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Make up artist Apprenticeships

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Helping you find a career as a Make-up artist

Depending on the type of event that they are covering, a Make-up Artist ensures models, performers and TV hosts look presentable for an audience or on camera. They work alongside photographers and production teams to reach a creative goal. A Make-up artist will also need to work to a clients’ brief if they are doing the make-up for a wedding or party.

If you want to be a freelance Make-up Artist, it is best to start building up a portfolio on social media – Instagram is a great platform for this.


What does a Make up artist do?
A Make-Up Artist needs to have extensive knowledge of the latest fashion trends as they will be expected to replicate similar or produce equally inventive designs for clients. A typical day for a Make-Up Artist will involve:
  • Fitting headpieces and wigs on models

  • Keeping up to date with viral trends

  • Sourcing materials within a client's budget

  • Ordering equipment from specialist suppliers

  • Working quickly and professionally to complete the makeup within the allocated time

  • Taking pictures and maintaining an online portfolio

  • Sketching design ideas for hairstyles and makeup

  • Demonstrating an understanding of colour tones and photographic effects on makeup

  • Making sure makeup products are in line with a client’s ethical values (e.g. some clients may not want to use brands that test their makeup on animals)

  • Being knowledgeable of the chemicals and products in makeup and making sure clients will not have an allergic reaction (artists may perform patch tests on clients)

  • Liaising with hairstylists, fashion designers and photographers (if they are working on a magazine or clothing shoot)

  • Working with directors and reading scripts to form a better understanding of the type of character that clients may be playing in a film, television series or play
Skills & interests required for a Make up artist
  • A sociable demeanour

  • Ability to make clients comfortable whilst doing their makeup

  • Detailed knowledge of fashion

  • Able to keep up with makeup trends

  • Excellent makeup skills

  • Ability to self-promote on social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube

  • Good understanding of camera and lighting process

  • Creativity

  • An ability to think innovatively

  • Able to network with hairstylists, art directors, magazine editors, directors, actors, producers
What hours does a Make up artist typically do?
The working hours of Make-Up Artists tend to vary week from week, particularly if they are freelance. Weekend work and late shifts are common in this position.
What environment is a Make up artist based in?
On a set or in the clients’ home.
How much does a Make up artist travel?
Travel is necessary to and from the venues.
How much does a Make up artist get paid?
A Trainee Make-Up Artist earns an hourly rate of £5.90 to £7.38 under the National Minimum Wage. The rate will depend on the Make-Up Artists’ age.

Make-Up Artists over 25 years-old will receive the National Living Wage at £7.83 per hour.

Artists working in London receive an hourly wage of £10.20. The price is higher to reflect the higher cost of living in the capital.

Head Make-Up Artists can earn between £170 to £320 for a ten-hour editorial work.

Lead Make-Up Artists can earn £450 a day for fashion events like London Fashion Week.
Perks & benefits
The opportunity to potentially work with celebrities and well regarded artists from other fields.
What qualifications does a Make up artist need?
There are no minimum qualifications needed for this role. A higher education qualification is not required. However, NVQs in Beauty Therapy, Hairdressing and Theatrical Make-Up can offer artists the confidence and networking opportunities that they need to enter the industry.

The most important step toward getting a job as a make-up artist is experience. Trainee artists tend to work for free or offer low rates in order to build up their reputation and clientele. Prospective make-up artists can also can shadow make-up artists and work backstage on campus plays or small production companies in order to build up experience.
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