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5 Ways to Start Your Makeup Industry Journey

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Have you been thinking about becoming a makeup artist? Do you feel like it is impossible to even think about where to begin? In this blog, we talk about 5 big ways to start your journey as a makeup artist. We talk about the importance of networking, knowing what direction you want to go, and more. 


What kind of makeup do you enjoy doing? What makeup job do you think would be fun to try? There are so many different avenues you can go in this industry! The most common that makeup artists work in are TV/Film, Editorial, Wedding/Special Occasion, Runway, and Makeup Companies.

TV/Film: This is where you are working behind the scenes on actors or models. You will need to be able to handle yourself in a very professional manner when working with high profile clients (think of your favorite celebrity, because there could come a time that you are working on them). When you are working in TV and Film, you are often working a minimum of 14 hour days, you often will not be credited, and you MUST have a thick skin. With that all being said, it is a GREAT job!! You meet so many different kinds of people, you get a completely new perspective on movies, and you will work on so many different kinds of faces.

Editorial: Think magazines for this field! Starting out in this field, you will be working with photographers and submitting work to magazines. You will often be told no, but one day you could find your work on the cover! Take these opportunities to build your portfolio! Editorial looks are often out of the box, however, you could also do Natural Makeup looks and Avant Garde looks. Take this time to work with photographers that you appreciate their work, and try all of the different styles!

Wedding and Special Occasions: This field you are there to make your client feel beyond special. The goal of every makeup artist, no matter the field, is to have your client feel like they can conquer the world once they leave your chair. But for brides, this is their BIG day. You are one of the people who will help them feel calm, centered, and beautiful. You will have trials, for both weddings and special occasions, and will become your client's go-to person. They look to their makeup artist as someone who is going to help them look back on their big day with joy.

Runway: Runway is another job where you are working behind the scenes. Makeup application time can range from 5 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on the show, number of people, and when the models arrive. It is a very fast paced field, and you must be able to replicate a specific look. This is a field where a designer has sat down and gone over their vision with the Key Artist. They have designed a look that is to help translate their vision. You will be required to do the chosen looks, and nothing beyond that. You also must be a team player.

Makeup Companies: One GREAT way to start in the makeup industry, no matter what specialty you decide to go for, working at a makeup counter is always a great beginning. When working at a makeup counter, you are going to work on SO MANY different faces!! You will work with a wide range of skin tones, undertones, face shapes, skin types, and makeup preferences. You will be able to be creative with your applications, take pictures to help build up your portfolio, and is a great way to network if you are a freelance artist (meaning working for yourself in whichever chosen field you go to).


It might sound cliche, but when you are starting out in the makeup industry, it really is about who you know. The makeup industry is HUGE, but the community is very small! That is why networking is CRUCIAL! Whether you are wanting to get a job at your favorite makeup company's counter, or working on some kind of set, you have to standout from other artists. How do you do that?

Be nice to everyone!! This should be a rule you live by in life, but especially when networking in this field. You never know who you are talking to. You may be speaking to a director, casting agent, photographer, or another artist. When someone is looking to build a crew, they are thinking of people they would not mind spending 14 hours with, every day, in close spaces. 

Talk to everyone! If you are at a networking event, let's say with a makeup company that you would really like to be an artist for, make sure to speak to everyone! The makeup company's managers are there, as well as other employees. They want to bring someone on the team who will bring people in to the store, make sales, and have those clients come back. 

Skills can be taught, personality cannot. Always remember that practice makes perfect. That means that the more you practice a look, the better you get! You can always learn a new makeup technique. You can attend workshops, classes, and watch videos to help you build your skills. You can't learn how to have a good personality. No matter the field, when the Key Artist, or head person of the job, is building a crew, they are looking for people they connect with. People who will be a team player. People who will bring positivity to the job, no drama or negativity.


In the world of makeup artistry, there are many of us. If you want a job, you have to fight for it. This means that you will occasionally have to leave your comfort zone! But how!?

For those who are shy: You can still absolutely rock it in this field! Just remember, you have something to offer people. Start promoting yourself, which can seem terrifying. Start by sharing a Facebook status. Build a website. Go to a makeup counter and talk with an employee, let them know that you want to succeed in the industry, and ask how they got started. Push yourself, you got this!

For those who want to learn more makeup looks: Try a new look! Look through magazines and try to replicate your favorite makeup look. Look through art to see what images stand out to you and WHY. It is easy to get in a makeup rut, so add new styles once a week.

Practice! Even those makeup artist professionals who have been in the industry for 20+ years, they can learn something new! Don't feel intimidated about being new. We ALL start out as the newbie, but guess what? The more you practice, the more jobs you apply to, the more work you will get!


There is no right or wrong answer to this. Just what you wanted to hear, right? But it is true. It all comes back to you. What field do you want to go in? What is your overall goal? There are many pros and cons. Take your finances in to consideration, what makeup style you are wanting to learn, and what resources are available to you.


"Work is given to those who ask". You are going to hear a lot of "no's" starting out. But that is okay! Keep practicing! Keep making connections with photographers, students who are in the film program, other makeup artists! Eventually you will get a "YES!" Keep a positive attitude, and you WILL have people reaching out.

Every makeup artist has their own story. Some professionals started straight out of high school. Some professionals started in the industry after having a previous career. Unlike most career paths, there is not a direct route in this field. But don't let that stress you out, or scare you. Take your passion, take your drive, and go for it! 

We here at Poise Makeup Professional love to help in any way that we can. We love to support our community of artists and love to share our knowledge. We offer workshops, as well as an intern program that gives you a glimpse at SEVERAL different makeup fields. If you have any questions, or would like more information about career paths or the internship program, please let us know!

Stay tuned for next month where we talk about what kind of things should go in to your Pro Makeup Kit!


Poise Makeup Team

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