Becoming a Freelance Makeup Artist

CalendarMonday, February 13th, 2023
UserJeff Chiarelli
View2 Min READ
freelance makeup artist brush kit

Becoming a Freelance Makeup Artist

makeup brushes and shadows
pirotehnik –

Like many artistic professions, growing as a freelance makeup artist is a craft developed over time. 

The beauty industry is teeming with talented artists. The good news is that there will always be a demand for skillful makeup artists that are reliable and easy to work alongside. Professional makeup artists can achieve various styles for different events and occasions. By wielding a blush brush with just the right color and technique, makeup application can transform a look. A great makeup artist will enhance your best features with shades that flatter their clients natural attributes.

The first step in becoming a professional makeup artist is to find an accredited cosmetology program to study your craft. Earning a cosmetology license will help you develop a deep understanding of skincare, skin analysis, and various classical and contemporary ways to apply makeup.

Pursuing a career as a makeup artist

In a trade school specializing in cosmetology, you’ll learn how to harness your skills and style as a professional makeup artist. Many cosmetology graduates go on to work at makeup counters, where they earn an income and gain experience learning to make up many different faces. A makeup counter can give you access to the public and help you acquire clients as a freelance makeup artist.

Whether you decide to attend an esthetician program or earn a cosmetology license, you’ll receive formal training on everything from:

  • Keeping your brushes and products sanitary
  • Applying bridal makeup, stage makeup, and statement-making styles for editorials or the fashion industry
  • Working on “normal” people that request the services of a freelance makeup artist.

As a student, you’ll have an entry into a student salon with the opportunity to work with real clients and gain hands-on training to become a professional makeup artist.

Ogle School has nine campuses in Texas where students can specialize in cosmetology or esthetics and surround themselves with kindred beauty enthusiasts.

Choosing the right tools and makeup palettes for a wide array of clients

There are many different makeup artist jobs, and you’ll need the right tools to accomplish every style or need. Every artist should be able to match the many different skin tones that exist effectively, so having a range of shades in your makeup arsenal is necessary.

It’s truly important to boast multiple shades of foundation. Various undertones can appear in many skin tones, ranging from pales to darker skin tones. Pale skin that appears pinker doesn’t always have cool undertones. That’s why having a band of colors will behoove makeup artists. In a bind, they can mix those colors on a palette to create a customized shade to match their client’s skin tone flawlessly. That type of effort and knowledge separates a good makeup artist from a professional one.

Maintaining a hygienic workspace, tools, and makeup products

As a freelance makeup artist, you might have multiple gigs lined up for the week with different clients. To safeguard the health of your clients and get into the practice of being a trusted and professional makeup artist, it’s fundamental that you arrive at the job with clean tools and makeup products.

Being hygienic and organized is a trademark of being a professional. Clean your sponges and wash your brushes before seeing every client. When you arrive at your job, always clean your station and lay down a clean salon towel between each client. Using a palette and a palette knife will be easier to clean and ensure sanitary practices so you’re not taking product from the same container for each client. Between clients, add the products you intend to use to your cleaned-off palette by using your cleaned-off palette knife.

This sanitizing method applies to lipsticks, foundations, cream blushes, and shadows. If you’re raking color from the top of a lipstick with a palette knife, ensure the lipstick has never touched another client’s lips. If it has, you can submerge the lipstick into a cup of alcohol for a few seconds. A good rule of thumb is establishing sanitary practices across the board by ensuring no cross-contamination whatsoever.

two pretty brides
Mike Orlov-


Identifying which niche suits you

The makeup industry is a vast land of opportunity where you can navigate different avenues and niche careers and even carve out a corner for yourself. Creating a successful career offering makeup services in a competitive field can come with challenges, but it is within reach.

First, when you think of success, it means different things to different people. If earning a decent living as a freelance makeup artist feels mentally replenishing, rewarding, and pays the bills, that counts as success. If you have loftier ambitions to start your own business, create your beauty line, or work in fashion and entertainment while freelancing as a makeup artist, that takes tenacity, a certain amount of resourcefulness, organization, and funds. Whether you inherit, earn, and save or apply for a business loan, much planning is involved.

