Our guide to makeup
Hotcourses Editor

Our guide to makeup

First published date November 01 2013 Amended date January 29 2015

There is hardly anything in life that can change a person’s appearance, demeanour and confidence in the way that well applied makeup can. Elizabeth Taylor had the perfect attitude towards it when she said that ‘put[ting] on some lipstick’ would help you to pull yourself together. 

Whilst some people have natural beauty, and some people have a natural ability with makeup, like anything else in life, being taught the basics will become a tool that can aid you on your way to not only a career, but also a confidence within yourself.  Makeup can be as subtle, or as dramatic as you want and can portray to the world whatever you feel on a particular day. 


Makeup as a career

Makeup artistry can be tough and requires a lot of effort but it is becoming an increasingly popular career choice.  You’ll need to constantly be able to adapt to the changing nature of fashion within beauty: quarterly throughout the year, trends change, and you will be expected to keep up with them.  One wonderful part of being a makeup artist will be that you will learn skills that can help you further specialise whether this is in teaching, fashion, photography, media and theatre, there are many career paths which you could decide to go down. In turn, this will allow you to keep your skills and techniques fresh, allowing you to flourish within the industry.  


How to get qualified

While you can certainly take makeup courses for fun or to learn how to apply it yourself, to get into the beauty industry, aspiring makeup artists will need to enrol on specialist makeup or beauty therapy courses. Here are some options you might like to choose from:  

•    BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Production Arts (Makeup)

•    VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Hair and Makeup at levels 2 and 3, and Level 3 Diploma in Theatrical, Special Effects and Media Makeup

•    ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Fashion and Specialised Makeup 

•    City and Guild Diploma in Hair and Media Makeup at levels 2 and 3 

•    Foundation degrees, BTEC HNCs/HNDs and degrees in media makeup 

•    Intensive courses at private makeup schools 


How makeup empowers others

It is completely true that you don’t need make up to look good but it does equip you with an extraordinary tool that can change not only your life, but other people’s. Imagine being able to make up a woman whose confidence has been shattered: the illusion you create will add to her self-worth, and self-esteem. Bobbi Brown, the makeup guru and entrepreneur believes in exactly that – empowering women through the use of makeup, ‘Makeup is a way for a woman to look and feel like herself, only prettier and more confident.’


Tips for a career in brushes and powders

Makeup artist Ruby Hammer began her career assisting an established makeup artist for a year and worked her way up from there, ‘I still feel challenged and excited by my job, although it isn't glamorous all the time – the hours can be long and irregular and you're away from home a lot. You have to be professional at all times, be able to get on with lots of different people and build relationships in a short space of time. Be passionate as it is super competitive, just approach it with a professional attitude and don't give up.’


Get started with makeup tutorials 

YouTube is a brilliant resource for learning about makeup and skincare, and will give you a small-scale taster of what a makeup course will be like. Here are some channels to look out for…

Lisa Eldridge is one of the most influential women in the creation of make up in the UK – having just resigned as creative director of No7, she knows a thing or two about not only makeup, but has been responsible for covers and editorials in the likes of Vogue. 


Pixiwoo are two sisters – Sam and Nic – who, both being makeup artists, decided to share their knowledge via YouTube, and have educated a whole generation of make-up loving girls. 


Wayne Goss is a no-nonsense, says-it-as-it-is makeup artist who gets straight to the point in all of his tutorials. 



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