Just starting your dream career? If you haven’t landed a job yet, don’t let it discourage you! To be perfectly honest, it’s a lot harder than it looks!

Building a career as a makeup artist is different than getting started in a lot of other industries. For one thing, most of the makeup jobs out there will not be advertised online. If you’re solely applying for freelance makeup artist jobs, you will need to put in gallons blood, sweat, and tears.

But we’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s all about getting makeup clients to come to you! So how can you prepare your makeup business so potential clients will reach out?

Read on to find out how to position yourself to get freelance makeup artist jobs!

Get the right makeup training

Here’s the deal: in most jurisdictions, you don’t need any sort of makeup training at all. But in such a competitive industry, you’ll want to do everything you can to beat out your rivals! Look for a makeup course from a reputable makeup school. If your instructor is a well-respected titan in the industry, you’ll be all set when it comes to actually performing as a practicing MUA.

Don’t forget about a certification—you’ll want proof of your hard work and technical skills. With a real makeup artist certification, you’ll be able to command a higher salary and show potential clients you actually know your stuff!

makeup kit

Buy the right products for your makeup artist kit

What is a certified makeup artist without her tools? Every established makeup artist has her own trusty set of brushes and makeup products. It is a bit of an investment to build a professional makeup kit, but it will be well worth the money. Your clients hire you for your expert skills, so you need to be prepared to create beautiful looks that stay put for hours on end.

Unfortunately, quality often comes at a cost. You should know from just going into Sephora that makeup isn’t cheap. Luckily, there are plenty of drugstore makeup dupes for your professional makeup kit. You don’t have to splurge all your savings to get that Charlotte Tilbury palette when just starting your makeup career. As you grow your skills and figure out the kinds of clientele you want, your makeup stash will grow along with it!

Pro Tip: Once you’re armed with your makeup certification, you may be eligible to receive pro discounts from reputable makeup brands! Be sure to check and see if your makeup school has partnered up with any makeup vendors.

Build a compelling portfolio

In your free time, practice your artistry on friends or family members. Trust us, you’d be surprised how dramatically your skills can increase with daily practice! Don’t forget to take good quality photos of your work (keep in mind the lighting!), and upload them to your web portfolio or on Instagram. Ensure you get a wide range of photos that show the intricate details in your work and your diverse skills—clients want a well-rounded artist!

makeup artistry application

While it’s a good idea to get a professional Facebook page for your freelance makeup business, you’ll still need to invest in a website. Having a strong social media presence is good, but if you want to start booking jobs, you’ll need a central hub dedicated to your business. When you get business cards, be sure to include your website and social media handles so potential clients can easily see your work.

Attend Makeup Artist Trade Shows

Keeping up with the latest beauty trends is absolutely crucial. With so many aspiring makeup artists competing for the same jobs, how can you stand out? Makeup conferences and trade shows can help you grow your makeup business in every way.

  • Watch demos of the latest makeup trends
  • Learn new skills in exclusive makeup workshops
  • Network with makeup industry professionals
  • Purchase new products for your professional makeup kit at a discount

As long as you’re an active makeup artist, we definitely recommend attending makeup expos and tradeshows every year. Here’s a sample list of some of the world’s biggest makeup tradeshows!

Reach out to local professionals

freelance makeup artist job on a bridal client

Reach out to models and photographers to help with a styled shoot. Styled shoots are a great way for emerging creatives to exchange skilled services for high-quality portfolio images. You might not get paid for your work, but you will make valuable industry contacts and get to keep the photos for your makeup portfolio. Plus, you can take that time to get to know your fellow creatives in your region. The more people who know you’re working in the industry, the more likely you are to be contacted when one of them is looking for a makeup artist. It’s all about who you know!

What else can you do to land freelance makeup jobs? Leave us a tip in the comments!

Want to hear from a real makeup school graduate? QC graduate Whitney Ellis details her experiences finding her first job as a certified makeup artist!

Author Celina Feng

More posts by Celina Feng

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • I am still learning but I already have business cards, a portfolio and a website. My dilema is this. At what point do I need to invest in taking my hobby to a full blown career. I am already debating about the cost of becoming and LLC and then the expense of adding a business phone line. I am independent but I am starting to get requests and contact about work. Right now it is all probono working with local theater and charitable events and photographers who trade me high resolution shots of my work in lieu of pay. It feels like I may need to launch a legitimate full blown business soon and I don’t even know where to being or how much to ask for a fee.

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