How to Become a Makeup Artist

Makeup artist applying makeup to client in salonMakeup artists are in high demand in a variety of different fields: from television to salons to weddings to modeling agencies to advertisements and more.

Each state has its own licensing requirements, but generally makeup artists will need to complete training, pass an exam and work a certain number of field hours in order to receive a cosmetology license.

Start by contacting the Board of Cosmetology in your state,as requirements and procedures vary by location.

Use a start-up business guide to outline the steps needed to become a makeup artist. Also see How to Start a Make-up Line.

Before Becoming a Makeup Artist

If you want to become a makeup artist, there are three factors you need to consider:

1. You need to really enjoy makeup artistry and be passionate about your work because it can be challenging. Enjoying what you do will help you make it through the tough times.

2. You need to be an artist, have creativity and be able to think outside the box.

3. You need to work well with people and have people feel at ease around you – both clients and other business professionals.

Cosmetology school is essential as well. The more you can learn and practice your skills, the better. Start building a portfolio as soon as you can so that you can demonstrate your skills to potential clients.

There are lots of areas you can focus on as a makeup artist. It’s best to choose a certain niche that you enjoy most and specialize in that area (ie. beauty, special effects, print, film, commercial, weddings). You can operate a mobile business or work on site, and you can also eventually open your own salon.


Model wearing makeupGet insider tips from Emmy Award-Winning Makeup Pros and save yourself a lot of time and money. Avoid common mistakes and get the answers you need to get your business profitable – quickly.

Find out:

  • What types of makeup and application tools you should have in your professional makeup kit, what other supplies you need to get started – and how to launch with little or no money.
  • Information on getting permits, a license, other legal requirements, where to find suppliers, how to set up a storefront or work from home.
  • How to identify potential clients, get creative marketing ideas and prepare promotional materials that land you jobs. Plus how to create a professional portfolio and do a client presentation that will impress people so you don’t have to do a hard sales pitch.
  • Makeup artist invoice template, press releases and cover letters included.
  • Get Started Here


Marketing and Advertising Techniques

1. Your Portfolio:

Start by building your portfolio. New clients will want to see your “work”, and pictures are a great tool for demonstrating this. Also get testimonials from past customers if you can. If you are just starting out without any customers, you can volunteer at local fashion shows to build up your portfolio.

2 Business Name Ideas:

Your company name is also important in marketing. A good business name tells people who you are, shows how you differentiate yourself from the marketplace and determines how the public perceives you. Use the free business name generator to help you come up with a name for your cosmetics business. An impressive logo is also important – a picture is worth 1,000 words. Design your own logo for cheap.

3 Makeup Artist Business Cards:

Have business cards and brochures printed to introduce your business (See brochure design templates for the cosmetics field). Partner with local businesses offering similar beauty services to yours – but not directly competing with you (i.e. tanning salons, hair or nail salons, spas, etc..).

Ask if you can leave a few business cards or brochures with them in exchange for handing out their brochures/business cards to your clients. You may want to offer a first-time buyer discount in your brochure to attract new customers to contact you.

4. Get a Press Release Out

Write a short press release to your local newspaper announcing your new business and the services you offer. Include a limited offer or details on a special event you are hosting that will make your story interesting. The more interesting the story, the more likely the newspaper (or magazine) is to print it.

Remember – this is FREE advertising, so use it to your benefit. You can submit more than one press release, and you can contact your local radio and TV stations as well.

Other public relations strategies you can use to get free advertising for your cosmetics business:

5. Write articles.

You don’t have to be a professional writer, but you can get free press and draw in customers by sharing helpful or interesting information in your area of expertise. Articles can be short, and you can submit them to health and beauty blogs or print magazines.

6. Use social media.

Twitter and Facebook can get you a lot of free publicity when used correctly. The key is to combine useful content for your readers in addition to promotional efforts.

7. Start speaking.

Many women’s organizations or community groups like to have speakers at their meetings or events. Look for groups oriented toward fashion, beauty and women’s interests, and you get free publicity for your business by giving a brief and informative presentation or workshop. This also helps establish you as an expert in your field. Get free advertising with public speaking.

