Once upon a time, a few moons ago, I was a full-time makeup artist and loving every minute of it!
Many people are under the misconception that being a makeup artist is this really glamorous, fluffy job. Quite contrary, it’s a LOT of hard work and long hours. Makeup artists, in my opinion, are the unsung heroes of the style industry. Depending on how the makeup turns out, it can either make or break a whole look.
About 6 years ago, I worked for MAC Cosmetics. It was honestly the most fun job I’ve ever had. But, it was also the most stressful. In addition to my job at MAC, on my days off (which weren’t that often) I would do side jobs.
I was thriving, artistically, in my role but I was not prepared for the roller coaster that being a full-time makeup artist puts you on.
When you’re doing someone’s makeup, it’s very intimate. You’re touching that person’s skin and you’re right in their face. I’ve always been very sociable, so my clients were comfortable with me. With that easy rapport, they saw someone they could confide in. Some of the stories they shared with me were happy or funny. Unfortunately, most of the them were sad. I realized, over time, that being a makeup artist was more than superficial–these women were sharing their struggles and heartbreak with me.
In addition to being a pseudo therapist, a makeup artist, if they’re passionate about their career, never really stops creating and is constantly hustling. If you follow any of the celebrity makeup artists, you’ll see that they are always busy either travelling, working or brainstorming their next big idea. And usually they’re doing one while doing the other!
There is no match for the hustle that is a serious makeup artist. We know that yes, while the transformation is only skin deep, the way that transformation can make a woman feel about herself goes to her soul.
If you’re just starting out as a makeup artist, and are truly passionate about it, be prepared to work your booty off. Nobody gets a free ride in this industry. Every single successful makeup artist has paid their dues, and, every once in a while you may get a break, but trust me when I say that break is going to be deserved.
While demanding, makeup artistry is also one of the most rewarding endeavors you’ll ever set out on. Don’t get discouraged. Keep pressing forward and take time for yourself. Life as a makeup artist requires a lot of creativity (for obvious reasons), understanding, and empathy.
With all that being said, in my experience, being a makeup artist has more positives than negatives. The wonderful exhaustion you feel from creating at the end of each day is well worth the struggle.