How to MUA tile

How to Become A Makeup Artist

Beauty gurus are taking over the internet. There’s a new celebrity cosmetic line launching each week. Makeup stores are cropping up on every corner of Queen Street. It’s fair to say that the makeup industry is thriving like never before.

This ever-evolving industry means makeup artists are able to acquire more opportunities in a range of environments. Film companies, theatre productions, retail stores, hair salons, beauty clinics, TV sets, magazine publications, weddings, photoshoots… These places are just a selection of areas where makeup artists’ services are now required.  Whether you’re interested in working for a company or taking business into your own hands by freelancing, our makeup tutors Jordan and Nicholas are here to share their stories on how they got into the industry and some tips for how to become a makeup artist.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your makeup career:


I’ve been in the industry for 6 (going on 7 years now), with 4 of those years being spent at MAC Cosmetics. I have a really big passion for theatrical, stage, and character based makeup although I do love a good clean and simple make up look as well. Some career highlights would definitely have to be working on New Zealand Fashion Week for two separate years, and also working on WOW: The World of Wearable Arts in 2012 for two whole weeks. It was absolutely mind-blowing.


To me, makeup is about expression; it’s the power to tell a story, and the ability to transform someone. I love the freedom found in this art. Since graduating from Joe Blasco Makeup Academy 8 years ago, I’ve had the pleasure of working across film, beauty, f/x, and fashion. Some stand out moments over the years would include two seasons with Vancouver Fashion Week and working as Key for various Shorts in LA during pilot season.

What are some learning curves you’ve faced?


Some of the biggest learning curves I experienced were actually when I worked with different people and faces in the industry and learning that everybody likes to look different! The best learning opportunity for me was applying makeup that I didn’t necessarily find beautiful myself, but the clients LOVED! You have to get out of the “one-size-fits-all mentality” and sprinkle a little bit of your own flair in everything that you do.


Learning curves are everywhere! You should never stop growing  or upskilling your craft. My best learning curves have been out in the industry –there is always something new to learn, new techniques developed. Be a sponge and take it in.

Where should students be looking for inspiration?


Honestly, inspiration is everywhere. Take inspiration from the people you look up to and everything that surrounds you. Think textures and colours etc. I like to take my inspiration from backstage artists, fashion weeks around the globe and drag queens! Drag queens do their own makeup, but some of the looks that they produce are just goldmines for inspiration!


Inspiration is unique to each person whether it’s colours, textures or icons. Find it, take it and run with it!  When I’m working with private clients I take heavy inspiration from them – the clothing they’re wearing, the event they’re attending, what’s going to make them feel the best;  I want to create a whole look.

What’s your advice for getting your name out there?


Hit the ground running as soon as you enter the building to begin your course. Find what you enjoy within makeup and hone it. Be prepared to do some freebies within the industry as you never know what it could potentially lead you to. If leading people in the industry know about your great work ethic and willingness to help, you’ll be highly sought after. It does take time though, so patience is key!


Never say no to an opportunity (we offer lots of those here!).  This is a competitive industry, it’s not only about the quality of work you produce but how you interact with the people around you. It’s the little things, arriving early, coming prepared and not being afraid to jump outside your comfort zone. Always bring a positivity to the work place, never be afraid to network and always remember this job is a marathon not a sprint.

Watch our Q&A video with Level 3 Makeup graduate, Tylah, here   or our Level 4 Makeup Artistry graduate, Heather, here!

Upcoming intake dates:

If this sounds like a career you see yourself in, enrol today! Either head to our Apply Now page, Book A Tour below or give our recruitment team a call on 0800 SERVILLES. Remember, if you’re a first time student, you may be eligible for Fees Free study.