How Do I Become a Movie Makeup Artist?

Movie makeup artists must work quickly and expertly under pressure.
A makeup artist is knowledgeable about various cosmetic products, trends, and techniques.
A good movie makeup artist should have an array of professional-grade cosmetics.
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  • Written By: YaShekia King
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2014
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Movie makeup artists are individuals who apply makeup to film performers so that their appearances match those of the characters whom they portray in movies. These people need to be creative and have strong manual dexterity in addition to being able to work rapidly on a movie set. If you wish to become a movie makeup artist, you can complete a two- or four-year degree program in this line of work. You also should complete an internship to sharpen your industry skills.

An option that you can consider as you strive to enter this industry is to attend cosmetology school. This type of post-secondary training program typically lasts two years and leads to an associate degree. It is shorter than a four-year degree program and thus allows a person who wants to become a movie makeup artist to enter the field more quickly, although his or her curricula likely will not place strong emphasis on the theater industry. Instead, you focus on how to apply makeup on people in addition to fixing hair, caring for nails, and providing treatments for clients’ skin.

An individual who seeks to become a movie makeup artist should consider earning a four-year bachelor’s degree in theater. To get into this type of training program, you must submit your most recent standardized test results along with your high school diploma or the equivalent certification. Your desired training institution additionally will ask you to fill out its enrollment form and send in your high school transcript.


Courses in acting and makeup application teach you the skills that you need to thrive in this career area. For instance, you must study how to apply makeup on an actor or actress while paying special attention to the lighting that will be provided on a movie set. In addition, your classes should cover how to apply makeup in a way that allows a person to appear to have wounds or other features required for different movie scenes as you strive to become a movie makeup artist.

Acquiring field experience through an internship is important to be successful in this competitive field. You can look for these types of opportunities at film production companies as you aim to become a movie makeup artist. While working as an intern, your goal should be to research the time period in which a movie is set, determine what makeup applications will make the production realistic, and then use makeup and even prosthetics to transform actors and actresses into new characters.


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