Make-Up Artist/Specialist

A program that prepares individuals to professionally apply cosmetic makeup preparations and perform complete and specialized appearance makeovers including hairdressing, wig work, masking, temporary prosthesis applications, cosmetic applications, and related costuming for leisure or for professional stage, camera, clinical, or security purposes. Includes instruction in period and contemporary hairstyling and costuming; wig work and hairpiece application; synthetic hair and masks; cosmetic preparations and treatments; makeup artistry; attachment, removal, and camouflaging of prostheses; health and safety; client consultation and care; pre- and post-production operations; set and crew conduct and relations; script, instruction, and prescription interpretation; labor relations; and business practices.

Hair and makeup artists are responsible for crafting the looks of people in the public eye. 

We live in a visual world where having the right look can make or break a lot of things -  awards, suspension of disbelief, whether or not someone buys a product. Hair and makeup artists are masters of the human canvas, turning ordinary, unadorned people into brides, beauty queens, monsters, and more. Most makeup artists have a style, specializing in heavy, dramatic stage makeup or bright, natural looks, though the majority are versatile artists who can create a wide range of looks depending on client demand.

There are different types of hair and makeup artists that can be found in different industries; for instance, many stage performance companies often have a hair designer who specializes in the creation of wigs, and conceptual film productions depend on special effects makeup artists to transform actors in various ways. Sometimes hair and makeup conveys something about a character or the world they live in - a period piece with too-modern hair styles will stand out as unrealistic to viewers and critics alike. Films based on true stories often call for makeup artists to make actors resemble the real people they are based upon; this can call for intense character study and close work with styling, lighting, and camera crew.

Work in hair and makeup artistry may include...

  • Using an array of cosmetic products to achieve a certain look
  • Collaborating with designers, directors, models, and photographers
  • Maintain, update, and continually disinfect kits and tools
  • Working with clients to determine their desired look
  • Creating custom pieces for performers

Broadly speaking, hair and makeup artists can be split into two categories: real life and production. Production hair and makeup artists, or HMUs, work on sets, preparing actors and models for photoshoots, filming, or stage appearances. They can be found behind the scenes of fashion shows, in television studios, and anywhere with an audience or camera. Real life hair and makeup artists typically work in salons or retail environments, with many offering freelance services or performing house calls. Many specialize in occasion looks for weddings, school dances, graduations, religious ceremonies, and more, and may help entire parties or families to achieve a consistent look. Public figures often have hair and makeup artists on staff or on call for events, speeches, photo opportunities, or public appearances.

There are different ways to learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to hair and makeup. Some artists are self-taught, practicing as hobbyists and learning from internet resources. Others stumble into the trade and realize they have a calling. It's common for aspiring hair and makeup artists to seek formal training and certification from beauty schools, training salons, and cosmetology organizations, which can provide practical experience and credibility. Having a portfolio of looks is the best way to find work as a hair and makeup artist, regardless of industry. These days, portfolios often take the form of social media accounts where an artist can show their best work and interact directly with potential clients. Hair and makeup artists can work independently to create compelling styles and work with photographers to document them, or film themselves working; working on shorts and student films can also be a great way to showcase one's skills and offer a chance to work collaboratively.

If you're an artist looking to work your magic on real faces, a career in hair or makeup artistry might be right for you.

Local 706 – Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild is the official labor union for make-up artists and hair stylists in film, television, stage, and digital media.

Local 798 is a regional labor union and part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees representing make-up artists and hair stylists.

The Professional Association For The Beauty Industry aims to provide exceptional experiences and a connected community to beauty professionals across the nation.