16 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Celebrity Makeup Artist (2022)

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Inspired by his lifelonglove ofartand the history behind it, Sir John used hisart school education after graduatingto land himselfa visual merchandising position at Gucciand after awhile, starteddoing makeup alongside one of beauty's greatest makeup artists, Pat McGrath. From there, he parlayed his career in an entirely different direction,combininghispassion of artand painting ontoentirely different canvas: the faces ofHollywood's elite (Beyoncé, Chrissy Teigen,Viola Davis)and supermodels —like Naomi, Joan, Karlie, Jourdan, and Soo Joo.Five years later, Sir John signed withL'Oréalas abrand ambassador and celebrity makeup artist.Here, his professional insight if this is what you want to do too:

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1. You should take an art history class or two. Everything influences beauty, especially art. There have been times that I've been on set and anart director mightreference one ofGeorgia O'Keeffe'spaintings, and it's really important to know right then and there what they'retalking about. My background in art has definitely helped me truly understand so many references. It's also just really helpful to know how Cleopatra did her cat-eye orwhatElizabeth Taylor's looked like, and how they influence today's feline flick.

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Artist:Nina Cieminska

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2. You have to be ballsy, even when people discourage you.When I first started out, Iwas backstage and Iapproached Naomi Campbell at a fashionshow. Everyone told menot to talk to her, but I idolized this woman all my life and I was like, "No, I'm going to introduce myself."Aweek later, she called me to do her makeup and she became my first celebrity client.

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3. Instagram is an amazing vehicle for kicking off your career.I'm all about letting things happen organically, but it is a good ideawhen you work for yourselfto use these kinds ofplatforms to help build a name for yourself. When I first started and was assistingPat, I met all the models on set who are allmajormodels now — it's like they were allcubs and turned into big cats, which has been cool watching them all grow. For example,I'd work with JourdanDunn during the daydoing her makeup on set and then she'd ask me to do her makeup for a night out.And then pictureswould get snapped and my clients (and myInstagram page) juststarted to builditself. I still do Jourdan's makeup to this day!

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4. It's not good enough to be good— you also have to be fast.Beyoncé told me once, "The bad thing about being good is no one is going to give you more time."And she was right. When you're speedy and good, everyone expects the makeup to be on like bippity boppity boo —*magic.* I used to practice my speed by going to clubs at the end of my regular workday and do makeup for girls there.That, plus all of that work I did on set assisting Pat or Charlotte Tilbury,is what mademequick, sinceall I'd havewas 20 minutes to half an hour to do anyone's makeup. I used that speed to my advantage and now I'm one of the quickest guys in the business. [Editor'snote: This is 100 percent true and I know thisbecausehe did a cat-eyeon me in, like, three seconds. And it was flawless.]

5. Loyalty is so important.I'm only where I am because of the models I worked on when I started and still work withto this day —girls likeNaomi Campbell,Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls, Jourdan Dunn, andLiya Kebede. Naomi actuallywas the reason I met and worked with Pat McGrath, and now I'm at the same agency as Pat, so it's amazingto see things come full circle. And Charlotte, to this day, is still one of my biggest mentors, sources of inspiration, and has even become one of my closestfriends in the business.

16 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Celebrity Makeup Artist (6)

Sir John

6. Plan out the look youwant to do in advance, but alwayshave a backup plan.When it comes to an editorial job, you often geta creative planfrom the photographer and stylist in advance that doesn't really change, so it's easier to plan your looks for that. But with a celebrity,you only have a little timeto discuss what they want makeup-wise. Plus, their lookis so personal to themthat the mood of the actress of celebrity can change at a moment's notice, which means your makeuplook can change that quickly too.

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16 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Celebrity Makeup Artist (7)

Sir John

7. You're going to make mistakes, so make sure you learn from them.I learned thisthe hard way when I was in a rush andused too much of thewrong setting powder on Naomi [Campbell]. She had the telltalewhite powdery sheenon her face that you could see in photosand it wasn't good. But it's never happened to me again, so I'm better for it.

