How to become a Makeup Artist


Makeup, popularised by the ancient Egyptians as far back as 4,000 years ago, is a massive industry that continues to generate trillions in revenue each year.  As a result, becoming a makeup artist and helping people look their very best is still a very popular profession for many people who want to enter the beauty industry. Whilst the competition can appear daunting, if you approach things the right way, you can create a very successful business that is flexible, fun and financially rewarding. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help aspiring Australian makeup artists get their start in the industry. Read on more to find out what it takes.

Step 1: Complete your makeup training

There is no nationally recognised qualification for makeup artists in Australia. However, many TAFEs offer certificates and diplomas in makeup and beauty, which can be helpful in getting started in the industry.  TAFE courses can range from short, introductory courses to more advanced, professional-level subjects that specialise in a particular area, such as bridal, airbrush or special effects makeup. In addition to learning about the products and tools used by professional makeup artists, look for schools that offer hands-on practice with real clients so you can hone your skills under the guidance of experienced professionals.

Step 2: Get your hands dirty

Once you have gained basic knowledge and experience through education and training, it’s time to start building your portfolio by working with real clients. Start off small by doing free or discounted jobs for friends or family members who are willing to be your guinea pigs. Once you have some work under your belt, begin networking and reaching out to other professionals in the industry who may be able to give you tips or even put you in touch with potential clients. It also helps if you develop relationships with local boutiques or salons which could lead to referrals from customers looking for someone experienced with makeup application services. Remember to keep photos of all your handy, you’ll need those later!

Step 3: Network through industry bodies

There are several industry bodies that support makeup artists in Australia. Two popular groups are the Australian Makeup Artists Guild (AMAG) for Asia Pacific is one, but you can also find groups located around local communities and cities. These organisations can provide support and networking opportunities. You can also build up your profile by giving back to the makeup community through blogging, demonstrations, vlogs and social media. Sharing your techniques and photos will not only help and inspire others, but it could also result in leads for your business.

Step 4: Register your business

Once you feel comfortable and ready to go, it’s time to register your business and get the right structures in place to grow. To start with, you’ll need to determine the type of business entity you want to set up. If you plan on doing it solo, and freelancing, starting as a sole trader is likely to make sense. Some makeup artists will also register as a company, as there are some legal and tax benefits to doing so. If you expect to earn over $75,000 a year, you’ll need to register for GST. After registering for an ABN, you can then sign up to Thriday and take advantage of automated banking, accounting and tax. Thriday eliminates time wasted on financial admin and is perfect for makeup artists who hate doing the books. If you want to find out how much time Thriday can save you on financial admin, take this quick tax quiz.

Step 5: Promote your services

Making yourself known is essential for success as a professional makeup artist. A good place to start is by creating social media profiles where potential customers can see your work and contact information. Instagram is great for makeup artists and TikTok is also rapidly growing in popularity. When you post content, make sure it’s creative, fun, relevant to your business and include links to your website. A popular platform for linking customers to your site is Linktree. Once people visit your site, include an enquiries form, where people can reach out to you to ask questions, or book an appointment.

Step 6: Launch industry collaborations

Now that you have a network, you can collaborate with photographers or other creative professionals to build your profile.  The best part about collaborations is that you can easily increase your reach by leveraging the followers and audience of other people in the industry. If you have the budget, you can even work with influencers, including celebrities, to get the word out. Influencers and celebrities bring instant credibility and trust to your services so it’s well worth the investment to fast track your growth.

Step 7: Hone your soft skills

Having the right technical skills is a given if you want to become a highly regarded makeup artist, but there is more to it than that. You need to be able to build rapport, and make your clients feel comfortable in your studio or home. Being organised and efficient is also key, as makeup artists often have to work under time constraints. Being able to manage your time effectively will help you to deliver quality results within the allotted time frame. Flexibility is another important quality for makeup artists, as schedules can change at the last-minute and you need to be able to adapt.

If you are interested in becoming a makeup artist in Australia, the best way to get started is by doing your research and gaining some experience. Once you have built up your skills and portfolio, you can start marketing yourself to potential clients. Running a succesful makeup business won’t happen overnight – but if you put in the effort required, soon enough those dreams will come true. Follow the steps outlined above and take advantage of all available resources so that one day soon you can make your dream a reality.

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