How To Become A Makeup Artist In Australia: Explained

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Students want to know how they can become makeup artists in Australia.


Are you creative, patient, and love helping people look their best? Then, becoming a Makeup Artist might be an ideal career option for you.


Makeup Artists are trained individuals who design and apply makeup to presenters, actors, and other performing artists.


They have the knowledge and skills to select and apply beauty products, makeup and other cosmetics for weddings, events, shootings, theatre performances, and promotions.


You don't need formal training to work as a Makeup Artist in Australia. However, completing a Certificate III in Makeup can help you develop skills and make yourself more appealing to prospective clients.


This blog is the best place to learn about becoming a professional makeup artist. Explore the job role of makeup artists, what they do, courses, how much they earn, where they work, salary, and what steps to take to kickstart a career in professional beauty.



1. Who Is A Make-Up Artist?


Makeup Artists are creative beings who use different techniques and products to hide blemishes, create special effects and enhance the beauty of a person. They apply prosthetics and cosmetics to transform the appearance of people.


Makeup Artists possess knowledge of cosmetic products and application methods, including historical and modern styles, to create effects.


They are highly skilled in applying a wide range of professional makeup products in several ways, such as painting, airbrushing, prosthetic enhancements, and more. 


Makeup Artists can specialize in a specific niche of makeup artistry, such as theatrical makeup, fashion makeup, special events makeup, or work in a retail beauty store.



2. What Does A Make-Up Artist Do?


A makeup artist can perform various tasks based on their industry. Following are the general activities that they do daily:


  • Talk to clients to discuss their requirements

  • Answer client's queries about products, techniques, aftercare procedures, etc

  • Assess the skin type and face shape of clients and learn about any skin allergies to makeup

  • Research and recommend the most suitable makeup products and techniques

  • Educate clients on makeup products, application instructions, and skincare

  • Create customized designs based on skin type, face shape, and desired aesthetic 

  • Source products and materials

  • Apply prosthetics and cosmetics using airbrushing and painting.

  • Maintain high standards of safety and hygiene 

  • Apply ageing makeup

  • Create special effects, burns, scars, tattoos, etc

  • Provide touch-ups during shootings and performances to keep makeup looking fresh throughout the performer's appearance

  • Design beards, wigs, artificial body parts, or masks and apply them to achieve the desired appearance of the character

  • Advise hairdressers on the type of hairstyle needed for different character roles

  • Communicate with photographers, directors, and other clients to determine the job requirements and budget 

  • Stay updated with the latest trends and techniques

  • Teach the correct makeup application to others



3. Makeup Artist Skills


Are you unsure whether you are fit for this role? Here are the skills that make a good makeup artist:


  • Creativity

  • Good eye for colour 

  • Good understanding of different facial shapes, skin types, and what products suit what occasions

  • Artistic 

  • Good problem-solving skills 

  • Skilled in the design and makeup application of cosmetics and prosthetics

  • A constant learner to stay updated with current techniques and trends

  • Able to work well under pressure

  • Good communication skills

  • Great people skills 

  • Flexible and adaptable

  • Good stamina to stand and work for a prolonged duration

  • Patience

  • Time management

  • Able to work independently or in a team

  • Good hand-eye coordination 

  • An eye for detail

  • Passionate about their craft 

  • Able to think on their feet

  • Able to work within a strict timeline and budget 

  • Punctuality

  • Adaptable

  • Persistence



4. Makeup Artist Qualifications in Australia


You do not need formal qualifications to work as a Makeup Artist in Australia. However, enrolling in a makeup course can teach essential skills and give you valuable insights into the industry.


  1. Complete Year 10 education with a strong focus on English 

  2. Complete a Certificate III in Make-Up, Certificate III in Beauty Services, or Diploma of Beauty Therapy to learn different makeup techniques and gain industry knowledge.

  3. Volunteer or work as a junior Makeup Artist in retail or beauty services to gain experience and build a work portfolio.

