The Pros and Cons of Working as a Makeup Artist - QC Makeup Academy

Today, we’re here to explore both the pros and cons of working as a makeup artist. This way, that you can make an informed decision about your future!

After all, there are many reasons why one might want to become a professional MUA. The hours might be flexible, you can work from anywhere in the world, and it’s a very creative industry. That said, there are also some drawbacks that should be considered before making the decision to pursue a career in makeup artistry.

So, let’s take a look at both sides of the coin, shall we?

What is a Professional Makeup Artist?

A professional makeup artist is somebody who uses their creative talents to apply cosmetics and enhance an individual’s appearance. This can be done for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: fashion shows, film productions, weddings, and photo shoots.

The Job Description of a Makeup Artist

A makeup artist’s job is to make their clients look and feel their best. This is done by using a combination of cosmetics, knowledge of color theory, and application techniques.

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A typical day for an MUA could consist of the following tasks:

  • Meeting with clients to discuss their needs and wants (i.e. conducting consultations)
  • Applying makeup to clients
  • Touching up makeup throughout the day
  • Assisting with hair and wardrobe changes
  • Attending castings and auditions

Furthermore, if you run your own company, you’ll have daily responsibilities that cover the business side of things, too. For instance, you’ll have to:

  • Develop client contracts
  • Market your business
  • Handle finances
  • Network with other industry professional, etc.

Types of Makeup Artists

Beauty Consultant

There are many different types of MUAs, each with their own unique set of skills and specialties. The most common type of makeup artist is a beauty consultant, who works in department stores or cosmetic counters. These consultants advise customers on which products to purchase based on their skin type, eye color, etc.

Bridal MUA

As the name suggests, a bridal makeup artist is somebody who specializes in doing makeup for weddings. This includes the bride, as well as the bridal party.

Editorial Makeup Artist

An editorial makeup artist is somebody who works primarily in the fashion industry. This could include doing runway shows, photo shoots, and other events that are related to fashion.

Celebrity MUA

A celebrity makeup artist is somebody who works with, you guessed it – celebrities! This could be anybody from actors and actresses to models and musicians.

Blonde makeup artist holding cosmetic brush near young professional model

Special FX MUA

Another type of makeup artist is a special effects (SFX) artist. SFX artists use their skills to create special effects for movies, television shows, live performances, and theater. This might include creating fake wounds or bruises, applying prosthetics, and even playing with different types of hair and wigs.

Freelance Makeup Artist

Lastly, another common kind of makeup artist is a freelance artist. Freelance artists are not employed by any one company. Instead, they work independently and often have a more flexible schedule than other types of makeup artists. They might also be hired to work on film sets, fashion shows, or weddings.

Benefits of Being a Freelance Makeup Artist

Some of the benefits of being a freelance makeup artist include:

  • The ability to work from anywhere in the world
  • A more flexible schedule
  • The opportunity to be your own boss and set your own hours
  • The chance to build a strong portfolio
  • Flexibility to set your own rates

Drawbacks of Being a Freelance Makeup Artist

Of course, there are also some drawbacks that come with being a freelance MUA. These include:

  • Not having health benefits or other employee perks
  • Having to constantly market yourself and find new clients
  • Dealing with the financial ups and downs that come with running your own business

Did you know that QC Makeup Academy‘s self-paced, online certification courses can train you to become any and all of the above types of MUAs? It’s true! Learn more about our full list of programs here!

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The Pros of Working as a Makeup Artist

Now, let’s get to the main event: the pros and cons of makeup artistry as a professional career!

Pro #1: The Ability to Help People Feel Good About Themselves

One of the best things about being a makeup artist is that you have the ability to help people feel good about themselves. Makeup can be used as a tool to boost confidence and make people feel beautiful. It’s an amazing feeling when you can help somebody look and feel their best!

Pro #2: The Opportunity to Be Creative

Another great thing about being a makeup artist is that it allows you to be creative. If you’re somebody who loves experimenting with different looks, colors, and products, then this career is definitely for you! You’ll never get bored as an MUA because there are always new trends to try out and ways to express your creativity.

Pro #3: The Potential to Earn a Good Income

Makeup artists can earn a very good income, especially if they work in the fashion or entertainment industry. Even if you don’t make it to the big leagues, though, you can still do very well for yourself as a makeup artist. The average salary for an MUA is $50,000 per year, but this number will of course vary depending on experience and location.

Pro Tip: Check out this blog post to discover the 16 most profitable careers as a makeup artist!

