Thinking of pursuing a career in makeup artistry? Professional MUA, Charlotte Ravet, is here to reveal 8 critical things she wishes she had known before launching her own career!

Charlotte is the proud owner of her very own hair and makeup business. From bridal, to editorial, to film and television, and everything in-between – Charlotte’s extensive makeup training allows her to provide a wide variety of services that cater to ALL types of clientele!

Her extensive resume includes working for Prada, L’Oreal, and even the cast of the hit show, Glee! A developer of educational programs, Charlotte has even been awarded Best Makeup Educator of the Year by the Australian Industry Makeup Awards.

Before starting my makeup training, I remember how excited I was. I imagined nothing more than a world of glitters, colors, and travel; doing makeup for TV shows and celebrities. Now that I’m well-established within the industry, I’m here to tell you the truth

A career in makeup artistry looks a lot like what I just described, yes. But it also takes time, trials, mistakes, and a TON of hard work.

As a makeup artist, I’ve changed in many ways over the years. I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing MUAs who’ve shared with me their best advice and tips. If I could go back and speak to my younger self, I would definitely have some key advice to share.

Since I can’t do that, I figured I could do one better and share this advice with YOU! 💕

male makeup artist applying makeup on female client

Your Career in Makeup Artistry: What Being a “Freelancer” Really Means

To start, working as a freelance makeup artist doesn’t simply mean that you are own boss, can set your own schedule, and do whatever you want. On the contrary, it actually means that you’re operating a very real business. This means that on top of doing your clients’ makeup, you’ll have a bunch of other responsibilities to take care of, too.

Marketing, invoicing, and other admins tasks are just as important as doing the makeup itself. You will need existing and potential clients alike to be able to find your business. So, good organization skills are critical! After all, you’ll need to be able to keep track of your payments and accountability, as well as do your taxes correctly and on time.

Of course, you can delegate and pay other people to do it for you. But in the beginning, your business will likely be a one person operation, so this is a legitimate budget to consider when crunching the numbers!

Software That Can Make Your Life Easier

These days, there are all sorts of free online software (or available for a small subscription fee) at your fingertips. This type of software can really help you keep track of all your administrative tasks. Plus, they can also help your marketing so your business can look more professional.

  • ZohoAn online software which can be used for free under a certain number of clients. Zoho allows you to keep all your accountability in one convenient place; from invoicing, to record expenses with receipts, to creating reports, etc. I have tried a few business software apps and this was my favorite for invoicing. Plus, it’s one of the cheapest options!
  • CanvaAn amazing resource for creating all of your marketing material. From Instagram posts, to flyers and presentations – Canva has been a life-changer for me! It’s very easy to use, too. Simply upload your images and create professional-looking designs.
  • Wix: A very popular site builder to help you create your very own business website. Since Wix offers pre-designed templates, it’s extremely user-friendly!
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7 Things to Know Before Starting Your Career in Makeup Artistry

Let’s count down my Top 7 things to know before you launch your exciting career! These are all things I personally wish I’d known myself, and have learned through years of experience.

7. Prioritize paying jobs.

Even if makeup is your passion, keep in mind that it’s also what pays the rent! I still do unpaid collaborations and editorials with photographers, but I secure my paid work first.

Admittedly, when first starting your career in makeup artistry, it can sometimes feel hard to prioritize what you ‘should’ be doing. After all, you need visibility and images to build a makeup portfolio and get paid work. In the beginning, paid work might not yet be an option.

In this case, that’s totally okay! Photoshoot collaborations are a great way to build your network, gain hands-on experience, and build your portfolio – even if it’s being done for free. But once paying clients start coming to you, they should take priority.

Exceptions to the Rule

Sometimes, however, you have to trust your gut. You might have a paying client booked, only to be offered a proposal for unpaid work that could actually prove to be more beneficial to your career. In a situation such as this, I would strongly advise that you first look at the work of the people wishing to collaborate with you. See if it fits your needs and artistic direction.

For example, let’s say that a big-name photographer asks you for unpaid editorial work. They want to schedule it on the same day that a client is asking you for one makeup look only. In the long run, the unpaid editorial work might actually get you more paying jobs in the future, thanks to wider exposure this job will most likely give you.

On the other hand, if you have a collaboration project planned with someone you work with regularly, and you’ve been offered a full-paid job on the same day, photographers usually understand that you need to take the paid job. Just be careful, give plenty of notice if you decide to take the job, and always find a replacement. Be professional!

