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How to become a makeup artist on a movie set

To become a makeup artist on a movie set allows you to work with movie actors and directors. You will need to have a combination of education, training, and experience. Then, attend a film makeup-accredited cosmetology school, earn certifications, and work at a retail makeup counter or cosmetology counter to become a makeup artist on a movie set.

You can use your imagination to help make masks, makeup, and other elements that change the way an actor looks for a movie part. A lot of work is needed to become a makeup artist on a movie set. It’s essential to have both the talent and passion for the profession of makeup artistry. This is only a career path that suits some. There are four main parts you can play: Major makeup artist, makeup artist, makeup helper, and makeup artist for special effects. Let’s dive into how to become a makeup artist on a movie set.

What is a makeup artist on a movie set

A makeup artist on a movie set applies makeup to actors while they are shooting. They may play an essential part in assisting directors and writers in telling a narrative on the screen. They may collaborate closely with the production crew and the director, and their hours and schedules may vary significantly based on the film and shooting location.

Who can become a makeup artist

As a makeup artist, anyone can do it, male and female; it’s not gender-specific. Being a makeup artist is a job that anyone of any gender can do. This job can be chosen by people of any gender, no matter what gender they are.

What makeup artists do on a movie set

What a makeup artist does for movies may depend on what part they play. Four main job titles in the makeup area describe the tasks that a makeup artist can do on a movie set:

Major makeup artist

Major makeup artists manage the makeup department. They develop prosthetics and special effects makeup for leading and supporting performers and engage makeup helpers to replicate similar looks on other performers. The primary makeup artist provides daily makeup to the principal actors and distributes jobs to their crew, ensuring makeup consistency throughout the film. They also touch up between takes on-site.

Makeup artist

A makeup artist puts on makeup for the supporting characters and actors who aren’t in the lead role. The lead makeup artist watches over them and makes sure they follow the lead makeup artist’s original plans.

Makeup helper or assistant

The job of a makeup helper is to help the makeup artist paint and decorate the body with makeup. They might put together makeup kits and do other small jobs. They might also take pictures of the players’ makeup to make sure it looks the same if the director asks for a retake.

Makeup artist for special effects

Special effects makeup artists change the way actors look when they need to look scary, old, beaten up, bloody, not from this world, or otherwise not human. They make any changes that aren’t possible with regular makeup artists. They might use prosthetics, gadgets, makeup, and other things to make abnormalities, wrinkles, cuts, and other effects look real.

How to become a makeup artist on a movie set

Here are some steps you can take to become a makeup artist on a movie set:


  • Attend cosmetology school for a comprehensive beauty education.
  • Alternatively, pursue a bachelor’s or associate degree in theatre with a makeup focus.


  • Meet the state’s licensing standards, either as a beautician or by going through training classes designed just for makeup artists.

Skill Development:

  • Develop essential skills such as communication, creativity, attention to detail, time management, listening, organization, and dexterity.

Practical experience:

  • Gain practical experience by working at a makeup counter in a mall or beauty store.

Discover the fundamentals of production

  • Familiarize yourself with movie set dynamics, departments, and crew roles through online resources or workshops.

Develop a portfolio:

  • Build a portfolio showcasing your work, emphasizing versatility, and host it on a personal website or social media.


Connect with industry professionals through social media, attend industry events, and consider joining associations or groups for makeup artists.

Source: Indeed

Image by master1305 on Freepik.

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