Meet the Many Types of Makeup Artists

Makeup artistry is a great career for creative men and women with steady hands, good near vision and inherent understanding of how physical features can be enhanced or downplayed to create the desired persona, the ‘look’. Making it as a makeup artist may seem very glamorous but bear in mind that it takes oodles of skills, stamina, training and creative talent. Good interpersonal communication is an added bonus and goes a long way in building networks and bringing in more business. Of course, if you are good at what you do, the rewards are worth it too. I mean, you have heard of Bobbi Brown, Rich Baker, Michele Burke, Laura Mercier, Billy B, Richard Taylor and Pat McGrath, haven’t you? They are all celebrity makeup artists who have now made it to the topmost rungs in the field.

Like any other creative career stream, makeup artistry too has its own specializations and super specializations. Here is a look at some key types of makeup artists.

Cosmetic or Fashion Makeup Artists – These are the guys who demonstrate makeup techniques at retail counters or work at salons, spas and bridal boutiques or at fashion shows and fashion photo shoots to prepare models. Corporate headshot photography is another in-demand and high-paying field for fashion makeup artists who ensure that the head honchos look good in their official snapshots.

Special Occasions Makeup Artists – As the tag says, these makeup artists specialize in preparing clients for special occasions such as weddings, social events, dances, red carpet events and corporate events. Do you know there is a stream of makeup artistry known as mortuary makeup artists? These professionals apply makeup to a dead body to ensure that the pre-burial deceased looks as good as they looked in life!

Film, TV and Theater Makeup Artists – These professionals work on performing actors to make them appear suitable for their specific roles and characters under the arc lights. At times, this can also include special effects (SFX) makeup (think movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Avatar or all those horror and sci-fi flicks). SFX makeup is an advanced field that pays extremely well but takes real skill and practice too. Like fashion photography, performing arts makeup artists too must possess a deep understanding of lighting and how it affects looks.

Bonus: Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe, BAFTA- every award worth its name in the marquee honors performing arts makeup artists!

Clinical Makeup Artists – These makeup artists are usually employed at hospitals and dermatology/plastic surgery clinics and work on helping those suffering after effects of chemotherapy or with facial defects such as minor deformities, scars, burns or birth marks etc to look as close to normal as possible.

Personal Care Makeup Artists – Many celebrities hire their own personal care makeup artists who work exclusively for them, often as a key member of their entourage.

A great thing about makeup artistry is that once you have a certain amount of experience and a network to draw strings in your favor, you can work as a freelancer too. Many makeup artists work on hire and charge clients on per assignment or per hour basis. Many established ones move on to become consultants with designers and cosmetic brands. Then there is the example of Bobbi Brown who is the CEO of her own cosmetic company!

All in all, every stream of makeup artistry is great if you have the talent and the training for it.