  4. As the profession falls in the "health and beauty" sector, you may need insurance to protect yourself and your clients in case of a mishappening.



5. Steps To Become A Makeup Artist In Australia


Do you have the right skills and want to transform your passion into a career? You need a combination of technical knowledge and experience to start your professional journey quickly.


Follow the below steps to become competent, confident, and employable for a professional makeup artist job:



Step 1: Get Trained


People look for professionals when it comes to having makeup. Working with a qualified person gives them peace of mind and assurance of the outcome per their expectations. Due to this, it is beneficial to gain a nationally recognized degree, certification, or diploma in Makeup Artistry.


A Certificate III in Make-Up course is a six-month full-time course that improves your chances of job success and builds a client base for a thriving makeup business.


Those who want to work self-employed should consider taking a short business course. This course will help students learn the basics of business and marketing and operating as a registered business. 



Step 2: Take A Professional Makeup Artistry Course


Several makeup and beauty schools and vocational training providers in Australia offer specific makeup courses, such as character design, special effects, and theatrical makeup.


Explore short makeup artist study courses and online makeup courses to develop specialized skills in makeup.



Step 3: Gain Experience


Before entering the makeup artist profession, you should gain expertise, skills and industry experience. Look for volunteering opportunities, internships, or junior makeup artist roles in a local beauty salon or retail segment to gain first-hand experience. 


Practice widely with different skin types, face cuts, and eye shapes.



Step 4: Build a Portfolio


Photograph each design you create to build a portfolio to demonstrate your capabilities. Make sure you collect a bank of high-quality images of a diverse range of work and display them creatively to impress your viewers.


Keep creating more designs, adding them to your existing collection, and updating your portfolio regularly, will help.


Know that building a creative makeup portfolio takes consistent effort and time. "Out-of-the-box" thinking can help you build your portfolio fast and boost your reputation and earnings. 



Step 5: Do Networking


The best way to find work is to build a professional network to get industry professionals to know you and your talent. Identify places where you can market yourself in an appealing and accessible way.


Social media is a great place to come across budding and established makeup artists, media professionals, celebrities, etc. Start by building an online presence.


Facebook and Instagram are two popular social media platforms where you set up an online portfolio for free. Follow groups, and post and share your creations to convince viewers about your understanding of colour, lighting, shading, application, and attention to detail.


In addition to it, you can also upload your portfolio on relevant beauty industry sites. Advertise your services in beauty magazines and supermarket notice boards, or approach beauty salons and leave some business cards on their front desks.


Doing this can certainly increase your chances of getting work.



Step 6: Apply For Jobs


Makeup artists work on the makeup of television and film artists, grooms and brides, fashion models, or for formal occasions.


There are equal work opportunities for trained and experienced makeup artists. To find a job, update your resume and apply for jobs on popular job sites such as Seek, Indeed and Facebook with your work portfolio.


In the initial phase of your career, you need to be proactive. Feel free to ask for entry-level jobs at local salons or agencies. If you want to work as a freelance makeup artist, decide on the working hours, workplace, assistants, and pricing to find suitable clients.


Persistence is the most important attribute when looking to excel in this service-based creative field. Don't lose hope. Keep trying, applying, and updating your portfolio until you land your first job.



6. Makeup Courses In Australia


Completing a makeup artist course such as Certificate III in Makeup is perfect for becoming a professional makeup artist in Australia. Students who have completed Year 10 of high school qualify for this course.


The certificate III qualification shows prospective employers that the applicant has completed several supervised training hours and possesses job-relevant skills.


The training takes place at various campus locations or educational makeup studios to prepare students for multiple environments. Currently, the following universities/training institutes offer Certificate III in makeup online and offline study modes in Australia.



  • TAFE Gippsland

  • Chisholm TAFE

  • North Metro TAFE

  • Victoria University


Even though a Certificate III makeup qualification is all you need to start offering paid makeup services, you may also consider the following training:


  • Theatre Makeup

  • Bridal Makeup

  • Fashion, Runway & Catwalk Makeup

  • Special Effects (SFX) Makeup

  • Television & Screen Makeup

  • Retail Makeup

  • Editorial Makeup



7. Work Conditions For Make-Up Artists


Makeup artists spend most of their time applying makeup, assisting colleagues, interacting, and advising clients with makeup tips and product suggestions.


They usually work part-time, and their work hours fluctuate based on client demands, festivities, etc. Makeup artists work irregular hours in the evenings, on weekends, and holidays.


It is a standing job that requires a makeup artist to remain on the feet most of the time. Thus, you must be physically capable of working in this role.


The profession gives the flexibility to work in a company, in a beauty salon, or run a business. Some makeup artists must travel locally/nationally/globally to work on local or international assignments.



8. Where Does Make-Up Artists Work?


Based on their qualifications and specialization, Makeup Artists can work for various clients in various settings, including beauty salons, theatres, cosmetic stores, home studios, and film, stage, and TV show sets.


 They Perform The Following Tasks:


  • Perform bridal makeup

  • Prepare clients for photoshoots or fashion parades.

  • Apply makeup to photographic and fashion models, TV and movie actors, stage performers, and clients on formal occasions/events 



Makeup Artists Work in the Following Industries:


  • Media and Television

  • Arts and Recreation

  • Retail and Hospitality industry



The Most Common Makeup Artist Job Positions Include:


  • Freelance makeup artist

  • Retail cosmetic assistant

  • Cosmetic makeup artist

  • Celebrity makeup artist

  • Theatrical makeup artist

  • Wedding makeup artist



9. Job Outlook for Make-Up Artists in Australia


As this profession involves strong demand and intense competition, being creative and hard-working and holding an interstate or overseas experience can improve your employability for the role.


The demand for makeup artists in Australia and worldwide has been consistently high. If you are passionate and adequately skilled, you can expect steady work opportunities and a great living while working in this industry. You might even get to work with overseas clients and travel the world.


As per the national Job Outlook website, the number of makeup artists has grown very strong over the last few years. Most of them work in Information Media, Telecommunications, and Retail Trade industries.


With only 30% of workers working full-time, there are plenty of opportunities to work part-time. Full-time workers work for a standard of 42 hours a week. The average age of workers in this profession is 28 years which is very low compared to the industry's average of 40 years. 


With 97% of female workers, it is an ideal career option for aspiring female candidates. 



10. How Much Does A Makeup Artist Earn In Australia?


The salary of a makeup artist can vary based on the number of work hours, experience, and niche area. The average makeup artist's salary is AU$50,615 per year, equivalent to AU$26.69 per hour.


Training and experience help develop a body of work to get high-profile jobs in the entertainment and fashion industries, allowing charging higher rates for artistry.


Let's look at how much salary a makeup artist earns with varying experience and location:


  • Entry-level Makeup Artists (<1-year of experience) earn AU$20.58 

  • Early career Makeup Artists (1 to 4 years of experience) earn AU$26.11 

  • Mid-career Makeup Artists (5 to 9 years of experience) earn AU$25.55 

  • Experienced Makeup Artists (10 to 19 years of experience) earn AU$27.00



The Top-Paying Cities For Makeup Artists in Australia Are:



  • Melbourne, Victoria: $130,119 per year

  • Brisbane, Queensland: $128,778 per year

  • Gold Coast, Queensland: $113,686 per year

  • Sydney, New South Wales: $109,058 per year

  • Perth, Western Australia: $106,276 per year

  • Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: $102,001 per year



11. How To Become A Makeup Artist Without Going To School?


If you are in high school and want to know how to make a career as a Makeup Artist? Then there are the things that you can do right now:


Start experimenting with different makeup products and techniques for yourself, friends, and family. Be open to their feedback, as it will help you identify areas of improvement. The more practice you get, the more knowledgeable and skilful you will become.


Next, advance your learning by taking a short professional makeup artist course or workshop. You can find many short courses online to refine your skills to perfection. Multiple courses also come with dedicated tutor support to help you whenever necessary.


