All Posts By

Paula M.

Associate of Occupational Science in Cosmetology, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Massage Therapy, Master Instructor, Nail Technician

5 Essential Steps to Becoming a Makeup Artist

By Mikala Ewald

So you want to become a professional makeup artist, but have no idea how to begin? I have compiled a comprehensive list of the steps necessary to become a professional makeup artist.

Step One: Learn Your Craft

Today, education is a key requirement for careers in any and every type of professional environment, and makeup artistry is no exception. Most people probably do not realize the number of skills and the amount of information that is necessary to become a skilled makeup artist—this art form requires much more than just a bag of makeup and some brushes.

In order to succeed as a makeup artist, you must be passionate about your artistry. The makeup artistry industry is very competitive and usually requires ample amounts of your time, energy, and volunteer services while you are just starting out. Before deciding to take your makeup artistry career to the next level, it is important to do your research and decide if you are willing to give your all to succeed in this competitive industry.

Once you have decided to commit to becoming a professional makeup artist, it is time to choose a school. Makeup artist education comes in a variety of forms; you may attend a strictly makeup artistry school, you may choose to get your esthetics license (makeup artistry, skin care and treatments, hair removal), or you might decide to get your cosmetology license which can include training in all of the aforementioned skills as well as hair styling, cutting, and coloring. Before making your final decision, you must research the laws regulating makeup artistry for the state in which you are planning to practice (you may be required to have a license in order to apply products) as well as research different schools extensively in order to choose the one that is the best fit for you. Different types of makeup artistry schools may only target specific areas of the craft, and you need to ensure you will be obtaining all the skills necessary to reach the goals you have set for yourself.

Below, I have provided a list of some vital educational building blocks that all potential makeup artists should look for and consider when choosing a school.

  • Color Theory
  • Contouring
  • Face Shapes and Structures
  • Sanitation
  • Blending
  • Tools of the Trade (brushes and disposables)
  • Product Ingredients
  • Customer Service Skills
  • Marketing
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Operations

Step Two: Build Your Kit

All makeup artists must have a kit that includes all of the tools needed to properly perform the services they offer. Here is a quick list of items that all makeup artists must have in their kit.

The Basics

  • Positive attitude
  • Foundations
  • Concealers
  • Powders
  • Blushes
  • Bronzers
  • Eyeshadows
  • Eyeliners
  • Mascaras
  • Brow shadows or liners
  • Lip liners
  • Lipsticks
  • Lipglosses
  • Lip balms
  • Train case
  • False lashes
  • Lash adhesive
  • Facial cleanser or makeup remover
  • Moisturizers and/or primers
  • Professional makeup brush set
  • Professional brush cleaner
  • Eyelash curler
  • Disposable makeup applicators
  • Makeup sponges/wedges
  • Cotton swabs
  • Tissues/paper towels
  • Headbands or hair clips
  • Cape to protect clothing
  • Makeup palette
  • Palette knife and/or spatulas
  • Tweezers
  • Cuticle scissors
  • Gum or mints
  • Business cards

The Extras

  • Theatrical/Special FX makeup items (bruise wheels, fake blood, liquid latex, wigs, etc.)
  • Airbrush makeup and gun
  • Folding director’s chair
  • Props (feathers, sequins, glitter, jewels)

Step Three: Perfect Your Skills

Becoming a talented makeup artist requires many hours of practice, practice, practice! Experiment on yourself and others in order to determine what works together and what does not. You will want to practice multiple makeup looks on a variety of face shapes and skin tones so that you will be prepared for anything.

Offer to do free makeup applications for those who volunteer to let you practice different makeup looks on them. Make yourself available to other makeup artists, and ask if you can apprentice for them; offer to clean their brushes, prepare their work area, bring them coffee, hand them their brushes as they are needed, assist with the makeup application, etc. Working with other artists in the form of an apprenticeship will allow you to pick up tips, tricks, and techniques, as well as know what is expected from you as a professional makeup artist. Continue researching the field of makeup artistry by consulting books written by makeup artists, looking for tutorials online (YouTube is a great resource), and continue studying and improving the basic building blocks you learned while in school. During this time you may have to do a lot of work for free, but in addition to the invaluable experience you will gain, you may also receive photos that you may use to begin putting together a portfolio of your work.

