How to be a Makeup Artist

In beauty, blog, business, how to, lifestyle, thoughts by Kristin de la Renta0 Comments

Side Gig to Main Gig

While some women depend on makeup to feel beautiful, I depend on it to harness what I love doing—as a freelance makeup artist, I love creating and inspiring the best in others. The gigs I get are what empowers me to do this. I have to say, rarely have I thought about the steps it’s taken me to get to where I am today, lately anyway. So I took a moment to think about how I get gigs in my line of work.

I’ve been doing this for so long and it’s been a journey to get to where I am today. For it’s all happened in some kind of divine order and I have to seize every moment, partly in gratitude and partly in fear I might wake up from a dream. And yet there’s still so much further I want to take my skill with makeup. With regards to the techniques for building gig opportunities that I’m about to tell you, I’m always surprised when I hear that people don’t know about them. To me, they’ve become as critical as breathing. So here’s how I’ve gotten gigs, starting from the present and working my way backwards:

Rockin OUT! @bobbibrown @neimanmarcus #ProjectBeauty #Runway #show. #freelance #makeupartist #mua #ny

Rockin OUT! @bobbibrown @neimanmarcus #ProjectBeauty #Runway #show. #freelance #makeupartist #mua #ny

  • Working For The Man.  Until a little over a month ago, I worked a steady job managing a makeup boutique. And prior to that, I was a full time artist for Mac cosmetics. While I could have done independent freelancing in theory and made much more, these companies were a significant avenue of clienteling for me in the beginning and beyond. Getting clients was important for me. I would meet customers at the store and at events and they’d see my skill and know how good I was. Through the credibility my work here allowed me to build up, I was able to land a job as a freelance artist for Mac and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Meaning, when they have events and hours to fill they call me and other freelancers to work. In my opinion, either this or a permanent position at a makeup counter are some of the best ways to find clients. As these huge companies couldn’t care less if you take customers for outside gigs and it’s a common ground of which to connect and build from. And through this method and my skill, I’ve largely relied on the phenomena known as:
  • Word of mouth. Word of mouth is a result of being in the right place at the right time and kicking ass at what you do. Hence, why I moved to NYC. If you don’t work at a beauty store and/or have connections because you’re just starting out, you can do what I did in the beginning and begin networking on:
  •  In this visual field of makeup, one’s portfolio is key. I started in a less than traditional way as a model, so meeting photographers was easy for me. But the initial collision happened on However, similar to craigslist, one has to be careful about who they choose to meet up with on this site and how. But one’s work and demeanor will typically speak for itself.
  • Instagram Again, because of how visual this field is, this is another way to show your work and promote work. It allows one to get their work out there even if only by creating different looks on oneself and then using hashtags. This can also be done while working at a counter on people that come in and get makeovers or lessons with you. (Just make sure you ask!)

So there you have it, that’s how to be a Makeup Artist. Or at least, that’s what I did.

I look forward to this new media journey and would love to hear about how you turned, or are turning, your side gig into your main gig by posting your comments below!




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