Life as a professional make-up artist is hard, erratic, challenging, exciting, varied - and extremely competitive! Even the most thorough training does not guarantee success
SO YOU WANT TO BE A MAKE-UP ARTIST?
Many people unfortunately assume that being a make-up artist will lead to a glamorous future. However, the hours and work conditions, in most cases, are long and hard - and even the most thorough training cannot ensure a successful career.
Competition for jobs is fierce and there are only so many industry jobs out there. Despite all this, you may wish to find out more.
WHAT AREAS TO WORK IN?
There are different areas in the media a make-up artist can work: film, television, theatre, editorial, fashion and so on. Some areas are similar, and some are quite different and require different training, though the core skills and elements (like health and safety) are the same.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE JOB
The hair and make-up department is responsible for the design, application, continuity and care of hair and make-up during a production. It ensures that actors, performers, presenters, models and others have suitable make-up and hairstyles before they appear in front of the cameras or an audience (be it for television, film, theatre, catwalk or photographic) and that the looks are maintained.
Some productions or types of work have separate hair and make-up departments, but for many jobs you would be expected to have both hair and make-up skills. There are also specialist areas like body painting, wig making, prosthetics, making contact lenses and making teeth.
These are just some of the key skills and attributes you need to be a good make-up artist:
- Make-up skills including corrective, glamour, period and ageing;
- Specialised techniques e.g. making and applying bald caps; applying and dressing facial hair; creating casualty effects (burns, skin diseases, cuts, scars etc.); tattoos and body art;
- Hair and wig dressing; - Continuity hair cutting;
- Good communication and diplomacy skills;
- Good organisational and presentation skills;
- Ability to work effectively as part of a team as well as having initiative when working unsupervised;
- Ability to work under pressure to external and departmental deadlines;
- The right attitude and work ethic;
- Willingness to work long and often unsocial hours;
- Knowledge of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures - and good working practices and hygiene.
Please see below for some more useful advice and tips for becoming a professional screen hair and make-up artist.