the opportunity to travel to photo shoots around the world. These locations can present many challenges, including humidity and temperature fluctuations. Space may be cramped and limited and the artist will need to be flexible to meet the demand of the shoot.

Make-Up Artists are also known as:
Makeup Artist Make-Up Designer Makeup Designer Commercial Makeup Artist Commercial Make-Up Artist