Makeup Artist Career Outcomes

When considering whether it is possible to turn a passion for makeup into a full-time career, you may become dismayed and think that there might not be enough work out there,  rest assured there are plenty of career opportunities out there in the Makeup industry. From Freelance, Film & TV, Salon makeup artist and more, there is a career in the makeup industry for you. Face Agency courses will equip you with the makeup mastery and professional skills to take you around the world as a professional makeup artist.

Below is a list of some of the common MUA (makeup artists) that you might be interested in.

Bridal Makeup Artist

As a bridal makeup artist, you’ll be applying special wedding cosmetics to the bride to make her look beautiful and elegant for the thousands of photos that will be taken on that day. Along with applying makeup, you might also assist with styling hair or applying touchups for the bride’s attendants

When it comes to becoming a bridal MUA, you will need to understand the basic needs of your clients, how you can apply the right makeup for their facial features along with what to expect from the cosmetic products you will use. Generally, a few weeks or months before the actual wedding day, the bridal MUA will consult with the bride and typically do trial looks to see what she prefers.

Since you will be working with different skin tones and colours, it is important that you’re able to skillfully match and apply the right anti-shining and all-day lasting foundation. This is crucial as it could ruin the look of the wedding photographs if not taken into consideration.

In order to build your first portfolio, you can ask around friends or family to do their looks on their wedding day. Then once you have their wedding photographs, you can upload them to your online portfolio (by creating a website or to your social media profile like Instagram). Once you start getting new clients, you can even ask for testimonials on the service you provided.


Spa/Salon Makeup Artist

You might even use your makeup artist experience at a beauty salon, hair salon, spa centres, cruise liners or hotels. Below are some MUA careers that you can possibly do:

  • Salon Makeup Artist: you could work in a hair salon or beauty salon and do makeup for weddings (refer to bridal makeup artist), special occasions or sometimes even provide lessons. 
  • Makeup Artist Consultant: this runs in both locations in a spa and hair salon. The clients might want to have their hair, nails and makeup done at the same location. 
  • Spa Makeup Artist (Beauty Therapist): This job requires special treatment to the clients’ skin, body and appearance (such as facial, pedicure, manicure treatments, etc). You will require to have an esthetician licence since you’ll be doing facial treatments, laser treatments or permanent chemical treatments before any makeup application. 


Another option is to operate your own salon or beauty therapy business at home or in a rented location. This is great if you want to do it remotely or in your own time (be your own boss!) You do require an ABN (Australian Business Number) and a licence from the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS)

Costume Makeup Artist

As a costume MUA, you’ll be working with different face painting and temporary tattoos during different events like children’s parties, amusement parks and many more. You might also work on special holidays such as Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc.

This type of career is also known as special effects (SFX) makeup artist (refer to “Film and Television Makeup Artist” later on). You’ll be working on different looks and designs depending on the client and occasion. For example, during a Halloween event, you could create face makeup like clowns, animals, skulls and more.


Film and Television Makeup Artist

This type of career requires you to work on television, commercial or film sets, or in designated makeup trailers throughout the filming duration. 

It can be quite complex or it can be simple so it varies on the production and character role. An example of a complex one is the special effects makeup artist working on a zombie character portrayed by an actor. A simple one could be enhancing the actor’s appearance through small touch-ups. 

There are four types of different film and television makeup artist roles: the main leader being the “key makeup artist”, next is the “makeup artist”, the “makeup assistant” and lastly the “special effects makeup artist” (also known as the “SFX makeup artist”).

  • Key Makeup Artist (KMUA): They are in charge of designing each individual actor’s makeup. They get to apply makeup on lead roles and actors however they carry out the complex designs. On the other hand, they do delegate the makeup artists and makeup assistants to make sure the makeup runs smoothly throughout the film shooting. 
  • Makeup Artist: These artists are responsible for applying makeup for non-leading actors and supporting roles. They are under the supervision of the key makeup artist and they’re responsible for achieving the original designs by the KMUA. 
  • Makeup Assistant: They assist the makeup artists with body makeup application on the actors (for example, body painting or body art) along with organising the makeup kits and other smaller tasks. The KMUA may also send them tasks to accommodate the “photographing casts’” makeup and ensure that it is consistent in reshoots (if necessary). 
  • Special Effects Makeup Artist: Known as an SFX Makeup Artist (as mentioned previously), their job can be quite divisively challenging. They are required to have knowledge of basic film makeup and advanced SFX makeup techniques. They are responsible for any special makeup effects alongside applying prosthetics (i.e wounds, winkles, supernatural features for dramatic effects, etc) or applying “foam latex” (these are used to create three-dimensional prosthetic effects). 