Aside from attending a beauty program at an accredited school, aspiring freelance makeup artists should plan and map out the desired trajectory of their careers. A makeup artist working at a makeup counter is a noble career. You will also have access to many patrons who can develop into your potential clients.

The best way to set yourself up for success is by attending a cosmetology school with makeup classes, skin treatments, and other beauty-related studies that will be an overarching asset. Having instructors guide you through the process of sanitary makeup application, applying techniques in special effects makeup, and learning how to consult clients is truly beneficial. Students will learn eyelash extension applications and meet all of their licensing requirements.

After you complete and pass the licensing exam, you can begin your search for makeup artist jobs to sustain an average salary. 

applying costume makeup
Fxquadro –

Bridal Freelance Makeup Artist

If you apply to work at a makeup counter and aspire to do bridal makeup, start developing your portfolio in your time off and showcase your work online, advertising to friends and family. When first beginning, don’t be afraid of charging your clients. It’s reasonable to set affordable prices to start. Getting the word out that you are a professional makeup artist is one of the most important factors in creating a career. The second most crucial move is to build a beautiful portfolio showcasing your work.

Creating cosmetics line

To create your own cosmetics, find private label cosmetics manufacturers who are willing to work with new makeup artists.

The production costs associated with developing lipstick, cream blush, or eyeliner are surprisingly inexpensive when formulating a prototype. Expenses are proportionate to customization, packaging and ingredients, and quantities for your products. 

There’s also branding and storage to consider. Most beauty products should be stored in a temperature-controlled space. Find out from the manufacturer what the shelf life is. Sometimes, products perform well; other times, you test new products for years. Budget accordingly to ensure you are able to afford to live and are only using extra savings to supplement your dream of developing products.

Demonstrate how the product applies and how long it lasts through professional makeup application. Blend your cosmetics with other types of makeup to show how they pair. Use all the marketing tricks to give your newly developed product a fighting chance to increase sales and eventually get it into a boutique. 

Entertainment and fashion

A makeup artist with an esthetician license or a license equal to a makeup license, like cosmetology, will serve different areas in the industry. To work in fashion, New York is the country’s fashion capital, but there are also pockets of editorial makeup opportunities all over, including Texas.

Having multiple and cohesive looks in your portfolio is necessary to land a fashion job. You’ll need to prove you can develop creative concepts and implement the vision of a creative director. If you want to work in entertainment and costume makeup, Los Angeles is a mecca for these opportunities. Typically, these jobs are very competitive. Having a competitive social media presence cal also go a long way. If you’re lucky enough to land a gig right out of school, then take it! However, most artist will have to pay dues. This could including working your way up, or starting as a personal assistant or working as an unpaid intern.

Study cosmetology and esthetics at Ogle School

Studying cosmetology or esthetics will provide you with a well-rounded education. A reputable program will include learning various hair and skin techniques and the application of makeup on different skin types. In school, you will begin to shape your career goals. There’s no better way to master your craft than to teach it. Earning a cosmetologist license will show employers that you have a high level of training. You feel confident and inspired at Ogle School and make lasting connections with instructors and students. Take the first step and request more information today. 

About the Author

Jeff Chiarelli
Jeff Chiarelli is the Head of Marketing for Ogle School. His responsibilities include leading Ogle School's marketing and branding strategy to amplify Ogle School's passion for helping create future beauty professionals in the communities Ogle School serves.


Hi future beauty professional! We can’t wait to speak you. Fill out the form below and we’ll get you the information you need.
By submitting this form, I am providing my consent to be called, texted, and/or emailed by Ogle School at the number and/or email provided. This consent is not a condition of purchase.


Hi future beauty professional! We can’t wait to speak you. Fill out the form below and we’ll get you the information you need.
By submitting this form, I am providing my consent to be called, texted, and/or emailed by Ogle School at the number and/or email provided. This consent is not a condition of purchase.
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