5 traits every successful make-up artist has

Friday, November 03, 2017

Breaking into the industry can be tough for aspiring hair and make-up artists. It takes time to build your reputation and network - so for newbies just starting out, there’s a lot of work to be done.

Don’t let that put you off though! Being a make-up artist is a fantastic career that gives you the chance to travel the world, meet some very interesting people, and make a living doing what you love.

At the Iver Make-up Academy, we think there are 5 traits that every make-up artist needs to have to be successful in their career. Let’s take a look:

1. Vocational Training

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When you’re thinking of becoming a make-up artist, the first thing to do is get some vocational training. Every successful make-up artist is expected to have plenty of hands-on experience and technical knowledge. And that’s something you just can’t find in a lecture hall.

A vocational make-up course taught by experts is a great way to get the experience and qualifications you need to become a professional make-up artist. Not only can you get a taste of what it’s like to be in the industry, but your tutors become essential contacts that can help you in your future career. 

2. A strong portfolio

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The second thing all successful hair and make-up artists have is a portfolio that showcases all the amazing work they’ve done, and can do! This is where number 1 can also come in handy - all the projects and looks you complete on your vocational training are a great photo-op, and can be used to build up your portfolio.

Whether you publish your portfolio online or carry a print version, it’s crucial that it shows people just what you’re capable of. The most successful artists will have examples of their work, including everything from fashion and beauty make-up to prosthetics, and period looks to full-body make-up. 

3. Great people skills

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One of the most exciting aspects of a career as a make-up artist is the people you’ll meet. Depending on the job, you could be working with models, actors and celebrities, plus designers, stylists and crew members. That’s a lot of personalities in one place.

Any good make-up artist will tell you it’s important to get on with everyone on set, and that means having great people skills. Make-up and hair artist, and tutor at the Iver Make-up Academy, Christine Vidler says you should “treat everyone how you want to be treated.” 

Imagine the high-pressure of a catwalk show or a film shoot – keep your cool, be kind to others, and people will thank you for your professionalism. 

4. Plenty of stamina

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Being a make-up artist can be tiring, so stamina is an essential trait for anyone in the industry. A normal day working on a film or TV production starts at around 5/5.30 am, and you’ll need to be first on set. When actors arrive, hair and make-up is their first stop, and it’s your job to get them ready for the big screen.

At the end of a long day of filming, make-up artists will often be some of the last people on set. You’ll need to help actors remove make-up, especially if it includes tricky pieces like prosthetics and wigs. When everyone else has gone home, make-up artists are hard at work preparing wigs, make-up, and tools for the next day’s look. So, stamina, (or loads of coffee), is key. 

5. Enthusiasm

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Finally, to be successful in your career as a make-up artist, you’re going to need tons of enthusiasm. Working in film and TV, theatre and fashion isn’t something that everyone can brag about. But it’s a fast-paced industry that promises loads of exciting experiences.

The techniques and tools that are used by make-up artists are constantly changing, so it can be a challenge to keep up, but that’s where your enthusiasm comes in. If you love all things hair and make-up, and thrive in a fun creative environment, then this could definitely be the career for you.

Check out some of our courses to get started.