Commercial Print Makeup Artist

You can also work as just a commercial print makeup artist by enhancing makeup or applying casual makeup (since the main point is to sell the product). 

You’ll be working on models for print ads, tv commercials and internal videos. Unlike film and tv makeup artists who can work in makeup trailers, you’ll be doing the model’s makeup right on set. Alongside being a commercial makeup artist, you’ll also be doing other jobs such as being a hairstylist, wardrobe stylist and men’s groomer (depending on the roles). 

To have a great online commercial portfolio, CRC recommends:

  • Adding “no makeup” photographs that are polished and clean (this means NO fun and crazy makeup looks).
  • Adding your “weakest shot” (as potential clients would consider this “good enough”). 
  • Reach out to successful people in the industry and get their opinions on your portfolio. She states “do not trust yourself to edit your own portfolio” (and this includes family and friends).

Theatrical Makeup Artist

Your job is to apply makeup to characters portrayed by actors to enhance their natural physical appearance. Other times you will be working with different characters that require heavy specialty makeup for that desired look (such as airbrushing, wigs, prosthetics, hairpieces and more). Not only will you be applying makeup, but your job might also require you to read scripts, and study the characters and background settings to create the sketches. 

The front-row audience (remotely from the stage) will be looking at the actors’ expressions so it is crucial to make the actors “look their best” by making their cheeks rosier and eyes look bigger. Lighting will also have an effect on their makeup as well (refer to “bridal makeup artist” foundation). 

In order to build your portfolio and get into the theatre makeup industry, you can reach out to local theatres and offer your services. Another way is to network and build connections which you can do via our courses and workshops (refer below). 

Retail Makeup Artist

If you’ve worked in the customer service field before, you can also become a retail makeup artist. You get to work in different retailer stores like Sephora, Mecca, MAC Cosmetics, Estee Lauder, David Jones, Myers and more.

The benefits that come with working as a retail MUA include extensive training (some also provide you with “paid training”) and generous discounts and perks on cosmetics. This job requires you to work in a thriving team environment and put your makeup skills to the public.

In order to apply, you do need a visual portfolio of the makeup looks you’ve created (which can be easily made on your own website or social media). As with any other retail job, you do need to answer their questions (such as past customer service experience) and may need to write up a cover letter. 

Lash and Brow Artist

You can also be more specific on what areas of beauty you want to specialise in such as an eyelash or/and eyebrow specialist. A lash and brow artist requires you to perform treatments such as tinting, waxing, lash lift and eyelash extensions (classics or volume). You’ll also be offered training and must work in a team environment (same with retail MUAs). Let’s start off with an eyelash artist. 

As an eyelash artist, you might as be known as an “eyelash specialist”, “eyelash extension specialist” or “eyelash technician”. Your job is to help individuals add long lashes (called eyelash extensions) to emphasise their eyes and appear more feminine. This technique requires you to apply these lashes one by one onto their natural lashes so you must be trained, have good vision, steady hands and have a lot (and I mean ALOT) of patience! 

Another option is to operate your own salon or beauty therapy business at home or in a rented location. This is great if you want to do it remotely or in your own time (be your own boss!) You do require an ABN (Australian Business Number) and a licence from the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS).

Runway Makeup Artist

If you can handle a fast-paced and stressful environment but want a fun yet achievable outcome, then being a runway makeup artist is for you!

You’ll be applying makeup to runway models in order to complement a designer’s collection. If you are the key makeup artist, you’ll also have the opportunity to design the makeup concept that compliments the designer’s ideal look they want to convey. Overall, these makeup designs will affect the trends for upcoming seasons.

Compared to some commercial and television makeup artists, the runway looks are more outgoing, exciting, bold and spontaneous. These runway events hire a lot of photographers and videographers both on the runway, during interviews and behind-the-scenes so it’s important to make sure the models look beautiful and outstanding!

Celebrity Makeup Artist

As a Celebrity MUA, your job is to make the celebrities look good whether they’re on the red carpet or captured on camera at an airport. You might be working with famous celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and many more.

You’ll be working on a celebrity’s face only once or for years depending on your chemistry with the client. This career path requires you to come up with stunning, enhancing or simple makeup looks for a certain celebrity that complements their facial features.

Don’t know where to start? You can research brands that work with celebrities or even attend celebrity meet-ups in person. You can also try and reach out to people (including experienced makeup artists) via email or social media. This may require patience, perseverance and consistency in order to get a reply back.

Once you do get a reply, make sure to build a brand relationship with them. This will help you get your name out there and get you started in your journey as a celebrity MUA.