Makeup artistry is a creative and rewarding career that doesn’t necessarily require formal training or education. With the right combination of natural talent, skills development, hands-on practice, and business savvy, it’s entirely possible to break into this field and establish yourself as a professional makeup artist without stepping foot in a classroom.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: you can become a makeup artist by developing your skills through online tutorials, books, practicing on friends and family, getting an internship or assistant position, building a portfolio, getting licensed if required, and continuously improving through practice and education.

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide detailed information on the various paths to becoming a successful makeup artist without formal schooling.

Develop Your Makeup Artistry Skills

Becoming a makeup artist without attending a formal school doesn’t mean you can’t develop your skills and become an expert in the field. Here are some key ways to enhance your makeup artistry skills:

Learn techniques from online tutorials and books

The internet is a treasure trove of makeup tutorials and instructional videos. You can find a wide range of resources on platforms like YouTube and beauty blogs that offer step-by-step guidance on various makeup techniques.

Additionally, there are many books available that delve into the artistry of makeup, providing valuable insights and tips from industry professionals. By regularly practicing the techniques you learn from these resources, you can improve your skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends.

Practice on friends, family members, and models

One of the best ways to refine your makeup artistry skills is to practice on willing individuals. Offer your services to friends, family members, or even consider collaborating with aspiring models looking to build their portfolios.

This will not only give you practical experience but also provide you with valuable feedback that can help you improve your techniques and understand different skin types and tones.

Consider getting a makeup kit to build your supplies

Investing in a good quality makeup kit is essential for any aspiring makeup artist. While it may seem overwhelming to choose from the vast array of products available, start by selecting the basics such as foundation, concealer, eyeshadow, mascara, and lipstick.

As you gain more experience, you can expand your kit to include specialized products for specific looks or styles. Don’t forget to invest in quality brushes and tools, as they can make a significant difference in the application and overall outcome of your makeup.

Experiment with different looks and styles

To truly excel as a makeup artist, it’s important to develop your own style and signature looks. Experiment with different makeup looks, from natural and everyday to bold and dramatic. Play with different color combinations, textures, and finishes to discover what works best for different clients and occasions.

Remember, makeup is an art form, and it’s all about expressing creativity, so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.

Work on enhancing skills like color theory

Understanding color theory is crucial for any makeup artist. It helps you create harmonious and flattering looks by knowing which colors complement each other and how to use them to enhance different features.

Take the time to study color theory and experiment with different color combinations to develop a strong understanding of how colors interact and impact the overall makeup look. Websites like Color Me Beautiful offer detailed information and resources on color theory, which can be a great starting point for your learning journey.

By following these steps and continuously honing your skills, you can become a successful makeup artist without formal education. Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep experimenting, learning, and pushing yourself to new heights in the world of makeup artistry.

Get Hands-on Experience

When it comes to becoming a makeup artist without going to school, getting hands-on experience is crucial. While traditional education can provide a solid foundation, practical experience is what truly sets you apart in this field.

Look for Internship Opportunities

One way to gain valuable experience is by looking for internship opportunities. Many beauty companies and makeup brands offer internships where you can learn from professionals and get hands-on experience in a professional setting.

These internships can provide you with valuable industry knowledge and help you build a strong network of contacts.

Volunteer as a Makeup Artist for Local Productions

Another way to gain practical experience is by volunteering as a makeup artist for local productions. This could include working on theater productions, fashion shows, or community events. Not only will you get to practice your skills, but you’ll also have the opportunity to collaborate with other creative professionals and showcase your talent to a wider audience.

Assist Established Makeup Artists

Assisting established makeup artists is another great way to learn and gain hands-on experience. Reach out to professional makeup artists in your area and offer your assistance. By working alongside experienced artists, you’ll learn valuable techniques, gain insight into the industry, and build your portfolio.

Create Your Own Looks and Content on Social Media

In today’s digital age, social media can be a powerful tool for aspiring makeup artists. Use platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok to create your own looks and share your work with the world. Not only will this help you build a portfolio, but it will also allow you to connect with other makeup enthusiasts, potential clients, and even brands looking for collaborations.

Remember to engage with your followers, respond to comments, and consistently create content to grow your online presence.

Remember, while formal education can provide a strong foundation, hands-on experience is what truly sets you apart as a makeup artist. So, embrace opportunities to gain practical experience, whether it’s through internships, volunteering, assisting established artists, or creating your own content on social media.

With dedication, passion, and a commitment to continuous learning, you can become a successful makeup artist without going to school.

Build Your Professional Portfolio

One of the key ways to establish yourself as a makeup artist without going to school is to build a professional portfolio. This portfolio will serve as a visual representation of your skills and expertise, and will be essential in attracting potential clients and employers.

Curate your best makeup looks into a portfolio

When curating your portfolio, it’s important to select your best makeup looks to showcase your talent and creativity. Choose a variety of looks that highlight your versatility and ability to create different styles.

Whether it’s natural, glamorous, or avant-garde, include looks that demonstrate your proficiency in various techniques and trends.

Include diverse looks for different occasions

Make sure to include makeup looks that are suitable for different occasions and events. This could range from bridal makeup to editorial shoots, red carpet events to special effects makeup. By showcasing your ability to adapt to different settings and requirements, you’ll demonstrate your versatility and attract a wider range of clients.

Showcase your range of skills and styles

It’s important to showcase your range of skills and styles in your portfolio. This can include different makeup techniques such as contouring, highlighting, and eyeshadow application. Additionally, you can include examples of your expertise in specific areas such as special effects makeup, body painting, or airbrushing.

By showcasing your diverse skill set, you’ll appeal to clients looking for specific styles or services.