Step Four: Choose Your Niche

The field of makeup artistry offers a variety of career choices. During steps one and three it will be important for you to try to get experience in all areas of makeup artistry to aid in your search of what area you will specialize. You will want to find your strengths and weaknesses in order to pinpoint the career that is best for you. I have compiled a list of career options for makeup artists to help you make the choice that is best for you.

  • Freelance makeup artist (may specialize in any of the following)
  • Weddings
  • Photography
  • Print (advertisements, magazine shoots, etc.)
  • Televisions
  • Films
  • Special FX
  • Makeovers and makeup lessons
  • Cosmetics counter (retail makeup artist)
  • Theatre makeup artist
  • Camouflage and corrective makeup artist for a dermatologist or plastics surgeon
  • Salon or spa makeup artist (with appropriate license)
  • Fashion (runway) makeup artist
  • Proms and special events
  • Makeup artist for cosmetics brands/product educator

Step Five: Market Yourself

Once you have fully developed your skills and completed steps one through four, the most important thing you can do for your makeup artistry career is market your skills and services. You should be prepared to promote your makeup artistry at all times by always keeping your resume, business cards, and portfolio nearby.

Have some business cards printed with your name and/or logo in addition to some photos of your makeup work. Hand out your business cards to everyone you meet, particularly those who suggest they are interested in what you do. Distribute your business cards to local businesses who may come in contact with potential clients (e.g. if you do wedding makeup, leave your cards at a wedding dress boutique). Ensure that your business cards always have your most current contact information whether it be your phone number or email address…you want to be sure anyone interested is able to contact you easily.

Always keep a well developed resume with you as you never know when a career opportunity may arise. On your resume you will want to include a list of any and all makeup artistry education you have received along with a list of your experience and events for which you have done makeup. Update your resume regularly so that you are always handing out your most current and inclusive list of achievements.

From the day you start your makeup artistry education and career, you should begin keeping a portfolio of your makeup artistry. Work in conjunction with photographers and brides in order to obtain professional photos of your work for free or at reduced costs. Having photos of your work will help promote your skills and show potential customers your capabilities as a makeup artist. Including both before and after pictures demonstrates to your potential clients your exceptional talent. Before and after photos demonstrate a complete makeover/transformation, and prove that you have the necessary skills required of a makeup artist.

Now that you have obtained all the information necessary to become a professional makeup artist, it’s time to go out, choose your school, and get started! Good luck!



by Mikala Ewald

Pantone, the world renowned authority on color, dictates the colors of the seasons each year influencing the design, fashion, and arts industries. For Spring 2011, Pantone named the following colors as the top 10 in women’s fashion:

These colors were seen on the runways of New York Fashion Week this past September from designers like Badgley Mischka, Betsey Johnson, Rebecca Minkoff, Erin Fetherston, among many more. As your planning your wardrobe for spring, you’ll notice that these colors and their complements have been translated into the makeup looks for spring 2011 as well. Here are some examples of this springs most popular makeup looks.

Paired with a glossy pink or nude lip color and a bare face, these eye makeup looks are striking.

Coral matte lips are huge for spring. In addition, matte pinks and reds were seen on the runways.

If you’re uncomfortable with the bright technicolor and pastel eye colors of the season, opt for a more natural look on the eyes while contouring the cheeks with intense pinks or shimmery golds.


Proper Nutrition = Beautiful, Healthy Skin

By Mikala Ewald

Do you have ongoing skin problems (i.e. breakouts, dryness, excessive oiliness), and can’t seem to get them under control no matter how much money you spend on facial treatments and products? Although taking care of your skin on the outside is crucial to maintaining proper skin health and beauty, perhaps you should also consider your diet. Taking care of your skin from the inside out is equally important as it is to take care of it on the outside. Just as you must consume certain nutrients to keep your inner organs functioning efficiently, your skin is also an organ so you must treat it in the same manner. The body requires certain amounts of nutrients in order to function properly, so if you are not adequately obtaining these nutrients the evidence may show up on your skin.

