How to Become a Makeup Artist in Washington, D.C - QC Makeup Academy

The United States is full of exciting cities just waiting for you to start your career as a makeup artist. However, no city can compare to Washington, D.C – as the nation’s capital, it is truly an extraordinary place to live and work, with a variety of different neighborhoods to choose from and historical structures at every turn. We highly recommend choosing Washington as the location to start your makeup career!

Let’s take a trip to a city where government, culture, and history co-exist harmoniously – join us as we explore Washington, D.C!

Where to Work in Washington

Location: Georgetown

Preferred Makeup Jobs: Freelance makeup artists, mobile makeup artists

Industries: Retail, entertainment, salon and spa

Preferred Makeup Style: Bridal, everyday makeup

If you’re a history buff, you’ll love Georgetown, which is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the state! Working as a freelance or mobile makeup artist in this community is a goal for many aspiring makeup artists – not only is the area charming and picturesque, it also boasts upscale shops, restaurants, and salons. Because of this, you can expect your clientele to be from several different backgrounds, including students (with Georgetown University close by), young professionals employed by the government, and upper-middle-class families.

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This varied market is great news for your makeup career, as you’ll be able to package your services in several different ways. Don’t be afraid to put together creative combinations that appeal to these different clients, such as girls’ night out makeovers or date night makeup for students and young professionals, or glamour makeup for mothers and daughters. Knowing your target market, and the standard makeup prices in Georgetown, will allow you to price your services accordingly.

Location: Dupont Circle

Preferred Makeup Jobs: Beauty counter makeup artists, freelance makeup artists

Industries: Retail, salon and spa

Preferred Makeup Style: Bridal and high-end makeup

Looking for a vibrant, cosmopolitan area in which to start your career? Dupont Circle is your answer. Although referred to as “Dupont Circle”, it’s really a park (a patch of grass, specifically) that’s centered at the intersection of five streets. Not only is the entire area dotted with spectacular old mansions that have been renovated, it’s also known for its buzzing restaurants and nightlife. This area is notorious for salons and spas, so makeup artists who are seeking a role behind a beauty counter, or want to start their career in a retail environment, will flourish in Dupont Circle.

Keep in mind that working behind a beauty counter requires a great deal of people skills, so you’ll need to be outgoing, compassionate, and knowledgeable about specific products. Get the full scoop on what it’s really like to work behind a beauty counter with this career profile.

Never underestimate the value of being employed under an experienced, successful makeup artist – you’ll learn a great deal in a short amount of time. In Dupont Circle, there are many opportunities to hone your makeup skills under the guidance of an expert, so you’ll be in great hands as you build up your repertoire!

Location: Capitol Hill

Preferred Makeup Jobs: Freelance makeup artist, mobile makeup artist

Industries: Salon and spa, entertainment

Preferred Makeup Style: Creative, everyday makeup

In the shadows of government buildings such as the Supreme Court and Senate lies the fun and energetic neighborhood of Capitol Hill. You’d be surprised at the amount of outdoor cafes, charming local markets, and independent shops lining the streets in such a government-centric location.

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As a makeup artist, you’ll find that your clients are a mix of tourists and residents, and freelance makeup artistry is likely your best bet in this vibrant, friendly community. Before starting your career as a makeup artist in Capitol Hill, take time to ensure that your makeup portfolio is in top shape – it will represent what you can do, and potential clients will actually make the decision to hire you based on what they see in this showcase. Make sure to build a stellar portfolio and you’ll be sure to wow potential clients throughout Washington!

Location: Downtown

Preferred Makeup Jobs: Beauty counter makeup artists, freelance makeup artists

Industries: Retail, entertainment, salon and spa

Preferred Makeup Style: Bridal, high-end, everyday makeup

Right on the edge of downtown Washington sits one of the most famous landmarks in the world – 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, also known as the White House. How’s that for immediate credibility? And the downtown core of this city doesn’t disappoint. High-end retail stores, expensive restaurants, and famous museums are at every turn, so aspiring makeup artists with their eyes set on high-end clientele or an amazing retail role will be right at home here.

