8 Different Types of Makeup Artists

A makeup artist applies eyeshadow on a woman.

Makeup has evolved through the ages from a way to enhance human features to an art medium to a form of artistic expression. Wherever you may be, people around you are constantly putting up a face that they think is representative of their personality and they are not subtle about it! That’s not all; in the last century, the makeup industry also blossomed into a very viable career path for artists in its many forms.

The art of makeup has been around for centuries if not millennia, changing, expanding, and weaving through the ages as societies and times changed. Today, makeup art is a billion dollar industry that caters to celebrities, actors, brands, and individuals.

From personal makeup artists to those that create special effects in films, these cosmetic professionals come in all shapes and sizes. While previously they worked from the shadows to beautify their subjects, the times have made makeup artists more confident in themselves, establishing them solidly as celebrities themselves!

Here is everything you need to know about the makeup industry and the types of makeup artists that occupy it.

The Advent of Makeup Artistry

Right as the 20th century struck, makeup as an art form became more and more popular. Its establishment as a profession made leaps and bounds due to other advancements in the century such as cinema, fashion, and especially feminism.

By the 1920s, it was unstoppable. Cinema became all the rage, which required on set makeup artists who would paint the faces of the actors and actresses. Makeup art was still restricted to the elite and the famous up until then; but as a wealthier middle class emerged in America with the woman more financially independent, makeup became a household thing.

Many young women admired and copies what they saw on TV- cupid’s bow lips and heavily kohled eyes was the look of the era. At the same time in the ‘20s, fashion shows became common- this led to another need: fashion makeup. Makeup artists were hired to create signature looks for the models.

Over the 20th century, as film and fashion developed further, so did women’s role in professional settings. The traditionally feminine role of the makeup artist was given more respect and it became easy to see how important the role of a makeup artist is in developing themes and aesthetics in visual arts.

In 1981, the first Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling was given out; this was the last push needed to establish the makeup artistry solidly as a viable career path that creative people can choose to follow, studying from the makeup academies that sprang up across North America.

Makeup InfluencersJames Charles

Now that we are almost 20 years into the 21st century, makeup art is everywhere. With social media connecting people so wholly, there is no escaping it. The makeup and beauty community has become huge! Makeup artists are no longer hidden in obscurity but are celebrities in their own right. Several thousand makeup tutorials are available on the web for those who want to learn- self-teaching is the name of the game.

Makeup artists like Jaclyn Hill, Jeffree Star, Nikkie Tutorials and others are not only known worldwide as makeup gurus but they also have their own cosmetic companies designed to keep the consumers’ needs in mind- and earning them million-dollar livelihoods. Thousands of followers surf their pages, watch their videos, trust their opinions of products and techniques- it can be said that makeup artists are immensely respected and cherished both online and offline.

The influencers of today live elite lifestyles; from going to a new island every week to getting chumming with celebrities, to receiving expensive gifts. You will be surprised at the glitz and glamour of their routines.

Source: Couturesque

The Changing Trends in Makeup

While previously there was an emphasis on only a certain type of makeup look that followed the limiting European beauty standards, now the diversity in humans is celebrated and brought out. People of any ethnicity are made-up depending on their individualized needs.

Models from all ethnicities, of all ages, and of all sizes are encouraged to model and makeup is used to enhance their features instead of muting them down like earlier.

Types of Makeup Artists

Depending on what their career demands and what their interests are, there are several types of makeup artists in the industry. Here they are for you to consider.


All major cosmetic brands from L’Oreal to Bobbi Brown and back have several makeup artists on staff that can display the strengths and potentials of their products. These artists start their careers at department store counters; this position gives them the exposure and platform required to build the experience they need to go further in the industry.

Later on, the same artists could build their own clientele, eventually launching their own channels and brands.

FashionMakeup in the fashion industry

The application of makeup to mold and polish human facial and bodily features is a true art form. Today, it is great to have it recognized being as such. Some makeup artists that truly consider their skill worthy of being exhibited make it into the world of fashion.

These artists are sought-after, professional ones who are always on their toes. Whether behind the curtain at a runway show or in studios where models are photographed for high-end brands- these artists can’t catch a break. Their careers don’t offer as much privilege as comes with being a Hollywood artist, but they still give enough for them to remain in the limelight.

