Make-up artists are usually employed within the entertainment and media industries. They are tasked with providing make-up and hair styling services to performers and other media personalities, applying makeup and prosthetics for theatrical, television or filmmaking. Many choose to work independently, but only once they have gained sufficient experience and their skills and abilities have been recognized. Media production companies, concerts, plays and musicals, fashion shows and photographic assignments are some of the areas in which make-up artists are crucial.


  • Apply makeup to clients using a color palette and different tools such as mascara, sponges, eyebrow shapers, lip liners, brushes, and applicators.
  • Work with clients to create various looks.
  • Work on theatrical productions, movie sets, photography shoots, backstage at concerts, or on television shows.
  • Apply makeup for big events including weddings, funerals, holidays, and outings.
  • Style hair according to makeup.
  • Set makeup with hairspray or other setting material.
  • Apply touchups as necessary.
  • Remove makeup from clothes if some is transferred.
  • Use photographs or models for reference when consulting with clients on ideal look.
  • Apply prosthetics on movie sets.
  • Read scripts to ascertain the materials and the look required.
  • Sketch designs for future looks.
  • Purchase cosmetics and applicators from vendors and negotiate prices.
  • Ensure makeup looks natural and well-applied under different lighting.
  • Match skin color to color palettes to determine best looks.
  • Teach makeup application to clients.
  • Suggest skin care routines.
  • Fit wigs and hairpieces.
  • Work quickly and accurately under pressure.
  • Wipe off makeup and reapply if client is unsatisfied.


The current trend is to employ personnel who have an academic or technical background in make-up, styling and prosthetics. Make-up artists mainly get ‘on-the-job’ training through paid or unpaid work experience, which is considered to be of higher value than just academic qualifications.

Career progression is purely based on individual talent, experience and professional skills. Updating one’s knowledge of the latest trends, techniques and products provides a necessary competitive advantage. It is also important to keep adding to your work portfolio and build a significant and varied body of work.


Make-up professionals in the film industry generally have irregular work schedules, working long hours for several months straight followed by months at a time without work. They often relocate temporarily for the duration of the project. Those working in a television studio may have regular schedules, but equally long hours averaging well over 40 hours a week. Television make-up artists attend to the needs of people on regularly scheduled programming, which may be anything from light make-up for news to special effects make-up for television shows. They often must remain available throughout filming for touch-ups, as well as helping actors remove make-up at the end of the day


Make-up artists are paid at hourly or daily rates, with minimum rates set by different media industry bodies and workers’ guilds. The level of compensation is also dependent on the visual medium and setting where services are required.

Rates in the fashion and advertising industries are higher, depending on experience, industry reputation and demand for a specific, solo make-up artist or team.


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