What is a Make-Up Artistry Degree?

Educational programs in make-up artistry prepare students to work as make-up artists in the various disciplines of the field, from film, television, and photography to theater, fashion, and the wedding industry. The typical make-up artistry curriculum is a combination of scientific, technical, and artistic instruction. Many programs are comprehensive in nature and cover the make-up fine points that apply to each of these sectors. Others focus on a single sector.

Regardless of how a particular program is structured, students learn about skin types, skincare products, make-up products, make-up styles, color palettes, face shapes, and industry tools and equipment.

Program Options

Certificate / Diploma in Make-Up Artistry – Six Month Duration
The vast majority of educational programs in this field are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, and private make-up schools. They include both lecture and hands-on classes.

Here is a sample of a comprehensive curriculum:

Make-Up Products and Equipment

  • Attributes of the Successful Make-Up Artist
  • Make-Up Tools and Products
  • The Make-Up Artist’s Kit
  • Skincare Equipment and Work, Health, & Safety
  • Make-Up Brushes
  • Cleaning Make-Up Brushes, Sponges, and Powder Puffs
  • Color Theory for Make-Up Artists
  • Understanding Color
  • The Language of Color
  • Face Charts
  • Make-Up Designs
  • Fundamentals of Make-Up Application
  • Skin Types and Skin Conditions
  • Skincare Products
  • Concealer
  • Foundation
  • Powder
  • Correcting Skin Problems
  • Covering Tattoos

Face, Eyebrow, Eye, and Lip Shapes

  • Face Shapes
  • Identifying Face Shapes
  • Contouring, Highlight, and Shade
  • Application Techniques for Contouring
  • Eye Shapes
  • Eye Shapes and Regions of the Eyelid
  • Classic Eye Make-Up Design
  • Smoky Eye Make-Up Design
  • Make-Up for Asian Eyes
  • Eyebrow Shapes
  • Measuring the Eyebrow
  • Common Eyebrow Corrections
  • Lip Shapes
  • Lip Products
  • Common Lip Shape Problems and How to Fix Them

Glamour Make-Up for Photography

  • Make-Over Studio Photography
  • Make-Up Bloggers and Social Media Influencers
  • Wedding Photography
  • Fashion Photography
  • Beauty Photography
  • Other Commercial Photography
  • Model Release Form
  • Make-Up Trends and Fashions
  • Staying On-Trend
  • Fashion Make-Up Demonstrations
  • Soft Natural Make-Up
  • Classic Corporate Make-Up
  • Red Carpet Glamour Make-Up
  • Instagram Make-Up
  • Make-Up for Black-and-White Photography
  • Make-Up Application and Capture
  • Bridal Make-Up
  • Additional Wedding Make-Up
  • Multicultural Weddings
  • Indian Wedding Make-Up
  • Chinese Wedding Make-Up
  • Glamour Make-Up for Dark Skin
  • Working with Dark Skin Tones
  • Bridal Make-Up for Dark Skin

High Fashion Make-Up

  • Photographic vs. Catwalk Make-Up
  • How Lighting Affects Make-Up
  • Understanding Lighting Types
  • Colored Filters
  • Styles of Make-Up for the Catwalk
  • Hollywood Glamour and Avant-Garde
  • Working with Fashion Designers
  • Collaborating with a Team
  • Designing for a Fashion Show
  • Creating Looks for the Catwalk
  • High Fashion Make-Up Demonstrations
  • Culture Inspired Make-Up: Geisha
  • Art Inspired Make-Up
  • Theater Inspired Make-Up: Ballerina
  • Historical period Inspired Make-Up: 1960s

Make-Up for Film and Television

  • Industry Overview
  • Film/Television Crews and Their Duties
  • Studio Protocol and On-Set Expectations
  • On-Set Procedures and What to Expect
  • Television Make-Up
  • High Definition / Digital Television
  • Floor Duty / On-Set Maintenance for Television
  • Male News Presenter Make-Up
  • Make-Up for Men
  • Make-Up for Excellent Complexion
  • Make-Up for Average Complexion
  • Unusual Problems and How to Fix Them
  • Female News Presenter Make-Up
  • Make-Up for Film
  • The Differences Between Make-Up for Film and Television
  • ‘No Make-Up’ Make-Up – Male
  • ‘No Make-Up’ Make-Up – Female
  • Script Continuity Analysis
  • Steps to Set Up a Continuity System
  • Example of a Call Sheet
  • Creating a Roster for the Make-Up Department
  • Creating a Make-Up Budget

Theater Stage Make-Up

  • Designing Theater Stage Make-Up
  • Lighting and Make-Up
  • Employment in the Theater
  • Collaborating in a Creative Process
  • Fundamentals of Male Make-Up for the Theater
  • Historical Period Make-Up
  • Period Based Productions
  • Authentic Make-Up vs. Interpretations
  • Ancient Egyptian Period
  • Ancient Roman Period
  • Ancient Greek Period
  • Medieval and Renaissance Period
  • Tudor and Elizabethan Period
  • Stuart and Restoration Period
  • Georgian Period
  • Regency Period
  • Victorian Period
  • Edwardian and George V Period
  • 1920s Period
  • 1930s Period
  • 1940s Period
  • 1950s Period
  • 1960s Period
  • 1970s Period
  • 1980s Period
  • Common Theatrical Characters
  • Geisha Make-Up
  • Clown Make-Up
  • Traditional White-Faced Clown