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8. You have to be able to switch what you're doing at a moment's notice.There are times when the talent is in your chair and she might have to take a call or look down at her computer when you'reworking on her eyes, causing you to have to switch up the part of her face you're working on. It'salways goodto be a step ahead, thinking about what you could work on next to get her ready on time.

16 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Celebrity Makeup Artist (9)

Sir John

9. You can start a new trend if you're thinking creatively.With celebrity clients, you definitelycan't be doing another look that someone else has done in the past, because it will show. Plus, it's fun to create something new that everyone loves and then wears.For example, the purple lip that I created on Joan for the Met Gala. That shade wasn't reallysomething anyone else was wearing a lot, but since then, it's become more mainstream.

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10. It's not just the talent you need to please. In this business, you'renevertold why you're not called back.You're just all of a sudden not called back. So,you need to be in tune to the needs of everyone around you, likethe publicist, the editor, the stylist, the talent,so you know you're delivering what they allwant.

11. It's all about communication and chemistry. Communication is key to have with the person doing your makeup. I bring a visual and I talk to my clientsabout the look, so there is no room for error. For example,a smoky eye can be interpreted multiple ways, so you also have to be specific when you're talking out the look with your client to make everyonehappy.

16 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Celebrity Makeup Artist (11)

Sir John

12. Your client will know her face like the back of her hand, but it's your job to know it better.No two women'sfaces are the same, so you have to be able to look at them and immediatelyknow how to apply something to make him or her lookeven better. Like if they have an uneven brow, you have to instantly knowhow to lift the other side to make it even, or what feature to playup the most.

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13. You'll be a lot more successful if you focus on your clients on set, not yourself. A lot of people can get caught up in just taking selfies on set or whatnot with celebs or the talent, but thosepeople are just about the moment.But the people who are all about magnifying the celeb or the talent on set, or are making sure everyone is happy and focusing on their work,are the ones who rise the highest.

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14. You need to invest in really good luggage. When you're traveling with a celebrity on tour or for a press junket, you will live out of your suitcase, so you need to have durable luggage that will carry enough clothing and protects the contents of your kit.Regular kits just don't hold up with the amount of traveling makeup artists do, so most of usturn to snowboard cases to carry ourkits. They offer alifetime warranty, they rollaround the airport smoothly, they'rereally durable, and they fit a lot. They alsosplit into two cases, so you can pack your clothing in one side and your kit in the other.

15. You're responsible for someone's confidence. Makeup artists are often the last people our clients see before they, for example, go to perform in front of 70,000 people. And since makeup has the ability to instantly change someone's mood, and because you'd normally touch someone up before going on stage or stepping out onto the red carpet, it's important to give them a sense of balance and make them feel good — whether it's switching up herlip color to a powerful red shade or doinga couple of jumping jacks with herto get her pumped. Your job is to raise her vibration and send her on her waywith confidence.

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16. "Never be jealous of your friends; be inspired by them."My good friend Jen Atkin always says this. She literally has changed the game when it comes to the atmosphere of hair and makeup artists. Rather than constantly pitting each other against one another,we nowlook at each otherand say, "How can I learn from you or help you?"

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Carly CardellinoCarly Cardellino was the beauty director at Cosmopolitan.

FAQs

Why did you choose to be a makeup artist? ›

As you can feel, becoming a makeup artist is like getting a dream job. You will enjoy your life to the fullest at the same time earn a lot. You can travel, you can meet people, you can build a network and can have lots of fun. Yes, this is a dream profession in real life.

What qualities do you need to be a makeup artist? ›

You'll need:
  • design skills and knowledge.
  • the ability to work well with your hands.
  • artistic and creative flair.
  • the ability to work well with others.
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail.
  • to be flexible and open to change.
  • excellent verbal communication skills.
  • the ability to use your initiative.

