Industry VoicesMakeup Business

Becoming a professional makeup artist (How to Start in 5 steps)

My path from Makeup Junkie to Pro Makeup Artist

Amber Rodan
Updated March 1, 2019

So, you are a makeup junkie and one day think hey, I could do this for a living! Not only do you get to play with makeup, you get great Pro Artist discounts on lots of beauty brands, and get to connect with some amazing people. There are many ways you can start a career as a Makeup Artist.


1.Be ready to learn

For myself, I have always loved makeup and beauty services since I was little, so this was a no brainer. I applied to a well known beauty school while finishing my last year in high school and moved cities when I was only 5 days out of high school.

My certification was about 1 year, which included Bridal Makeup, Body Painting, Hair Styling, Airbrushing and Special Effects, which gave me a wide range of experience to work in film, print, or freelance.


2.You can offer more than makeup

Once I finished my makeup certification, I went back for Hair styling for another year to gain experience in cutting and colouring hair, basic and expert styling and how to retail products to clients for home use, which is a great tool to have since your clients will book you for both services, compared to hiring 2 different people to do the job.

“You need to be memorable and give your clients and the people you are working with a reason to pick YOU rather than someone else.”

The more skills you can offer, the better chance you have of being everyone’s go-to artist. This also gives you the opportunity to work within hair salons, which is a great way to meet potential makeup clients and gives a more consistent pay cheque while you are building your brand and clientele.


3. How to find makeup clients

In order to make it in this industry, you have to be determined, always continuing education, and really create a name for yourself. There will not always be opportunities knocking on your door, so you can create them for yourself!

A great way to do it is to look on your local craigslist or community boards, volunteering for events and build up a really great portfolio.

What I also found helpful is to connect with photographers, fashion designers, stylists and fellow makeup artists, and see if they may need some help. I connected with a lot of beauty professionals this way, and built not only relationships, but my skill set and confidence.

Photo by Laura Shortt, makeup by Amber Rodan, models Olivia and Kyla


4. Be memorable

Industry professionals want you to be efficient, flexible and knowledgeable, so keeping up on trends using social media, fashion shows, and just being creative is a great way to stand apart in a sea of talent.

You need to be memorable and give your clients and the people you are working with a reason to pick YOU rather than someone else.

For me, I really focus on connecting with the clients and really getting to know their makeup and skin care routines to pick the best products to create a flawless application.


5. Find your niche

I am a Cruelty Free and Vegan Beauty Professional, so that is a great niche for me as I only use high performance natural products that leave the toxins at the door.

My clients love how it feels on their skin, which in turn brings their confidence through in the photographs, it’s good for the environment, and saves our furry friends! No animal testing or by products here!


Putting it all together

You are only as limited as your mindset is, so if you are ready to jump into an exciting and challenging career as a makeup artist, GO FOR IT!” You won’t be disappointed.

My favourite part of being a makeup artist is seeing my client look at themselves in the mirror at the end of the service. The complete awe and excitement of seeing themselves in a new light is a really remarkable thing to witness. We are all beautiful and have many things to offer this world. I love being able to connect with clients on such a personal level and hear their stories, while providing a high class service, with absolutely no room for cruelty.


Amber Rodan

Amber Rodan is a Hair + Makeup Artist based in Vancouver BC, Canada. She is the owner of Blended by Amber, a mobile beauty service specializing in Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, and the winner of two 2018 IBI Awards.

Follow blendedbyamber

Got an idea for an article or would like to contribute? Contact Us

Leave a Reply