Pro #4: The Chance to Travel

Depending on the type of MUA you are, you might have the opportunity to travel. For instance, freelance makeup artists, bridal artists for destination weddings, editorial MUAs, and makeup artists for film and television can potentially give you the chance to job.

This is a great perk of the job because it allows you to see new places and meet new people. It can also be a great way to learn about different cultures and their customs around beauty!

Makeup artist doing make up for young beautiful bride.

Pro #5: The Possibility of Working From Home

One final pro is that, depending on the type of makeup artist you are, you might have the opportunity to work from home. This can be a great perk if you don’t like working in an office or if you have young children at home that you need to take care of.

Are YOU a stay-at-home mom? There’s no reason you can’t still pursue your dream career in the beauty industry! Give this article a read to discover how you can become a makeup artist as a SAH parent!

Pro #6: The Ability to Add Complementary Beauty Services

Another benefit of building a career in makeup is that you also have the option to add other beauty services to your repertoire. This can include hair styling, skincare, fashion styling, etc.

Adding these extra services can not only make you more in-demand – it can also lead to a higher income! Many makeup artists find that they earn more money when they offer multiple beauty services instead of just makeup alone.

Pro #7: The Potential to Work With Famous People

Without a doubt, one of the coolest things about being a makeup artist is that you might have the opportunity to work with famous people! If you want to work in fashion or entertainment, this is definitely a possibility. It’s always exciting to meet celebrities and see them up close – and it’s even more exciting when you’re the one responsible for making them look their best!

Pro #8: You Get to Work on Exciting Projects

As an MUA, you’ll never be bored because no two days are ever the same! You might find yourself working on fashion shows one day, photoshoots the next, and weddings the following weekend.

You’ll also have the opportunity to work on some pretty exciting projects, like music videos, commercials, and even movies! It’s always thrilling to see your work on screen or in print – and it’s a great feeling knowing that you helped make somebody look their best.

Pro #9: The Makeup Industry is Always Changing

The beauty industry is always changing, which means that there’s always something new to learn! This is great for curious minds who want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques.

Even if you’ve been working as a makeup artist for years, you’ll still find yourself learning new things all the time. The best part? You can take what you learn and incorporate it into your own unique style!

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Pro #10: The Beauty Community is Incredibly Supportive

Another major perk of being a makeup artist is that you’ll be a part of an incredibly supportive community. No matter where you are in your career, you’ll always find somebody who is willing to help you out or give you advice.

This is especially true if you’re just starting out as a makeup artist. There are so many helpful resources available – all you have to do is look for them!

One such resource is QC Makeup Academy’s Virtual Classroom on Facebook. Come join the QC community today – even if you aren’t a student!

Pro #11: There’s No Shortage of Networking Opportunities

In the beauty industry, it’s all about who you know. Fortunately, as a makeup artist, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to network with other professionals!

You might meet other artists at events like makeup conventions or trade shows. Or, you could connect with them online through social media or forums. Either way, it’s always beneficial to have a strong network of contacts in the industry.

Pro #12: You Can Turn Your Passion Into a Successful Business

If you’re passionate about makeup, there’s no reason why you can’t turn it into a successful business! With hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

Many makeup artists start out working for themselves, and they eventually build up a strong clientele. If you want to be your own boss, this is definitely the career for you!

Started your very own makeup business and need help finding/booking clients? Check out our guide on getting clients – and keeping them!

Pro #13: You Can Work Indoors or Outdoors

As a makeup artist, you have the freedom to choose where you want to work. If you prefer working indoors, you can apply makeup in a salon or studio. Or, if you’re more of an outdoorsy person, you could work on location at photoshoots or events.

The beauty industry offers a ton of different opportunities – it’s up to you to find the one that’s right for you!

Set of decorative cosmetics, closeup

Pro #14: You Can Set Your Own Hours

Another great thing about being a makeup artist is that you can set your own hours! If you want to work traditional 9-to-5 hours, that’s no problem. But if you’d rather have a more flexible schedule, that’s an option, too.

This is perfect for people who have other commitments outside of work, like school or family. You can easily work around your schedule to make sure that everything fits together perfectly.

Pro #15: It’s Not That Physically Demanding of a Job

Unlike some other careers, being a makeup artist doesn’t require a lot of physical labor. Of course, there may be times when you have to stand for long periods of time – but for the most part, it’s not a physically demanding job.

This is great news for people who don’t want to work in a career that’s too physically taxing. It’s also perfect for those who want to pursue other interests outside of work, like fitness or hobbies.

