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Top 10 skills to become a successful makeup Artist

Top 10 skills to become a successful makeup Artist

Career Katrina
Career Katrina

Makeup is art, beauty is spirit! And like any art form, makeup artists have to keep honing their skills to achieve success and stay relevant. In today’s world, there are a plethora of career opportunities for makeup artists - be it fashion runways, magazine editorial shoots, advertising shoots, celebrity makeup stylists for films or theater, wedding/event, there is no dearth of platforms. With proper training and skills, sky's the limit for a makeup artist. In this article, let’s take a look at the top 10 skills that are required to become a successful makeup artist.

Making of a successful makeup artist - what are the top 10 must-have skills?

Be true to yourself. Believe in your art. Don’t compromise on your style; because every makeup artist has their own unique style.  To create and discover your own style is very important. I upgrade my skills every 18 months.  I go and do a new course from somewhere that’s why I have remained where I am.  I believe if you keep on updating your skills it’s never going to let you down.

Namrata Soni (Celebrity Makeup artist)
Making of a successful makeup artist - top 10 skills

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#Skill 1: Knowing the in and out of your craft - be an expert in makeup theory

I went to study make-up. I wanted to learn and understand the science of makeup, how to work with different faces and all the theory. I was fascinated from the get go.

Kritika Gill (Makeup artist with clients like - Harpers Bazaar, Grazia, Verve, Hollywood Reporter)
Skill 1 for makeup artists: Gain expertise in makeup theory

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Knowing the in and out of makeup theory is the no.1 skill that any makeup artist should have. A well-designed makeup course will help with an in-depth understanding of several disciplines - color theory, facial anatomy and bone structure, chemistry of the products, etc. Beyond this as a detailed knowledge of various makeup tools, techniques and trends will be a critical factor to succeed as a makeup artist.

#Skill 2: Creativity - thinking out of the box

Art was always my favourite. I decided to be a makeup artist when I saw a magazine editorial once and was blown away by it.

TENZIN KYIZOM (Celebrity Makeup artist)
Skill 2 for makeup artists: be creative

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Makeup is a form of art and like any art form, it requires a pinch of creativity to make a mark. The first step for creating an unforgettable look is not applying the moisturiser or the primer but is visualization of the look and creating a mental image of it. Creativity and visual sense is the most important trait that a makeup artist must inculcate.

#Skill 3: Every stroke is important - attention to detail

Attention to detail is a critical skill that a makeup artist must harness. It takes hours of effort and patience to create a flawless look for your client.
Skill 3 for makeup artists: attention to detail

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Attention to detail is a critical skill that a makeup artist must harness. It takes hours of effort and patience to create a flawless look for your client. A small mistake can spoil an entire look. Finesse is what differentiates a professional artist from an amateur. Makeup artists need to train themselves to maintain concentration for extended hours and not miss the smaller details.

#Skill 4: The art of building relationships - customer service

Makeup artists have to work very closely with their clients for hours altogether. It becomes extremely important to make your clients comfortable and understand their needs. Most importantly building trust
Skill 4 for makeup artists

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Makeup artists have to work very closely with their clients for hours altogether. It becomes extremely important to make your clients comfortable and understand their needs. Most importantly building trust - knowing what works for them and calmly getting their buy-ins. Good customer service will not only ensure a long-lasting relationship with clients but also help you get more clients through their references.

#Skill 5: Efficiency and time management - two essential skills for success

Most of the time as a make-up artist you will be running on strict deadlines - whether it’s a wedding or a shoot, time management is a critical skill that make-up artists must-have.
Efficiency and time management - two essential skills for make-up artists

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Most of the time as a makeup artist you will be running on strict deadlines - whether it’s a wedding or a photo shoot, time management is a critical skill that makeup artists must-have. Delays can lead to a hurried and a less optimal job and also an unhappy client. Apart from that, overall operational efficiency will also be a critical factor for any makeup artist’s success. This means not just ensuring you have all the tools required for a great result as per the client’s expectation, but also think on your toes and be prepared for any kind of emergency or mishaps.

#Skill 6: The art of adaptability and flexibility - must-have skills for a professional makeup artist



Makeup artists must be prepared to adapt fast to the changing needs of their clients and flexible enough to quickly change their ways as per the client’s comfort and need.
Skill 6 for makeup artists: The art of adaptability and flexibility


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Makeup artists must be prepared to adapt fast to the changing needs of their clients and flexible enough to quickly change their ways as per the client’s comfort and need. A lot of times scenarios will change - take for example the model arrives late, but the makeup has to be expedited since the shoot has to start, or the weather changes during a wedding will require you to re-evaluate the look. It will be critical for makeup artists to be prepared for such situations, adapt quickly, and finish the job with utmost perfection.

#Skill 7: Interpersonal skills - listen, converse and win your client’s heart




As a makeup artist, you are an entrepreneur, a sales rep, a marketer for yourself. Your job does not end at applying makeup but it will require you to build relationships with clients from booking to completion of the job.
Skill 7 for makeup artists: Interpersonal skills 

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As a makeup artist, you are an entrepreneur, a sales rep, a marketer for yourself. Your job does not end at applying makeup but it will require you to build relationships with clients from booking to completion of the job. Strengthening interpersonal skills will ensure that the client keeps you in mind for the future. Further good interpersonal skills will help in making clients feel comfortable - an important aspect to have a stress-free experience. A lot of times clients will have questions regarding various tools you are using or the look you are creating. It will be important to answer these questions or address any concerns they have with patience. In such cases too your interpersonal skills will be of great importance.

I still try to do courses every year or attend short masterclasses, trade shows and exhibitions.
Sandhya Shekar (Celebrity  makeup artist)
Skill 8 for makeup artists: stay up-to-date

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There is always a new trend that makes head waves in the beauty industry. One day it is the euphoria-inspired bright makeup the next day it is the retro nails trend. A makeup artist will have to be on top of new trends, and continuously learn new tools, and techniques. Clients will rely on you to suggest the latest looks and sometimes will ask you to recreate a particular celebrity makeup - in such cases knowing the latest trends in the beauty world will make you look good. As a makeup artist, it is also important to expand your horizons of learning.

#Skill 9: If you have it, flaunt it - mastering the art of self-promotion

As a makeup artist in a digital world know-how of social media and basic video skills will help you showcase your work, build a following and get more clients.
Skill 9 for makeup artists: mastering the art of self-promotion

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It won’t be an exaggeration to say that makeup artists have one of the most Instagram-worthy professions where they can flaunt their work to gain popularity and clients. As a makeup artist in a digital world know-how of social media and basic video skills will help you showcase your work, build a following and get more clients. Additionally, it will help you practice the craft and become more proficient in it.

#Skill 10: Hygiene - ensuring high hygiene standards is a must in the new normal

In the beauty industry, hygiene has always been a critical factor that cannot be missed. In a post-COVID-world, it has taken precedence above all other factors.
Skill 10 for makeup artists: Hygiene - ensuring high hygiene standards 

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In the beauty industry, hygiene has always been a critical factor that cannot be missed. In a post-COVID-world, it has taken precedence above all other factors. Ensuring a makeup artist follows the highest standards of hygiene - whether it’s sanitizing the makeup kit, ensuring that the mask is worn, having an ample amount of sanitizer etc. will be important.

Wrapping up:

Being a makeup artist will mean knowing the science behind the craft and using art to bring it to life. To become a successful makeup artist above-mentioned top 10 skills will be critical. At Vah Vah, we help you learn from top makeup professionals in live workshops and get personal guidance to strengthen the skills needed to become a successful makeup artist. Request for a free demo to know more about our courses.