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Life As a Makeup Artist

Makeup Artist Example Apply makeup to performers to reflect period, setting, and situation of their role.

Life As a Makeup Artist

  • Create character drawings or models, based upon independent research, to augment period production files.
  • Confer with stage or motion picture officials and performers to determine desired effects.
  • Requisition or acquire needed materials for special effects, including wigs, beards, and special cosmetics.
  • Provide performers with makeup removal assistance after performances have been completed.
  • Select desired makeup shades from stock, or mix oil, grease, and coloring to achieve specific color effects.
  • Demonstrate products to clients, and provide instruction in makeup application.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Makeup Artist?

These are the skills Makeup Artists say are the most useful in their careers:

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

  • Makeup Artist
  • Special Effects Designer
  • Body Make-Up Artist
  • Special Effects Technician
  • Commercial Makeup Artist

Makeup Artist Job Outlook

In the United States, there were 4,800 jobs for Makeup Artist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 12.5% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 600 new jobs for Makeup Artist by 2026. There will be an estimated 600 positions for Makeup Artist per year.


The states with the most job growth for Makeup Artist are North Carolina, Nevada, and District of Columbia. Watch out if you plan on working in Washington, Indiana, or California. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Makeup Artists Salary

Makeup Artists make between $22,460 and $130,710 a year.


Makeup Artists who work in District of Columbia, Tennessee, or California, make the highest salaries.

How much do Makeup Artists make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
California $79,820
District of Columbia $84,320
Florida $63,950
Georgia $58,100
Hawaii $47,720
Louisiana $35,720
Nevada $37,340
New York $77,030
Tennessee $88,090
Texas $42,550

What Tools & Technology do Makeup Artists Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Makeup Artists may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Email software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Facebook
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • Twitter
  • Appointment scheduling software
  • Blogging software
  • Instagram
  • Client databases

Becoming a Makeup Artist

Learn what Makeup Artist education requirements there are.


How many years of work experience do I need?


Who Employs Makeup Artists?


The table below shows the approximate number of Makeup Artists employed by various industries.


Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming a Makeup Artist might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Tiffany Bumgardner via Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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