Makeup Artist Supplies & Wholesale Cosmetics

If you are starting a business as a freelance makeup artist, you’ll need to get professional makeup supplies so you can, of course, put makeup on your clients.

We’ve listed a few good resources below where you can get quality supplies, cases, makeup kits and makeup (no way!) – and you can shop online. is a resource for finding cosmetic bases, cosmetic making ingredients, emulsifiers, emollients, humectants, exfoliants, natural oils butters and waxes, anti-wrinkle agents, botanical extracts, perfumes, self-tanners and lots more. offers free downloadable formulas for making cosmetics and skin care products.

According to their website, Stilazzi is the #1 destination for professional makeup artist supplies. Their mission is to supply high-quality and durable makeup artist supplies to professionals in the field. So, if you don’t want to worry about how your products will perform or how long they will last, check them out.

You can get portable makeup stations, cases, organizers, bags, aprons, professional makeup brushes, palettes, disposables and makeup tools for face, hair and nails. If you own your own cosmetics store or school, click on their “Wholesale” tab to register for wholesale pricing.

Professional Makeup Rolling Case

An important part of being a makeup artist is having the right gear and being able to transport it so that you have everything you need when you need it. You also want to be able to easily find your supplies and access them. Having lots of organized compartments is essential.

Makeup rolling cases provide a perfect solution, plus they are tall enough that they can be their own table if you don’t have one.

They are very durable and tough, yet they can be lightweight (this one is 12 pounds). I like leopard, but you can also get a rolling case in black, silver, pink and even zebra.

Makeup at Wholesale Prices

Whether it’s allergies, sensitive skin or simply a preference for all-natural cosmetics, consumer demand for mineral makeup is growing. You can get Premium Minerals Makeup at discounted prices which contain no talc, no corn starch, no perfumes, no air-blocking solution, no harmful chemical preservatives and no texture-enhancing filler (bismuth oxychloride).

  • Foundations
  • Bronzers
  • Blush
  • Coverup/Correct Minerals
  • Finishing Minerals
  • Eyeshadows
  • Lipstick
  • Ready-to-Go Makeup Kits

You can get high-quality mineral makeup that you can sell under your own name through Erth Minerals. Buy it in bulk, ready to package and label it as your own – or get it pre-packaged with the Erth brand.


Airbrush Makeup Products

Compared to traditional cosmetics, airbrush makeup can provide a flawless finish very quickly – plus there is no need for sponges and brushes, eliminating extra waste and potential bacteria problems.

Some makeup artists offer airbrush services exclusively. Besides general makeup artistry for special occasions, weddings, etc., artists use airbrushing to conceal acne, bruises, burns, psoriasis, rosacea, vitiglio or even to camouflage a tattoo.

For airbrush makeup artists in need of supplies and equipment, we recommend Dinair Airbrush Makeup. They have airbrush makeup kits, compressors and other equipment, makeup supplies, stencils and AirTan.

They also provide helpful how-to videos on their website and pro airbrush makeup training workshops in cities nationwide – ideal for those just getting into the field or who want to expand their current makeup business services. So if you’re interested in airbrush makeup classes, check out Dinair’s site.

How to Open a Cosmetics Store:

Expert Kathy DiPietro has put together the “Start Your Own Cosmetics Store” guide for for entrepreneurs wanting to get into this lucrative field. If you want to open your own shop selling cosmetics but you’re not sure where to get started, this start-up guide will show you how – step by step.

  • How to find the best location and name for your business, including tips for store layout and design.
  • How to finance your shop, bookkeeping instructions and information on the licenses and permits that you’ll need and how to get them.
  • How to set your prices for maximum profit and develop a marketing plan that is easy to follow.
  • Plus links to government websites that can provide additional business assistance.

Get Started Here

Cosmetics Business Associations

Personal Care Products Council
The Personal Care Products Council is the leading national trade association for the cosmetic and personal care products industry and represents the most innovative names in beauty today.

Independent Cosmetics Manufacturers and Distributors
ICMAD is a non-profit group that offers services to innovative cosmetic companies to help them succeed in the highly competitive cosmetic market.

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