licensing for makeup artists

Your Makeup Career

What You Need to Know About a Makeup Artist License

Becoming a professional makeup artist is only half the battle – to ensure you’re running a proper business, you need to look into whether or not a board exam is required. Getting a license as a makeup artist isn’t always necessary, but there are a few things you should know about the process!

Makeup classes give you the expertise to work on clients, so what’s the big deal about licensing? Is it really a big deal?

Read on to find out about makeup artist licenses and becoming a certified makeup artist!

What is a makeup license?

Makeup licenses are just like a driver’s license – you study up and take an exam to prove you’re fit for the role. However, unlike driving, makeup artistry can become complicated in the sense of who can and can’t work as a professional.

Woman learning professional makeup artistry online

Licensing boards exist, but they aren’t the be-all and end-all of the makeup industry. Not every region or state needs their makeup artists to possess a license! Depending on where you are, you might even be able to set up a makeup business without any formal training – although we definitely don’t recommend it. Working on clients when you have no experience will only end in disaster…

So, what does all this mean for you? You’ll need to do some research to figure out if you’re affected by licensing in your area:

Do I need a makeup license?

Most makeup artists don’t know if they need a license when they are just starting out, since the rules vary from place to place. When you’re starting up your career, whether you’re taking makeup courses or building a business, do your research into local regulations. Sometimes, all you have to do to get your makeup license is sit an exam (and pass!). Giving your local government a call can clear this up for you.

What if I do?

If you find out that you do need a license to practice makeup artistry, don’t fret – your makeup training is not in vain! Licensing exams generally do not go into enough detail about makeup artistry techniques to give you a well-rounded education.

What licensing exams do, mainly, is ensure the safety of professionals and customers by covering topics like hygiene and sanitation. Although you’ll cover these in your makeup artistry classes, it’s important to show the licensing board that you know your stuff!

How to get a makeup certification from online makeup classes

Makeup License VS Makeup Certification

Yes, there is a big difference between a makeup license and a makeup certification. There are pros and cons to both, so sit back and let us enlighten you!

Makeup Artist Licenses

Licensed makeup artists generally take training through cosmetology schools, with the intention of learning more than just makeup artistry. Since cosmetologists and estheticians need certain training or licenses, the makeup portion of their education is lumped into these courses.

The downfall? Learning makeup artistry as a subset of cosmetology doesn’t provide fully focused education about the makeup industry. You’ll learn some useful practices and techniques, but the professional expertise that a makeup school can offer can be lost in the curriculum.

Yes, it might be worth it to be licensed as a cosmetologist if you want to pursue more than just makeup applications – but keep in mind that even experienced cosmetologists take makeup courses to refine their skills! Just as well, keep different job opportunities in mind – you might be able to choose hair styling over hair designing, and regulations can be much different.

Hairstyling  course for makeup artists

Makeup Artist Certifications

Getting certified as a professional makeup artist demonstrates that you’ve completed a certain degree of professional training. These courses can be as specialized as you’d like, depending on your career goals. The benefit of getting your certification is being able to show clients and employers that you have been certified by an accredited makeup school. Plus, with schools going online these days, you have a wider and more affordable selection of makeup courses!

Pro Tip: If you’re starting your own makeup business, having special training can help you raise your competitive pricing.

Which is best?

Again, it comes down to what you want in your career, as well as what your locality says you need to have to become a makeup artist. If you want to be a hairstylist, you might need a cosmetologist license. However, some regions state a difference between hair styling and hair cutting. You may not even need a license after all!

To become a successful makeup artist, your priority should lie in where you’ll gain the most experience. Knowing best practices isn’t always enough to create a perfect dropped shadow! Line up your education with where you want to go in the makeup industry.

Remember, constant practice will improve your skills only if you are using the right techniques – so if you want to be the best, learn from the best!

Check out how to find affordable makeup training online with this guide for the budget makeup artist!

Katie is a blog writer for QC Makeup Academy, where she provides advice to makeup artists and stylists. Katie's tips and career insights range from networking to creating exciting initiatives for new businesses.

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