New South Wales
New South Wales
Once you have decided upon your career path and researched the courses needed to obtain your qualification then it might be a good to start thinking about how you are going to not only pay for your course but also how you are going to manage while studying.
Australia has a great number of financial aid options available to eligible students but allowances will vary depending on each individuals personal circumstances. Prior to signing up or committing to a course ensure you have researched your eligibility first by checking with Centrelink.
Austudy – Austudy is financial aid for full-time students 25 years old and over and studying or an Australian Apprentice.
Abstudy – Abstudy is financial aid for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students or apprentices.
Youth Allowance – 24 years old or younger? you may qualify for youth allowance while studying.
Fares Allowance – Can help eligible students with the cost of travelling to and from your home to where you are studying.
Student bank loan – You may be able to receive a student bank loan to help with the cost of your school fees. Click here for more info.
A makeup artist is a trained individual who uses cosmetics to enhance a person’s appearance, often using make up to enhance features at the same time as hiding flaws. Other forms can include makeup artistry, in which the makeup artist creates special effects and characters for theatre & video productions, movies, TV and photography.
To start off working in retail for brands such as Mac, Mecca or Sephora, you will most likely need a Cert II as a bare minimum. If you are looking for a full makeup artist qualification then a Cert III in Makeup will be the course you need to start off with.
There is no shortage of career opportunities for experienced make up artists. While retail sales roles can be a good foot in the door for beginners, more experienced artists may begin a career freelancing, possibly specialising in weddings, special events and photo shoots. As you advance you could find yourself being involved in performing arts and the movie and TV industry or perhaps even doing the makeup for models and high fashion brands.
How much you can earn as a makeup artist in Australia will come down to a number of differing factors, such as your location, what area you specialise in, your level of experience and of course the quality of your portfolio. The hourly rate can range from around $17 per hour up to about $50 per hour. To get a better understanding and read about earning potential in more detail please click here.
Although it’s certainly possible to be a self-taught makeup artist without formal training, these days with the widespread availability of YouTube makeup tutorials and with every second person being able to be “okay” at applying makeup, it’s crucial to set yourself apart from the pack and become qualified as a makeup artist. This will truly set you on the right path as a professional and will enable you to be able to take charge of your career as a MUA.
Without training and qualification as a make-up artist, you will not be able to charge as much of your clients and you will likely be overlooked for bigger, more glamourous jobs (such as fashion makeup artist, theatre makeup artist or even celebrity makeup artist). So you must ask yourself now what you want from your career as a make-up artist… do you want to take on only a few freelance clients? Do you want to be self-employed but take on more and bigger clients? Do you want to be employed by a cosmetics company such as MAC as a specialist makeup artist?
Whichever your chosen niche, you’ll find the info that you need to start your career here.
If you’re serious about becoming a makeup artist, though, we do strongly suggest embarking on some training and qualification. Many makeup courses are short term and can be paid in instalments, so you can earn a living as a freelance makeup artist while you study to become a qualified makeup artist.
Proper training won’t just give you a fancy qualification and greater opportunities, it will also increase your skills. You’ll learn about different types of cosmetics, tools of the trade, working with facial features and matching makeup to achieve certain looks, how to change the shape of the face and features using makeup, diagnosing and repairing skin conditions with skincare (so that makeup glides on flawlessly) and specialist makeup (such as bridal makeup). You can also then take further specialist courses if you’d like to enter a niche such as theatre makeup, as application techniques can often vary.
Depending on where in Australia you live, you may be required to obtain varying levels of makeup artist or cosmetology licenses in order to safely and legally provide your services as a makeup artist to clients in your state. Programs will often require you to complete a certain number of training hours and pass a licensing exam. Makeup artist training courses can vary in length – some are short term at several weeks and others can take months to complete… it all depends on what you hope to achieve as a makeup artist. How professional you want to be will dictate the courses that you should take!
It’s important to note that doing a makeup course or qualification does not automatically make you a makeup artist, and it doesn’t guarantee you a successful career – like any other industry, you must work hard on top of being qualified and you must overall be passionate and dedicated to your craft. Makeup is an incredibly competitive industry.
When you know that you want to do a makeup artistry course, it’s now time to decide what sort of makeup that you want to do.
There are many industries that makeup artists can work in, including theatre, television, wedding, beauty, fashion and retail. On top of this, there are also specialities within the makeup industry such as body painting, prosthetics and special effects. And of course, all streams of makeup artistry also share common threads of colour theory, basic health and safety and skincare… plus creativity too!
Don’t forget as well the basic skills that all makeup artists need like networking, people skills (and if freelance, running a small business).
Once you’ve decided what sort of makeup artist you want to be, you can then do the jobs, seek the work experiences and take the courses that best benefit your chosen makeup niche.
Typically, makeup courses and training is run by:
We strongly suggest taking a makeup course through a hands-on institute that can combine makeup theory with practical skills and technique. Course lengths vary from a few weeks up to a few years, depending on your chosen course. Shorter courses are generally full time and intensive whereas many longer courses can be studied part time with financial aid… so the course you choose will also depend on your availability and resources available.
Depending on the course you take, you can expect to earn a qualification from a certificate up to a diploma or degree.
Before you choose any makeup course, make sure you obtain all the literature available on the course, thoroughly read the website and try to see what past students say about the course.
