The Make-Up Business

How to Become a Make-up Artist

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

Lipstick, blusher, shadow & kohl.

In the introductory article of this series, a part of it mentioned some attributes a make-up artist ought to possess. Here, real-life make-up artists share nuggets from their experiences about their life’s work.

A fictional fashion designer once said: ‘A woman can never have enough clothes; if not, I’ll be out of business.’ Today, more women rely on professionals to glam them up with the perfect facebeat. And to reiterate the fashion designer, a woman can never tire of looking flawlessly beautiful. In other words, it might take a while before fashion designers and make-up artists become redundant in our societies.

So if you’re drawn to the world of women’s beauty, particularly facial beauty, and considering a career in make-up artistry, here are seven actionable tips from four African make-up artists contributing to many breath-taking looks on the continent.

  • Get training.

Professionally, from a top-notch beauty school…

I went straight to a film school, Academy of Screen Arts, from senior high school to learn make-up artistry. – @Lydiashitey_mua, Ghana

. . . or online with tutorials and short courses.

Social media. YouTube and Instagram have been my go-to and I can’t say I’ve mastered it. Every day I learn something new from those two places and I practice what I’ve learnt.@Kebirungi Rose Lily, Uganda

Source: Getty Images
  • Soft skills matter too.

Hard skills reveal your competence; soft skills expose your innate humanity. A make-up artist will go far if equipped with both.

Patience. No matter how hard the client is, with patience you get it right at the end.@mc_makeup_zw, Zimbabwe

A make-up artist should be flexible and have good customer care.@Kebirungi Rose Lily, Uganda

  • Wear your craft like a five-star general.

If you don’t blow your trumpet, who will? So always, always be a walking advertisement for your job.

Through my personal face beat I got my first client – a bride. Subsequently, I told people what I did. Later on, social media became the place I got clients from.@just_makeup_studio, Nigeria

When you display confidence and boldness in your work, others would want a taste of both and some more.

I used to make-up my eyebrows and people liked them and wanted to know how I did them and if I could do theirs too. I started making them pay for my work. That’s how I started. @mc_makeup_zw, Zimbabwe

Source: Getty Images
  • Leverage social media.

There’s no denying the infinite advantages that social media has brought with it. Whether it’s the global connection or the wide reach, social media has mostly impacted positively in our personal lives. In businesses, it has opened up an unexpected, unlimited, no-rules path to advertising products and services.

Social media is always the best – Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp Facebook and many more. Because someone out there needs your service but they’re not aware you can do it. It’s free and also effective.@Kebirungi Rose Lily, Uganda

Instagram. Advertising on Instagram has worked for me. Whenever I post, people like my posts, enquire and come for my services.@mc_makeup_zw, Zimbabwe

  • Bootstrap creatively.

Use your hands and/or other suitable, harmless items as beginning tools for your art. Recruit family and friends as canvasses for you to practice with.

Initially, especially during the learning process, I improvised. My aunty would give me eyeshadow, then I used earbuds as an eyeshadow brush…then I landed an international film project and…afterwards bought cheap make-up and just grew my tools from there. – @Kebirungi Rose Lily, Uganda

There’s no telling what you can pull off when faced with the lack of equipment to do what you love.

At first, I didn’t have products. So, I’d ask my clients to bring their own and charge them for my workmanship only. After every client I got, I made sure to buy at least one product/ tool…I remember I’d use my hands to blend foundation because I didn’t even have a foundation blender. I treated my business like a newborn; every little cent I got I invested back into the business.@mc_makeup_zw, Zimbabwe

  • Have a model/mentor in the industry.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. – Sir Isaac Newton. A sound career advice is to learn from those who have walked the path you wish to walk.

I do look up to Pat McGrath a lot, especially being black and doing so much in the make-up artistry world. I just love her make-up line; a little product goes a long way.@Lydiashitey_mua, Ghana

Bimpe Onakoya. She has affected me by her simplicity of make-up application.@just_makeup_studio, Nigeria

  • Be unique. Be different. Stand out.

Just as a fashion designer can be recognized through the cut and style of his/her work, a make-up artist should be no different. Merely gazing at the finished work on a human canvas should make the artist known at once.

Stand out with a signature that identifies your art; one that your clients know you, and only you, can deliver on.

…my brows are always my signature. @just_makeup_studio, Nigeria

…very subtle eyeshadow, well-defined contour and dewy skin.@mc_makeup_zw, Zimbabwe

Source: Getty Images

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