Look for makeup artist jobs in the retail segment, makeup sales counter, or a beauty salon to get industrial exposure. These are great ways to develop your skills with different skin types and tones to increase your chances of landing a job.



12. How To Become A Freelance Makeup Artist?


Start by completing short makeup courses or certification courses like "Certificate III in Make-Up". It will equip you with theoretical and practical skills and the confidence to start working in a real-world setting. Getting professional training is also beneficial to building up your clientele and establishing your business.


After getting qualified, you can find a part-time/full-time job as a makeup artist in retail cosmetics. Not just will you gain practical exposure but also a regular income. The key is working on as many skin types, faces, and eye shapes as possible. The more experience you get, the better you will become.


Once you become skilled and experienced in applying makeup, look for apprenticeship opportunities with established makeup artists. This way, you will learn about the industry and job etiquette.


While freelancing, you can continue taking masterclasses to develop your skills and stay updated with the latest trends in the industry.


Keep enhancing your knowledge of makeup products, tools, and techniques to provide the best experience to your clients, gain their trust, and get more future assignments.



13. Do You Need A Certificate To Be A Makeup Artist?


Yes, relevant training will take your natural skills to the next level. A "Certificate III in Make-Up" is the ideal way to acquire knowledge about makeup products and techniques to work as a professional makeup artist in Australia.


Gaining this qualification shows that you have done adequate practice and gained the experience needed to create impeccable looks with technical accuracy.



14. How To Become A Makeup Artist For Movies?


The makeup industry is a service-based sector where makeup artists play a vast and varied role. They work with people who require makeup for many reasons and occasions.


Do you want to become a makeup artist for film actors? Besides communication skills, you must have the technical knowledge to create showstopping looks that give way to new trends.


The Certificate III in Make-Up course is designed with the help of top industry professionals, considering the latest makeup techniques and trends.


After course completion, you can confidently create stunning looks for formal occasions and the big screen. With the right skills and knowledge, you are ready to build a great career.


Look for opportunities where you can put your knowledge into practical application. Retail jobs can be a great way to become proficient at making up different skin types and complexions.


Once you get plenty of practical exposure and confidence, take the next step and look to work as an assistant makeup artist.


You will learn a lot during your apprenticeship, including building your identity in the industry. There are high chances that an emerging actor can choose you for their makeup needs.


Have luxury brands in your cosmetic kit that most actors use. Research the latest looks of your celebrity clients to identify what colours and looks suit them.


To work with celebrities, you must maintain an incredibly professional presence. Give your best at work, and keep your personal life distinct from your professional life. Be humble, open-minded, patient, and unique, as these qualities can take a long way in your career. 



15. How To Become A Makeup Artist Online?


Do you want to start a career in the beauty and makeup industry but need more time to attend classroom training? Don't worry. There are many online makeup courses for working professionals that suit their lifestyles.


Based on the Australian beauty school reviews, The Institute of Make-Up Artistry, Training, Academy of Make-Up, and Australian Academy of Cinematographic Makeup are the best places to consider taking the course.


These online learning platforms offer students affordable and bespoke online courses to master the foundation of applying makeup without breaking the bank.


This virtual classroom training involves professional makeup videos and lives practical makeup sessions to develop the knowledge and skills to study at your pace.


Besides busy professionals, anyone who wants to master essential makeup skills quickly and affordably should consider taking short courses. The successful completion of the course makes you job-ready for the following roles:



  • Freelance makeup artist

  • Special occasion makeup artists

  • Bridal makeup artist

  • Retail cosmetics makeup artist

  • Social media makeup artist



16. Conclusion


The Makeup industry is an exciting and incredible industry to work in. You will find many opportunities to work with beauty salons, celebrities, and brides. 


To launch a career in the beauty industry, focus on getting trained and building your professional network.


A Certificate III in Make-Up course is the best way to pursue your passion for the beauty industry and live a creative and vibrant lifestyle.


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