Are you a budding makeup artist ready to take on the world, but not sure how to get out there? Want to start creating movie makeup history on your favorite films, but feel clueless in putting yourself out there? Well, read on, and get inspired to get moving with your brilliant career.

how to get your foot in the door as a makeup effects artist

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How to seek out other people that are at the same place as you: find your community.
  • The importance of knowing what came before.
  • Learn the importance of taking initiative and taking a leap.


click here to read the transcript!

Episode 33: Show notes

woman applying kabuki makeup

As the host of 5 Minute Face Talk and a veteran makeup artist (although I loathe the word!) in my industry, I am always asked how to get started in the makeup effects industry and become a successful makeup artist.

So I wanted to share some valuable pointers for aspiring makeup effects artists and makeup artists looking to get their foot in the industry’s door.

I hope these pointers get you started, and help give you the inspiration to make that call, reach out to that prospective boss on social media, and say hello at that trade show. Because there’s no better time.

First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the undeniable changes that have occurred in the industry since I was in the position of a newcomer.

Technology has, without doubt, revolutionized the way we connect and communicate, and the rise of the Internet and social media has influenced the path to success in the makeup effects industry.

While I may not have all the answers about whether these changes make it easier or harder to break into the industry, one thing is certain—it’s now easier to connect with people, including industry idols and professionals who can help kickstart your career.

Yep, you basically have access to anyone who has an IG, FB, Tiktok, or any other social or online account that you want to reach out to.

If you’re dreaming of becoming a makeup effects artist for movies and TV, or a makeup artist (without the effects), then this episode is dedicated to you.

Here are some of the starting points I want you to think about when you’re first trying to get your start:

  1. Seek Out Community: Finding a group of like-minded individuals at a similar stage in their makeup effects journey can be incredibly empowering. Whether you’re a student or a recent graduate, connecting with others who share your passion can provide support, encouragement, and potential work opportunities.
  2. Respect the Pioneers: Having an awareness of the trailblazers and artists who paved the way in the makeup effects industry is indispensable.
    Understanding and appreciating the legacy of those who came before you not only showcases your knowledge and passion for the craft but also pays homage to the foundations of the field.
  3. Embrace Opportunities: The age-old debate of working for free in the industry is a topic of contention, but I firmly believe that it can open doors and lead to invaluable experiences. While it’s crucial to value your skills and time, sometimes taking on unpaid work can be the gateway to connecting with esteemed professionals and gaining hands-on experience.
  4. Confront Your Fears: Stepping out of your comfort zone and facing the aspects of makeup effects that unnerve you is a transformative way to grow and evolve as an artist.
    Whether it’s mastering a specific technique or reaching out to potential employers, embracing the unknown can lead to personal and professional breakthroughs.
  5. Outreach and Persistence: Identifying your dream employers and proactively reaching out to them, whether through social media engagement or direct communication, can plant the seeds for future collaborations.
    Even if the initial response isn’t favorable, persistence and genuine enthusiasm can leave a lasting impression.

So my advice to you, if you are a budding makeup effects artist or a beauty/character, whatever you wanna be makeup artist is to keep creating, honing your skills, and embracing the journey with courage and determination.
Taking that first step, reaching out to industry professionals, and immersing yourself in the community are pivotal actions that can propel your career forward.

And remember, success often starts with just getting started. So, go out there, pursue your passion, and let the world witness your artistry.

I’d love to hear about your experiences and challenges as you embark on your makeup effects journey. Feel free to share your stories with me—I’m here to offer guidance and support you every step of the way. Until next time, keep creating and stay inspired.

Click here to listen to this episode!


Episode Transcript

[00:00:00]: It’s only been a few days since I was last asked this question: how do I start to do what you do? How do I become a makeup artist?
And while I’m all together and entirely flattered, the first thought that comes to my mind is how much has changed in the time since I was in that position? Because let’s not deny it, it was a little while ago now. It was a different century. It’s true.

[00:00:31]: Yeah, there it is. There was no Internet. There was no text messaging, no mobile phones, no smartphones, and for that matter, certainly no such thing as social media.
So I often wonder if all of these things, all of these channels and forums, if they actually make it easier or harder to get your foot in the door. I really don’t think I know the answer.

But I do suspect that if I know one thing, it’s definitely easier to connect with people in this day and age, to connect with your idols, or at the very least, to reach out to them and get the ball rolling.

[00:01:09]: So I wanted to spend five minutes giving you some pointers about how to get that ball rolling. If this is you, if I’m speaking to you and you’re sitting at home or in your car and you’re like, oh my God, I ask this question all the time – this episode is for you, my friend.

So if you want to be a makeup effects artist for movies and TV, or a makeup artist without the effects, listen on.

[00:02:09]: So I just thought I’d list out just a few pointers.
We’re not going to go through a whole massive class worth of lessons and I’m certainly not going to overload you with information, but here goes.

