Makeup Artist Myth #1: Makeup Artist Certified

There’s always that question of “Should a makeup artist be a “certified makeup artist?”
However, ask any experienced industry professional- be it a photographer, wardrobe stylist, retoucher, producer, actor, model and etc..and it all really doesn’t matter. A piece of paper saying a makeup artist is “certified,” is simply that, a piece of paper.

In this industry, it’s about what projects a makeup artist has done, and who they have worked with. And I hope that I don’t offend anyone by saying this, but those who focus on the “certifications” of a makeup artist is clearly a novice.

Although, I am certainly not against a new makeup artist’s education, or an advanced makeup artist who is learning something new in the field, or refreshing their makeup skills and education. On-going, continual education is vital for every makeup artist, as beauty and makeup trends change with the season, and new products are continually introduced in the market. I personally, need to make a trip out to California soon to learn some special effects makeup and prosthetics.  And just so I am clear, I am not against makeup schools, I am totally for makeup schools and know of quite a few schools that are the best in the industry. Rather, a makeup artist should gather what they already know, and don’t know. After making reflecting on their skills and what they need to learn, a makeup artist should definitely select a school, and attend classes specifically geared to what they need to learn. Going to a makeup school should not just drive a makeup artist because of a certain certification, but rather to develop a skill set that will benefit their career and clients.

So what does it mean when a makeup artist is certified?
Most times, it means the makeup arist has paid an incredible amount of money on training, learning mostly the basics. Other times, it means a makeup artist has had training on a specific skill set such as airbrush makeup. Sometimes, there are free training sessions hosted by large makeup brands to help educate makeup artists on their products, which in turn makeup artists use the products on their clients, which helps market the brand to general consumers.
Quite honestly, there really is nothing a makeup artist can’t learn unless he/she is out working their artistry.

Personally, I am a self-taught makeup artist, and not having a “certification” has not hindered my abilities to book paid jobs or my ability to network to pitch my artistry to bigger industry professionals than myself.
A few months ago, I had a representative from a makeup school challenge me on what I knew and what I didn’t know about professional makeup artistry. I quickly disappointed the representative because every question they asked me, I already knew, which meant I was not going to pay thousands of dollars on things I already knew just to attend their school.

So how does a makeup artist (whether certified or not) make it in this industry?

Two things:

  • The Passion to work and continually learn.
  • Master the Art of Networking.

You see, a makeup artist can be certified in every aspect of makeup artistry, and have certificates to prove it, but it doesn’t mean anything if that makeup artist does not have a portfolio to show their (potential) clients. Nor if a makeup artist doesn’t have a good network of industry professionals to work with, the makeup artist find themselves “stuck,” with no room to grow towards a thriving career.

Next Myth: Anyone Can Become A Makeup Artist


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