Are you confused on whether to get certified or licensed as a makeup artist? If YES, here is a detailed comparison between a makeup certification vs license. Makeup artists are known as professionals that apply makeup on performers and other clients. These individuals can be found in the entertainment industry, beauty salons, and many other areas that need the professional services of cosmetic experts. Makeup artists spend many hours standing to perform their duties.

Tact and empathy may be needed when dealing with clients who might have unrealistic expectations of a makeup result. Most individuals in this business choose to work as freelance makeup artists, but to succeed in such trend, you need to develop a clientele — people who need your services and hopefully, will recommend you to others. Doing the job of a makeup artist can fetch you substantial income, but regulations and rules vary across the various states in the united states.

Makeup Artist Certification vs License – Which is Best?

Failure to abide by those regulations can result in fines and penalties. One of the key things you will have to do in this business, aside being aware of the various regulations in the industry, is to grow your knowledge of the industry by practicing on friends and family. You may start with little to no pay but you will not regret all the lessons you are going to digest during this phase.

Note that this is the best time to experiment, create mistakes, and correct them. It’s not only about grasping different makeup techniques, but it’s also about learning how to deal with your clients. As a makeup artist, you have to realize the usefulness of a great portfolio. This will help you lift your career and contribute to your advancement. Try not to lose your connection with those who are in the same industry as you.

Agreeably, it may be a competitive world out there, but don’t see others as a threat. Set them as your inspiration to do your best because one day, you are going to need each other. For instance, if opportunities arise like workshops, seminars, or any gatherings that give you the opportunity to network with others, take it.

It’s important that you never say no to chances that will introduce you to clients who may later introduce you to more clients. Also, don’t forget that everybody’s on social media these days. A lot would look for their needs online because it is easier that way.

Note that people love to patronize experts who have had proper training because this means they can be trusted with their brushes and palettes. Aside from appropriate learning, attending makeup school can be a fun experience. But most people argue about the relevance of licensing and certification in the industry, especially when skills and empathy speak louder volumes. Below is the importance of licensing and certification to a makeup artist.

Pros and Cons of Getting a Makeup Certification

Most people don’t understand there is much more to being a makeup artist than having the skill to apply makeup. That is why if you have dreams of making it to the very top in this career path, you need to get a makeup artist certification. Have it in mind that the beauty industry is huge and as an aspiring makeup expert, it is important to be a step ahead of the rest.

One of the primary ways to get a stand in this business is to learn from industry Veterans and become certified as a professional. Note that immediately you get the relevant education, job opportunities in films, theatre, shows, television, photography, salons, concerts etc. will become more accessible.

Makeup courses are usually very short but what you can learn in a few weeks or months can set the tone of your career, help you make major connections and establish a portfolio you can use to market yourself after completing your studies. Most certification programs provide you with the opportunity to sign up for part time courses, full time or both. You also have the option of breaking down the course curriculum and qualifying for separate certificates.

One of the biggest advantages of attending a beauty school is that you get to be taught by industry professionals. It provides you with the opportunity to learn from, work with and showcase your talent to individuals who have created a brand name for themselves in the business. Your courses also involve a lot of practical work, which means you have the chance of putting together a professional portfolio you can take to job interviews or show to private clients.

The film and fashion industries can be challenging to break into and this is why networking with those who know the industries quite well can help land you entry jobs as an assistant makeup artist. Another key benefit of being a certified makeup artist is the credibility a qualification gives you. Have it in mind that clients tend to respond positively to makeup artists with official certification because it means you have been tried, tested and found capable.

There are certain techniques that a makeup artist can only learn from a formal institution and having relevant skills assures your future employers and clients that you can deliver high quality work. According to industry experts, acquiring your makeup artist certification is a major step in the right direction but the journey is far from over. After receiving the qualification, you still need to network for job opportunities, practice your craft regularly and render your service to as many people as possible.

