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Skills Needed to Be a Makeup Artist

by Megan Torrance, studioD

Makeup artists need several abilities to excel at their jobs, whether it's perfecting a celebrity's appearance before he goes on the air or providing a visual sample to a customer interested in purchasing products. Some makeup artists are certified skincare specialists working in spas, in salons or at cosmetic counters in department stores. Others are employed by news stations or celebrities. Regardless of prerequisites, successful makeup artists possess certain main skills.


Any profession with "art" in the title requires a creative imagination and a strong visual sense. Makeup artists should understand the different shapes and features of a face and recognize how to highlight them. Perception and visualization is important, as cosmetic application relies on the ability to mentally rearrange details of an image to create an attractive look without mistakes.

Customer Service

Most of a makeup artist's day involves working closely with other people, like models, actors, photographers and clients or customers. Makeup artists should be able to communicate with a variety of people to understand client goals and provide necessary feedback. Artists need to be confident and tactful when suggesting changes that may benefit a customer's appearance.

Detail Orientation

Makeup artists must be able to complete their work under pressure without letting the details slip. Some jobs require extended periods of concentration to complete meticulous cosmetic requests. Artists must be able to reason and solve problems, weigh costs against benefits, and design new ideas with a creative way to implement them.


A makeup artist has to manage her time and the time of others. She's in charge of analyzing each client's desire and obtaining the equipment and products necessary to complete the job. Particularly when first starting out, makeup artists must market themselves and manage their online and physical presence to gain clientele and build a strong client base.

About the Author

Based in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, Megan Torrance left her position as the general manager for five Subway restaurants to focus on her passion for writing. Torrance specializes in creating content for career-oriented, motivated individuals and small business owners. Her work has been published on such sites as Chron, GlobalPost and eHow.

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