How avoiding beauty school can make you a better make-up artist

Category: , , / 2/20/2011
There are some amazing beauty schools in this country and around the world.  Unfortunately, many aspiring make-up artists won't have the opportunity to attend them.  Whether you're a single mother, low on cash, or simply too busy, nothing should hold you back from learning how to be a make-up artist.

There are many talented make-up artists who went to beauty school and became very successful, but there is an equal number who found alternative ways to educate themselves.  So what are the advantages and disadvantages of attending beauty school if you want to be a make-up artist?

 Beauty School Pros:
  • Getting a cosmetology or esthetician license.  Makeup artists who are licensed cosmetologists and estheticians are qualified to do more than make-up.  Licenses vary between states and countries, but cosmetologists can usually work with hair and estheticians can give facials.  This opens up more possibilities for employment.  Also, make-up artists typically need a license to work in a salon. 
  • Many cosmetic companies offer discounts to students and/or graduates.  Even though classes may be expensive, you will usually qualify for discounts when building your kit.  A cosmetology license is also a very easy way to qualify for almost every make-up artist discount available.  Self-taught artists must provide proof of work, such as tear sheets or letters of employment to become eligible for the same discount.
  • Structured classes keep you focused.  Sometimes it is easier to focus on your goal when you are paying for it and have the structure of an academic program.  Mandatory practice hours mean you will at least be putting in the time.
  • Cosmetology licenses incorporate a variety of skills, such as hair styling and nail care.  Combination hair/makeup professionals tend to have many opportunities, especially for independent films and other smaller productions.  Also, some brides prefer to hire one person for both jobs.
Beauty School Cons:
  • Tuition is expensive.  No matter how you pay for it, accredited programs typically cost thousands of dollars.  Self-taught artists can buy an entire professional kit for much less.
  • Makeup instruction may be limited, and taught out of a textbook.  Many beauty schools focus on hair styling, waxing, or other techniques and offer little instruction in makeup.  Also, professional make-up artists earn a much higher salary working in the field, so it is unlikely that you will find the best make-up artists teaching at a typical beauty school.
  • Schools may be far away or classes may be hard to fit into your schedule. The structure of an academic program can also be a problem for people with limited time and transportation resources.  Self-taught artists can learn from their homes or apprentice when it fits into their schedule.
If you'd like to learn more about what it takes to become a self-taught make-up artist, read How to train to be a professional makeup artist for free.

Thinking about going pro? Check out my book, The Mercenary Makeup Artist: Breaking into the Business with Style.

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