As they say, you are what you eat! It is also proven that your skin and your hair can be an indicator of your body’s overall health. With the holiday’s right around the corner it is important to monitor what you eat in order to maintain a nutritional diet and healthy skin. Make sure you are consuming adequate amounts (according to the food pyramid recommendations) of the nutrients listed below. Making healthy food choices will help you maintain a beautiful, well functioning body inside and out.

Macronutrients are necessary for all bodily functions, including the skin. They include all proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It is important to consume the recommended intake per day that is put forth for each macronutrient by the United States Department of Agriculture’s DASH Eating Plan. Proteins are needed to make the keratin and collagen that make up your skin. Carbohydrates, when combined with proteins, produce water binding chemicals in the body that are important to the hydration and structure of the skin. Fats are responsible for producing sebum (oil) in the sebaceous glands that protect and lubricate the skin. Fats also absorb the fat soluble vitamins that are essential to maintaining skin health.

Micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, are necessary to properly process many nutrients by the body. Vitamins play a role in achieving healthy skin by helping heal and soften the skin, form collagen, and resisting skin diseases. Many vitamins are also antioxidants which assist in fight free radicals that may be cancer causing. Vitamins A, C, and E have antioxidant properties and have proven to be very beneficial in treating aging skin and sun damaged skin both when consumed internally and applied to the skin topically. The body requires minerals as well as vitamins, although only small amounts are usually necessary they are vital to human life.

Water is the one essential nutrient that the human body cannot survive without. Water is relied on heavily by the body and the skin because it sustains cell health, aid in elimination of toxins and waste, helps regulate body temperature, and aids in proper digestion. When the body is receiving enough water, and these functions are properly carried out, the skin remains healthy and attractive. It is recommended that every person drink at least 8 glasses of pure water each day, but the amount does vary based on each person’s body weight and activity level.


Skin Care Resolutions for the New Year

by Mikala Ewaldskin-care

With the New Year right around the corner, it’s time to begin considering resolutions for 2011. In order to achieve a healthy, radiant complexion, make these 5 skin care resolutions your goal for 2011.

Resolution 1: I will maintain a daily skin care ritual

Healthy, glowing skin starts with regular skin care maintenance. It is essential to cleanse your face thoroughly twice a day (morning and night) and follow with a moisturizer that suits your skin type. If you have dry skin look for a moisturizer that is more emollient or oil based. Those with oily skin should look for a water based moisturizer with oil control properties. It’s a common misconception that people who have oily skin do not need a moisturizer; in addition, they continually strip the oil from their skin with harsh astringents and drying cleansers. Our bodies produce oil, because our hair and skin need it for moisture and protection. If a person is continually stripping this oil away, their body will react by over-producing oil and essentially making the already oily skin even oilier.

Resolution 2: I will wear sunscreen constantly

Sun damage is one of the main causes of skin aging (wrinkles, pigmentation problems, etc.), so it is essential to always protect the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Applying a sunscreen of at least an SPF 30 every day will help reduce the risk of sun damaged skin. It may be necessary to reapply sunscreen throughout the day depending on your activity level and the type of sunscreen used.

Resolution 3: I will introduce antioxidants into my skin care regimen
Antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, have shown to help reduce the appearance of skin aging, help boost collagen production in the skin, and help fight cancer-causing free radicals when applied topically to the skin. Introducing antioxidants into your daily skin care ritual will help in achieving healthy, youthful looking skin. Retin-A is a topical form of vitamin A that is used to reduce the appearance of pigmentation problems and fine lines as well as an acne treatment. Serums that contain vitamins C and E work well in conjunction with vitamin A to help the skin appear more youthful.

Resolution 4: I will drink at least 8 glasses of water per day
Drinking 8 full glasses of water daily is essential to maintaining a healthy body as well as healthy skin. Water assists in flushing or removal of toxins in the body (among many other functions). If these toxins are not flushed from the skin properly, the effects may show up on the skin. It is also important to drink plenty of water each day to prevent dehydration of the skin. Dehydrated skin may look dry, dull, and flaky.

Resolution 5: I will regularly get an adequate amount of sleep
While sleeping, human’s bodies restore and regenerate by producing growth hormones that promote skin cell turnover and collagen production resulting in more beautiful, younger looking skin. Lack of sleep can cause stress on the body which may in turn cause negative effects on appearance (puffy eyes with dark circles, dull or dry skin, slower collagen production).