What they do
Make-up artists design and apply makeup to actors, presenters and models, and for special occasions such as bridal parties. They may also work for cosmetic companies applying makeup, advising customers about the most suitable products and selling products. They may be involved in preparing skin for makeup, applying makeup, giving advice about makeup, maintaining makeup during photo/film shoots, and liaising with hairdressers about hairstyles and makeup. They may also use makeup to produce special effects such as ageing or injuries (bruises and scars) or for specialised characters in a movie. They may need to work with wigs, false beards or masks and artificial body parts to create the required look for a character.
Make-up artists usually work indoors and are often required to work long hours with super early starts, in what can be stressful situations. They may also be required to travel to different locations for photo shoots, movie productions or to clients’ homes. Many make-up artists are self-employed. It may be necessary to move interstate or overseas to gain experience and earn a higher income in this competitive industry.
Tools and technologies
Make-up artists need to be creative and have a good understanding about different bone structures. They also need to be proficient with a wide variety of make-up products as well as wigs, beards, masks and prosthetics (artificial body parts) to help enable them create a required appearance.
How do I become one?
Education and training
You can work as a make-up artist without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in makeup and skin care, or beauty services.
The Certificate III in Make-Up, Diploma of Beauty Therapy, Diploma of Screen and Media (Creative Makeup) and the Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Makeup) are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.
You can also undertake a traineeship in retail cosmetic services (level 2) or make-up services (level 2). The traineeships usually take 12 months to complete, and are available as school-based traineeships.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing