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Freelance Makeup Artist - The Basics

Jun 29, 2008
I know you are anxious to begin working as a freelance makeup artist, but just in case you don't have the funds to attend school right now, you can still gain useful knowledge and experience. I've been working as a freelance makeup artist for about 5 years now, and even though it's hard work, I get to meet lots of different people and attend beautiful weddings. The most rewarding part for me is being able to "transform" the look of my clients. I just love it when they get excited and start smiling at the results.

The advice you receive from this article will help you get a descent start in getting the products you need, some clients to put in your chair, and to help you be more professional. Don't forget there is more than one way to gain the experience you need, and I'm presenting some ideas and lessons that have helped me along the way.

When I first started I remember reading books about makeup/beauty. What helped me was getting books with color pictures to demonstrate the techniques, and with detailed writing. Some books contain content that is very vague, so it's difficult to tell what is being done to the model's face, which is why detail is so important. Also, try to be diverse about the types of books you read. I read books about mature beauty, Asian beauty, and Latina beauty because I wanted to be aware of certain concerns those groups may have. Great places to get books are from online bookstores and the local library.

If you have the extra funds I totally recommend attending a seminar from a professional (or a celebrity) makeup artist. This is a great opportunity to help you network with other freelance makeup artists, and to see the makeup application process through someone else's eyes. It will help you improve your own work because you will receive some fresh ideas and information about great cosmetic products that are on the market.

Some items that you will need before getting started as a freelance makeup artist are a makeup case, makeup brushes, sample testers, a director's chair, and makeup of course. A great place to purchase these items would be Ebay, or your local beauty supply. The makeup case I use has wheels with an extended handle, and fold-out compartments. I've used it for all of my assignments, and I've had no problems traveling with it. In regards to makeup brushes, make sure you opt for a set that isn't too expensive, and will last a while - preferably sable or squirrel. Some examples of sample testers are individual mascara wands, lipstick applicators, and spatulas. These are so important to have because you want to prevent the transfer of bacteria from one client to the next. Pencil sharpeners are essential too for lip and eyeliners. Use it to shave off the used portion after dealing with each client.

You will use a director's chair when seating your clients. I'm tall, so I find it incredibly useful. It's also easy to fold and place in the trunk of my car. When collecting makeup, always start with basic, very diverse shades and colors. This will help in case you're ever in a situation where you have to mix two different colors to get the desired color you need. The brand you use is up to you, but make sure you have the basics.

Some other good pointers would be to start with family and friends first. When you're first starting out, you're going to make mistakes, so it's easier to use people who are close to you as your guinea pigs. They're a lot less critical, and I'm sure they'll make recommendations on how you can improve. Also, expose yourself to other artists that have different strengths. I say this because every freelance makeup artist has a different interpretation of what a certain look should be. I've known makeup artists that were wonderful at dramatic makeup, stage makeup, and bridal makeup. The more you learn from different people, the more diverse your techniques will be, which will improve your ability.

Last, but certainly not least, be professional. If you have a scheduled assignment, please be on time. Know that the bulk of your business will come from referrals, so you want to leave a good impression with your clients. If you have a client that is getting married and you have to work on location, dress appropriately for the wedding. Always wear an outfit that is classy, but that you can easily move around in. I tend to do a lot of walking when I'm on location, so it helps that my clothes aren't restrictive. Don't forget to bring your business cards with you to every event. Always pass them out so that others will have your information and can contact you if they need anything. Have fun and good luck on your glamorous journey!
About the Author
Nedra has been a freelance makeup artist for the past 5 years and she understands the needs women of ethnic backgrounds have in regards to makeup and beauty. Visit http://www.ethnic-beauty-central for great information on ethnic beauty.
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