What is the biggest challenge for makeup artist? ›

11 Struggles Only Freelance Makeup Artists Will Understand
  1. When a client reaches for your makeup kit. ...
  2. When clients ask you for a discount during or after application. ...
  3. When you have to wash multiple brush sets at once. ...
  4. When it's time to restock your makeup kit. ...
  5. When you get to IMATS to purchase that perfect nude lipstick.
29 Jun 2016

What are some interesting facts about being a makeup artist? ›

Things You Should Know About Being A Makeup Artist
  • You will work for free at first. ...
  • Some days you work, some days you don't. ...
  • Your days start early and end late. ...
  • Clients assume they will love every makeup look you do. ...
  • Traveling can be a pain. ...
  • Money can be an issue. ...
  • Being a makeup artist is an investment.
2 Nov 2017

Is doing makeup a skill? ›

Beautiful makeup is an art form. Being able to deliver perfectly toned skin with only a few products and a brush is a talent that most women do not have. And it is a talent that must be capitalized and trained on.

What is the future of makeup artist? ›

Whether working for an establishment, Salon, or freelancing, you can earn a huge amount of money. It all depends on your experience, expertise, and skills. Starting with a package of Rs 15,000 per month, you can even take home up to Rs 5 lakh, if you become one of the top makeup artists in your city.

What is makeup artist called? ›

A make-up artist, also called a makeup artist, and often shortened to MUA, is an artist whose medium is the human body, applying makeup and prosthetics on others for theatre, television, film, fashion, magazines and other similar productions including all aspects of the modeling industry.

Is a makeup artist a good career? ›

Makeup artists can earn a very good income, especially if they work in the fashion or entertainment industry. Even if you don't make it to the big leagues, though, you can still do very well for yourself as a makeup artist.

What subjects do you need to become a makeup artist? ›

There are no official qualification requirements to start working as a Makeup Artist.
...
Skills Academy Makeup Courses:
  • Makeup Application Short Course.
  • Makeup Application Certificate.
  • Makeup Application Comprehensive Certificate.
7 May 2020

Is makeup artist a stressful job? ›

It Is Not a Stressful, Demanding Job

The job of a makeup artist is not going to be too stressful or demanding. The only lifting you are likely to do is lifting your makeup bag. In many instances, you will take a break in between each client, allowing you to relax and focus on what the next person needs.

Is being a makeup artist easy? ›

A career in makeup artistry is one of the most challenging and exciting careers that you can pursue. If you love beauty and want to make a living out of it, then this job is the best choice for you. Makeup artists are known for their ability to make people look more beautiful with the help of makeup.

How do I prepare for a makeup artist interview? ›

Here are some general makeup artist interview questions you can expect:
  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. How would your coworkers or supervisor describe your work ethic?
  3. Why did you leave your last position?
  4. Why do you want to work for us?
  5. What made you want to be a makeup artist?
  6. Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
2 Sept 2021

Is it hard to be a makeup artist? ›

Short Answer: Yes, It's a Challenge

Of all the beauty careers out there, "makeup artist" is one of the most challenging. It takes time to develop your skills, to make professional connections, and to find the jobs that really excite you.

What are the challenges of makeup? ›

Here are the 5 common problems that mostly spoil our efforts, but we also bring you their solutions.
  • 1 Smudge-Proof Kajal. Our Kajal tends to smudge when the area around the eyes produces excess oil. ...
  • 2 Patchy Lipstick. ...
  • 3 Cakey Foundation. ...
  • 4 Excess Eyeliner. ...
  • 5 Getting Mascara on your Lid.

Can anyone become a makeup artist? ›

Some states require certification, others need a cosmetology license earned through professional training at a cosmetology school. A few states don't require either. Makeup artists also may need a cosmetologist or esthetician's license if working in a salon.

How do makeup artists succeed? ›

How To Become A Makeup Artist: Advice from Top Professionals
  1. Practice. Practice. ...
  2. Research the makeup masters who've come before you. ...
  3. Get a Formal Education. ...
  4. Get online and market yourself. ...
  5. No matter what, don't overdo it on the fangirling. ...
  6. Take any job you can and bring your best attitude. ...
  7. Love your job. ...
  8. Wear flats.
20 Dec 2017

How do I know if I am a good makeup artist? ›

5 Signs You Will Make a Successful Makeup Artist
  • 1) You're a people person. Do you enjoy talking to people and learning more about them? ...
  • 2) You're a makeup lover. ...
  • 3) You're creative. ...
  • 4) You're driven to succeed. ...
  • 5) You're passionate about your work.

