up Artist

What you do in the job?

Makeup artists working in television and film help convey the personality of characters. They use makeup to improve, enhance, or alter the appearance of the actors and actresses. Makeup artists may be asked to create different appearances for a character, such as a black eye, old age, or bloody wounds. Makeup artists often analyze characters, do research, and confer with the director and the actors to create just the right look for a specific character. The artist works with the costume designers ad production hairstylist to coordinate colors and must be able to recreate makeup so that the characters' appearance remains consistent despite out-of-sequence filming.
Make-up artists apply make-up and arrange hair for presenters, performers and members of the public appearing on screen.
Some make-up artists research and design the make-up required for a production. This may mean using elaborate make-up and wigs for costume dramas and horror films or using materials to change the shape of a face or create scars and wounds.Make-up artists liaise closely with producers, directors, costume designers, hairdressers and the performers themselves.

What qualities are required?

To be a make-up artist you should:

have a creative imagination
have a strong visual sense
be able to communicate well at all levels
have the confidence and tact to suggest changes to benefit an individual's appearance
have stamina
be able to work under pressure
be methodical and pay attention to detail
be able to work well as part of a team of often diverse colleagues.

Make-up Artists have a thorough knowledge of make-up and hair techniques in order to prepare and work on make-up required for each individual production.

Hours and Environment
Make-up artists are likely to work long and often irregular hours, depending on the project they are working on.

Those working in the TV and film industry often have to begin work long before filming commences each day. Full-time or contract workers in TV often work shifts which include evening and weekend hours.

The job involves long periods of concentration. Make-up artists usually work indoors in a make-up salon or room, except when working on location for TV and films, which may mean long periods outdoors in all weathers. The job can involve travel.

How you start and where you can go with it?

To become a make-up artist you need to have completed a full-time course in beauty therapy or make-up. Entry requirements for courses vary, so you should check with individual course providers.

Beauty therapy and make-up courses are offered by a variety of colleges and training centres and vary in length, content and type of equipment provided as part of the course. Some courses lead to the Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA) NVQ/SVQ in Beauty Therapy Levels 2, 3 and 4. For additional advice on careers within the hair and beauty industry, go to the website for the Hairdressing And Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA). However, they are not able to supply lists of course providers.

You need to be 21 years of age to be considered for training for TV and film work. This training will take you a further year. FT2, however, trains junior freelance make-up artists for TV and film work from the age of 18 as long as they already have NVQ Level 2 in both Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy.

The maximum age for entry into a make-up artist career is usually between the ages of 30 and 40. Mature entrants may be accepted on some beauty therapy or make-up courses without full entry requirements, especially if they can demonstrate appropriate skills.

Specialist beauty therapy skills training courses are available for career development, including a range of qualifications developed by HABIA with City & Guilds. NVQ/SVQ Level 4 is available as a management qualification.

Apprenticeships may be available for those under the age of 24. In England these are currently Apprenticeships (level 2) and Advanced Apprenticeships (level 3). To find out more about these, visit

Apprenticeships may be different in other areas. For further information see Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland

Make-up artists work for TV and film companies, video production companies, major stage productions and in the fashion industry. Others work in beauty salons, possibly in a large hotel or on a cruise liner, or as part of the medical profession.

Some make-up artists are employed by TV companies, on full-time or long-term contracts. The majority are freelance and engaged for each film production, TV series, fashion season or one-off project. Competition for jobs is fierce.

With experience or specialist skills, there is the possibility of higher fees and appointment as chief make-up artist or make-up designer for a production.

The amount of work available in the TV and film industry is reliant on the overall state of the industry and amount of feature films and TV productions being made.

Annual Income

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Freelance make-up artists can earn from around 10,000 to 20,000 a year or more, according to experience and reputation.
Full-time make-up artists usually earn between 12,000 and 15,000 a year or more, especially if they have specialist skills.

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