How to Become a Makeup Artist in Los Angeles
In order to become a makeup artist in a bustling city, you need to perfect your skills and put yourself out there! Working in L.A. will give you the experience to go anywhere in the world—so find out how you can start your makeup career in glitzy Hollywood!
Don’t forget—practice is key to becoming successful and advancing your makeup skills. Raw talent can put you on the map, but without industry training you won’t get far! Knowing your etiquette and best practices will give you the professionalism that other aspiring makeup artist don’t have. Read on to see how you can put your makeup training to use in the City of Angels!
Where to Work In Los Angeles
Location: Melrose Avenue
Preferred Makeup Jobs: Beauty counter and freelance makeup artists
Preferred Makeup Style: Daytime, special occasion, film makeup
The famous Melrose Avenue: dubbed a favorite by locals and tourists alike. Melrose has all the trimmings of high-end luxury clients as well as your creative types. A perfect mix to gain experience in the industry!
Finding a job on Melrose Avenue will be highly competitive, but there are more opportunities because of the varying shops and industries. From cosmetic brand shops to TV and film sets, there’s plenty of opportunity to refine your makeup skills and branch out! Gaining experience in the fast-paced downtown of L.A. will keep you on your toes.
Location: Rodeo Drive
Preferred Makeup Jobs: Beauty counter makeup artists
Preferred Makeup Style: Daytime, high-end
Want to work with luxury clients and create glamorous makeup looks all year long? Look no further than Rodeo Drive. One of the top shopping areas in Los Angeles, this strip of the city is a haven for the rich and famous. Build your list of high-profile clients by landing a job (or apprenticeship) in this glam neighborhood.
What’s more—if you can land a job as a makeup artist in these high-end cosmetic stores, you’ll be way ahead of your competition! You’ll need to look the part as well, so revamping your wardrobe is a must! High-profile clients call for a highly professional and chic wardrobe!
Preferred Makeup Jobs: Freelance makeup artists
Industries: Film and television
Preferred Makeup Style: Corrective, glamour, and special effects makeup
Working in Hollywood is no easy feat. But, by refining your skills and showing off your unique talent, you can impress the right person and launch your career! Honing your makeup skills for TV and film sets is crucial. With the outstanding quality of today’s technology and video, your applications need to be flawless. You need to know how the lighting will affect how your makeup application looks on camera. Plus, you need to work on different clients every day. Knowing how to work with certain face shapes, as well as how to complement the lighting will impress every director!
Don’t forget that working in film and television means there’s a lot of potential for special effects makeup artists! Refining your skills in creating fake wounds and bodily effects will give you a huge step ahead of the competition.
Location: Toluca Woods
Preferred Makeup Jobs: Salon makeup artists
Industries: Salon and spa
Preferred Makeup Style: Daytime, natural makeup
Just below the hub of North Hollywood lies a tranquil area known for its plethora of salons and spas. Toluca Woods is home to relaxing spas and beauty salons, and it’s the place you should be looking if you have the skills to be an in-house makeup artist.
Salons and spas can hire makeup artists to add finishing touches to their clients, or to apply specialized makeup for a confidence boost. Whatever the reason, your training with skin tones and conditions will help you land a job! Since most salons and spas hire cosmetologists or estheticians, you’ll need to study up. Employers will be impressed with your knowledge of applying makeup to different skin types!
Location: Beverly Hills
Preferred Makeup Jobs: Celebrity makeup artists
Industries: High-end beauty
Preferred Makeup Style: Evening, glamour makeup
Beverly Hills is the holy grail of all celebrity makeup artists. If you’re working with stars in Beverly Hills, you’ve made it in the L.A. beauty industry. Since there are so many makeup artists swarming celebrities and film sets in Hollywood, finding a niche and standing out will get you noticed. Whether you decide to freelance or get help from an agency, you need to make your first impressions count in this neighborhood.
You’ll also need to network heavily—a referral from a celeb is worth its weight in gold!
Los Angeles Makeup Artists You Should Be Following
If there are any SFX fans out there, then you should definitely know about Howard Berger’s work. He’s a household name in Hollywood film and television—he’s been on the scene for decades, witnessing the rise of new technology in special effects creations! His studio, KNB EFX Group Inc., is an in-demand company that has worked on countless box office hits. Chronicles of Narnia? Check. The Walking Dead? Check. Men in Black? Check.
Plus, this famed makeup artist has worked with Hollywood’s biggest directors. From Wes Craven to Quentin Tarantino, there’s no wonder why Howard Berger is a top Hollywood hotshot!
You can’t miss this makeup goddess while visiting Los Angeles—she’s worked on countless famous faces! From Britney to J-Lo to Victoria’s Secret models, Monika’s talent is set in stone. Keep an eye on her work for inspiration in your own makeup looks, and you’ll be following in her footsteps.
And don’t miss Monika’s YouTube videos. She gives tutorials on her favorite looks, and even does Chelsea Handler’s makeup! There’s no doubt that she’s a favorite among Hollywood A-listers.
Working with Vogue India and Marie Claire Indonesia, Kim Young has an impressive portfolio. Her editorial work is fabulous, and she’s no stranger to working as a male makeup artist. We’re totally jealous of her chance to work on Jesse McCartney—our former teen hearts are screaming!
For inspiration on this worldwide makeup sensation, follow her Instagram!
A quick visit to Pati’s website will give you a taste of her pure talent. Her makeup applications on Kirsten Dunst and Brie Larson are so flawless, we can only dream of having makeup that perfect. Pati Dubroff is a household name in Los Angeles, so don’t forget to study up on her work. And if you ever get the chance to work with her—take diligent notes!
One of Rachel Goodwin’s returning clients is Hollywood sweetheart Emma Stone. From her Rolling Stone cover to her look at this year’s Oscars, Rachel always gives Emma a beautiful and classic makeup look. Plus, she’s worked on Selena Gomez, January Jones, Brie Larson, Kate Upton…we can’t get over her list of celebrity clients.
In short, if you want to become a celebrity makeup artist in Hollywood—follow Rachel’s work!
An MUA’s Salary in Los Angeles
In L.A. you’ll have a lot of competition as a makeup artist, so any skills you can gain should be on your resume! The average salary in Los Angeles for makeup artists is about the same as the national average ($10-25 per hour)—but there’s a lot more potential to make big bucks in the celebrity industry. If you want to gain experience with a cosmetic company, your average hourly rate will most likely be between $15-30 US.
Just remember: the more advanced skills you have, the more you’ll make as a pro makeup artist! If you want to move up in L.A. and Hollywood, we recommend building your skills up beforehand. Or, if you’re antsy to go right away, keep in mind that you’ll have to settle in and build your name up when you get there!
We don’t doubt that you’ll be working on celebrity faces and with production crews in the near future—so keep your head up and be persistent in your makeup career!