how to become a professional makeup artist for movies

How to Become a Professional Makeup Artist for Movies

Film makeup artists are responsible for applying theatrical makeup looks for performers in feature films and television shows. The level of complexity and kind of design will vary based on the production and the character, but skilled makeup artists can create a wide range of suitable looks at any time.

In movie and television dramas, hair and make-up artists help performers present their characters by utilizing hair and make-up to achieve a look. During pre-production, they interact closely with the director to get an awareness of the story’s style. In this tutorial, we will learn how to become a professional makeup artist for movies.

Guide to Become a Professional Makeup Artist for Movies

Go to Makeup School

go to makeup school
Go to Makeup School (Image Source: Pinterest)

While professional training is not always necessary, attending a makeup artist school is recommended because it will provide you with a more in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of this field. Look for a recognized school specializing in film makeup and speak with the admissions department to learn about the admission requirements, prices, and courses offered at the school. 

Look for a school with a career services department to guide you with job placement when you graduate. Additionally, they can assist you in obtaining an apprenticeship that will enable you to work and acquire on-the-job experience while still in school. 

Makeup schools are often privately owned and cost anywhere from $7,000 to $17,000. Ask about govt financial assistance choices or loan programs provided directly by the institution. Courses can take one month to eight months to complete, depending on the curriculum and licensing requirements.

Get Certification

get certification
Get Certification (Image Source: Pinterest)

If you want to become a professional makeup artist for movies, it’s essential that you follow the state rules in the state where you want to work. Some states require you to complete a 1,500- to 2,000-hour training program to practice as a licensed cosmetologist, which might take several years. 

Other states need you to finish a makeup artist-specific training program that may run anywhere between 300 and 600 hours. It is possible to finish a state-mandated training program at a vocational college or through a school. There are two types of certification available. These are some examples:

Certified makeup artist

To get this certificate, you must complete a course that focuses on applying makeup.

Licensed makeup artist

Licensed makeup artists have met the requirements of their respective states, which often include passing a written test. A licensed makeup artist is distinct from a licensed cosmetologist, who has completed licensing requirements and more thorough courses on several beauty topics, not simply application.

Practice with your Makeup

practice with your makeup
Practice with your Makeup (Image Source: Pinterest)

Make it a point to practice applying makeup as frequently as possible. There is no “wrong” or “right” method to go about this. Try new methods on your friends and family members, or sketch outlooks on paper to increase your speed, accuracy, and detail awareness.

Create new looks or try with newly learned talents to keep your repertoire growing whenever you have free time. Practice with makeup is crucial. Practicing makes perfect, as the old saying goes.

Learn the Basics of Production

learn the basics of production
Learn the Basics of Production (Image Source: Pinterest)

Learning what happens on set gives you an idea of professionalism and experience. Determine your role, whether or not you are allowed to speak with the director, and to whom you report. 

You may acquire production fundamentals in several ways, including by searching the web, downloading PDFs, joining local film workshops, or enrolling in filmmaking classes (particularly if this is a hobby of yours).

Improve your Skills

improve your skills
Improve your Skills (Image Source: Pinterest)

Successful movie makeup artists are innovative in their work. Still, they also pay attention to the requirements of the producers, performers, and directors to achieve the best possible results on set. There are a few things you can do to boost your chances of success:

  • To be a successful movie makeup artist, you must be able to communicate well with your colleagues, including actors and directors.
  • A good makeup artist for the film industry knows the body and face unique features and shapes. Depending on the role or outfit, they are well-versed in the art of hiding or highlighting their imperfections.
  • It is critical to managing your time as well as the time of others. Determine what products or equipment are needed to complete the work within the given time range for each client.
  • As a successful movie makeup artist, you can listen to the director’s needs and wishes and apply their suggestions.
  • A good makeup artist’s tools and products are arranged to make it easy to find what they need while working.
  • Dexterity and hand-eye coordination are essential for applying makeup effectively and avoiding blunders.

Create a Portfolio

create a portfolio
Create a portfolio (Image Source: Pinterest)

It’s important to keep a record of your completed projects to demonstrate your abilities to new clients and employers. As a general rule, a portfolio should show a wide range of looks and styles. It is possible to work with photographers to produce work that both parties can use in their record portfolios.

Your portfolio can be shown on your personal website or social media account. It’s simple and inexpensive to set up a portfolio website, and it gives you a more professional look. Set up a different social media account and share your images there. You need to choose a medium that is both simple for people to see and appropriate for the type of makeup artist role you wish to follow.

Develop an Industry Network

develop an industry network
Develop an industry network (Image Source: Pinterest)

Working in the film business requires more than just skill. It also requires the ability to communicate. Consider spending time in areas where individuals in your business gather or use social media to expand your professional network. 

Film crews like to use the same makeup artists on all of their films, and it’s critical to create the greatest possible impression whenever you’re in the presence of industry experts, whether you’re working or simply networking.

There are also various groups and unions for makeup artists that can help in meeting and networking with the correct persons. They often provide chances for individuals who are seeking jobs in makeup artistry to network with employers and other experts in the area of makeup artistry.

Being Professional

being professional
Being Professional (Image Source: Pinterest)

Making it in the film industry ensures that you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most successful directors, producers, and actors/actresses in the field. Your customers need to know that they can put their trust in you while dealing with sensitive info.

Consider Yourself a Businessman or Woman

consider yourself a businessman or woman
Consider yourself a businessman or woman (Image Source: Pinterest)

It is essential to be meticulous, thorough, and cautious in all you do. As a self-employed person, you must learn how to run your business. Time management, computer ability, budget creation and management, organizational skills, and logistics are some of the talents that will be required.

  • Consider that you must manage your time effectively as a self-employed worker by maintaining appointments, arranging networking time, and ensuring that you respond to phone calls and emails within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Makeup artists must also be incredibly self-motivated, which is particularly important when jobs will not come. As a reminder, you will not get paid unless you work, so constantly motivate yourself to strive for greatness and remind yourself that you are fortunate enough to be doing what you like doing.

Avoid being Blacklist

A makeup artist who has been blacklisted has been refused employment or has been excluded from the profession due to their poor reputation. This could be due to various factors, including substandard work, unprofessionalism, a lack of discretion, or a desire to break bridges with others. To understand, this step is very helpful. Walk-offs on set while shooting, or leaving the set before the production is complete, are the most common reason for being blacklisted.

  • Behavioral issues such as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, sleeping with the crew of performers, and having a negative attitude should be avoided.
  • Never forget to be on time for your set so that you don’t waste anyone’s time. For example, a director could squeeze in at least ten more takes in 5 minutes.
  • Always be willing to try new things. Being honest about your lack of knowledge will prevent you from coming off as smug or arrogant.


  • Never stop learning new things. The film industry is constantly developing, and your skill level should keep up with it. Successfulness in the industry requires a desire to learn and to take chances.
  • You may also have fantastic ideas for how someone should seem on stage, but you must follow the director’s instructions when it comes down to it.
  • Make sure you don’t overspend on makeup. It is not always necessary to purchase the most costly brands to be a successful makeup artist. Before you spend a lot of money on a high-end brand, check out a few different brands.