Source: Vizio Makeup Academy

High Fashion

To stay on top in high fashion, these artists have to stay on top of the latest fashion trends that change lightning-fast these days. They go one step further to remain as haute couture as the fashion industry itself, these artists create brave masterpieces with their makeup skills. This field of makeup is where artists have the liberty to go as wild as they like- think Met Gala and the Paris Fashion Week. This is where trends emerge.

Individual Styles

As they advance in their careers, makeup artists develop their own individualistic styles that are idiosyncratic. This gives their work a ring of authenticity since they have something to offer nobody else can: their signature style.

Innovation in Makeup

With the invention of new technology, makeup products and tools are advancing too. In the coming years, more and more innovation is expected in various fields.

Body and Face Painting

Art can use anything as a medium, including the human body. Body and face painting specialists can design and apply body paint in any form- ranging from clowns to child face painting. Temporary tattoos have also become an extremely popular art form in makeup and a skilled makeup artist can design one to fit your needs.

Other forms of body and face painting art include festival art, fine art, temporary tattoos, body paints, body marbling, hand art, and other novels forms.

Source: Camera Ready Cosmetics

TheaterTheater style dramatic makeup

When the curtain falls and the lights dim out in the world of theater, makeup is an essential tool to create looks that not only add the aesthetic that theater needs, but also transforms characters into the roles they are trying to personify. The makeup artists that work in theater need a particular set of skills that are specific. Their skills are acquired over a long period of experience in the field.

Since the audience sits far away from the stage sometimes, the makeup needs to be loud enough to encapsulate the gist of the thing without looking overdone. The director often gives necessary instructions for what the makeup should look like.

To do a good job on all sorts of actors, theater makeup artists need to have complete knowledge of human appearance, including wigs and facial hair.


TV shows are just one step below Hollywood itself. All the new and fancy TV shows you watch on different streaming channels today have multiple makeup artists on their team; especially those with high budgets such as Game of Thrones. These artists on set make the characters look their part and add more than half the oomph to their TV personas.

Just like actors can switch between TV and films sometimes, makeup artists can too. If their art is deemed worthy enough, they can be asked to accompany the stars themselves to other sets they are part of.

Film and MoviesMovie makeup artist

Here come the Hollywood makeup artists. Stars in movies are always wearing carefully applied makeup. IN fact, they have an art director on set just to make sure the overall aesthetic of the movie matches well and is connected to each other.

Other than the makeup that the stars wear, makeup experts in Hollywood are often responsible for the special effects, the blood and gore you see on screen. Makeup techniques require an in-depth knowledge of the human body to recreate structures.

These artists are especially dedicated to the industry and get a salary worthy of their loyalty. They are often seen rubbing shoulders with celebrities. The skill to baffle, trick, and re-create are essential for Hollywood makeup artists.

Source: Seventa Makeup Academy

Personal Makeup Artists for A-Listers

Celebrities need to make a lot of public experiences; for all of them, they must look flawless. Some A-listers have hired full-time makeup artists whose sole job is to cater to them whenever need be. They have to be available at short notice; this is why they are paid high enough for them to not worry about other side projects.

Makeup Transformations

Your favorite movie that shows aliens from Mars attacking the planet probably boasts the involvement of several makeup artists on the team. The skills needed to transform average actors into werewolves or elderly widows are incredible and take a long time to learn. These artists can take the human face and transform it into anything else; depending on the needs of the producer or the art director.

Special EffectsSpecial-effects makeup artists

Where would our favorite action and fantasy films go if it weren’t for the famous Hollywood makeup artists? Special effects makeup artists hold immense prestige in the movie industry. They can create anything from gruesome wounds to severed heads and limbs in films.

Source: QC Makeup Academy

Personal ServicesMakeup artists for personal services

Artists can be hired to perform special occasion makeup like a wedding or family photoshoot. They also help teach techniques and work with people who have unusual scars or deformities.

Whether you are going to prom or to a friend’s engagement dinner, personal makeup artists can help.

