Makeup Artists VS. Cosmetologists

What’s the difference between a professional makeup artist and a cosmetologist?

There are a few key differences between these careers, ranging from the job description to licensing and job opportunities. Find out how the career of a makeup artist and cosmetologist compare!

Professional Makeup Artists

Job Description

  • Professional makeup artists apply makeup to alter or enhance their client’s face. Makeup artists work externally, applying different types of cosmetics to change the facial appearance temporarily.
  • Makeup artists can be employed by a company, salon, an outside agency, or they can be self-employed as a freelancer.
  • Makeup artists can work in a variety of environments, such as weddings, proms, photo shoots, movie sets, and more.
  • The salary of a professional makeup artist depends on training and experience, but is generally higher in the fashion, television, and film industries.


  • Makeup artists have received training to advance their makeup skills. They earn certifications through makeup training programs.
  • Some regions have specific training requirements for makeup artists, including hygiene and safety training. Attending an online makeup school will qualify you as a professional makeup artist in most areas. Always consult with your local regulating body before enrolling in any training program. Click here to learn how to properly research what type of certification or license you need in your state!


Job Description

  • Cosmetologists offer services for skincare, nail care, and hair styling. They alter a client’s overall beauty including the facial appearance.
  • Many cosmetologists work in spas, salons, and in other health-related services where they offer relaxation treatments.


  • Cosmetologists are required to have training that reaches a regulated standard. These programs tend to be more expensive than makeup artistry training due to supplies and longer training hours.
  • Most cosmetologists need a license because their work affects clients’ skin, hair, and nails. Usually there’s a written or practical test associated with a cosmetologist’s licensing.

Your Makeup Artistry Career

Training in client etiquette, color theory, skin types, and makeup application will help you in your career, regardless of which beauty profession you choose to pursue.

QC Makeup Academy provides training that sets makeup artists up to succeed and advances the skills of cosmetologists.

Training in the Master Makeup Artistry course includes lessons in proper etiquette, sanitation practices, skin types, and facial shapes, working with skin conditions, basic makeup applications, and setting up your business. All beauty professionals can benefit by gaining more experience in these essential makeup artistry topics!


“I loved my course! I thought it was so detailed and interesting and the online videos were amazing. Definitely helped in my journey to becoming an established artist”

Madeleine BulbeckMaster Makeup Artistry Graduate

Read over 200 student reviews like this one on QC’s Facebook Page!

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Start Your Journey

It’s never too early or too late to start a career you’ll love.

Enroll in an online makeup course with QC and become a certified makeup artist today!