How Do I Become a Movie Makeup Artist?

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  • Written By: YaShekia King
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 02 April 2020
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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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Post 3

@MrsPramm - A friend of mine experiments with costume makeup all the time and she really hopes to get into movie makeup. I think you have to join a guild to get to a certain level of film so they probably don't exactly get paid peanuts either.

Mostly she wants to do it because she loves making up costumes though, which is a far cry from bridal makeup.

Post 2

@Ana1234 - It's not really glamorous either. I mean, the only part that would be glamorous is meeting actors and other celebrities but I'm sure the novelty wears off after a while when you see that they are just people.

Most workers on movie sets aren't paid all that much because they need to keep the costs down as low as possible and there are plenty of people willing to do the work. I think you'd make more as a bridal makeup artist than as a movie makeup artist if money is your goal.

Post 1

Being able to work quickly and take the initiative is really vital in this career. Often the makeup artists are innovating the costume design as they go, since every character has to be unique. You will also end up working long hours because it would be difficult for anyone to take over for you if you needed time off.

The actors have to be there early to get prepared and you have to be there even earlier. And you don't just go home after the initial application, because they aren't going to be able to maintain pristine makeup for hours at a time without assistance.

It's a job for people who love the work and definitely not for someone just looking for an easy and glamorous career.

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