Makeup Artists: Here's How to Stay Competitive - QC Makeup Academy

The world of make-up is a multi-billion dollar one, but it is also highly competitive. Simply being good at make-up may get you jobs, but if you want to reach the top, you need to know how to surpass your competition. Here are 6 tips that will ensure that you always have the leading edge.


The first and most important thing you can do is practice. The only way to master both basic and advanced techniques is through practical application. To become a master, you must dedicate time to practicing. If you want to immediately exceed your competition, practice for at least 4 hours a week (and that is a minimal commitment). Pick a night of the week, invite the gals over and utilize all of your techniques.

I assure you, your peers are not doing this and it will vastly improve your ability. The repetition will not only improve your skill and speed, but it will also get you accustomed to working on many different faces, which is essential for anyone who wishes to have a long and successful career. And don’t stop practicing once you think you’ve mastered it. I promise, you’ve never mastered it. Makeup is always evolving and so are the artists applying it.

Know Your Competition

To outdo your competition, you must know your competition. Research all of the artists in your area and familiarize yourself with them, their rates, and their artistry. Unless you know who is around you and what they offer, you can never expect to compete with them. If you are practicing, like I stressed above, you are already likely to be ahead of them in the skill department.


I don’t recommend having a completely different menu of services from other makeup artists in your area, but I do recommend having a broader one. For example, if all of your competitors focus on special occasion and wedding (which is very likely since these are some of the few times most people actually pay for makeup), you should offer those services too, but you should broaden your menu to attract even more potential clients.

If you offer an affordable makeup bag makeover, you can offer the client a lesson in application as well as going through all of their products showing them what products will work for them and which won’t, then recommending better replacements for the products that won’t work. This is only one example of how you can broaden your menu and introduce more people to your artistry (and the more people who know you, the more who recommend you).

Price Competitively

Make sure your rates are competitive. This comes from knowing your community. As I mentioned above, you should research your competition. This will tell you what those around you are pricing their work at. I do not recommend being too far below the others as you do not want to undervalue your service, but I do recommend carefully considering your community.


If you live somewhere where most people make $15 ah hour, you are not likely to get anyone to hire you for anything other than a major event if you charge $200 for an hour. Again, I am not suggesting that you undervalue yourself, I am simply suggesting that you take into account the median income of where you live and adjust your rate accordingly. Yes, it is great to get paid a lot for a job, but if people in your community cannot afford you, you are likely not to be working very often.

Create Your Own Work

Create work for yourself. If you wait for work to come to you, you may find you are waiting forever. To stay ahead of the game, and to always keep money coming in, you have to find ways to create jobs for yourself.


For example, consider organizing makeup Mondays once a month where you charge attendees $5 or $10 and choose a topic to teach the participants how to create something classic or something trendy. Your first event could focus on the lips. You could teach anything from the fundamentals of application—from lining and correction— straight on to the classic red lip or an ombre lip. The topics are endless. This will put money in your pocket and open you to a whole new world of potential clients. And let’s not forget, your skills will only strengthen when you teach what you know to others.

Know the Classics (and the Newbies)

Understand classic make-up application and keep your eyes on the trends. Having a solid education in classic make-up application is essential, but you also have to keep yourself up to date on those ever-changing trends. You can do this by monitoring makeup agency websites, watching YouTube, and following celebrities and their makeup artists on social media.


Seeing the latest work from the agency and celebrity make-up artists will not only keep you up to date on the trends, but it will also give you a bar to raise your own work to. Your work should be just as beautiful and clean as the work of those working at the highest levels. If it isn’t, that can be solved with practice!

Be Visible

Make yourself visible. One of the best things you can do is create a great platform for yourself. The fastest way to do that is through social media. Start accounts dedicated to your artistry. Carefully curated Instagram, SnapChat, and Facebook pages can get you a lot of followers and fans. If you are good on camera, you may wish to start your own YouTube channel. The more visible demonstrations of quality work you can put out there, the more likely you are to be hired.

Believe it or not, very few of your competition are going the extra mile. If you put these tips to practice and maybe develop a few of your own, I have no doubt you will quickly surpass all the competition in your market.

Competing in the makeup artistry industry takes confidence—find out how QC student Amber Smith found hers!

Author Nathan Johnson

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