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How to Build Your Career as a Makeup Artist for TV

As the TV and film industry grows, the demand for makeup artists has also increased. Working in the TV industry is a dream for many makeup artists, but breaking into the field can be challenging. This guide provides practical advice on how to build a career as a makeup artist for TV.

Education and Training

The first step to becoming a makeup artist for TV is to get the necessary education and training. While some people may have a natural talent for makeup, it is essential to get formal education and training. There are several degree programs in cosmetology or makeup artistry available. You can earn an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in the field. However, formal education may not be a viable option for everyone. Luckily, there are several online makeup courses and tutorials that can help you gain the necessary skills and knowledge.

Building a Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of your best work that showcases your skills and talent. A strong portfolio is crucial for a makeup artist to get noticed by potential clients and employers. A portfolio should include a variety of makeup looks that highlight your versatility and creativity.

To build a portfolio, you can start by offering your services to friends, family, or local models. Take high-quality pictures of your work and add them to your portfolio. You can also collaborate with photographers, models, and hairstylists to create unique looks that you can add to your portfolio.

When creating your portfolio, be sure to showcase your best work. It is better to have a few high-quality images than a lot of mediocre ones. Ensure your portfolio is organized, easy to navigate, and includes your contact information.

Networking and Industry Connections

Networking is a critical aspect of any career, including makeup artistry. Building industry connections can help you find new opportunities, get referrals, and learn about new trends and techniques. In the TV industry, connections are even more crucial as it is a highly competitive field.

One way to build industry connections is through internships and apprenticeships. Look for opportunities to work with established makeup artists or TV production companies. This can help you gain valuable experience and make connections with industry professionals.

You can also join professional organizations such as the Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild (MUAHS) or attend industry events such as trade shows or makeup conventions. These events provide an excellent opportunity to network with other makeup artists, producers, and directors in the TV industry.

Freelancing vs. Full-Time Employment

Makeup artists in the TV industry can either work as freelancers or full-time employees. Freelancing can offer more flexibility and autonomy, but it can be challenging to find consistent work. Freelance makeup artists can find work through referrals, networking, or joining talent agencies.

Full-time employment can provide stability and a regular income, but it may limit creativity and flexibility. Working for a TV production company or a studio can provide an opportunity for consistent work and benefits such as health insurance.

Staying Current and Relevant

The TV industry is constantly evolving, and it is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques. Makeup artists must stay current on new products, technology, and trends in the industry.

To stay up-to-date, you can attend trade shows, conventions, or workshops. You can also read industry publications, follow other makeup artists on social media, and watch TV shows or films to see the latest makeup trends.

Continuing education is also vital for makeup artists to stay relevant. Many makeup artists offer advanced courses in specific areas, such as special effects makeup or airbrush makeup. Taking these courses can help you develop new skills and techniques.


Building a career as a makeup artist in the TV industry can be challenging, but it is also rewarding. Remember to create a strong portfolio that showcases your best work and highlights your versatility and creativity. Building industry connections through internships, apprenticeships, and professional organizations can help you find new opportunities and learn new trends and techniques. With the right education, training, and networking, you can break into this exciting field and build a successful career as a makeup artist in the TV industry.

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