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Career profile Makeup Artist

Also known as Commercial Makeup Artist, Hair and Makeup Designer, Makeup Artist, Prosthetic Makeup Designer, Special Effects Makeup Artist, Special Makeup Effects Artist

Makeup Artist

Also known as Commercial Makeup Artist, Hair and Makeup Designer, Makeup Artist

Interests Profile
  • Artistic
  • Realistic
  • Social
Pay Range
$38,010 - $157,680 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Speaking
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Administration and Management
  • Fine Arts
Core tasks
  • Apply makeup to enhance or alter the appearance of people appearing in productions such as movies.
  • Select desired makeup shades from stock, or mix oil, grease, and coloring to achieve specific color effects.
  • Duplicate work precisely to replicate characters' appearances on a daily basis.
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What does a Makeup Artist do?

Makeup Artists apply makeup to performers to reflect period, setting, and situation of their role.

What kind of tasks does a Makeup Artist perform regularly?

Makeup Artists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Apply makeup to enhance or alter the appearance of people appearing in productions such as movies.
  • Select desired makeup shades from stock, or mix oil, grease, and coloring to achieve specific color effects.
  • Duplicate work precisely to replicate characters' appearances on a daily basis.
  • Cleanse and tone the skin to prepare it for makeup application.
  • Assess performers' skin type to ensure that makeup will not cause break-outs or skin irritations.
  • Study production information, such as character descriptions, period settings, and situations, to determine makeup requirements.
  • Alter or maintain makeup during productions as necessary to compensate for lighting changes or to achieve continuity of effect.
  • Analyze a script, noting events that affect each character's appearance, so that plans can be made for each scene.
  • Confer with stage or motion picture officials and performers to determine desired effects.
  • Establish budgets, and work within budgetary limits.
  • Write makeup sheets and take photos to document specific looks and the products used to achieve the looks.
  • Provide performers with makeup removal assistance after performances have been completed.
  • Requisition or acquire needed materials for special effects, including wigs, beards, and special cosmetics.
  • Evaluate environmental characteristics, such as venue size and lighting plans, to determine makeup requirements.
  • Attach prostheses to performers and apply makeup to create special features or effects, such as scars, aging, or illness.
  • Examine sketches, photographs, and plaster models to obtain desired character image depiction.
  • Advise hairdressers on the hairstyles required for character parts.
  • Design rubber or plastic prostheses that can be used to change performers' appearances.
  • Demonstrate products to clients, and provide instruction in makeup application.
  • Create character drawings or models, based upon independent research, to augment period production files.

The above responsibilities are specific to Makeup Artists. More generally, Makeup Artists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Makeup Artist salary?

The median salary for a Makeup Artist is $106,920, and the average salary is $99,990. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Makeup Artist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Makeup Artists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Makeup Artists earn less than $38,010 per year, 25% earn less than $63,220, 75% earn less than $132,530, and 90% earn less than $157,680.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Makeup Artists is expected to change by 35.5%, and there should be roughly 500 open positions for Makeup Artists every year.

Median annual salary
$106,920
Typical salary range
$38,010 - $157,680
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
35.5%

What personality traits are common among Makeup Artists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Makeup Artist are usually higher in their Artistic and Realistic interests.

Makeup Artists typically have very strong Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Also, Makeup Artists typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Makeup Artist tend to value Relationships, Working Conditions, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Makeup Artists moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Makeup Artists moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Makeup Artists moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Makeup Artists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and self-control.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Makeup Artists, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Makeup Artists need?

Makeup Artists often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Makeup Artists usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Makeup Artists

  • 3.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 30.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 33.9% completed some college coursework
  • 11.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 18.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Makeup Artists

Makeup Artists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, administration and management, or fine arts knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Makeup Artists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

Important Abilities needed by Makeup Artists

Makeup Artists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Makeup Artists need abilities such as near vision, oral comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Makeup Artists, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.

Critical Skills needed by Makeup Artists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Makeup Artists frequently use skills like speaking, reading comprehension, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Makeup Artists, ranked by their relative importance.

Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.