Old Age Make-Up

  • Designing ‘Old-Age’ Make-Up
  • Approaches to Aging Make-Up
  • Highlight and Shade
  • Latex or Stipple
  • ‘Green Marble’
  • Prosthetics

Character Make-Up

  • Designing for Film and Television
  • Designing for a Character
  • Designing for Theater
  • Theater Make-Up Techniques
  • Traditional Theater Make-Up: Witch

Special Effects (SFX) Make-Up

  • SFX Injury and Disease Simulation
  • Bruises
  • Abrasions
  • Scabs
  • Tears and Perspiration
  • Artificial Dirt
  • Cuts and Lacerations
  • Sutures and Stitches
  • Bullet Wounds
  • Scars
  • Tattoos
  • Chickenpox Simulation
  • Smallpox Simulation
  • Burns Simulation
  • Assault Victim Simulation
  • SFX Techniques – Advanced
  • Zombie SFX Make-Up Design
  • Character Contact Lenses

Simple Prosthetics

  • History of Prosthetic Make-Up
  • The Modern SFX Make-Up Artist
  • Prosthetic Manufacture Techniques
  • Simple Prosthetic Techniques
  • ‘Out of the Kit’ Prosthetic for Theater
  • Creating a Scar Plate

Wigs and Artificial Facial Hair

  • Wig Types
  • Measuring a Client for a Handmade Natural Wig
  • Preparing a Client for Wig Application
  • Care, Cleaning, and Storage of Natural Hair Wigs
  • Care, Cleaning, and Storage of Synthetic Wigs
  • Medium and High-Grade Synthetic Wigs
  • Application of a Lace Front Wig: Synthetic or Natural Hair
  • Application of a False Moustache
  • Application of an Artificial Hand Knotted Moustache

Working as a Freelance Make-Up Artist

  • Establishing a Successful Make-Up Business
  • Setting Up Your Business
  • How to Get Clients
  • Tips for Working in Specific Industry Sectors
  • Wedding Sector
  • Fashion Sector
  • Television Sector
  • Film Sector
  • Theater Sector

Degrees Similar to Make-Up Artistry

Aesthetics and Skin Care
This personal services field is specific to skin health and beauty. Students who want to become aestheticians learn about facial treatments, skin treatments, make-up application, and waxing and other hair removal techniques.

Cosmetology degree programs teach students how to apply hair, skin, and nail treatments. These beauty treatments include hair cutting, styling, and coloring, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, facials, exfoliation, hydrotherapy, and manicures and pedicures.

Fashion Design
A degree program in fashion design teaches students how to develop artistic ideas and concepts and transform them into wearable clothing and accessories. The typical curriculum is built around the four basic elements of fashion design: color, silhouette/shape, line, and texture.

Students learn that each of these elements can create identity and meaning, they can convey certain emotions, they can be flattering or unflattering, and they can trick the eye. Classes in fashion design programs cover the history of design, fashion sketching, pattern drafting, and computer-aided fashion design.

Illustration degree programs teach students how to tell stories and communicate ideas visually. They cover traditional manual drawing, digital art technologies, and art and illustration history. Some programs may include painting classes or offer concentrations in a specific kind of illustration, such as book illustration, fashion illustration, exhibit drawing, animation and cartoon drawing, and medical illustration.

Mortuary Science
Degree programs in this field prepare students to work as morticians, funeral directors, and undertakers. The curriculum combines instruction in the scientific, counseling, legal, and business aspects of the field. The connection of mortuary science to make-up artistry lies in the restorative art aspect of the field, which involves restoring natural form and color to the deceased body.

Photography degree programs teach the technical, creative, and business skills required to be a professional photographer. Courses cover the history of photography, black-and-white photography, color photography, lighting techniques, materials and processes, two-dimensional design, digital photography, and photography as a business.

Skills You’ll Learn

  • Attention to detail – applying make-up is a meticulous process
  • Communication and listening skills – these are skills that make every professional better
  • Creative mindset – as with any artistic career, creativity is a must
  • Self-confidence – make-up artists learn to instill confidence in their clients
  • Sense of style – make-up artists understand that make-up is one way to convey style
  • Tact and diplomacy – these skills are the balance to self-confidence

What Can You Do with a Make-Up Artistry Degree?

Make-up artistry grads are most often hired by:

  • Television production studios
  • Motion picture production studios
  • Theaters and theater companies
  • Special effects (SFX) companies
  • Fashion show producers
  • Photography studios
  • Wedding planning companies
  • Cosmetic companies
  • Beauty salons
  • Spas
  • High-end department stores
  • Beauty magazines and publications
  • Individual clients / celebrities

Career Paths

Learn about your career prospects after graduation.

Read about Career Paths