Pro #16: You Don’t Need a University Degree

In most cases, you don’t need a university degree to become a makeup artist. Of course, if you want to work in film or television, you’ll likely need some form of post-secondary education. But for the majority of jobs out there, all you need is a good portfolio and the right skillset.

This is great news for people who don’t want to (or can’t) go to university. It’s also perfect for those who want to get started in their career as soon as possible!

All this to be said, the most successful makeup artists out there got to where they are because they started their careers with some sort of professional makeup training under their belt. This is why we strongly recommend completing some sort of accredited training and obtaining a reputable certification… Such as that offered by QC Makeup Academy!

Fun Fact: QC’s most popular certification course is undoubtedly our Master Makeup Artistry Course – which you can learn all about here!

Pro #17: You Can Work in Many Different Fields

As an MUA, you’re not limited to working in one specific field. You could find yourself working in fashion, film, television, theatre, weddings, print, or even special effects. The possibilities are endless!

This is perfect for people who want to have a varied and exciting career. It’s also perfect for those who want to try their hand at many different things before settling on one specific field.

Pro #18: It Can Be a Full-Time Career or a Part-Time Hustle

Another great thing about being a makeup artist is that it can be either a full-time career or a part-time side gig. If you want to make it your full-time job, you can definitely do that. But if you only want to work on the weekends or evenings, that’s an option, too!

This is perfect for people who want to have a more flexible career. It’s also perfect for those who want to pursue other interests outside of work, like school or family.

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Pro #19: You Can Help Out Friends and Family

As a makeup artist, you have the opportunity to help out your friends and family with their beauty needs. If they need help getting ready for a wedding or a big event, you can be there to lend a hand!

This is perfect for people who want to be able to use their skills to help out those they care about. It’s also perfect for those who want to feel like they’re making a difference in the lives of others.

Pro #20: You Get to Do What You Love for a Living

Last but not least, one of the best things about being a makeup artist is that you get to do what you love for a living. If you’re passionate about makeup and beauty, then this is the perfect career for you!

It’s also the ideal situation for anyone who wants to be able to turn their passion into a successful, thriving career. It’s also a great fit for those who want to be able to wake up every day and love what they do.

Because as the age-old saying goes, “When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!”

Cons of Working as a Makeup Artist

Now that we’ve gone over some of the pros of being a makeup artist, it’s time to discuss some of the cons. While there are definitely more pros than cons, it’s important to be aware of both the good and the bad before making such a big decision. After all, no career is perfect!

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the cons of being a makeup artist.

Con #1: The Hours Can Be Long and Irregular

One of the biggest cons of being a makeup artist is that the hours can be long and irregular. If you’re working in fashion or film, for example, you may have to work 12-hour days (or even longer). Similarly, if you’re working weddings or events, your hours will be dictated by the event itself.

This means that you may have to work early mornings, late nights, or even weekends.

This can be tough for people who want a more traditional Monday-to-Friday job with set hours. It can also be difficult for those who have other commitments outside of work, like school or family. But for those who truly love being an MUA, it’ll be a small price to pay to work your dream job!

Con #2: The Competition Can Be Fierce

Another con of being a makeup artist is that the competition can be fierce. Because it’s such a popular and in-demand industry, there are a lot of people vying for the same jobs.

This means that you’ll need to stand out from the crowd and make sure your portfolio is top-notch. That said, if you’re passionate about makeup and willing to put in the hard work, then you’ll definitely be able to succeed as an MUA!

High Fashion model woman in colorful bright lights posing in studio, portrait of beautiful sexy girl with trendy make-up and manicure. Art design, colorful make up. Over colourful vivid background.

Con #3: The Pay Can Be Inconsistent in The Beginning

While the pay for makeup artists can be great, it can also be quite inconsistent – particularly at the start of your career, as you make a name for yourself.

MUAs are paid per job, rather than receiving a regular salary. This means that you may have months where you’re making very little money, and then other months where you’re bringing in a decent income. So, if you’re not good at budgeting or saving money, this could pose a problem.

Con #4: You May Have to Travel for Work

Another potential con of being a makeup artist is that you may have to travel for work. If you want to work in fashion or film, for example, you’ll likely have to go where the jobs are. This means living in big cities like Los Angeles, New York, or London.

For some people, this is a dream come true! But for others, it’s not so desirable. If you have roots somewhere and don’t want to leave, then working as an an MUA may not be the best fit for you.

Con #5: You Might Have to Work With Difficult People

Another potential con of being a makeup artist is that you might have to work with difficult people. Because you’ll be working with clients one-on-one, there’s always the chance that you’ll come across someone who’s rude, demanding, or just plain unpleasant.