Pros and Cons of Getting a Makeup Artist License

Makeup certificates are totally different from makeup license. For instance, if you’re working with chemical treatments for hair and skin, you need to obtain a cosmetology or aesthetics license to work in your region. However, this may not be necessary for makeup artists who only do superficial beauty applications.

Note that a license for makeup artists may be needed depending on where you’re located in the United States due to varying regulations. It’s very important to also state that you don’t need a license to become a makeup artist, although this is not written in black and white.

Note that the Board of Cosmetology only covers the specific licensing requirements for Cosmetologists and Aestheticians, who again, practice both the treatment of skincare and hair care, and do not specifically work as Makeup Artists, although these regulations and requirements vary in the different States in the United States.

For instance, if you are looking to work in the freelance field, most states in the United States will not need a license due to the non-specific terms for applying only makeup on a professional level, and will allow you to work as a professional (freelance) Makeup Artist in the film, television, entertainment, or private area as an independent business.

Also, in some cases you do not need a license to apply makeup professionally or sell a cosmetic product. As an individual with the skill and with the desire to work in a salon environment, you will likely need to possess a license (though there are exceptions in many states if you are only applying makeup in the salon and/or selling cosmetic product). It is important you keep these facts in mind when contemplating whether to acquire a license in this business.

  • You’ll need to know professional safety and sanitation techniques to pass your licensing exam.
  • Some states don’t allow you to complete the exam if you don’t have any formal training.
  • The exam will be a mix of theory (written test) and application (hands-on test). These exams prove to the board that you‘re prepared to work in the industry.
  • Passing the initial exam isn’t the end of the road. Once you complete the first exam, you’ll have to adhere to licensing rules and renew your license every year at most.

Certification vs License – Which is Best for a Makeup Artist?

As a makeup artist that wants to work in a salon or spa environment, you will have to get licensed as a cosmetologist or aesthetician to apply makeup on clients. This is because these places are regulated by the state laws governing salons, spas, barbers shops, etc.

Also, working in one of these environments means you will need to go to a state board approved school and complete the hours needed to sit for a state board exam in the field of study you have chosen and you must pass this exam and pay all the fees required to obtain your licensure.

Agreeably, getting licensed gives you instant credibility that is why you should consider going to school to get a license, but if this is not an option for you then you can attend a school of makeup artistry and acquire a certificate of completion.

Note also that there is no certification for makeup artistry only a certificate of completion, known in the industry as makeup artistry certification. These schools are not governed by state laws and regulations because by-law they are not required to track hours nor are you needed to take any state testing or receive state certification.

Indeed there are some great schools teaching makeup artistry including cosmetology schools, aesthetic schools, and beauty schools where you can get a certificate of completion. Also, you can work in the field of makeup artistry without a certificate but you will have no credibility in the industry if you haven’t acquired any sort of formal training.

Have it in mind that completing a formal training will help you become familiar with makeup techniques. But the fact remains that you should never waste your time and money on a diploma or license if you don’t have to, as you can practice without them.


If you believe you have the passion for applying makeup, you might find a career as a makeup artist fulfilling. A lot of makeup artists choose to work as employees in local salons and spas. Others choose to have more freedom and flexibility working as freelance artists. Makeup artists should also have strong customer service skills, listening skills, time management skills, and expertise with beauty techniques.

Report has it that cosmetologists in general earned a median annual salary of $23,710 in 2015, while theatrical and performance make-up artists earned a median annual salary of $53,230. According to research, a cosmetology education is typically needed for state licensure, and several training options are available to aspiring make-up artists.

A high school diploma or a GED is often needed for admission into one of these programs. Coursework may include bridal make-up, character creation, and make-up techniques for the fashion industry. Individuals willing to acquire this knowledge may also choose to earn an associate degree in cosmetology, which covers a broader selection of beauty topics.

Have it in mind that these programs allow students to build a solid foundation in the theoretical concepts of cosmetology. Students also gain valuable practical experience by putting their knowledge to use in real-world settings. Also note that all cosmetologists are required to possess licensure. Although State licensing requirements vary, it often includes graduating from an approved cosmetology program and passing a skills-assessment examination.