How to become a Makeup Artist in Australia

How to become a Makeup Artist in Australia

Makeup Artists are creative professionals, trained in the application of cosmetics and prosthetics to enhance, disguise and transform a person’s appearance. They use various techniques to create characters, simulate wounds, enhance beauty or disguise flaws, depending on the requirements of the client. Makeup Artists generally specialise in a particular area, such as theatrical makeup for film, stage or television, high fashion makeup for models on photo shoots and fashion shows or working with brides and wedding parties on their special day.
Although each of these specialisations requires a slightly different skillset, the basic requirements remain the same. The Makeup Artist must first liaise with the client, whether that is the director of a film, a photographer or the bride, to discuss and ascertain the desired look and budget. Then they develop concepts and designs through sketches and tests, presenting recommendations and adjusting according to the client’s feedback. Once the final design is agreed upon, the Makeup Artist will source the necessary products and materials, working within the allocated budget, and apply the cosmetics on the day.

In addition to being skilled at design and application, Makeup Artists are also extremely knowledgeable, keeping up-to-date with current products and techniques. They are experts at working with all different skin types and colours with a strong understanding of how different cosmetics will affect each person and the ability to achieve the desired look without causing discomfort to the subject.

Are you creative, meticulous and patient? Do you want to put your vision and design skills to the ultimate test? Here are some of the steps you can take to become a Makeup Artist.

Step 1: Start practising early.
It’s never too early to start practising your skills, there are hundreds of great tutorials online that can get you started and on your way to becoming a Makeup Artist. Start with the basics and build from there, you can practise on willing friends and family members or even on yourself. Practice is the key to building up your application skills and figuring out what type of Makeup Artist you want to be, so make sure you try out lots of different techniques before deciding what you want to study. It is recommended that you photograph and document every design you produce so that you can start to build a portfolio to show potential employers.

Step 2: Enrol in a course.
While there are no specific qualifications required to work as a Makeup Artist, there are many benefits to undertaking formal training. You will gain valuable insights into the industry as well as learning how to work with all different skin types and colours to achieve a professional result. There are many different courses available, so choose one that offers the particular skills you wish to develop, whether that is a focus on special effects and theatrical makeup, wedding makeup or applying cosmetics for photo shoots and fashion shows. You will learn many tips and tricks that you might not pick up if you are self-taught, as well as having the opportunity to work on different face shapes and skin types.

Step 3: Volunteer or apply.
Once you have decided what type of Makeup Artist you want to be and developed your skills, you can start to find work in the industry of your choice. Make sure you photograph and document every design and application you do, even those you do on yourself, and put together a portfolio to show your work. Most employers will expect you to have an online presence, so be sure to start accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and other social media sites where you can showcase your work and be contacted by potential employers or clients. You can begin applying for jobs as a makeup assistant or intern but don’t be afraid to volunteer your services in the beginning as this is an excellent way to gain hands-on experience, add to your portfolio and show off your skills.

Step 4: Gain experience and market yourself.
Success as a Makeup Artist relies heavily on networking, every job you do gains you new contacts and improves your client base. Make sure you are promoting yourself on social media and industry groups, update your portfolio regularly and contribute to forums and discussions where you can. The more work you do, the more work you will get, so be prolific and persistent and make sure you keep practising and developing your skills.

What does a Makeup Artist do?
Makeup Artists are skilled in the design and application of cosmetics and prosthetics, creating special effects, enhancing beauty and transforming people's’ appearance in many different ways. They liaise with directors, photographers and other clients to determine the budget and requirements for each job, then create customised designs based on the desired aesthetic and the face and skin type of the subject on which they will work. Makeup Artists possess extensive knowledge of cosmetic products and application techniques as well as current and historical styles used to create particular effects. They are also highly skilled in the process of applying makeup in many different ways, such as airbrushing, painting and creating and applying prosthetic enhancements.


  • Liaising with clients to determine budget and desired style.
  • Creating customised designs.
  • Researching and recommending appropriate products and techniques.
  • Applying cosmetics and prosthetics to achieve desired results.
  • Analysing and assessing subjects’ skin type and face shape.
  • Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of current trends, products and techniques.

Skills for Success
Makeup Artists are creative and innovative, skilled in both the design and application of cosmetics and prosthetics to achieve a specific look. They are dedicated, patient and meticulous with an excellent eye for detail and the ability to think on their feet. A successful Makeup Artist must be punctual and reliable as they are typically working within a strict budget and timeframe. They must be passionate about their craft, dedicated to constantly maintaining their knowledge of current trends and techniques. Makeup Artists need great communication skills, the ability to work independently or as part of a team and possess great ingenuity and problem-solving abilities. They are also knowledgeable, with a great understanding of different skin types, facial shapes and how products will look in different situations.

Skills & Attributes

  • Creative and innovative.
  • Punctual and reliable.
  • Skilled at design and application.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Passionate and dedicated.
  • Patient and meticulous.
  • Ability to work under pressure and within constraints.
  • Good problem-solving skills.

Average Salaries

What does a Makeup Artist earn in Australia?
In Australia, the average Makeup Artist earns around $49,083 per year. This varies greatly depending on a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 03/18

min $34 K
max $73 K
av $49 K