Career as a Make-up Artist


by Vipul Bhagat, Makeup Artist from the Fashion and Film Industry

What is the role of a makeup artist?
As the title suggest, a makeup artist is one who creates the right 'look'. He is an artist who works on people's face and body as opposed to paper. A makeup artist often has to work with models, actors and politicians.

The work of the artists also involves getting people ready for special occasions. Make-up artists are present on studio sets during the filming of movies or television programmes. Their primary task at the studio sets is to see to it that the actors' hair and makeup are done correctly and touched up when necessary. They are also responsible for wigs, whiskers and special effects. For special effects, especially those needed for mythological or futuristic characters, the makeup artist has to be imaginative.


What is the nature of the job?
Make-up artists are experts at giving people a desired look through the use of makeup, wigs and other tools of the trade. There are several areas of work. The job of show business makeup artists is to apply make-up to performers according to the specific needs of the person or show. They may also use make-up to increase or decrease the age of the person. Otherwise, the job involves simply hiding blemishes and making the performer look as beautiful as possible before the audience.

These artists must be good at analysing a script to make sure the characters end up looking the way they are described. Make-up artists should also have the skill to give performers realistic looking scars, make them look sick or give them other unusual physical characteristics as necessary. A make-up artist must understand colour and skin tone to match each customer with the right make-up. The most important traits of a successful make-up artist are creativity and visualisation. Also keep in mind that make-up sessions can be very time-consuming and hence make-up artists end up working around the clock.


What are the different areas one can specialise in?
Make-up artists can specialize in many fields including model make-up, old-age make-up, fantasy make-up and much more. Many make-up artists work for stage productions while others apply make-up for television and film. Some make-up artists put lipstick and mascara on department store customers in order to help sell mass market make-up products. Cosmetic companies employ makeup artists as consultants. Make-up artists are also hired for one-time events like fashion shows or weddings.


What are the qualifications required for this career?
Besides education and other training requirements students can specialise in make-up application at some schools of cosmetology. However, there is no such standard certification required to work in the field. Make-up artists also have to possess strong communication skills, patience and perception as they are dealing with people throughout the day. Imagination, initiative and originality are other important qualities and makeup artists must also be adaptable to long and irregular working hours.


What is the scope for a makeup artist in India?
This profession has vast scope in India as we have a huge and flourishing film industry which requires make-up artists at all times of the day. Other industries that need to meet the glamour quotient also require make-up artists. Make-up has become an important part of some people's lives, especially celebrities who want to look presentable in front of audiences.


What is the pay scale for starters?
Basically, a make-up artist without experience doesn't get paid at all, but there are exceptions. Once one has a certain amount of experience then pay scales would start off with Rs 10,000 per job or even more. The more experience you have, the more you can demand.



- Make-up artists have to be careful of personal hygiene. They have to be clean and well dressed.

- They need strong communication skills and also need to carry the right attitude towards their customers.

- They have to create plans and have innovative ideas.

- They need to be able to execute their ideas effectively.

- They have to know how to play with colours and be artistic.

- Most students and aspiring make-up artists need to intern or train with an established make-up artist.


(As spoken to Melissa Fernandes)