Have both physical and online portfolios

Having both a physical and online portfolio is highly recommended. A physical portfolio allows potential clients or employers to see your work up close and personal, while an online portfolio allows for easy accessibility and sharing.

Consider creating a website or using online platforms such as Instagram or Behance to showcase your work. Be sure to include high-quality photographs and detailed descriptions of each look.

Remember, building a professional portfolio takes time and effort, but it’s a crucial step in establishing yourself as a makeup artist without going to school. Take the time to curate your best looks, showcase your range of skills, and have both physical and online portfolios.

With a strong portfolio, you’ll be well on your way to success in the makeup industry.

Learn the Business Side

While becoming a makeup artist without going to school may save you time and money, it’s important to remember that the beauty industry is not just about applying makeup. To succeed as a freelance makeup artist, you need to have a solid understanding of the business side of things.

Understand how to set rates and manage budgets

Setting the right rates for your services is crucial for attracting clients and making a profit. Research the average rates in your area and consider factors such as your experience, the type of services you offer, and the quality of your work.

It’s also important to learn how to manage your budgets effectively to ensure that you’re covering your expenses and maximizing your earnings.

Learn marketing strategies to attract clients

No matter how talented you are as a makeup artist, if you don’t know how to market yourself, it will be difficult to find clients. Take the time to learn different marketing strategies, such as social media marketing, networking, and creating a portfolio website.

These strategies will help you showcase your skills and attract potential clients who are looking for makeup artists.

Develop a branding strategy

Branding is essential for creating a unique identity and standing out in the competitive beauty industry. Think about what sets you apart from other makeup artists and develop a branding strategy that reflects your style and personality.

This includes creating a logo, choosing a color palette, and designing marketing materials that align with your brand image.

Manage your schedule, invoices, taxes, etc.

As a freelance makeup artist, you’ll need to handle various administrative tasks to keep your business running smoothly. This includes managing your schedule, sending invoices to clients, and keeping track of your expenses for tax purposes.

Consider using software or apps designed for freelancers to streamline these processes and make your life easier.

Remember, while learning the business side of being a makeup artist may not be as glamorous as creating stunning looks, it is an essential part of building a successful career in the beauty industry. By investing time and effort into understanding the business aspects, you’ll be better equipped to thrive as a freelance makeup artist.

Consider Getting Licensed

If you want to become a makeup artist without going to school, it’s important to consider getting licensed. While formal education can provide valuable training and knowledge, getting a license can also enhance your credibility as a professional in the industry.

Look into licensing requirements in your state

Before pursuing a license, it’s crucial to research and understand the specific licensing requirements in your state. Each state may have different regulations and prerequisites for becoming a licensed makeup artist.

You can visit your state’s official website or consult with local beauty organizations to gather accurate information.

Getting licensed can improve credibility

Obtaining a license can significantly enhance your credibility as a makeup artist. Clients and potential employers often prefer working with professionals who have undergone formal training and have met the requirements set by licensing boards.

Being licensed demonstrates your commitment to the industry and your dedication to providing high-quality services.

Some licenses require exams or training

Keep in mind that some licenses may require you to pass exams or complete specific training programs. These exams and training courses are designed to ensure that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to practice makeup artistry safely and effectively.

It’s important to be prepared for these requirements and invest time and effort into studying and honing your skills.

Optional: Consider liability insurance

While not always a requirement, it’s wise to consider obtaining liability insurance as a makeup artist. This insurance can protect you in case of accidents, injuries, or damages that may occur during your work.

It’s an additional layer of protection that can provide peace of mind for both you and your clients. Research different insurance providers and policies to find one that suits your needs and budget.

Continue Growing Your Skills

Becoming a successful makeup artist requires continuous growth and improvement. Even if you haven’t attended a formal makeup school, there are plenty of opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills.

Take online courses and workshops

Thanks to the internet, there is a wealth of online resources available for aspiring makeup artists. Take advantage of online courses and workshops offered by reputable makeup artists and industry professionals.

These courses often cover a range of topics, from basic techniques to advanced makeup application and special effects. Platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, and Makeup Artist Network offer a variety of online courses that can enhance your skills and knowledge.

Stay up-to-date on makeup trends

The beauty industry is constantly evolving, with new trends and techniques emerging all the time. Stay current by following makeup artists, industry publications, and beauty influencers on social media.

This will keep you informed about the latest makeup trends, innovative products, and industry news. Websites like Allure, Refinery29, and are great resources for staying up-to-date with the latest trends and tips.

Practice new techniques regularly

Practice makes perfect, and this certainly applies to makeup artistry. Set aside time each week to experiment with new techniques and styles. This could involve trying out different makeup looks on yourself or practicing on friends and family.

The more you practice, the more confident and skilled you will become. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things – it’s all part of the learning process.

Get feedback from clients and colleagues

Feedback is crucial for growth and improvement. Ask your clients and colleagues for their honest opinions and suggestions. This will not only help you identify areas for improvement but also build strong relationships with your clients.

Constructive criticism can be invaluable in refining your skills and becoming a better makeup artist.

Remember, becoming a successful makeup artist is a journey that requires dedication, passion, and a commitment to continuous learning. By taking advantage of online resources, staying up-to-date with trends, practicing regularly, and seeking feedback, you can continue growing your skills and thrive in the competitive world of makeup artistry.


Becoming a professional makeup artist without formal education is certainly achievable with dedication and hard work. The key elements are developing your technical skills, gaining hands-on experience, curating a portfolio, learning the business side, getting licensed if required, and continuously improving through practice and learning.

With passion, perseverance and an entrepreneurial spirit, you can build a rewarding career as a makeup artist on your own terms.

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