Makeup Salons

Makeup salons are in a league of their own. Instead of catering to high-end clients, makeup salons are for the public. Whether it is your wedding or a graduation party, a beauty salon is where you would go to get all dolled up.

The makeup artists at salons work in close contact with brands, since their endorsement of a product would mean increased belief in it from the consumer. Some salons are exclusive to fashion and movie industry needs.

Source: LovetoKnow

At-Home Services

Those makeup artists who have just started out may provide at-home services. If you have ample space and lighting in your home the artist can visit you. In other cases, the makeup services are provided out of the artist’s house. These are usually artists who are struggling to make it in the business.

Clinical Makeup Artists

These types of makeup artists are usually hired by hospitals, or dermatology and plastic surgery-related clinics. There, they work on helping those that are suffering after the effects of chemotherapy, or those with facial defects such as minor deformities, burn marks, scars, or birth marks. Clinical makeup artists do their best to help such people become less insecure and more confident about their appearance.

How to Become a Makeup Artist

If you think makeup could be a good career for you, you have to start small because making it in this glamorous field is not a piece of cake. You will have to start at the very bottom and take it one step at a time; you will get slowly but surely closer to the destination.

We all loved playing dress-up with our mom’s fancy clothes and makeup on, it takes special dedication to take it up as a career. Here is everything you may need to do.

Decide on a Type

Choose from all the different types of makeup artists listed in the article to decide what goes best for you. If you are into fashion and makeup, you might have to start differently than, let’s say, special effects makeup.

In any case, it might be beneficial to have an idea in mind what your destination in this career looks like. Read a lot of articles, talk to people already in the field- then make up your mind.

Consider Your Goals

Do you want hundreds of followers hanging onto your every word? Do you want to give Cara Delavigne the smokiest eye she has ever gotten?

Teen Vogue magazine suggests that you take out some time to figure out what catches your eyes, what your goals are, and where you see yourself in the makeup industry in the next five years.

Practice and Practice Again

To perfect any sort of skills, it is essential to practice and practice again. That is just how humans learn to do things in a better way. They must repeat the act until the brain is as adept at it as experts are. Consider this simple rule: create one makeup look each day and take a picture for reference. Not only will this speed up your progress, but also serve as a reminder of how far your skills have developed over the months and years.

If you can’t figure out how to start, practice on yourself and on people around you. You could begin by mimicking different movie and TV character’s iconic looks (such as Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” or Angelina Jolie in “Maleficent”).

Showcase Online!

If you want to show the world what you are up to and get recognized, the online world is the place to do it. Unlike before, anyone at all can post online (which has its pros and cons) and so can you!

Get an Instagram makeup blog and showcase your skills to the world. Get a ring light, a better camera- anything you need to make your videos look as aesthetic as possible. Tag famous makeup brands and use their products in your videos. Who knows, they might even sponsor you one day!

Consider Enrolling in an Academy

Many makeup artists are self- taught. If you want to have an edge over all the ones that are, consider enrolling in a makeup academy that might help you hone your skills faster and in a better way. It may even help build your portfolio for the bigger screen.

Go to Masterclasses

Many makeup gurus offer masterclasses where people can enroll and learn from them directly. These classes offer certificates that you can show off or even add to your CV for job applications in TV or film.

Be Brave and Be Experimental

These days, people who are doing the same boring ol’ makeup are not as appreciated as those who are being experimental.

Bring in your own individual style to your art. Go as wild as you possibly can with the tools at your disposal and you will be singled out, noticed, welcomed in the industry.

Source: Entity Magazine

Create a Diverse Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of your best work designed to be displayed in a professional setting. You can present it to your clients, or send it in for jobs and interviews for other positions in the industry.

The standard size of a portfolio is 9×12 or 11×14, presented in a leather binder that has plastic sleeves to protect all the photos inside. It may seem like an expensive investment but since it is a professional collection of your work, it does come in handy.


Learning all of these facts at once may be overwhelming for some; but as long as your dreams are aligned with your current acts and practices, you can delve into the world of makeup artistry smoothly, gaining tons of success.

Make sure to follow all your favorite makeup artists on the web and see what kind of looks they are creating; it is essential to do that if you want to join their ranks one day. Now start practicing!

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