Here’s just a few short pointers that you can take away and get moving today. Get that ball rolling. So the first thing is – seek out other people. Seek out other students. If you’re a student or if you’ve just finished studying, seek out other people that are at the same place as you or in a similar place at the very beginning.

Because there is nothing as encouraging as that sense of community and feeling like you’re not the only one and you’re not on your own doing this. This is really true for you if you’re in the early stages of looking for work and work experience in makeup effects as well, I mean, who knows?
You might also gain work from those other people or the other person that you find too. And it really is always a bonus to have a buddy that knows exactly what you’re going through when you are starting out and actually at any point in time.

[00:03:14]: Because you might just become the best of friends and go through your entire successful careers together. And that’s pretty cool.

Okay, the next thing I want to touch on is quite important, but not in the way you might expect. It’s more of a retrospective thing, looking backwards instead of looking forwards.

And that is to have an awareness of who came before you, who did makeup on your favorite movies or your favorite moments, or even just makeups and characters. Know the artists who created them. Let’s say you line up work experience at an effects shop. Actually, no, let’s go back.

[00:03:51]: Let’s go even to back to the interview or phone call or text message or email.

One of the first questions that you might ever be asked is what inspired you? Or what’s your favorite makeup design? And you should know the answers to these questions anyway, regardless of whether you’re put into an interview situation or not. And you should know them like the back of your hand.

Because having an awareness and a respect for the people that founded our field, in my opinion, is of vital importance.

Be prepared to work for free.
Now, I’ve said this before and I will keep on saying it, and it seems to be a point that is debated ad nauseam in makeup groups and forums, but it’s something that I feel really strongly about and probably have quite an unpopular opinion of.
I’m sorry, but it’s true. Because sometimes this can be the only way to meet someone that you really admire or that you have a drive to work with.

[00:04:49]: Because that’s what this is all about, isn’t it? It’s getting started, getting forward momentum and getting going.
Now, if this is the case, just do it. Take the job, even if it is for free. Now, sure, know your worth, but don’t overvalue yourself when you’re starting out either. Because we don’t know what we don’t know, right?

Working for free has led to some of the best work experiences of my career and I don’t regret ever choosing to do so.

00:05:17]: However, this also means that I’m not saying take every single opportunity that comes your way.
Trust your intuition.
For example, if this means working for free on something that has no sense of safety or the well-being of the crew in mind, or you’re treated poorly or disrespectfully, or you’re forced to work unsafe hours or in an unsafe environment, trust your instincts to say no. Or politely turn down the work altogether.

Or say that you are double booked. But just know to look out for those times as well. Face the things you fear the most. Now, this can probably be applied to so many avenues of your life.

[00:06:00]: In fact, you can quote me on that because I just came up with it, and I think it’s great, and I think I need to apply it to myself as well as you. Maybe I’ll pop it on the old IG at some point when you need to hear it, but it most definitely.

[00:06:13]: Can apply to makeup effects or makeup artistry in general. If you’re afraid of actually doing the makeup and making people up because your creative heart just doesn’t like being the center of attention by nature, do more makeup. If you don’t enjoy or you’re not confident with sculpting, then get sculpting. And once you create repetition with these challenges, before you know it, they won’t be so scary anymore.

[00:06:39]: Perhaps you might even enjoy them and they become the very things that you end up specializing in and become known for. Create a list of dream employers and then just start reaching out to them.


Just do it.

If you know a makeup artist or a shop owner or even another artist that you’re just a fan of, start following them on social media, engage in their posts, and eventually reach out to them.

[00:07:06]: No response? No worries.

Give it a few weeks and then try again.

If you have access to their email address, you can send them an email and mention that you follow them on Instagram or Facebook or wherever it is, and that you loved a certain project that you commented on a photo of.
Find some common ground and let them know that you’re a true fan. And then mention that you’d be very interested in assisting them. Or if they require an extra set of hands on any big projects that they might have coming up in the future, if the response is positive, then that’s a great first step.

[00:07:41]: And if they say no, the timing might just not be right. So then what do you do? It’s not the end of the world, I promise you. Just give it a few months and then repeat the very same steps.

[00:07:52]: You never know if you never give it a chance.

And that’s it for my pointers for you wonderful young fledgling makeup effects artists out there. A

nd that’s exactly what you have to start doing.
Get out there, keep creating, and as I like to say, get good and then get fast.

Oh, and please feel free to DM me on Instagram and let me know how you go.

If there’s someone that you’re desperate to work with, why don’t you take a chance this week and just reach out and say hello and do exactly what I mentioned? Because that ball just get it rolling, get started. And more cliches than I can even pull out of one sentence.

[00:08:32]: The young artist who asked me this very question. Just last week, she was very nervous about approaching someone that she wanted to work with.

And I gave her some of the very same words that I’ve now just given you here. And she was basically the inspiration for me popping this episode in rotation this week, but guess what?

[00:08:52]: She’s going to go and help out on the next job that this person has coming up.

So success, right? Great news.

But you’ve got to start. So just go and start. Okay, my friend? I will see you next time. Bye. You here. Our.


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