Have you ever dreamed of working at Sephora? It’s located within walking distance of the White House, which means you’ll be more or less in the center of Washington’s universe by bringing your makeup skills to this location.

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If you’ve got your heart set on working as a freelance makeup artist in downtown Washington, you’ll have the benefit of working with high-end clients. Just be mindful of the fact that you won’t be the only freelancer in town! Downtown Washington is competitive, so be sure you have a makeup artist certification behind your name, and some serious skills under your belt. You’ll need to set yourself apart in a hurry!

Location: Adams Morgan

Preferred Makeup Jobs: Freelance makeup artists, mobile makeup artists

Industries: Entertainment, salon and spa

Preferred Makeup Style: Creative and out-of-the-box, everyday makeup, body paint

While historic sites and peaceful streets aren’t what you’ll find in Adams Morgan, what you will encounter is a seriously diverse community. Independent shops, salons and unique restaurants give this neighborhood a flavor that is different from any other area of Washington, and as a makeup artist, you can expect some exciting clientele!

Take a colorful walk down Columbia Road and admire the eclectic street art and wildly colorful shop and restaurant facades. This is a preview of what you can expect when starting your career as a makeup artist here – clients will be creative and young for the most part, and will request makeup applications using body paint and similar materials. Just to give you an idea of how multicultural this area is, the last census revealed that there are 136 nationalities currently living in Adams Morgan, which means that a global beauty certification can help boost your salary!

Knowing how to use an airbrush machine and having a background in special effects makeup will serve you well in this community, and training in these genres will also set you apart from your fellow makeup artists.

Washington Makeup Artists to Follow

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Audrey Bethards

Based in Washington, Baltimore, and Northern Virginia, Audrey Bethards is the definition of a powerhouse. Specializing in hair and makeup services for fashion, photography, entertainment, HDTV, and video film, Audrey’s team travels directly to the clients’ location and provides them with whatever they need. Additionally, her work has been featured in publications such as Elle, American and Italian Glamour, and Seventeen.

Check out her website for various photo galleries from her portfolio, and prepare to be blown away!

Shauné Hayes

No bride wants to look overdone on her wedding day, which is something Washington-based makeup artist and hairstylist Shauné Hayes always keeps in mind. With a team of artists behind her, and a reputation for enhancing beauty without going over-the-top, Shauné has made a serious name for herself in the industry. A quick glance through her Instagram account is totally inspiring, and is a true showcase of how radiant her clients become with her magic touch.

Tiffany Lumpkin

As the owner and lead artist of one of the top bridal beauty agencies in Washington, Tiffany Lumpkin is a successful makeup artist you need to follow! She actually became a makeup artist after studying biotechnology – how’s that for a twist?

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Not only has her work been featured on the runway, it can also be seen on various television shows! Be sure to add Tiffany to your Instagram feed. Her photos are a mix of makeup looks and gorgeous snapshots from her exciting everyday life!

Tiyana Robinson

Professional makeup artist, brand ambassador, and international beauty educator Tiyana Robinson is a force to be reckoned with. Originally from New Jersey but now fully based in Washington, Tiyana creates looks that feature flawless skin and glamorous eyes and lips. To top it all off, she was also voted D.C’s Best Makeup Artist! Check out Tiyana on Instagram and get inspired!

A Makeup Artist’s Salary in Washington

As you begin your career in makeup artistry, it is so important to have an idea of what salary you’ll earn. In Washington, D.C, your makeup artist salary will likely be in the range of $35,000. Freelance makeup artists can expect to earn around $30,000 to start, and retail makeup artists make around $32,000.

As you’re just starting out, these are decent salaries to look forward to! With more experience under your belt, your salary will climb (along with your confidence), and there are a number of different ways to boost your salary in Washington. Just as well, don’t underestimate the value of specializations such as hair styling – politicians need to look their best from head to toe!

Check out the top things you didn’t expect an online makeup course to teach you!

Author Victoria Begin

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