6. Competition is hard.

This is just the honest truth. The makeup industry is extremely competitive, and the only thing that can save you is a strong work ethic. The pressure to find work as a freelancer can be challenging. Sometimes, you’ll have to face some difficult moments and be met with disappointment.

We all have days where we feel a bit flat and want to take a break. But this is proper to any creative industry. Doing work with your heart and soul takes a lot – but when you do something you love, NO day really feels like ‘work’ anymore.

Want some tips so you can stand out from the competition? Keep reading here!

5. Elevate your career in makeup artistry by finding your niche.

When I started my career in makeup artistry, I dreamed of working in fashion. I did wind up doing that for a bit, but it was mainly TV gigs that gave me well-paid work. So after that, I started working on creative projects. Now I specialize in education and creative makeup!

Finding your own niche will take time, and this is okay. You’ll need to explore different opportunities and figure out what you really love to do. It doesn’t mean that you need to do one type of work only. Rather, it means that you will probably prioritize one type of work over another.

Very often, your niche will help you build your clientele. People will naturally contact you more to do one specific type of work if you prove to be really good at it. The fabulous thing about your career in makeup artistry is that you’ll continuously explore diverse opportunities and create different types of looks!

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4. Look after your health.

Standing on your feet all day for long hours, carrying your makeup kit, using your hands… This can all take a negative toll on our bodies over time. In turn, this can also bring down our mental health if we’re not careful!

To have a professional career in makeup artistry, you’ll need to be in good physical health. Be careful with manual handling and your body posture. It’s pretty common for makeup artists to have back and hand issues after a few years. So, adopting the right habits from the start is essential.

Just as importantly, don’t forget to take time for yourself! As much as possible, try to leave work at the proverbial door once your day is done. Allot time in your schedule to decompress, relax, and clear your brain of any stressors. This alone will have a BIG impact on your well-being!

3. Look after your network.

Even if you haven’t worked with someone in a while, remind them of you and your business! Send your updated portfolio in a newsletter to your clients and past vendors, using services like Mailchimp. Don’t hesitate to give a follow-up call either.

Do you have a potential new project you’d like to collaborate with someone on? Ask them to have a coffee with you! You can outline your idea and together, you can decide if this is a project you’d both like to take part in.

Simply put, make sure people don’t forget about you. This way, when an opportunity arises, you’ll be fresh in peoples’ minds. This will increase your chances of being the one they contact for the job!

makeup on female model

2. Don’t give up.

It might take more time than originally anticipated to get your first well-paid job. But if you keep doing the right things, work will come to you. Things are not always totally within our control – last year proved that better than anything! 2020 was nothing short of a challenging year for many creative industries.

There will be times where you might have less work. Other times, you’ll suddenly feel like you’re swimming in client bookings. The key is to keep pushing forward through both the highs and the lows. Personally, I have seen plenty of people whose career in makeup artistry just couldn’t seem to take off – and now they’re working for high fashion runways!

Just be patient, and be kind to yourself. The best things take time.

1. Take time off.

In my experience, this is the most important piece of advice I can offer you. Should you choose a career in makeup artistry as a freelancer, the fear of not getting work can be stressful. As a result, you might begin to overcompensate without even realizing it. Between marketing, working on your social media channels, taking part in photoshoots, and trying to build your clientele, you can very quickly forget about making time for yourself.

Fall into this trap and you’ll burn out before you know it.

It’s essential to have at least one day off per week. On this given day, you do NOT work at all! Use it to properly take time for yourself. Over-stressing about getting more work is not going to bring you more work if you’re spread too thin. Having a clear state of mind is what will bring you the right answers.

The makeup and beauty industry is evolving every day. When I first started my career in makeup artistry, things were very different. I have learned how to manage my stress and take things one day and a time. Through experience, I’ve also discovered that at the end, everything will be okay.

As artists, we are lucky to be able to choose a career we are truly passionate about. Even if you face some difficult times here and there, you’ll one day look back on your successful career and know that you every moment – good or bad – was all worth it. Personally, I wouldn’t have done anything differently!

Start your career in makeup artistry with a professional certification to add to your resume! Click here to learn all about QC Makeup Academy’s wide variety of online courses!

Author Charlotte Ravet

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