How to Start a Freelance Makeup Business

Denise Elizabeth P
Senior Financial Editor & Contributor
Last Updated: June 3, 2021
Date Published: June 2, 2021

The cosmetic industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that is expected to grow by another $863 billion by 2024.

As the global cosmetic industry gets closer to being a trillion dollar enterprise, makeup artists are also growing year over year.

Freelance makeup artists are able to do the work they love, on their schedule, and depending on their expertise and clientele, they can charge a pretty lucrative fee.

If you love doing makeup and are thinking of making a career as a freelance makeup artist, here are some things to know to be successful.

freelance makeup artist

Learn to do Makeup

Obvious, we know, but if you don’t already know how to do makeup, then you are going to have to learn all of the tricks of the trade and work on your talent.

If you already know how to do makeup, you will want to make sure you are doing makeup at a level that someone is willing to pay you for.

To do this you can simply practice on yourself or friends/family and perhaps consider taking makeup classes online or in person.

There are so many online resources and tutorials that can provide information on different methods and styles.

Certifications also help you with your credibility and help you with your experience.

While formal education isn’t necessarily a requirement, it can help you stand out when you are competing with other makeup artists.

Independent freelance artists rarely need licenses, but you will need to double check what the requirements are in your state

Decide what Type of Makeup you Want to Do

From airbrush makeup to glamour makeup to bridal makeup, you will need to identify each service and your rates.

Many makeup artists will offer any type of makeup in the beginning with hopes of building a larger client base, but if you have a goal to work in a certain industry (fashion, modeling, celebrity), then you should stick to that style from the beginning.

This will help you grow the clients that you want and you will build a reputation as a freelance artist that specializes in a certain niche, rather than just a general makeup artist.

Once you decide on your niche, do some research and see what other makeup artists are charging so that you can build a service list with rates.

Build Your Professional Makeup Kit

You can’t really be a professional makeup artist without the proper makeup kit.

Anyone who is a makeup enthusiast knows that building a professional makeup kit is not cheap, but is something that is needed in order to succeed.

Most makeup certification courses include free makeup kits or at least some version of one that you can build upon.

You will want to make sure you kit includes prep products like primers, foundations, powders, eye shadows, eyeliners, lashes, brow products, blush & bronzers, contour kits, lip products, brushes and tools.

Those are the basics and will be items that you are going to use with every client.

Make sure your products are organized and cleaned regularly.

Officially Form Your Business

Before doing makeup, you will want to officially form your freelance makeup artist business.

To do this you will need to come up with a business name, choose a business entity type (sole proprietorship, limited liability company, etc), register for an EIN, and open a business bank account.

In order to be legally recognized as a business and pay taxes, you need to register your business in the state in which you will be working.

If you don’t want to deal with all of the nuances of forming your business, there are business formation serbices that do it for you.

Many of them are very affordable – you can learn about the top business formation service providers here.

Here is everything you need to know about forming your business: How to Start a Business

New products and trends are always popping up, and staying current is key to success in this industry.

The best makeup artists are the ones who are constantly learning and growing and trying new things.

Clients will expect you to be on top of beauty trends and be in the know about the latest cosmetic and newest color palettes.

Just because you have reached a successful point in your makeup career doesn’t mean you should slow down.

Keep evolving, learning and growing and you can continue to be successful!