Makeup artistry seems like a glamorous job—wild runway looks, glossy spreads in Vogue, and working with celebrities on the red carpet. But is that all there is to it? No way!
Thinking of becoming a makeup artist? Want to know if it’s really the right career for you? If you’re trying to sort out what’s true and what’s not about makeup artistry, you’re definitely in the right place. Here are the top 7 myths about makeup artistry—busted!
1. You have to move to a big city to make a living as a makeup artist
If you’re set on working with celebrities and high-end designers, then yes, this one is true. Even the best makeup artist can’t work on a celebrity from across the country, so MUAs set on landing big-ticket clients will eventually have to start planning a move.
But that’s definitely not the case for all MUAs. Every city has at least one store with a makeup counter and a salon that does makeup for special events. Prom makeup can bring in a lot of seasonal business around graduation time, but bridal makeup has an even bigger reach. People are always getting married, and that means brides are always needing their makeup done! Even in a smaller town there’s a market for makeup artists
2. Anyone who can apply their own makeup can be a makeup artist
Nope. Like any profession, makeup artistry can be learned, but not everyone is ready to commit. Makeup artistry is, well, an art! You’ll need to master tons of different looks and techniques to serve a wide range of clients and events. That takes time, training, and a lot of practice.
Besides, applying makeup isn’t the only part of being an MUA. It also takes good communication skills, a drive to succeed, and a head for business! Especially if you want to freelance, you’ll have spend some time learning the basics on marketing, social media, and finances.
3. If you don’t wear a lot of makeup, you can’t be a makeup artist
You do have to love makeup to be a MUA, but that doesn’t mean you have to create show-stopping looks for yourself every day of the week. Some MUAs prefer to stick to the basics in their everyday looks, even though they’ve got the skills to go much bigger.
Of course, this is a little different if you work at a makeup counter. You’re an employee as well as an MUA, so as well as applying makeup you’re also supposed to sell it—and if you’re smart, your own face can do a lot of the selling for you!
4. Makeup artists use only the most expensive products
This one comes from a bigger makeup myth: more expensive products = better quality. Yes, many high-end products are better than cheaper alternatives, and dirt-cheap makeup often gets you equally cheap results, but a higher price tag doesn’t always mean a better product.
Do some research. Read some reviews. Test out products for yourself. You’ll soon find where you need to splurge on a pricier product and where you can soften the blow to your bank account by going for a less expensive alternative. All MUAs have different opinions on which high-end products you absolutely need and which you can live without, but the bottom line is that the cost of creating a makeup kit shouldn’t stop you from following your dream.
5. You need a special license to become a makeup artist
In some states and countries, yes, you do, but that’s not always the case. In many places you just need solid makeup skills (gained through hours of practice) and some business smarts, and you’re good to go!
And if you do live somewhere that requires a license for MUAs, don’t let it scare you off. While some states require a full-on cosmetology degree, others just require a certain number of hours of practice. The best way to bust this myth (or figure out a way to work it into your career plan) is to check out the regulations in your state or country for yourself.
6. Makeup artistry is just a career for the young
Is makeup artistry popular with teenagers and young adults? Absolutely. Are those the only people who can succeed in the industry? No way! In fact, makeup artistry is a growing field for the older crowd, many of whom pick it as a way of starting a second career. As long as you’re willing to keep learning, you’re never too old to become an MUA!
7. Makeup artistry is only a part-time job
For some MUAs this is true, especially if they’re new to the industry and working at an old job while they build a business that can support them financially. And it’s also true that MUAs don’t work a nine-to-five shift five days a week—but that doesn’t mean they’re not putting in just as many hours (often even more) than someone working an office job!
In fact, long hours are something you’ll probably have to get used to as an MUA. Professionals in some areas of the industry even say that a 12-hour day is often short for an MUA! Late nights, early mornings (we’re talking early here), and long hours might be a part of the industry, but there’s a big payoff—you get to spend that time doing something you love. And once you’ve started bringing in clients, makeup artistry is definitely a career that can support you full-time!