What is the highest qualification in makeup? ›

ADVANCED DIPLOMA IN PRO MAKEUP ARTISTRY: This is the most advanced level of makeup course.

Why do people like being a makeup artist? ›

The thrill you'll feel when you use your talent to enhance a person's natural beauty is the most important reason to choose a career as a makeup artist. It's not only models and celebrities who love to feel beautiful.

How do I prepare for a makeup artist interview? ›

Here are some general makeup artist interview questions you can expect:
  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. How would your coworkers or supervisor describe your work ethic?
  3. Why did you leave your last position?
  4. Why do you want to work for us?
  5. What made you want to be a makeup artist?
  6. Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
2 Sept 2021

Why should I learn makeup? ›

Learning makeup will help you in staying in touch with the new trends of makeup. Learning the self-makeup course will help you understand the new fashion trends out there in the market and allow you to style yourself according to these trends.

Is makeup a good career choice? ›

Makeup Artistry as a career is gaining tremendous amount of momentum as more and more professionals are making a career change because of the sheer glam, work life balance, creativity and money involved. Makeup Artists are trusted and respected and accepted everywhere.

What are the disadvantages of being a makeup artist? ›

There are some cons to being a makeup artist, so be sure you know what they are before you take the steps to make this your career.
  • You Will Need a High Level of Training. ...
  • A Portfolio is a Must. ...
  • One Bad Review Can Hurt Your Business. ...
  • Job Opportunities are Limited. ...
  • You May Work Nights, Weekends, and Holidays.

Is being a makeup artist easy? ›

A career in makeup artistry is one of the most challenging and exciting careers that you can pursue. If you love beauty and want to make a living out of it, then this job is the best choice for you. Makeup artists are known for their ability to make people look more beautiful with the help of makeup.

Do makeup artists travel a lot? ›

Makeup artists often need to travel on assignments to different locations. They may accompany the bride to a destination wedding or travel to various event locations. They are also present at video shoots to ensure the models/actors always look good, etc.

How do you introduce yourself as a makeup artist? ›

I am here to service all your beauty needs. If you're looking for special occasion makeup for that engagement session, wedding, birthday, headshot, or a date night, book me as your makeup artist. I will be hosting one on one makeup lessons, having group classes, and I will be assisting with personal shopping.

What are good makeup questions? ›

The Most Common Questions Every Makeup Artist Gets Asked, and the Answers
  • How do I pick the perfect red lipstick? ...
  • How do I contour my face? ...
  • Which foundation works best? ...
  • Can I wear foundation every day? ...
  • How do I get rid of wrinkles? ...
  • I have 5 minutes to do my makeup—what can I do that would make the most difference?
14 Apr 2016

What is the current makeup trend? ›

Statement blush — and even over-blushing — is one of this season's newest makeup trends. Brighter color choices, like bold peach and punchy pink, are taking center stage right now, and it's easy to do at home. “The key to this look is to use less product on your brush, but not be afraid of vibrancy,” says Lujan.

Is makeup course hard? ›

Learning professional makeup skills requires a lot of hard work both in theory and practical. The more intensive the course is, the better it is for enhancing your skill. The makeup school you choose should enable you to get prepared for the rigor of the industry.

How many hours does a makeup artist work per week? ›

Generally, makeup artists work more than 40 hours a week. It is not uncommon for them to work irregular hours, depending on the type of industry. Was this answer helpful?

What is the highest qualification in makeup? ›

ADVANCED DIPLOMA IN PRO MAKEUP ARTISTRY: This is the most advanced level of makeup course.

Which course is best for makeup artist? ›

Other top Makeup Artist courses that students may want to consider pursuing are:
  • Bachelor of Arts in Makeup and Hair Design.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Hair, Makeup and Prosthetics for Performance.
  • Diploma or Certificate in Fashion Stylist and Communication.
  • MA Fashion Styling, Photography and Film.

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