How to Launch a Career as a Freelance Makeup Artist

by Lois Leonard

2 min read

Makeup artists do more than just make people look beautiful. Certainly, you can do makeup for weddings and glamorous photo shoots, but a film production crew might also need your makeup skills to make actors look like corpses, monsters or zombies. Either way, being a freelance makeup artist allows you to take on diverse clients and scale your business, which you can’t really do as an employee. You’ll need on-the-job training, a certificate, or a license to do business in this beauty industry profession, depending on the province where you operate.

Freelance Makeup Artist Career Basics

Some natural makeup artist abilities can help you focus your career goals, and you may need some job experience as a makeup artist, a certification from a registered cosmetology school, or a provincial license. For example, if you operate out of British Columbia, you only need to have completed a beauty school program or have some hands-on job experience to launch a career as a makeup artist. Nova Scotia has a different set of rules, though. Makeup artist is a regulated profession in this province, and you need cosmetology training and a license to launch your career. Makeup artists in Canada often seek voluntary certification through organizations such as the Beauty Council because it boosts credibility and helps snag clients. You also need to register your business as a sole proprietorship to collect GST/HST if you earn more than $30,000 in a year.

Startup Costs

A freelance makeup business has relatively low startup costs. You may get discounts from professional makeup stores if you graduated from a cosmetology school, saving you money on your initial product supply. If you’ve saved up some money, consider investing in a good-quality digital SLR camera, a tripod and some photography lights, as you’ll need lots of pictures and videos to promote your business. Having your own equipment saves you money in the long run because you don’t have to hire a photographer to take pictures for your online promotions and portfolio. Consider asking friends and family to be your models when you need to demonstrate your skills to save money on models’ fees; you should be able to afford professional models as your business grows. All told, you may not need more than $2,000 to launch your career as a freelance makeup artist.

Promoting Your Business

Social media makes it easy to promote your freelance makeup artist business. Start a blog to serve as your own online media platform on which to shape your brand. Share photos of your work regularly on photo-friendly social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest to build an initial following. People love makeup demos, and YouTube is the perfect place share how-to makeup videos with your followers, some of whom may become your clients. You can also share makeup product info on Snapchat. Marketing your skills is key to building your career as a freelance makeup artist. A minimal cash investment and some time spent building a social media following can help you take your business to the next level.

References & Resources

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