When choosing a course through a RTO like Tafe, the course wording will be relatively unbiased – however keep in mind that with private makeup schools and institutes, those schools are still businesses… so try to get as clear a picture of what they actually offer behind the sales pitches.
Also, consider the satisfaction guarantees… are you assured a refund if you decide that the course isn’t the right fit for you?
Above all remember this – no one course can guarantee you a successful career or employment… so be wary of any school or course you see making flashy guarantees.
You may also wish to check the course accreditation & legislation of your chosen course(s). Accreditation is a voluntary standards check that a school or course can undergo to test their standards, learning areas, areas of improvement and other routine inspection areas. An accreditation is a form of “quality check” and if a school/course has undergone an accreditation procedure, they will usually make this report public for anyone to access.
Legislation on the other hand is a little different to accreditation and refers to the laws that apply to the state that your school/course is in – so you’ll find that different courses/schools are subject to different legislations depending on where in Australia you are (although in Australia, legislation on being a makeup artist is relatively similar from state to state in comparison to other countries and even other industries within Australia).
You’ll also want to consider the pace at which you learn when you consider which course to take – everyone learns at different paces so if you find that you prefer to slow down and really absorb the course material, you may wish to choose a longer course. Or conversely if you find yourself getting bored easily or feel that you’re a fast learner, you may prefer a more intensive, shorter course.
No course speed is right or wrong, so choose a pace that feels good to you! Regardless of which course pacing you choose, a good foundation course should teach you all the essential basic elements of makeup with a lot of hands-on practice time. Ideally, look out for courses that have a low number of students per class… you want to ensure that you have good access to your tutor and aren’t fighting for their attention with other students.
On the note of tutors, make sure to do your homework! What are their credentials? How long have they been in the industry? Where else have they taught or which clients have they worked with? Are there any examples of their previous work that you can look at?
Getting the right tutor is just as important as selecting the right school and course as your tutors will play a big role in shaping your approach to creativity, artistry and the industry itself.
Once you find you find your ideal course, it’s up to you! Work hard, submit your application and always act as a professional, even when studying (remember, even as a student you’re making vital industry connections and shaping the start of your reputation as a professional makeup artist).
Your training as a makeup artist is just the start of your career… so make sure to build a strong foundation!
Whether you’re a freelance makeup artist or employed by a company as a makeup artist, your portfolio is one of the most important tools that you have to promote your skills and gain new clients.
A makeup artist portfolio is a collection of photos that display your best work – you can then use these photos to market yourself, attract new clients and gain more work. The photos in a makeup artist’s portfolio will usually focus in on the makeup work that the artist has completed on clients… think headshots and close up shots of eyes, lips, noses and skin. However, if a makeup artist has worked in the fashion industry or the theatre, then their portfolio may also include full body shots that showcase their work in the greater context of the production.
It’s important to note that a resume is still needed if you’re applying for jobs… a portfolio is the visual supplementation to showcase your skills.
It’s important to have a makeup artist portfolio because:
The brutal truth is that the makeup industry can be harshly competitive and people will make snap judgements about you and your artistry in an instant. This is why you need to curate a collection of your most impressive makeup artistry to pass the “one second test”.
If someone can look at your portfolio and instantly know that you’re a professional, you’ve passed the one second test!
There are two primary kinds of makeup artist portfolios:
So now that you know that you need a portfolio and the types of portfolios available to you, what makes a great makeup artist portfolio?
Here are our expert tips:
Now, if you’re just starting your career as a makeup artist, you may not (yet!) have a large bank of images to choose from, you’ll need to get some photographs of your work sorted. There are a few ways to go about this.
One way to go about this is to set up your own photo shoot – it’s not as difficult as you may first assume! You’ll need a photographer, one or two models and your makeup skills. If you or a friend/family member can use a DSLR camera, that’s a bonus. And many friends will be happy to be a model for your portfolio, it means they’ll get some nice photos of themselves and some great makeup!
Otherwise, if you can afford it, you can also pay for a professional photographer and/or model… this will give you fantastic networking opportunities! Even better, you might wish to team up with an aspiring photographer and you can both build your portfolios at the same time.
You can find photographers and models (if not using family and friends) on Facebook Groups, Gumtree and LinkedIn… you’ll also find them advertising at beauty and hair colleges in your area, so check with your nearest Tafe or University. There are loads of opportunities, you just need to go out and find them! Don’t forget too, a good old fashioned Google search can yield many results.
For models specifically, you can also try reaching out on Model Mayhem where models specifically seek work.
If the first models/photographers that you contact don’t want to work with you or don’t reply, try not to be too disheartened. It’s nothing personal! Rejection is unfortunately a part of any creative industry so you’ll need to develop a thick skin to be a successful makeup artist. Keep reaching out until you find someone who is willing to help you!
When selecting models for your makeup photoshoot, keep in mind:
Above all, remember that building a portfolio is a process. Your portfolio is an evolving body of your work as a makeup artist so as your skills evolve, you’ll want to remove old images that no longer showcase your best potential and replace them with updated images. It’s important to be patient with yourself. You’re new to the industry and your learning, that’s okay! In fact, it’s admirable.
As you get more and more jobs, you’ll have more chances to show off your skills and before you know it, you’ll have an amazing portfolio!