Of course, this isn’t always the case – but it’s something to keep in mind.

Con #6: You’ll Have to Deal with The Odd Choosing Beggar

As with any job where you’re providing a service, being a makeup artist means that you’ll have to deal with the odd choosing beggar. Choosing beggars are people who try to get their makeup done for free – usually by promising exposure or a “good review” on social media.

While it’s always nice to help out someone in need, you have to remember that your time and talent are worth something! So, don’t let anyone take advantage of you.

If you’re unfamiliar with a choosing beggar, this blog post will give you some humorous insight into how their mind operates.

Con #7: You’ll Often Be on Your Feet All Day

Another potential disadvantage of being a makeup artist is that you’ll often be on your feet all day. If you’re working long hours, this can take a toll on your body and leave you feeling exhausted at the end of the day. Of course, if you’re an active person who gets the “ick” at the idea of a desk job, then this probably won’t be a big deal at all!

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Con #8: If You Aren’t Business-Savvy, You Won’t Thrive

It’s also important to point out that if you aren’t business-savvy, you likely won’t thrive as a makeup artist. Makeup artistry is a business – and like any business, there are certain things you need to do in order to be successful.

This includes things like marketing yourself, networking, and keeping track of your finances. If you’re not good with numbers or don’t like the idea of self-promotion, then working as an MUA probably isn’t for you.

If you are interested in running your own makeup artistry business, though, then learning the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur will be an exciting venture for you! And luckily, there are tons of high-quality makeup programs out there (such as the ones offered by QC Makeup Academy) that offer business training as part of their curriculum!

All in all, these are just a few of the cons of being a makeup artist. However, as you can see, they’re relatively small and manageable compared to all of the amazing pros! So, if you’re passionate about makeup and think this could be the right career for you, then go for it!

The beauty industry is an incredibly rewarding place to be.

Interesting Facts About Being a Makeup Artist

Now that we’ve gone over some of the pros and cons of being a makeup artist, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about this career!

  • The global professional makeup industry is worth $43 billion.
  • There are an estimated 50,000 professional makeup artists in the United States alone.
  • Makeup artists working in the film and television industry can earn up to $85 per hour.
  • Makeup artistry is one of the fastest-growing professions in the world.
  • In 2013, The New York Times named makeup artistry one of the “hottest jobs” in America.
  • Most MUAs start out working in salons, spas, or department stores before moving on to more specialized roles.
  • Makeup artists must have a strong understanding of color theory in order to create the looks they want.
  • Contouring was first popularized by makeup artist Dick Smith in the 1960s.
  • Nowadays, there are all sorts of specialized makeup artist roles, such as those who work in film, theater, and special effects.

Why You Should Get Professionally Certified with QC Makeup Academy

If you’re considering a career in makeup artistry, then you might be wondering if you need to get professionally certified. The answer is: not technically. Makeup artistry is an unregulated field.

However, there are definitely some advantages to getting a certification from a reputable institution like QC Makeup Academy!

Benefits of a Makeup Certification

For starters, a certification will give you the opportunity to learn from some of the best makeup artists in the business. At QC, our instructors have years of experience working as professional MUAs and know all the tips and tricks of the trade. They’re also passionate about teaching and love helping students reach their full potential!

Additionally, an accredited certification will help you stand out from other makeup artists who don’t have one. In today’s competitive beauty industry, having a certification from a well-known school can definitely give you a MAJOR edge.

Case makeup artist. A set of brushes, powder, foundation. Tools make-up artist in a box

A Little About QC Makeup Academy

QC Makeup Academy is part of QC Career School, a pioneer in distance learning since 1984. QC holds a solid A+ ranking with the Better Business Bureau, and currently has over 200 raving reviews on Facebook alone. We offer self-paced, online makeup and beauty courses that are perfect for anyone looking to start or further their career in the beauty industry.

Plus, we offer programs for ALL skill levels. So, whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, we can help you take your skills to the next level!

If you’re interested in learning more about QC’s professional makeup courses, we invite you to check out our website or contact us today! We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

You can also connect with us on social media:


Phew! That was a lot of information to take in. But now that you know the pros and cons of working as a makeup artist, you can make a more informed decision about whether or not this is the right career for you.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to pursue your dreams of becoming a makeup artist? Or are you going to think long and hard about it first? The choice is yours!

We hope this article has helped you in some way, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Become an internationally recognized and professionally certified makeup artist in as little as 2-6 months by enrolling with QC Makeup Academy today!

Author Sarah Seguin

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