in , , , , , ,

How to become a Makeup Artist

how to become a makeup artist

Side Gig to Main Gig

How to become a Makeup Artist

While some women depend on makeup artistry solely to feel beautiful, I depend on it to harness what I love doing and to pay my bills. 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 and the steps it’s taken me to get to where I am today took a lot of hard work, intention and maybe even some luck!

I say ‘luck’ because it seems to have happened in some kind of divine order I couldn’t have created myself. As such, I seize every moment I can, 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.

Tips to help you on your journey

Below I’ve included some techniques for building gig opportunities and clientele.  I’m always surprised when I hear that aspiring artists don’t know about them. They’ve become as critical as breathing and are vital for building a foundation. I’ll start 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 allowed me to build up, I was able to transition to a freelance artist for Mac and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, which gave me more time to work with my own clients on the side. Just to be clear, ‘freelance’ in the retail world means that when they have events and hours to fill they call me and other freelancers to work and if we’re available we do. For an example of how the road may potentially evolve, here is a previous post of a position for Catrice Cosmetics as a Regional Sales & Education Manager:

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 or mouth.

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 sites like Model Mayhem.  

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.


To reitertate, this is a visual field.  So it makes sense that this is another avenue to show and promote your work. It allows one to get their work out to the masses, even if you’re only creating different looks on yourself and then using hashtags. This can also be done while working at a counter, on people that come in and get makeovers, or who have 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!





Leave a Reply

2 Pings & Trackbacks

  1. Pingback:

  2. Pingback:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


What Power, Poetry by..