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Your Makeup Career

How to Become a Freelance Makeup Artist: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re pursuing a career in makeup artistry, you’ve very likely considered freelancing (of course you have!). Becoming a freelance makeup artist is highly desirable – you can set your own hours and pay rate, choose your clients, and build a fabulous brand that you can be proud of.

If you’re just starting out, however, freelance makeup artist jobs can seem intimidating, and the job search itself is unique. But don’t worry – we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to becoming a freelance makeup artist, so you’ll have all the skills you need to start out. Plus, you’ll know how to stay on top of new makeup trends and practices!

1. Reflect on your skills

A makeup artist certification and some experience under your belt are invaluable as you start your career as a makeup artist. Before starting on the road to becoming a freelance makeup artist, you’ll definitely want to complete a makeup artist course and hone your skills as much as possible. In addition to these items, you’ll also need several traits in order to enjoy a successful career in makeup:

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Don’t worry if you’re not an extremely organized person with a collection of social media accounts. These are skills that you can cultivate in your career as a makeup artist! However, you do need to be mindful that organization is vital for any freelancer, and that hard work is a large part of achieving success in this industry.

2. Build your tool kit

A professional kit is a freelance makeup artist’s most prized possession. As a result, it can be a huge source of stress for a newly certified makeup artists who know how much of an investment these products can be. Those color palettes and skin care products are certainly not cheap! However, putting together a professional makeup kit is a necessary evil, as you’ll need to show up to every appointment with items such as quality brushes, a range of eye shadows, lipsticks, foundations, and cleaning products.

Organizing your kit is an excellent step on the road to becoming a freelance makeup artist. You want your clients to come to you, and you don’t want them to find you unprepared! There are many ways to build your kit on a budget, and a good number of products that can be purchased at the drugstore rather than at your local Sephora. The plus side of being thrifty while building your kit? You’ll gain invaluable experience with a variety of different products, and will develop a sense of which ones to splurge on and where to save!

3. Set boundaries

We get it – you’re just starting out and as such, you want to take on as many clients and freelance makeup jobs as you can. However, you don’t want to burn out, and you certainly don’t want to overbook yourself and run the risk of mixing up appointments.

Before you even book your first client, decide on the type of makeup you want to focus on. Perhaps you’re comfortable creating airbrush, fantasy, glamour, and every day looks but bridal makeup has never been your strength (or your passion!). Guess what? You can say no to bridal clients. Heck, you can even be picky about bridal parties and wedding themes.

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This may seem counterintuitive to an aspiring freelance makeup artist, but it actually is a smart move. Saying no to one client frees up your time, and allows you to say yes to another (ideally, one that you really want to work with). You’ll be much more likely to do your best work if you’re focused on a few strong areas, and this will build your reputation and client base quickly through word-of-mouth.

So, consider these boundaries as a stepping stone to becoming the best freelance makeup artist you can be. A good understanding of your own strengths and interests will serve you well in the industry, and can result in more clients and a happier career!

4. Be assertive

This is where your work ethic comes in handy! In order to land those freelance makeup jobs, you’re going to need to be assertive. There are several ways to find new clients, including reaching out to models and photographers who are looking for a makeup artist, approaching event and wedding venues, wedding planners, hair salons, and even doing makeup for your friends and family. Never underestimate the power of industry connections!

In addition to pounding the pavement this way, be sure to maintain a strong, active online presence that allows you to be found by clients and to connect with industry professionals. Schedule an hour or two each day to add new photos to your website and social media accounts, chat with potential clients, and network online.

Keep in mind that word-of-mouth is a key element to a successful career in makeup. A client who is happy with your work will tell their friends about you, or share a review on your Facebook page. Be sure to have business cards at the ready so those happy clients can pass along your information, and encourage them to follow you on social media. These kinds of referrals can seriously impact your career as a makeup artist, and quickly! This is why it’s so important to focus on the kind of makeup that you’re passionate about (and good at!), as you’ll build a reputation for being a highly-skilled makeup artist. Good news travels fast!

5. Stay current and keep learning!

We’ll let you in on a little secret: the best makeup artists are those who are one step ahead of new makeup trends, and who keep developing their skills. Just because you’ve hit a groove in your makeup career and are earning a steady income doesn’t mean you should ever slow down. Clients are going to expect you to be on top of beauty trends and be in the know about the latest makeup looks and newest color palettes. They’ll be impressed at your commitment to improvement and quality as a makeup artist, so don’t hesitate to enroll in more makeup artistry courses that will increase your skill-set.

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If you continue learning and stay relevant, you’ll soon find that you’re well ahead of the competition. As a freelance makeup artist, this is where you want to be – it sets your services and knowledge apart from those around you. So keep building and sharpening those skills!

Keep growing your makeup skills! Check out 6 unique things you definitely didn’t think your makeup course would teach you!

Victoria is a blog writer and social media expert for QC Makeup Academy, writing in-depth articles to help emerging makeup artists grow their knowledge and experience in the industry.

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