Ever wondered how movie stars look so attractive with flawless appearances? It is the work of a makeup artist who specializes in accentuating one’s natural beauty using cosmetics. If you are one of those looking for answers on how to become a makeup artist in India, this article is your must-read.

This article will provide information related to the responsibilities, certification, and eligibility of a makeup artist. Continue reading to know about the skills and income of makeup artists in India.  

Who is a Makeup Artist?

A makeup artist is a cosmetic professional who uses cosmetics to enhance or transform an individual’s appearance. They bring one’s beauty to the fore. Makeup artists employ different techniques and use a variety of products to create different looks for an individual. They work in different work settings like shoot locations, occasions, salons, etc. 

What does a Makeup Artist Do?

The primary role of a makeup artist is to apply cosmetics to their clients to enhance their features. They create specific looks or transform the appearance using cosmetic products. They use different products such as foundation, blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, and more.

They are skilled in creating enhanced appearances that match the skin tone, face shape, and client’s expectations. They should also be skilled enough to provide consultation to clients on products and skin care. 

Types of Makeup Artists

Depending on the scope, location, and extent of work, makeup artists are classified as follows. 

  • Celebrity Makeup Artists

They specialize in working with actors in shooting locations. Their work is not just limited to main leads but to every character that appears on the screen. They also work with artists, models, celebrities, and influencers for photoshoot purposes. Their work ranges from basic makeup to body painting, etc. they are mainly hired or employed by the fashion and entertainment industry. 

  • Bridal Makeup Artist

Bridal makeup artists, in the majority of cases work as freelancers or on contracts. They work on occasions like weddings, bridal showers, etc. They specialize in creating makeup looks for brides and bridesmaids. They are skilled in creating long-lasting and natural-looking makeup. 

  • Makeup Trainer

Makeup trainers impart their knowledge and learnings to other aspiring makeup artists. They train aspirants through workshops, interactive sessions, hands-on training, online classes, or teaching in academies as faculty. 

  • Freelance Makeup Artist

Freelance makeup artists enjoy the flexibility to take up all kinds of assignments.  They generally build their independent business and take up assignments on case to case basis. They charge their clients depending on the scope of the work. 

  • Beauty Consultant

They help people to experience and understand cosmetic products. They provide dedicated advisory to their clients on the products that match their skin type, tone, etc.  Beauty Consultants work with cosmetic companies or as freelancers. 

  • Aesthetician 

Aestheticians are makeup artists who take care of skin, hair, and other cosmetic problems. They usually work in spas and parlours. They are product advisors who work in cosmetic stores advising customers of the product applications and effects (if any). However, Aestheticians must need a license to provide advisory. 

Skills Required to Become a Makeup Artist

Makeup artists must be unique and exhibit exceptional skills. Some of the notable skills in a makeup artist are

  • Strong Communication and Interpersonal skills
  • Excellent customer service traits
  • Ability to work for long and odd hours
  • A keen eye for colour variations
  • Creativity and artistic ability
  • Understanding of basic business processes
  • Excellent time management
  • Should be an outspoken personality

Roles and Responsibilities of a Makeup Artist

A Makeup artist holds a lot of responsibilities for their clients. Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of a makeup artist are

  • Understand the client’s needs and preferences along with the occasion. 
  • Determine the right set of products to apply for their clients based on facial features, skin tones, etc. 
  • Must be skilled enough to apply makeup that enhances the client’s natural beauty.
  • They are required to create flawless appearances according to clients’ needs.  
  • Makeup artists must be up-to-date with the latest trends and products in cosmetics. 
  • Maintain the highest hygiene and cleanliness standards. 
  • They have to be clear on the reusable and disposable applicators so that their clients don’t get medically infected. 
  • Provide excellent customer service and ensure their clients are comfortable and confident. 

How to Become a Makeup Artist in India? A Step-by-Step Guide

Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a Makeup Artist in India.

  • Makeup artists do not need any academic certifications. However, it is advised to have basic education at least till the 12th in any stream. 
  • There are some professional degree and diploma courses offered by a few institutes in India. 
  • However, the majority of makeup artists prefer getting certified by training institutes.  
  • The certification course is approximately 1 year (basic and advanced combined). 
  • After completing the course, work as an intern in beauty parlours, spas, or makeup institutes. 
  • Once you have sufficient experience, you can build your own portfolio and cater to your own clients. 
  • Some of the popular makeup training institutes in India are
    • VLCC Institute, Gurugram
    • Lakme Academy, All India

How do Makeup Artists build Experience and Portfolios?

Certification and interning is the best way to gain experience. You can also gain experience by working as an assistant to professional makeup artists. This provides the training and hands-on experience to build your own makeup practice. Networking is the key to building a client base and thereby, a portfolio. A makeup portfolio, in general, looks like before and after photos of a person with and without makeup. Social media app like Instagram is the best place to showcase your portfolio. This will attract potential clients with proven work experience. 

Income of a Makeup Artist in India

The salary of an entry-level makeup artist in India is 1.8 LPA. Depending upon the experience, the salary may vary upto 6 LPA. However, most makeup artists have their own practice or work freelance. Depending on experience, they can earn upto INR 50,000 per month. Makeup artists working with high-end clients like celebrities in shooting locations may earn more than INR 50,000 per month. Established and popular makeup artists can also set their own rates and take on clients that match their packages. 

Pros and Cons 

The Pros of becoming a Makeup Artist

  • Freedom to be creative
  • High-income work profile
  • Work at your convenience
  • Be self-employed

The Cons of becoming a Makeup Artist

  • Limited job opportunities
  • Irregular work hours
  • Need to invest regularly in cosmetics
  • Varying income from month to month


  • Makeup artists are professionals who use cosmetics to enhance or transform the appearance of a person. They are one of the highly demanded professionals in the fashion and entertainment industry.
  • There are very limited employment opportunities and the majority of them are self-employed or work freelance. The career path has high earning potential and doesn’t even need long-term academic qualifications. 


How to Become a Celebrity Makeup Artist?

Networking is the best way to become a celebrity makeup artist. Connect with professionals in the entertainment field and pitch your services through the portfolio. 


What are the Tips for Building an Excellent Makeup Portfolio?

Instagram is the best online place to build a work portfolio for makeup artists. Be consistent, innovative, experiment, and showcase the work in the right way to hold an excellent portfolio. 


Is a Makeup Artist a Good Career Choice?

Although there are limited employment opportunities, a makeup artist is a great career option where you can build your own brand and business. 


What is the Difference Between a Makeup Artist and a Beautician?

Makeup artists work on a short-term basis for events, occasions, photoshoots, etc. Beauticians provide service year-round to keep up the natural appearance of a person. 


Is a Makeup Artist a High-Paying Job?

The salary is comparatively less if a makeup artist is employed in a job. However, the earning potential is very high as your progress with experience and work portfolio. 


How do I Start my Makeup Career?

Enrolling in a makeup training or certification institute is the best place to start a career as a makeup artist. 


How to Become a Makeup Artist Online?

Many institutes offer online courses to learn about makeup. However, it lacks hands-on training.  You can get trained in local institutes. Online courses can be used for skill enhancement. 


Do You need a Certificate to Become a Makeup Artist?

Because you have built a portfolio of your own, certificates are not necessary for a makeup artist. However, to find employment opportunities, it is a must. 


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About the Author: Sanjay Hota

Meet Sanjay Hota, an edtech content writer with 4+ years of experience. Sanjay creates engaging content for educational institutions and edtech companies, and in his spare time, he helps students and graduates find clarity about their career prospects through his career counselling programme.