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Essential Information

Education and training in makeup application may be available through short workshops or standalone courses offered at beauty schools. Makeup application is also taught through courses within 1-year to 2-year cosmetology programs at community colleges or vocational schools. These programs may result in a certificate, diploma or associate’s degree in cosmetology. All states require cosmetologists to be licensed; those wishing to work in the field must graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam in order to gain licensure. Credentialing requirements specifically for makeup artists vary by state.

Here is an outline of common concepts taught in makeup application courses:

  • Makeup techniques
  • Various makeup looks
  • Safety procedures
  • Client preparation
  • Corrective application
  • Colors and tones
  • Working with lighting
  • Professional planning

Basic Makeup Artistry Course

Although some cosmetology programs group makeup artistry into a single course or workshop, many define them as separate sections or levels based on the skills being taught. During the introductory course, students explore the theory and reasoning behind certain makeup techniques in order to better understand the cause and effect relationship for makeup application. Upon completion, this understanding helps participants hone their skills to create a variety of desired looks.

On top of the theoretical aspect, the basic course also covers preparation, proper procedures and safety precautions. Participants become competent in these areas through demonstrations and hands-on practice. Specifically, focus is placed on the following:

  • Science behind skin care
  • Analyzing facial characteristics
  • Identifying skin tones for base matching
  • Tool and brush selection
  • Color theory
  • Basic application techniques

Advanced Makeup Application Course

Once the basic skills are mastered, students move on to the next level or course in advanced makeup application. Focus is shifted to specialized techniques, such as corrective makeup application and techniques for blush, eye makeup and lipstick. Use of advanced products and tools, product selection for all types of skin colors and tones and blending of concealers and powders are also covered. Participants gain experience in high fashion and wedding makeup including:

  • Airbrushing
  • Applying false lashes
  • Highlighting and contouring facial features
  • Shaping brows
  • Utilizing light and makeup techniques for photography

Makeup Application Business Course

For those interested in makeup application as a professional career, many programs offer a course focused on the business side of makeup artistry. Although this course places less emphasis on the makeup itself, it prepares participants to start their own business in the field. Specifically, students learn how to set up a portfolio, write a business plan, create a website, price and advertise their services and follow etiquette with clients.


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